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By this time of the year a reset is well over due.
It’s finally February. Christmas is over, New Year’s Day has passed. We just had a mad rush of holidays and parties and non stop stresses. Some people have a really hard time with the come down after the crazy holiday season. I am NOT one of those people. As an introvert I LIVE for the post holiday come down period. I need a moment after all of the socialization to take it slow and reenergize myself.
What is a recovery routine?
Personally each season brings with it a different recovery routine. A recovery routine for me is something I do intentionally to reset my mind & body. It’s a time to unplug from whatever chaos exists outside of me and focus on taking care of myself in that moment. These are important for me because when my life gets busy I have tendency to neglect myself. I’ll make sure everyone else around me is good, but ignore my personal needs as small as they may be. Once I became aware of that, I started to intentionally dedicate a portion of time to my personal, emotional, mental care. It’s small, but doing this helps me to remember even in the midst of the chaos that I need to take care of me too.
How to find time
For those of you not yet accustomed to the routine of stepping on the breaks and taking time for yourself (because how easily we forget how challenging it actually is to make yourself a priority), i’ve got some quick tips for you:
- Track It- Take a look at your entire month and write down what you do. This may require you to go out and buy a calendar or to get a journal or buy an agenda. Whatever you choose, find something that will help you to track down all of the things you do that take up your time.
- Highlight It- Make a note of the things that you HAVE TO do such as work, taking care of kids, and other commitments that REQUIRE you.
- Highlight Non-Necessities- Make a note of the things that you do, that you don’t really NEED to. These are going to be the things you shift around ONE TIME a month to make time for yourself.
- List It- Make a list of the things in your life that bring you joy. Practical things you can do in one night and “unrealistic” things that you can’t. Write them all. My list varies from painting my nails to a mountain retreat destination. Write them all. Even if I never get to go to the mountains, at least I know for future reference that that would be something that would make me happy. (side note; the amount of people who answer “i don’t know” to the question of what makes them happy is enormous…hence my emphasis)
- Prioritize It- Number them from 1 to whatever, one being the most doable right now and going up from there.
- Schedule It- Now that you’ve identified the parts of your life that need you desperately and the parts that don’t, the things that bring you joy and the things that are most doable without severely interrupting your entire existence, schedule them in. Make an appointment with yourself as you would with a friend or business partner. I assure you this is just as important (if not more so).
Why it matters
As lazy as the older generation may think millennials are, I beg to differ. The millennials I’ve met have all been people who work hard and actually need to be convinced that rest is okay…not the other way around. This is why I’m so passionate about this. I am also one of those who for my entire life believed that the desire for rest was weakness. I could work myself into a mental break down and work through that too. My normal was to get up, pop a few ibuprofen, drink 2 large cups of coffee, and make it through the day to get back to bed to do it all again the next day and occasionally drink the stress, depression and anxiety away.
I learned and am still learning the importance of taking a break and resting. I still feel guilty laying in bed past 9 on my days off and still need to schedule in my rest days. Its a journey for sure, but one I believe in. This is why I write about this. There are so many stress related issues out there; Alzheimer’s, heart disease, depression & anxiety and more… A recovery day here and there won’t cure them or even on it’s own prevent them, but it’s a start that can definitely help to set you on the right track.
My 5 Step Winter Time Recovery Routine
The specifics in my recovery routine vary. Sometimes I schedule it for my morning, sometimes for my night right before bed and sometimes my entire day has been set aside for recovery. Below I will be listing my personal recommendations for a cozy winter evening recovery routine. These are the general steps I take during the winter months to calm my body and mind and prep myself for a quiet and calm night in. Feel free to take a look at this and imitate, or create your own!
(Disclaimer reminder: this post contains affiliate links which means if you click the links to make a purchase I benefit from those purchases. I recommend items that I personally have had experience with and would suggest to friends and readers regardless of benefit)
Step One: Set the Mood
The first thing I need during a cozy winter reset is a calming space. For me this means I adorn what ever room I’ve chosen (usually my living room because it’s got the nice TV) in ultra soft blankets & fluffy pillows. I’ll turn off my main lights, light a candle or two, and bring out my string lights for extra soft lighting. I’ll find something to watch on Netflix or bring out a specially selected book for the night paired with a calming soundtrack depending on my mood.
Step Two: Mini Spa
Once the living room is set up I’ll usually head over to the bathroom for a hot shower. It’s scientifically proven that a hot shower (not scalding…) relaxes your muscles and helps you to breathe better. For a little something extra I may add a eucalyptus or lavender shower dissolve tablet to my shower. I love the gentle fragrance in addition to the steam. (Lavender essential oil shower dissolve tablets found here & Eucalyptus essential oil shower dissolve tablets found here).
Don’t stay in too long though, the heat can dry you out. Speaking of your skin, pay some extra attention to your skin after your shower. Apply light body oils or lotions (my current lotion obsession can be found here), moisturize your face and maybe even do a lip mask. A few extra minutes paying special attention to yourself can go a long way, and that’s what recovery days are for.
Step Three: Tea
Technically if you’re not a tea drinker you could use any warm beverage…BUT I’m here to talk about tea because I love tea and tea is actually good for you. Certain teas contain antioxidants. These are like little cleaners for your body; gets rid of the bad stuff in your system that could potentially make you sick. Tea tends to have significantly less caffeine than coffee, which for a caffeine sensitive human like myself is very good news. Tea (when left alone) has 0 calories, can aid in digestion, and can prevent cavities. I could talk to you all day about the benefits of tea…but I won’t. At least not in this post. All I’ll say is that when I’m having a relaxing reset day, it is not complete without a hot cup of tea in my hands. (My current faves in the tea world: Ginger, Pepermint & Fennel & Turmeric )
Step Four: Eat Something Yummy
Snack on something you enjoy, but be careful not to binge (because that makes you feel worse…). I love to set out combos of things; things my body may be craving and things that will be beneficial to my body. I’m always craving a salty snack so I may put out some salt and vinegar almonds and some pineapple chunks. That way I hit my salty & sweet need without binging on the bag of smart food that I would totally enjoy until I wake up bloated, dehydrated and sad 5 hours later. Some of my other favorites are trail mixes containing dried fruit, pistachios (my current craving for whatever reason) and cashews.
Step Five: Feel Good Activity
Keep this part simple. Settle down in the calming environment you set up in step one. Bring your snacks and tea and decide on your activity. I love to pick a movie I’ve seen a million times but love dearly to start and watch it while I file my nails or something small like that. I may even jot some thoughts into my journal and dream a little. All in all this is your final step to just feel comfy and cared for and relax a little bit. So do whatever pleases you. Paint your nails, call a friend, watch a movie, read a book. Whatever you do, do it for you & enjoy your night!
Till next time,
~enjoyed this post? Be on the look out for more of #feelgoodfebruary on my YouTube channel~