Well, I think it's fair to say 2020 wasn't the year we all envisioned this time last year. I have come to understand myself a lot more- how to look after myself, react to situations, grieve, stay positive, and communicate better. Last year, we received many messages on how our baths helped you cope in and out of lockdown, from NHS staff who needed an end of shift bath to soothe their limbs to those who used our products to help them sleep and reduce anxiety. Reading your messages has made my year a little better. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart for including Verdant Alchemy in your rituals last year.
As we get into the groove of 2021 in (UK) lockdown 3.0, I would like to share six tips that helped boost my mental and physical well-being. Trying these little tips might make a big difference to your mood.
- Extend your rituals. With so much time at home, I am taking more time to create extended self-care rituals. Such as improving my lymphatic health whilst bathing. Getting the lymph system moving is incredibly important to help get rid of toxins and waste, and a great way to get it moving is to have a quick cold shower before soaking in a hot bath, drinking lots of water and self-massage. I love to soak in a hot bath and then use our Verdant Alchemy bath salts to massage onto the lymph system in light gently and slow strokes, concentrating on the neck/ collar bone and legs. After the massage, let the salts dissolve into the bath, creating a relaxing bathing experience filled with gorgeous aromatherapy. Or try using the bath salts as a scrub in the shower, again massaging it on the lymph while soaking up the aromatherapy fragrance.
- Conscious breathing. Another tip to help detox the body is to dry brush before bathing and then practice deep meditative breathing in the bath. Both activities will help detox your body. For deep breathing, bring your attention to your lower abdomen, just below your belly button and let your belly fill with air, then slowly exhale lowering your diaphragm. This rhythmic expansion allows more oxygen into your body, decreasing stress levels while the diaphragm movement helps pump blood and lymph through the liver.
- Self-massage. I don't know about you, but when I am stressed my jaw tenses up, and I get the worse headaches. Something I started doing in 2020 was to give myself a facial massage every day. Using a Gua Sha tool, I would massage or 'scrape' my face focusing on my jaw to improve circulation and ease the tension and knots. My granny used to do this every day, and I can't believe it's taken me 35 years to adopt it. If you don't have a Gua Sha tool, just use your thumbs and massage your jaw with downwards strokes- its free and so effective.
- Foot Baths. Sometimes I don't have the time to have a long bath- because that is the ritual it deserves. During those times, having a foot bath with Verdant Alchemy bath salts is a fabulous alternative. A great way to relax especially after a long walk (because that is all we are allowed to do these days)- experiencing a foot bath gives the mineral hit I require plus the aromatherapy effect needed to destress my mind. I can do it in the living room, in front of Netflix and fill the space with the gorgeous wellness scent it deserves. More effective than a candle at times. Also, an incredible way to experience Verdant Alchemy and the bath salts if you do not have a bathtub. For more on foot baths and reflexology read our detailed blog post here.
- Better sleep. Creating better sleep hygiene is essential for physical and mental health, and it is something I continue to get better at going into 2021. Although I get about 8 hours of sleep a day, I sometimes feel more tired the next day- due to not enough deep or REM sleep. One thing that does help me feel less groggy and more alert the next day is having a bath before bed. A warm, soothing mineral bath helps relax you and promotes sleep by releasing endorphins and boosting magnesium levels. Also, the basics are essential for good sleep, such as having a cool bedroom, no technology and no drinking before bed.
- Be kind to yourself. Continue to be grateful and kinder to myself. If 2020 has shown me anything, it is how lucky I am; how lucky I haven't lost anyone to covid, fortunate that my family and I are healthy and I am so thankful. That doesn't take away the fact that 2020 threw unrelenting personal challenges into my life- but acknowledging that and taking the time to be kinder to myself and creating steps to process it is something I will continue investing in 2021.