Tips from a holistic health coach
We Solo Moms all know, in theory, that we must first take care of ourselves before we can show up for our kids. Many of us have fine-tuned our intuition in order to be even more available to our children. When we tune in to our own bodies, we may feel a nudge to take care of ourselves in small and specific ways, but then we quickly can become overwhelmed. Because it can seem impossible to start a self-care ritual or routine, simplicity is key when implementing one.
Below are six pleasurable, wallet-friendly, and simple methods of self-care, which can be tailored to your individual needs as a Solo Mom. All of these can be used as morning, nighttime, or weekend rituals:
1. Honey turmeric mask.
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory spice for both the inside and outside of the body. For a facial mask, mix one teaspoon each turmeric, raw honey, and milk or plain yogurt. Clothes can get stained with this mask, so please wear an old T-shirt!
Gently apply the mask to your face, including under your eyes (to decrease dark spots), and let it dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off the mask in the shower or with a warm washcloth. This mask is safe and moisturizing enough to use daily.
2. Turmeric chai tea.
Many of us Solo Moms truly savor our morning coffee rituals. For some of us, having our coffee in the morning happens during a stolen moment, perhaps when we get to sit down and read an ESME article! If I am experiencing headaches or delicate digestion, I will swap out my coffee for turmeric chai tea. It is also a soothing before-bed drink and perfectly safe for children.
There are various ways to make turmeric chai tea. Some complementary anti-inflammatory spices to turmeric are fresh ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, fennel, and white pepper. These spices can be affordably purchased online or at an Indian market.
Pour two cups of cow’s, rice, almond, or coconut milk into a pot and simmer. Add fresh ginger to taste, then one teaspoon cardamom, one-quarter teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch each of nutmeg, cloves, fennel, and white pepper. Let simmer and add one-half teaspoon of turmeric. Allow to boil, then cool and strain before serving. Any whole spices can be frozen and used again to make your next batch.
Making this tea is also a method of infusing your home with aroma-therapeutic fragrances!
3. Essential-oil diffuser.
Aromatherapy is an effortless, pleasurable way to relax. I diffuse peppermint oil in my home during the summer months and eucalyptus oil during the winter. These oils help with immunity, improve breathing during sleep, and provide relaxation for children too. Essential oils can be bought inexpensively online and diffused using simple rattan reeds, an electronic air pump, or a humidifier. Essential oils such as lavender can also be added to a bath for relaxation.
4. Guided breathing/meditation.
Free downloads featuring short, guided meditations are available on iTunes, Facebook, and many health and wellness websites. They are a great way to wind down before bed or, if you’re like me, to fall back asleep after awaking in the night.
Quieting the mind and focusing on the present moment is intimately linked with our breath. Solo Moms have so much to think about; it is wonderful to get “permission” to relax into the moment.
5. Epsom salt soak.
Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is an inorganic, bitter salt often used in medicine. It is inexpensive and can be found in most drugstores. Mix three-quarters of a cup of Epsom salt into your bathtub or one-quarter cup into a small foot bath.
For me, this ritual began as a way to soothe my PMS and later evolved into a method for soothing my newborn son’s colic and constipation. Now that he is a toddler, I still pour Epsom salt into his bath at times. Often I will dip my legs in his bath while sudsing him up!
An Epsom-salt bath has so many varied benefits, from soothing headaches to flushing toxins from the body; athletes even use Epsom salts to soothe sore muscles.
Have you ever felt elation while walking on the beach, standing near a waterfall, or swimming in a lake? Aside from the beauty of nature, our bodies also respond to invisible, negative ions in the air. Simply explained, negative ions are oxygen atoms charged with an extra electron. To easily benefit from negative ions found in nature, you can “ground” your feet on the earth where you live. Take your shoes off in the park, or shove your toes into some mud after a good rain. It sounds wild, because it is, but you most likely will feel relaxed and rejuvenated afterward. Kids are often more than happy to join in this ritual!
As a child, I remember feeling secure and glad when my mother would take time for herself. Whether she was taking a bath, getting a haircut, watching a movie, or even putting on mascara, it made me beam inside to see her exemplify relaxation and self-care.
Please do indulge and make time to try one of these rituals for yourself. If you feel nurtured in the process, try blocking out regular times on your calendar to enjoy a simple self-care activity more regularly. Each ritual can be modified to fit your lifestyle and needs. I would be very happy to know what you are doing for yourself and to hear about any self-care ideas you have for other Solo Moms in the comments below!
Sarah Sheen is a certified holistic health coach who resides in the Southwest. She previously completed studies in studio art and art history at the State University of New York at Purchase. Her passion is to integrate art and health, discovering custom, creative paths to wellness for herself and her community. She is also a Solo Mom to a very busy toddler. You can follow her on Twitter.
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