Making time for self-care

The Complete Guide to Self Care review

Book Reviews
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Looking after ourselves can be tough in our busy world.

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WE all need a little bit of self-care sometimes.

In her new book The Complete Guide to Self-Care, Kiki Ely offers tips to take some time out and look after yourself.

Ely looks at five self-care categories - physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social - and provides easy, practical ways to fill your cup to avoid burnout.

One simple way to relax? A massage that you can do yourself.

A massage can feel luxurious and self-indulgent, and it should. Self-care is about recognizing your needs and then fulfilling them. Keeping this in mind, a massage is not so much a luxury as it is a self-care necessity.

The benefits of massage span from physical benefits all the way to emotional and spiritual benefits. While you take the time to honor your body through intentional healing touch, you can reap the following benefits:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Relief of muscle pain
  • Soothing of digestive disorders
  • Released tension in the body
  • Sense of care and connection
  • Relaxed mind and body

Self-administered massage

You can participate in self-care by booking yourself a massage. Or you can administer massage on yourself in the comfort of your own home by using the following techniques.

Foot Massage

Your feet carry your weight all day. Show yourself some care by giving your feet special attention to ease weary muscles and release tension.

You'll need:

A tennis ball and a wall

STEP ONE: Stand near a wall so that you can lean on it for balance. With bare feet, stand on one foot and place the other foot on top of the tennis ball (if a tennis ball is too large for your foot, you can use a golf ball).

STEP TWO: Slowly roll the bottom of your foot on top of the ball, placing more weight onto your foot for more pressure.

STEP THREE: Focus on the arch of your foot, your heel, the ball of your foot, and your toes. Do this for one to two minutes, then switch to the other foot.

Hand Massage

Hands oftentimes get overlooked in a self-care massage regimen, but they're constantly working and deserve a break. It takes five minutes to give yourself a hand massage, and the results are immediate.

You'll need:

Lotion

STEP ONE: Apply a liberal amount of your favorite lotion onto your hands and rub them together until the lotion covers them.

STEP TWO: Take the thumb from one of your hands and use it to rub the palm of the other hand. Using one hand, pull each finger of the other hand gently away from the palm to lengthen and relax the fingers.

STEP THREE: Using one hand, push the other hand backwards and press to stretch your wrist.

STEP FOUR: Repeat on the other hand.

Calf Massage

Walking around or being on your feet all day can cause your calves to hold tension. Especially if you wear high heels, your calves could use a little extra care to soothe strained muscles.

You'll need:

A comfortable chair

STEP ONE: Sit in a chair with your bare feet placed gently on the ground. Lean forward and use your thumb to find your Achilles tendon. To locate your Achilles tendon, pinch your fingers on either side of the back of your ankle until you feel the strong, fibrous tissue that runs from your heel up the back of your calf muscles.

STEP TWO: Apply pressure and slowly rub the area until you feel tension release.

STEP THREE: Continue to do this up the back of your calf all the way up to the base of your knee until your calf feels relaxed.

STEP FOUR: Repeat the exercise on the other leg.

Neck Massage

Tension headaches, stress, and anxiety can all manifest as pain, stiffness, and soreness in your neck. Take a few minutes to help these muscles relax, which can diminish the stress and anxiety that caused them to tense up in the first place.

STEP ONE: Clasp your hands together behind your neck. Press your palms and fingers firmly but gently into your neck (on either side of your spine).

STEP TWO: Use your thumbs to rub out any kinks or knots by using a firm circular motion and then release your hands.

STEP THREE: Sit up straight and bring your left ear toward your left shoulder until you feel the right side of your neck stretch. Hold for thirty seconds.

STEP FOUR: Repeat on the right side of your neck.

Back Massage

The back acts as a primary support for your body and is where you may store emotional stress. It can be difficult to reach certain areas of your back on your own, so you'll need a tennis ball to help.

You'll need:

A tennis ball

STEP ONE: Place the tennis ball on the ground and lie down with your legs bent so the tennis ball is under your back.

STEP TWO: Using your arms and legs, gently move your body forward and backward on the tennis ball, pausing and lowering your body weight onto any areas of extreme tension.

STEP THREE: Do this for as long as you need.

Hip Release

Carrying tension in your hips and butt is so common because many people sit in a chair for most of the day. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight, closed hips. To remedy this, all you need is three minutes and a tennis ball.

You'll need:

A tennis ball

STEP ONE: Place the tennis ball on the ground and sit with it under your right butt cheek.

STEP TWO: Use your hands pressed against the ground to raise or lower your body and control the amount of weight on the tennis ball. Roll your butt cheek over the ball and pause anywhere there is tension.

STEP THREE: Repeat on the other side.

Eye Relaxation

Soothe eyes that are tired from staring at a screen.

STEP ONE: Rub your hands together until the friction has made them warm.

STEP TWO: Then place your hands gently cupped over each eye to allow the heat to relax your eyes.

STEP THREE: Repeat as many times as necessary until

From The Complete Guide to Self Care by Kiki Ely. Chartwell Crestline RRP $24.99.

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