MY MYSTICAL LIFE: 4 SURPRISING SELF-CARE TIPS

My self-care tips are all about balance, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. PLUS the best self-care books of 2018 reviewed …

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Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

When Kelley Hughes of Philly-based apothecary brand Wilde Gatherings offered to show me her signature facial, it was a no-brainer. Right, you say. But being on book deadline while overseeing a total Numinous re-brand (coming v. soon!) and somehow juggling all my other projects means zero space in my diary for heading up to Midtown on a random Thursday afternoon. I don’t even really like facials.

But. Right now, anything to get me BACK INTO MY BODY is a no-brainer. With a chart that’s all Fire and Water and a work life that runs on Air (elementally and literally, since my Macbook and me are inseparable), Earth is what’s lacking. Grounding. Which means it’s on me to make sure I make space in my iCal for it. (And thank you so much Kelley it was divine! I like facials again!)

Meaning, for practices that invite human touch. For IRL conversations with hugs and vibes I can feel. That remind me of my physicality from the inside out. Without this WEIGHT to balance me out I may as well just float off into the Cloud.

Kelley’s line is based in Ayurvedic principals, which is also a science of balance. On a daily basis we can feel we’re too much of this, too little of that. The same imbalances that find us reaching for a quick fix. Coffee, sugar, booze. Mindless TV. Things to liven us up or calm us down. When often all we need is some time away from our phone, a nourishing meal, and a decent night’s sleep. Inviting in what brings us balance is the essence of self-care to me.

Here are four of my surprising self-care tips (which also don’t cost anything):

1 // Journaling in the middle of the night. When I get too Airy, my head gets full of crazy thoughts. They get so loud they often wake me up, and since SLEEP is my ultimate self-care rule, I will do anything to protect it. The best way to stop the thoughts? Get up and write them all down, IN THE DARK (turning a light on only makes the thoughts think they’ve won), on a piece of paper. Works like magic.

2 // Taking Instagram off my phone at night and on weekends. As an entrepreneur, I used to go around bitching / bragging about how I was always ON. How doing what I love means my work is my life, and how this is great, but can also feel relentless and like its own kind of treadmill. Then I realized I could create my own “office hours” by just simply IG off my phone! Game-changer! Of course I still work evenings and weekends, but in the peace and quiet of my own mind.

3 // Not drinking. The morning I began writing this post (including the “not drinking as self-care” tip) my friend Mia from @thesoberglow put a comment on Insta that basically said it all. Which is this: “No workout.
No juice cleanse. No spa visit. No massage. No colonic. No vacation. No meditation. No dry scrub. No salt scrub. No detox. No wheatgrass shot. No hike. No manicure. No smoothie. Nor will any of the million things I could do to take care of myself ever be more potent, more radical or more important than my choice not to drink..” Alcohol is only fuel to my already raging Fire. A flood of Watery feelings where I already have plenty of those floating about. An ejector seat into the Airy ethers. My Sober Curiosity, above all, is what keeps me cool, dry, and with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

4 // Giving myself an extra hour in the morning. For drinking lemon water and meditating, yes, but mainly to give myself time for a proper poop :-)

Want more pro self-care tips? Below, Lisa Kjellsson reviews 5 of the best self-care books for 2018 …

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Product’s from Kelley’s line, Wilde Gatherings

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Recharge: A Year Of Self-Care To Focus On You, by Julie Montagu (Piatkus)
When yoga teacher and nutritionist Julie Montagu’s husband became seriously ill, caring for him and their four children soon left her drained of energy and she realised she had to make some changes. Her book is a one-year commitment to self-care, split into monthly chapters focusing on topics such as mindful eating, stress management, digital detox and self-esteem. The chapters on finding your truth and living with purpose are especially inspiring. This refreshingly jargon-free book is essential reading if your intention for 2018 is to put yourself first, but will the format work for everyone? Most of us want to feel better now.

Self-Care For The Real World, by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips (Hutchinson)
The long list of celebrity endorsements had me wondering whether this hyped title would be all lifestyle shots and hot air, but my initial scepticism was soon replaced by true book love. The Narain sisters touch on everything from body confidence to heartbreak, and share their strategies for navigating life with self-love and kindness. The tips on how to inject more self-care into the workplace, for example, might just make all the difference if you work in a high-pressure environment. This is a beautifully crafted book and, like Kate Moss, I want to give it to everyone I know.

The Self-Care Revolution: Smart Habits And Simple Practices To Allow You To Flourish, by Suzy Reading (Aster)
As a psychologist specialising in stress management and healthy lifestyle change, Suzy Reading certainly has the credentials to write about self-care and her book draws on lots of interesting research as well as her own life experience. The ‘vitality wheel’ she has devised to help readers diagnose which areas of their life need more attention is particularly useful as it illustrates just how multifaceted a full life should be and how easy it is to neglect any one aspect. This practical guide to wellbeing also has excellent tips on goal setting and developing strong coping skills and will perhaps especially resonate with busy parents.

The Self Care Project: How To Let Go Of Frazzle And Make Time For You, by Jayne Hardy (Orion Spring)
Having struggled with her mental health for most of her twenties, Jayne Hardy often wondered which came first, her lack of self-care or her depression. Her account of feeling too low to leave her bed or brush her teeth highlights the need for support for those in the same situation, and Hardy now runs a social enterprise in aid of those affected by depression. Her advice is to form a ‘self-care squad’, a group of friends to rely on for different types of encouragement. Sadly the good points she makes – about people pleasing and overcommitting, for example – are somewhat lost in a writing style best described as a stream of consciousness. Overall this is more of an insight into the author’s mind than a source of self-care inspiration.

The Little Book of Self Care: The Tiny Everyday Habits That Will Transform Your Life, by Mel Noakes (Ebury Press)
Despite enjoying professional recognition and a social life filled with travel and parties, Mel Noakes had always battled with low self-esteem and for years used food, exercise and work to numb herself. After reassessing her life during a year of travel, she changed direction and became a life coach. Her book may be small in size but it packs a punch – covering everything from decluttering your home and nurturing your relationships to getting more sleep and managing your money. Financial self-care, as Noakes calls it, is not just to do with budgeting but also tackling the beliefs and values that may be holding us back from prosperity. The bite-sized chapters with actionable advice make this a great little book to refer to for a dose of mindful transformation.

For more book recommendations, check out @thelkedit on Instagram, where Lisa shares inspiring non-fiction reads.

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