This week I've needed some serious self care...
Being 36 weeks pregnant I'm finding that nights have gotten a bit rough- I have terrible restless legs in spite of extra magnesium, potty breaks are frequent, and no sleeping position is comfortable. I've tried it all, the wedge pillow, sleeping in a recliner, pillow between the legs, all to no avail. Most nights I toss and turn almost the entire night, and I'm starting to think that I'll sleep better WITH a newborn than I currently do.
The only thing that feels comfortable on my legs, hips and pelvis is being upright, so often I'm inclined to just get up out of bed and move around in spite of being sleepy. I walk, stretch and do yoga, but this week called for calling in some extra measures.
I've taken warm baths with essential oils. If you're looking for an excellent and effective quick way to unwind at home on any given weeknight, this is the one! I frequently use a few drops of lavender, which is proven to be both safe and relaxing during pregnancy (here's a list of other pregnancy safe oils for my prenatal friends). Find yourself a favorite relaxing playlist (here's one of my favorites), use some candles, pour yourself some warm tea, a glass o f wine, or other favorite beverage, grab a book, get your comfiest pajamas ready, and make sure you'll have no interruptions. Even a half hour calming soak goes a long way to helping the body feel relaxed and help reduce stress.
I've made a new face mask! This one was super easy, and makes a great deep pore treatment for those relaxing baths. Use 1 Tbsp. bentonite clay and one emptied capsule (apx. 1/8 tsp) activated charcoal mixed with two drops tea tree oil, and few drops of sweet almond, rosehip or extra virgin olive oil. Add a tiny bit of water at a time and mix until it's a spreadable paste consistency. Spread on your face while you're soaking in the bath, and the warmth will help soak into the pores and give them a deep clean. Rinse well after dried, you might need a clean washcloth to help, the charcoal sometimes requires a little extra help. Follow with your favorite moisturizer.
For nights when my brain won't shut off and I struggle to get or stay asleep, I've gotten REALLY into Yoga Nidra. If you've never heard of Yoga Nidra, this is a more meditative practice and does not include asana (physical practice), so basically it's a guided relaxation meditation. I found Sarovara Yoga on YouTube and find her nidras super relaxing, and I often use headphones (and a satin sleep mask) to listen at night before bed, or in those early morning hours when I struggle to get back to sleep. She has an extensive playlist of nidras ranging from 10 minutes to 3 hours, I highly recommend giving a listen.
Remember, when you find yourself tired or stressed and in need of comfort, sometimes little things to help you feel well can really go a long way. Taking care of yourself isn't selfish, it's important, and even when time get limited and the stresses pile up you can still find small ways to rest and reset. Much the same as with fitness, I have found that when I'm less able to commit longer single sessions to myself, whether for workouts or self-care activities, doing small things do have cumulative benefits. Take 10-15 minutes here and there several times a day and it adds up- spending an hour on yourself is still an hour, even if it's broken into smaller sessions.