What do you associate with self care?
For me it’s anything that satisfies my tooth! So it can be a fruit smoothie, ice cream or a really sweet mango.
Happy taste buds = less stress = happy hormones 🙂
Now, maybe smoothies aren’t your thing. Have no worries.
There are plenty of other things you can use as a stress-reducing, self-care “tool.”
And in this post I’m going to give you some simple, practical things that you can do to take care of yourself holistically (while also supporting your hormones).
Note: this post contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you use them.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
My definition of a self-care routine is: habits and activities that help you to feel grounded, inspired, creative, less stressed and full of vitality.
That’s a lot isn’t it? 🙂
But who says all of that isn’t possible?
After all, thriving health is your birthright!
Now, when it comes to self-care we generally think of stress relief.
And while stress relief is a significant benefit of self-care, it’s not the ultimate outcome of self-care.
The ultimate outcome of self-care is balance.
When you feel balanced, your cells are able to regulate your hormones with greater ease.
Remember how I said self-care is any “habits and activities that help you to feel grounded, inspired, creative, less stressed and full of vitality.”
Well, it turns out that we can only feel balanced and stable in life, when we:
- are grounded (so that we’re not constantly “lifting off” chasing after illusions or someone else’s priorities).
- feel inspired to go after the things that serve us, our children, our community and our overall values.
- awaken our creative juices (so that we can design the life of our dreams).
- increase the vital energy or life force that runs through us.
Doesn’t that sound lovely?
But let’s be realistic…we can’t feel this way all day, everyday.
However, we can cultivate and nurture these feelings over time.
And the way we do that is by creating a self-care routine that helps us feel more grounded and in touch with our needs.
The more we do things that keep us in balance, the more our hormones stay in balance.
THE BENEFITS OF SELF-CARE FOR HORMONE BALANCE
In a previous post about how to treat adrenal fatigue with herbs I talked about the 3 types of stress, which are:
- Physical stress (such as a wound or injury).
- Chemical stress (toxins and unhealthy ingredients in food and cosmetics, for example).
- Emotional stress (worries and anxiety about various aspects of life).
All 3 types of stress create the same reaction in the body: they trigger the adrenals.
This means that whenever you experience any type of stress, your adrenals release anti-stress (aka anti-inflammatory) hormones like cortisol.
Prolonged stress leads to adrenal overload. And adrenal overload eventually leads to reduced thyroid function and a host of other health issues.
So, given all this, a self-care routine is essential for giving your adrenals some much needed rest and recovery.
The benefits of reducing stress include:
- Better sleep.
- Less pain and inflammation.
- Easier weight loss.
- Healthy skin and less inflammatory skin conditions (like acne).
- Better focus and concentration.
- Less mental and emotional clutter.
- A stronger sense of balance.
- Improved health and well-being.
As with all non-invasive, natural approaches to health, self-care works best when you are consistent.
You can’t “stock up” on self-care by doing it for several months and then ignoring it. It has to be integrated into your life.
In the same way that you brush your teeth daily to keep them healthy, you also have to practice self-care daily to continue enjoying the benefits.
HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR SELF CARE
So, now that we’ve looked at why you need self-care for your hormones, the big question is “how do I make time for self care?”
Based on my own experience, I can tell you that the easiest way to find time for self-care is to do activities that you actually enjoy.
Or at least, activities that you are curious about
Now, at this point you may not know what you like. And that’s fine.
Block out time to try out the various self-care activities that I’ll be sharing in the next section of this article.
Start small. Work with the time you do have.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Don’t have 30 minutes to meditate? Then do 10 minutes.
Too busy to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner? Then plan ahead and prep one of those meals to start with.
Your body will improve with every positive step you take.
Balancing your hormones is not about being perfect. It’s about being consistent.
8 SELF CARE ROUTINE TIPS FOR HORMONE BALANCE
1. Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing For Relaxation and Serenity
If you already practice yoga, then you might be familiar with alternate nostril breathing.
And if you’re not a yogi, well, you’re going to appreciate the release and clarity that comes with this simple breathing technique.
Alternate nostril breathing is exactly what the name indicates: you breathe through one nostril at a time, switching sides.
Not only is it great for releasing stress and tension, but the fact that you switch sides helps you to balance both sides of your brain.
So simple, effective and calming!
Here’s a video from my favorite youtube yogi, Adriene, where she demonstrates this practice.
2. Embrace Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Self-Care
When it comes to essential oils for stress you can choose from:
- Sweet basil
- Ylang ylang
To enjoy the benefits of these oils, I suggest using one of my two favorite, stress blends: Tranquility or Sweet Ambiance (both made by Eden’s Garden).
Both of these have an unusually sweet and exotic smell (mostly due to the magical ylang ylang, I think!). Anyway, I just love how soothing and dreamy these are 🙂
For Sweet Ambiance here’s the regular version (no rollon available).
3. Unplug and Disconnect
Every time you get a text message, email, voicemail or social media alert, your phone buzzes.
Those are constant, micro interruptions throughout the day that wear you out.
Block out some time when your phone is on silent or airplane mode.
You will feel incredibly refreshed just by taking this small yet powerful step!
4. Indulge In Forest Bathing
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (aka forest bathing) is based on the idea that the more time we spend in nature, the more calm and rejuvenated we feel.
And the best part is that you don’t need an actual forest in order to reap the benefits.
Simply walk around your neighborhood, in a local park or local trail to enjoy all the benefits.
And while you’re at it, why not walk around barefoot in nature for a little bit?
Some research shows that this walking barefoot in nature leads to (source):
- Less stress and inflammation.
- Stronger the immune system.
- Better mood.
- Improved sleep quality.
5. Carve Out Time For Gratitude and Daydreaming
The in-your-face nature of hormonal imbalance symptoms can sometimes make it difficult to enjoy life.
But the thing is, the worse you feel about your health, the more “down” you feel.
And the more down you feel, the more stressed out your cells become.
So, go ahead and give yourself a much deserved break.
Instead, look for small things that you can express gratitude and appreciation for.
Or daydream and start making plans for the future that you want (not someone else’s ideal).
Whether you’re expressing gratitude or daydreaming about the life you want, jot it all down in a journal.
It’s amazing the release that comes with putting our intentions down on paper!
Here’s a beautiful 52-week journal from Amazon that you can use to get the ball rolling.
6. Include Light Exercise Into Your Routine
Exercise is tremendously beneficial for relieving stress, providing mental clarity and creating a sense of calm.
But when you are dealing with hormonal imbalance, high-intensity exercise can actually increase stress and leave you feeling more tired.
So, focus instead on light activities like walking, yoga, dancing, tai chi and swimming.
Not only will these activities leave you feeling more energized, but they will get your lymphatic system moving.
The lymphatic system is your drainage system. It drains out all the junk that is disrupting healthy bodily function.
7. Drink a Hormone-Balancing Smoothie
Remember how I mentioned that the adrenals are your anti-stress/anti-inflammation center?
Well, in order to fight off stress, your adrenals need a lot of nutrients.
Smoothies are a really fun, quick and simple way to get more nutrients and feel revitalized!
For tips and recipes check out this article on how to make a hormone-balancing smoothie.
8. Give Back
Have you noticed how at-one-with-humanity you feel when someone does something kind/caring for you (or vice versa)?
Well, that’s because in the process of doing for others, you also do for yourself.
So, if there’s a cause you are passionate about and you want to volunteer your time to help others, go for it.
If you have a particular skill or knowledge that you know would improve the lives of others, start your own charity or business around it.
Another great way to give back is to spend your money with a company like Causebox. They collaborate with socially conscious brands that make everything from clothing and skincare products, to accessories and homewares.
They’re all about introducing people like you and me to products that “do good and look good.”
A beautiful way to take care of yourself and others!
SELF CARE ROUTINE CHECKLIST FOR HORMONE HEALTH
So, now that you’ve got all these tips, you might be wondering what a typical day would look like.
How can you actually integrate all these self-care tips into your day?
Well, here’s a sample self-care morning and night-time checklist for inspiration.
Feel free to add, remove or switch things around from the list below depending on what works for you.
Morning Self Care Checklist
- Alternate-nostril breathing (and 5 more minutes of quiet sitting if you can)
- Move your body: yoga, tai-chi, qi-gong, walking.
- Keep your phone on silent or airplane mode and don’t check messages for the first hour after waking up.
- Drink a hormone-balancing smoothie for breakfast.
Night-Time Self Care Checklist
- Do light yoga or alternate nostril breathing to unwind and release tension from the day.
- Write in your journal.
- Put your phone on airplane mode at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This way your brain isn’t being stimulated right up until you go to bed.
Remember that balancing your hormones is not about doing any of the above items perfectly.
Pick one or two to start. Work on being as consistent as you can with the one or two that you choose.
With practice you will naturally develop habits to support your health!
Now, I’d love to hear your feedback on this important topic: what does your self-care routine look like? What impact has it made in your life?
Leave a comment below 🙂