I remember playing “spa” with my cousins as a 9 year old. I seemed to know meditation before I knew about meditation; at that age, I bought incense and would inundate my bedroom with its allure — not knowing its healing powers at the time, nor that of a great pedicure. The passion for self-care has remained with me into adulthood. I deeply care about my health — both mental and physical, in the same way that I care for the health and lifestyle of my pooch, Bella.
It’s Beauty and the Feast — I learned that if you couldn’t eat it without getting sick then you shouldn’t put it on your body. Your skin is your largest organ after all, so it makes sense. Here are a few things I use:
I first encountered these rock deodorants in France where they have been used for centuries. Deodorants with aluminum, which is contained within most of the common brands, are a common contributor to breast cancer, so my girl and guy friends, beware. These are natural and organic and often last me 1+ years… just don’t drop it on the floor.
Massages — I suffer from moderate scoliosis, which sometimes inhibits my sleep. Massages help, but unfortunately, massages are often quite expensive. I try to get them at least once a month, as they truly seem to decongest my joints and release me from my muscle/spinal pain. Renewal Body Wellness in Manhattan is one of the most affordable and effective places I have found in the area.
Salsa — dancing is the one thing that takes my mind off of everything. When I dance, nothing else matters. In fact, because it is so all-encompassing of my body and mind, there’s no room for thought, only feeling. This is my primary form of exercise, and I even hesitate to call it that because it doesn’t feel like any work at all.
Face Masks — I’m a fan of face masks! They’re not only great for the skin, but they soothe me, as they smell great: aromatherapy is an added perk! I love them using them when I know I won’t be going out for a while, as I tend to leave them on long-after the suggested 15 minutes (not advised), but the ones like this oat & rose water from Lush seems to not dry out your skin, even after prolonged usage. I like these Astara ones as well, which I get at the C.O. Bigelow in Manhattan.
Argan oil — argan oil came into my life about 5 years ago, shortly after which I happened to be in Morocco and purchased about 2 liters of it, which lasted me over a year. I use it for everything: to moisturize my body, my face (it doesn’t clog pores, and actually improves the overall quality of your skin), as a leave-in conditioner for my hair — literally for everything-moisture.
Homeopathic Meds — after being on a number of prescription meds over the years, I decided to counter the effects and wean off of them by substituting them with homeopathic remedies, which have not only caused my ailments to subside, but have also attacked the issues at the root, improving my overall health. I would advise to go to a homeopathic doctor, while simultaneously following a normal regimen with a regular M.D. — I see this as a complement rather than a complete substitute.
Vega One – I love this protein powder, especially the French Vanilla one, as it’s all veggie based — it fills me up and provides me with most of the nutrients and protein I need for the day.. so just in case I slip up and don’t nourish myself properly, at least my day started off with enough sustenance. I usually add one portion of the protein, 1.5 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 ripe banana, and ice to my smoothie.
My 2016 New Year Resolution is to meditate every day. I was using the Headspace app for a while, until they wanted me to pay for it, at which point I found another crowdsourced mediation app, Insight Timer, which has an incredible array of options in many languages, too. The only drawback is that you need Wifi in order to use it.
Lavender — room spray, candles, etc. — I love lavender, and use it on everything from my own room spray (just add water to a bit of essential oil in a spray bottle), candles, and my body scrub; a bit under the nose also helps to calm me down if I can’t get myself to sleep.
Journaling – I’ve kept a journal for much of my life, and I intend to do so until I can’t write anymore. Aside from dancing, this is the one time I feel truly connected to myself and my emotions. It’s a way to reflect, renew, and recycle thoughts. Here’s one method that I’ve been sticking to for the past few months, courtesy of Tim Ferris:
I completed the Duolingo for Italian and now use the Memrise app — I find that they’re better than memory games for me, and help me start the day on a positive and instructive note, if only for 5 minutes; my next linguistic goals are Arabic, Dutch, or German.
Origins Peace of Mind Mind — this is great to help me focus, and often is enough to help me get rid of my migraines; all it takes is an application to the temples and a bit under the nose. No aspirin or ibuprofen needed.
For the past two years, I’ve become obsessed with lighting a candle every day; in order to combat how expensive this daily habit can become, I bought a candle-making kit, but time and effort is lacking at the moment for me to continue doing it, so I resort to going to a store like Marshall’s, which always has incredible candles on sale; my favorite are the Pecksniff’s candles from London. They have great room sprays as well.
Incense — Incense is a less-expensive alternative to candles, and seems to transport me to a place that’s renewing. Incense goes back thousands of years, beginning in the early cultures of India and Northern Africa, which is somehow healing in its own light. It clears the room of any odors and seems to increase my focus. I have a stark preference for sandalwood at the moment.
Because I’m a fan of all-things Burt’s Bees, when I saw these wipes on sale at Marshall’s for the pup, I had to get them! I like to think that if I ever run out of mine.. that this could be a pretty safe backup
Wellness Dog Food — this is what I feed her, which she seems to like; I like the fact that it is hard food, which is very practical, as she manages when and how much she wants to eat throughout the day
After two mastectomies, I ordered this Life Gold treatment; I felt another tumor growing, and it has honestly subsided after just a few of these squirts of this in her water every day – this stuff is magic!
You may be wondering how I do this and take it all with me when I travel? Well, sometimes I have to sacrifice things like a face mask and even meditation in order to be in the moment and truly experience the place where I am. Travel seems to be all-encompassing of my mind-body goals, often opening opportunities beyond what I can achieve in the comfort of my own home i.e. learning a new language just being in that country, being meditative as I look at the clouds outside of the plane or ride an elephant; in many ways, Travel is complementary to these goals.