12 Days of Self Care in the Lead up to Christmas

This year we decided to turn our 12-Days of Christmas into 12-Days of Self Care 💗…

the last months of the year can be crazy-busy and a little frantic… and you wind up thinking about everyone but yourself.

Behind the scenes here at Ecology, we’re making sure everything thing flows during Christmas promo’s – all products are made or arrive in time and all orders go out the door – but it really takes it out of us!

Then there’s…

…trying to get a park at the shopping centres
…standing in the supermarket queue waiting to check out
…trying to work out Christmas presents for everyone (and buying those presents)
…entertaining and getting together with friends and workmates before Christmas
…school breakups and concerts

it all builds up!

So we decided to gift ourselves some time out for self-care and doing some little (and no-so-little) things that refresh and replenish over the 12-Days of Christmas.

…and we’ll be sharing these gifts with you too 😊❤️ (it’s a nice way to gift right?!?)

Fingers crossed there’s something in these practices that resonates with you…
and you’ll want to give something a go, dig a little deeper and gift yourself some time out through the next 12 days, or 25 days, or 365 days ❤️

Happy 12-Days of Christmas!
~ Crystal

(we posted these up on social media and on our stories, but we thought we’d collect them here for you too 😊)

Day 1 – Yin Yoga Class

…today I did a Yin Yoga Class 🙏

I find these classes super uncomfortable, challenging and frustrating while in the moment (I’m told that’s all part of the practice 😉) …but afterwards, I feel so much calmer and replenished.

Everything is a little lighter.

I learnt a little while ago how very necessary these Yin Yoga classes are for my mental health. And how I need to treat them like they’re a medication or supplement (because that’s the effect they have on my nervous system) …but even still I struggle with keeping a regular routine.

It’s been about 3 weeks since my last Sunday Yin Yoga class, so I’m glad the 12-days of Self care gave me the kick I needed to get back on the mat 💗 Crystal

Day 2 – Bush Walks

Nothing clears my head like a good bush walk. Just the sound of birds, the smell of the fresh air and feeling my shoes crunching on the cool dirt. Plus the Australian bush is like nothing else.

I try at least get out bushwalking once a week sometimes it’s only once every two weeks.

It helps with my anxiety and keeping me grounded ~ Bridgit

Day 3 – Kettlebell Workout

I’ve been doing these for around 3 weeks now, just 15min a day (yup, that’s right 15min), a couple of times a week.

I’m working on cueing the workout routine into my morning…
get up, get dressed, glass of water, kettlebells, shower, start my day…

And I’m working on rolling through the moves with little to no break to keep up the intensity and the cardio aspect of it (which is why you only need 15min, but I’ll also work up to longer on days I have more time)

…end result – I’m feeling pretty huffy and puffy, blood’s pumping, got a bit of a sweat on and I’m feeling good, ready to start my day 🙌

I’m using an 8kg and a 12kg kettlebell (personal preference, you’d only need 1 kettlebell to get started) and I’ve been watching free videos with Greg Brookes. He’s fantastic! …a ton of free workouts, videos and advice

In this sense, self care is about moving my body (our bodies were designed to move right?), feeling good and feeling… stronger 😊❤️ Crystal

Day 4 – Read a Book

I love reading… but it’s not that often that I actually give myself permission to take some time out to relax and read a book.

So for me, really lovely self care is to grab a book and go and lie in the sun, or curl up on the bean bag or relax in the bath and read a book.

Fun fact – my maiden name is Reid and one of my nicknames at school was Crystal-read-a-book 😂😂

Day 5 – A walk and a chat

With the weather warming up, we’ve been getting into the habit of an evening walk

(not counting this last week, what is going on with the weather in VIC?!?! …it feels like a return to winter!)

…it’s been really good to get me up from the computer, and both of us out of the house…

and to have debrief on the day, do some planning out loud or just have a general chat.

With the added bonus of working up a bit of an appetite before dinner 😉

From a self-care perspective, it’s good to have that connection time with a partner or friends and loved ones and we live in the most beautiful place (the Mornington Peninsula), so we make a point to make it a bush walk, a creek walk or a cliff top walk

…and it won’t be long now till it’ll be a shoes-off-along-the-beach kinda walk 🙌

Day 6 – A Float

Friday night = Float night for me

I try and get to the The Private Sea for a float every Friday (but failing that every second Friday)

…essentially you float for an hour in a tank filled with skin temperature water and 300kg of epsom salt… so you float – and you feel absolutely weightless.

With ear plugs and the light off, all of your sensory inputs are reduced, so it completely calms your nervous system down.

I call floating my sanity saver…

I find it really quietens my monkey mind and helps me reset after a crazy week, so I can let my week go and relax into the weekend 🙏🙌

Pro-tip: I ask for float vouchers for all of my Christmas, Birthday, Easter gifts which keeps me in floats for a good part of the year 💃💃

Day 7 – Grounding or Earthing

This one’s super simple (and it’s free!)

you just take your shoes and socks off and feel the ground under your feet.

The negative ions from the earth have a positive effect on the body, so spending any amount of time with your skin in contact with the earth is super good for you

I haven’t done this in ages, but in a previous job I was on the road everyday…
I used to pull up anywhere I could see grass (or beach), grab my packed lunch, take my shoes and socks off and sit and eat my lunch while earthing… two birds with one stone 🙌

Nowadays I have to admit I don’t think about doing this often…
but any nice day when I’m at home, I’ll try and get some barefoot backyard time 👣 Crystal

Day 8 – Muffin Break

Often in the mid-afternoon we’ll ‘tools down’ and prep a lovely plate of muffins and sit and have a cup of tea and a chat…

It’s not really about the muffins (though they are delicious) or the cuppa…

it’s about breaking the mindset, so that when I go back to work it’s with a fresh perspective ☕️

PS. Yes, the muffins are gluten free…

I’m not sure where I got the recipe from (that bit of paper is about 5yrs old)

…but I do modify this recipe, I usually halve the flour, double the carrot and swap the dates for blueberries (and sometimes raspberries)

Enjoy! Crystal

Day 9 – Standing Relaxation

I have to admit, I don’t think about this one much at other times of the year…

just when I’m waiting in queues
(which happens more at this time of year, especially in the supermarket or post office!)

A standing relaxation is super simple!

You just progressively put your attention to and relax all of your muscles from your feet right up to your head…

…making sure you relax your toes, feet ankles, calves, unlock your knees, release your hips and stomach, relax your back, drop your shoulders and relax through your neck, jaw, cheeks, eyes and eye brows…

It doesn’t take long and I find it helps to release any angst I might have from waiting in a queue
(much more so than scrolling on my iPhone!)

🙏 Crystal

Day 10 – Take a Nap

I’ve got a giant memory foam beanbag kinda thing that catches the late afternoon – early evening sun

…and it’s a great spot to curl up for a bit of time out and a nap 😴

Yesterday for example, was a bit of a slow day for me (I’ve just got my period), so I wanted to be really kind to myself…

and a nap in the sun is the best kind of ‘kind’ 🙌
I’m a little like a house pet 😂

Crystal

Day 11 – Zentangle

This is a practice that I absolutely love, but haven’t actually done in a good 6-8 months (it’s funny how that happens…)

I keep my pads and pens in my bedside table and used to draw a zentangle segment in bed as part of my sleepy wind down… it worked really well, but probably got thrown over in favour of a bedtime book, then it slipped out of my ‘top of mind’

Zentangle is essentially a mindful drawing…

You only use one colour pen (black) and a pencil for shading.
It has a structure, you draw a border first, then what they call ‘string’, which is a pencil line that will form the boundaries of each of the patterns.

Then one segment at a time, you choose a pattern and begin to draw it one line or stroke at a time.

The pattern builds and grows, then you finish with shading to give it depth or dimension.

I’ve got a couple of zentangle books that show you step by step how to draw each of the patterns
(I’m definitely not at the point where it’s free style, I use the book every time …but that’s also part of why I’m able to let go of the thoughts and just ‘do’)

I find it really calming, it pulls my focus in and allows me to let all of the ‘monkey mind’ stuff go.

…and at the end, I’ve got a picture I’m quite proud of!

Day 12 – A Sound Bath

I’ve been doing these Sound Bath’s every 2nd week for the last couple of months and I’m really loving them!

I find them super relaxing and I come away feeling really calm and balanced…

Essentially you lie under a blankie with yoga props, so you’re all warm and comfy with a weighted pillow over your eyes and the sound bath practitioner will selectively bong Tibetan singing bowls and other sound instruments in a way that baths you in sound and healing vibrations.

It helps to quieten the mind and heal the body… I’ve even had emotional releases during a sound bath.

From a self care perspective, anything that can put your mind and body into that deeply relaxed state is going to be good for you!

Crystal

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