Air: The 4 Elements of Self Care Series
By: Ariana Aguero
These days the default mode is hustle. Everyone is chasing their bag, dialing in on their grind, and making moves. As they should. But where is this energy when it comes to ourselves? Self-care is needed and it is natural. So in our new series we’re breaking down self-care by the four elements of nature.
It’s smooth sailing as we drift away with the next element: air.
Ok we know, you’ve heard this one so much it makes your eyes roll. But there’s a reason you hear it all the time because this stuff is legit. Stress is not just something you’re aware of mentally, it’s felt throughout your whole body. So when you’re trying to release that stress, mindful breathing helps tell your body “yo we can calm the heck down now thank you very much.” Mindful breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. The American Institute of Stress actually refers to mindful breathing as a “Super Stress Buster” so don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Here’s one exercise they recommend:
- “First ‘smile inwardly’ with your eyes and mouth and release the tension in your shoulders. This is a powerful muscle release in the places where most people hold their muscles tense. Then imagine holes in the soles of your feet. As you take a deep breath in, visualize hot air flowing through these holes moving slowly up your legs, through your abdomen and filling your lungs. Relax your muscles sequentially as the hot air moves through them up your body. When you exhale reverse the visualization so you “see” hot air coming out the same holes in your feet. Repeat throughout the day whenever you need to feel calm and relaxed.”
Everyone loves a good self-care moment with some nice candles. But did you know that not all candles are created equal? Burning some scented candles can release volatile organic compounds that can negatively impact your health. Many candles can also trigger allergic reactions when burned. It is so important to ensure the candles that you burn in your home are all-natural especially when scented. Here’s a tip: soy candles produce less soot and toxic chemicals than candles made from paraffin wax!
Self-care in the Air
Now that travel is beginning to open back up, you might be hopping on an airplane for work travel or a much deserved vacation. Even when you’re sitting in coach you can feel like a VIP if you pack an in-flight self-care kit. You can customize it to whatever you know will make you feel at ease. Some go-to recommendations for long, dehydrating flights are a thick body butter, lip balm, travel facial spray, silk eye mask, and a snack of your choice- we always recommend chocolate! Who can feel turbulence when you’re floating on cloud 9?
Last but not least we will be getting down and dirty with the next element: Earth. So stay tuned!