Self Care Dates & Why You Need One Today

When is the last time you got together with friends and upon asking how they’re doing, they immediately respond with all the negative things floating around their head? Or their love life woes? Work related stresses? Wait, before even returning the question and asking how you’ve been? PAUSE.

So often, I come across people who just love to fill me in on how stressed and depressed they are. When I worked in retail, it actually shocked me how much personal information people would blurt out… it was like I was wearing a plaque that read: “PLEASE VENT TO ME! I WANT TO KNOW ALL YOUR ISSUES!” Not that I’m an insensitive person — anyone who knows me knows that couldn’t be farther from the truth — but I simply don’t want to hear it! Especially if they’re not seeking advice. Nevertheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s usually one of two things:

1. They truly are stressed & in a negative state of mind and instead of working to improve their state of mind it somehow soothes them to simply spread their negativity like the common cold,

or

2. They truly are stressed and depressed and they need some help. They’ve begun to neglect themselves at the cost of a demanding life.

For one thing, clinical depression is no joke — I struggled with it for years myself, and at times it can feel like an uphill battle — that’s why if you’re continually having intrusive depressive thoughts or episodes, it’s always best to see a doctor, talk to a therapist, and just work out the perfectly unique formula of wellness that’s right for you, no judgments, no qualms, no ifs ands or buts. However, so many of us who aren’t clinically depressed still struggle mentally, emotionally, and physically because we’re neglecting the importance of self care.  Whether it’s a demanding work/school schedule or just one too many nagging responsibilities, we can all too often glide through life on autopilot and forget we have unique needs and that we’re all deserving of quality time with ourselves.

When we take a few steps back and reset ourselves, keeping everyone else’s negativity and bad energy at bay, we reconnect with who we are. We remember that life is meant to be lived authentically, with passion and joy, and that we don’t need to be everywhere all at once. I’ve been really focusing on self care this summer, especially during this golden month of August. After spending too long feeling especially high-strung and a bit cluttered, I’ve made it a habit instead of something to feel guilty about, or worse, something that’s completely forgotten. Leo season is begging us all to remind ourselves that we’re queens (or kings!). Life is just too short to go through it without showing yourself some love!

There are so many ways to practice self care and love, but below are some specific ways I’ve really been enjoying or just some die-hard practices I tend to fall back on time and time again. If you lead a busy life, you may want to physically mark a date on the calendar to do nothing but spend the day focusing on you. If not, you can be more lenient in your self care practices, but always make time for it! Remember, self care is mental, spiritual, and physical — there are many facets and many ways to practice, so have fun and make a self care date for yourself. You deserve the best.

1. Write It Down, Sketch It Out

Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

Sometimes the most therapeutic thing can be as simple as journaling. Very often when I find my mind feeling scattered and unfocused, I’m completely unaware of everything that I’ve been feeling and focusing on until I actually write it down. You can journal online, but nothing beats a moleskine notebook or a quality sketchbook. There’s just something so much better about pressing ink to paper that we just don’t get while violently hitting the computer keys! In this digital age, a tactile notebook will be your best friend. Plus, bonus points if it fits in your pocket or purse.

2.  Relax, Meditate, Take a Breather

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

It always astounds me how some people are just constantly going. You know, just always on the move? Whaaat? I, for one, need to chill. I prefer gliding through life rather than free falling, and if you do as well, scoring some true relaxation time can vastly improve your wellbeing. I’m leaving this category kind of open-ended because everyone has different ways of relaxing and unwinding. Maybe you feel most relaxed when you’re snuggled up with a good book, or maybe going for a long hike might get you in a chill head space. Whatever it is, don’t forget to relax. Take up meditation if you want to kick it up a notch, as it’s a proven method of centering yourself, after all. I’ve been meditating more and more frequently and trying not to go a single day without it, so if anyone else is doing something similar let’s keep each other going strong! With all the chaos in the world, it’s so important to give your mind and spirit a break. Meditating for at least 10 minutes a day to begin is a perfect way to get back on track, or at least ride the waves better.

3. Clean, De-clutter, Purge

Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

When my energy gets too disorderly, I need to clean. I sweep the floors, do all the laundry, throw things away or donate clothing I no longer wear, burn sage around the corners, doors, and windows, and make sure there’s no leftover clutter. Whenever I get overwhelmed in my life or in my emotional frequency, I notice that my physical surroundings are probably a mess as well. Tidy space = tidy mind. This can actually be kind of fun too, even though it’s technically work, but how can it be?! You’re decluttering your life and ridding yourself of things that no longer serve you in order to bring vibrancy and newness in, and that, my friends, is self care.

4. Get Moving

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

I am by no means a naturally athletic person. Hell, I skipped gym class in high school so often I had to write essays just to pass. I do however understand that exercise is absolutely necessary to achieving a positive state of mind, and it doesn’t always have to brutal and gross and sweaty. I’m not the kind of gal that will go sprint around the neighborhood for everyone to see, but I love yoga, Pilates, swimming, and hiking or anything outdoors. But that’s just my preference — if you’re a crossfit boss, by all means do your thing, but if you’d rather listen to Prince at an unreasonable volume and dance like crazy, that’s ok too. As long as you get your body moving, you’re reaping the benefits. I’ve been loving getting back into yoga because of the way it strengthens the mind as well as the muscles — it can be so relaxing while being a great workout.

5. Create

Photo by Khara Woods on Unsplash

Creation looks different to everyone. Maybe you’re a gifted artist and the only way to express yourself is through your work. Maybe you’re a musician, and writing and playing music is therapy in and of itself. Whatever it is, give yourself the time and space to nurture your creativity and simply create. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. It doesn’t even have to be pretty. Whenever I’m feeling low or in need of some self care time, I dig out a bunch of old magazines, put on a good record, and cut stuff up. What is it about collage that’s so lovely to me? I love taking an old image and breathing new life into it. It’s refreshing to me. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but who cares? That’s art if you ask me: creating life out of something lifeless. Your creation is unique to you, and that’s beautiful.

So that’s my condensed list. I just wanted to take some time and remind all of you readers how important it is to honor yourself and honor your life by indulging in self care frequently, without judgment, guilt, or expectations. What self care practices do you keep?

Crystal Collecting: A Guide for Beginners

 

By definition, a crystal is a solid whose atoms are arranged in a highly ordered repeating pattern, known as a crystal lattice. There are seven different types of crystal lattices and more than 3,000 (!) types of distinct crystals on earth, all forming in different ways. Aside from being complex and beautiful gifts from the earth, crystals and gems are also known for their healing properties.

I’ve noticed crystal collecting come back into the mainstream in the past year or so, which I’m loving. I owe much of my crystal knowledge to my mother, who insisted on teaching me about different kinds, taking me to metaphysical shops and enriching my life with beautiful stones. My ears were pierced with my birth stone when I was only 5 years old, and I wore those aquamarine studs proudly as a little kid! My black onyx ring was passed down to me from my grandmother, who was also a collector and seeker of crystal knowledge and enlightenment. There are many reasons one might want to surround themselves with these beautiful things. Maybe the molecular structure interests you, or maybe using them along with meditation is more your thing — or even just decor. Whatever your reason for wanting to collect, crystals can be enriching in so many ways.

 

In my opinion, the best way to start collecting is to simply seek out a shop around you. There are tons of fantastic local businesses that carry a wide variety of stones and crystals. Some of my favorites in the Rochester area are The Purple Door and Archimage, but do some exploring for yourself and see what you’re drawn to. Once you get there, it can be really exciting to see all the different varieties, but you’ll usually feel a pull to a certain stone or at least a color that resonates with you — and that’s a good sign! Use your intuition when crystal shopping. Most small crystals and stones are extremely affordable; a small chunk of a geode can be around $4-$6, and single stones can go for as little as $1 a pop. Some places even carry smaller geodes that you can crack yourself!

Whether or not you just want to collect the crystals you deem the prettiest, there are also several ways to use them for maximizing your good vibes. If you’re still unsure on how a rock can help you add some serious zen to your life and you’re eager to explore the topic, I suggest you go the old-fashioned route and dig into some books. Crystal Enlightenment: The Transforming Properties of Crystals and Healing Stones by Katrina Raphaell is one of my personal favorites. The most important thing to remember is that like all matter around us, crystals are made of atoms and they still give off vibrations and energy, no matter how subtle.

Want to start building your collection? Collecting is entirely based on individual preference, but below are some suggestions to start with.

 



This is probably one of the first images that popped into most of your heads when you read the word “crystal.” Nevertheless, there are several different types of quartz, each more stunning and interesting than the last. Clear Quartz is one of the most common types of crystals on the planet, therefore easy to come by and utilized frequently. This baby is a must! The color can range from crystal-clear (pun intended) to milky white, excluding the colored varieties. It’s great for building a collection because it’s known as an amplifier, or something that boosts the energy it’s surrounded by, whether that’s another type of crystal or just your own good mood! It’s also a favorite of holistic healers and energy practitioners because of it’s high healing vibrations, ability to clear negativity and enhance spiritual receptiveness.

 



Tourmaline, like Quartz, has many different varieties, but I wanted to include Black Tourmaline because it’s known for being very protective. When building a crystal collection, you’re bound to want at least some stones that resonate with protection. It is safe and grounding, so if you know you’re going to be somewhere with heavy energy and possibly a negative circumstance, it may be helpful to wear some Black Tourmaline jewelry or carry it in your pocket. If frantic days and high stress has gotten the best of you, this is definitely a good stone to have!

 



Citrine is a variety of quartz, but the healing properties associated with Citrine are a little different. In color, it ranges from champagne to golden brown (that’s actually from heat, as most Citrine stones you will find in a store are actually just Amethyst that has been heated up). It’s really easily accessible and a good crystal to have in your possession whenever you’re feeling a little blue or if you have any kind of creative blockage. Citrine is known for adding a dose of cheeriness to your life, and I keep several pieces around my bedroom since that’s where I’m at my most creative. This crystal beams pure positive sunlight directly into your life — who doesn’t want more of that?

 



Boom, more quartz. Rose Quartz is one of my absolute favorite stones. It’s light pink in color, hence the name, and is associated with the heart, positive self image and all things love: a good gift for a significant other or friend, or just nice to have in your own space to cultivate love and ease negative vibes. My mother actually just gifted me a beautiful Rose Quartz wind chime set that I hang from my window, plus I always keep a piece on my nightstand, my dresser, in my purse… plus two gorgeous Rose Quartz bookends sit atop my bookshelf. Needless to say, it’s a very special stone. Powerful yet soft, comforting yet strong, it’s truly an essential whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been collecting stones for ages.

 



I know what you’re thinking… more quartz? YES! Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz that is absolutely lovely, and it’s also a stone that I find a lot of people are automatically drawn to. It’s calming and peaceful and is even known to promote better sleep and dream recall! I always keep a chunk by my bed & even gave a tumbled Amethyst stone to my boyfriend for his bed as well. Amethyst is highly spiritual but like all of these stones, it’s very easy to find which in turn makes it easy to utilize in your daily life. Keep some Amethyst on you if you’re feeling a bit spiritually drained or when the world demands too much of you.

 

Collecting crystals is the easiest way to add a little magic into your life. It’s a highly personal activity and can be so valuable once you commit to building your knowledge. Besides all the different healing properties they offer, they also act as a visual and tactile aid in working towards solid solutions. Above all, it is a personal experience that can offer insight in very unexpected ways, so get out and see for yourself which crystals work best for you 🙂