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Reimagining My Self-care

Ironically, I started writing this post several weeks ago, talking about how to give thanks to my body and how I make a practice of thanking all my body parts and then, funnily enough, out of the blue I fell (not even doing anything exciting or glamorous) and I rather badly hurt my foot. I have something called a Jones fracture. Besides the shock, disbelief, and pain that overwhelmed me when this happened, I also felt a flood of thankfulness as this could have been much worse. 

I immediately appreciated all my body parts trying so hard to support me, especially when I realized I couldn’t walk. Now that I have a cast and marching orders to use crutches (if I want to try and avoid an ‘orthopedic disaster’ according to the ER doctor), I have settled down in a 300 sq ft attic. It’s a self-contained space where I can’t easily leave unless I go down the stairs on my bottom which is currently a no-no for me.

Graydon in a foot cast

I have a cot set up, an adjacent bathroom, a kettle, a mini fridge, a microwave, desk, and I’m begrudgingly getting used to ordering prepared meals. It’s an isolating feeling which is harder for me than the many periods of mandated isolation (in Toronto) during the pandemic. But I’m getting used to my new reality of sleeping with a cast, not doing my regular self-care routine, making my food, or taking leisurely hot/cold showers. 

So, what does wellness mean to me now?  While it’s still about moving my body (even on crutches), choosing mindful movement and food and lifestyle practices that support me, and consciously surrounding myself with people who align with my greater and highest good. My wellness self-care routine involves some simple practices that don’t require any special equipment or fancy memberships. 

I can’t say I am thoroughly enjoying this but as my sister, Julie (she is a Qi Gong teacher) said to me, “Your right foot is anomalous to a gas pedal. You were trying to go too fast, get too many things done (not uncommon for small business owners, especially women), so I think the universe decided to send you a forceful message to slow the eff down”.     

With over twenty years in wellness as a plant-based chef and yoga teacher, I think a lot about health and what it means to me and my practices. Way back in the day, it was about extreme yoga, demanding detoxes, downing fistfuls of vitamins, painful bodywork, over-exfoliating my face, and hardcore therapy. I naively thought that a sore, depleted body and crying a lot might help me get over my issues. 

Fast forward a bunch of years later, and boy was I wrong. As I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that a gentle, consistent, less-is-more approach to wellness offers me transformative, sustainable, long-lasting results. I am grateful that some chronic health conditions I experienced earlier have gone away or are stable. After years of disordered eating and body dysmorphia, I am grateful to have a positive relationship with my body. A healthier, more holistic lifestyle filled with transformative self-care has helped my rosacea virtually disappear. 

While I still need to be mindful about supporting my nervous system and mental health, I have the tools, strategies, and wisdom of age to keep otherwise debilitating panic attacks at bay. All this has occurred over quite a few years, but when I look back at what I've been through, I can see that slow, intentional steps have had a profound effect. 

So, what does wellness mean to me now?  While it’s still about moving my body (even on crutches), choosing mindful movement and food and lifestyle practices that support me, and consciously surrounding myself with people who align with my greater and highest good. My wellness self-care routine involves some simple practices that don’t require any special equipment or fancy memberships. 

1. Daily Check-Ins

I check in with myself every morning and ask myself what I need (and don’t need). This informs many choices like what I’m going to cook, how I will nourish my skin, intentions about how I choose to connect with the people on my calendar, and of course, mindful movement in between meetings (usually gentle stretches). 

2. Creating Simple Moments of Joy

Life is undeniably stressful and full of uncertainty running a small business. It’s unrealistic for me to ‘clock out’ and work regular hours. I’m not that person who goes to an exercise class after work or ventures out for dinner (especially with a broken foot with snow still on the ground). But all that said, I take time to participate in activities that bring me health, joy, and connection. I do this by peppering my day with small but meaningful nuggets of joy.  

  • It’s that extra minute (or five) I take to massage my face while taking my makeup off after a day of virtual meetings. 
  • It’s when I allow myself to sleep late on Sunday mornings and take time to swing my legs up the wall and do a Putty mask.  
  • I take five minutes to cuddle my funny little rescue dog, Odie, before I get up. I scoop him up and put him in my lap and practice slow, deep belly breathing with him.

Graydon's dog Odie

  • It’s how I hold the mug containing my superfood latte close to my heart before I’ve barely opened my eyes or turned my phone on.

As you can see, my iteration of wellness is not just about elaborate indulgence. It’s simple, slow, and may not seem groundbreaking that works for me and has rewarded me with powerful results.  As a person who’s super type A and very ‘vata’ (which from an Ayurvedic point of view means I can easily get ungrounded and out of my body), I am glad to say that reprogramming my go-go-go tendencies and slowing down with small rituals have helped push less, gain more and above all have allowed me to become who I am.

3. Treating My Body With Kindness and Gratitude

I often sit down and try to quiet my mind to recenter. I know I’m not alone in saying that meditation is no easy task, inevitably, my to-do list pops up, and I start to fidget. Instead of judging myself for my distracted mind, one way I have circumvented this is through gratitude practice.

You don’t have to be a mystic, wellness expert, or guru to get something out of meditation. I find that the trick is keeping it simple. I do a daily practice to give thanks for my body parts. Sometimes I send extra energy to certain ones (like the fractured metatarsal in my foot at the moment). 

  • I thank my teeth for chewing, tongue for tasting, esophagus for swallowing, stomach for digesting, intestines for excreting, and so on. 
  • I send energy and thanks to my over-stressed adrenals to help my nervous system, my liver for detoxification, my female parts for their ability to support life, my lungs for breathing, my heart for pumping blood, and my brain for thinking: even overthinking. In other words, things that allow me to be a functional human being. 
  • I do my best to acknowledge my less-than-appealing tendencies like how I’m a worrier, overly sensitive, perfectionistic, willful, and have trouble letting go (and these are just a few.

After all, these things make me who I am and help me achieve all I’m capable of. I believe that treating ourselves with tenderness, kindness, and compassion helps our skin too.  It’s not surprising when your skin feels good, you feel good.

I hope you will try out a couple of these transformative self-care practices. Try to slot fifteen minutes into your day and try a few every day for a month. Remember that it takes time to form habits around intentional living. If you have a notebook or even some scrap paper, jot down what you’ve done. After thirty days I’d be really surprised if you don’t see or feel a difference. 

I’d love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t. Drop us a line! DM us on Instagram if you want to reach out. We will be choosing stories to highlight on our socials and giving away thank-you gifts for participating so don’t be shy!

Graydon xo     

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Questions this article answers: How do I practice self care at home? What are the best self care practices? What kind of products are good for self care? How do I mentally create self care? What kind of daily self care check ins can I practice? How to create simple moments of joy. Why is a face massage good for you? How does cuddling my pet help with self care? How do you treat your body with kindness? How do you practice gratefulness?

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