As you now know, dear reader, (Who am I Lady Whistledown? Actually reading this in Julie Andrews’ voice could be delightfully soothing). Anyway, as you now know, one of the ways I cope with my “I Just Can’t Even” days (ie: Days where my autoimmune disease is causing flare ups) is by getting dressed. For real. If you missed that post with my go-to outfit, check it out here.
My 5 Self-Care Staples: A Toolkit To Boost Energy & Reduce Inflammation At Home
There are other self-care staples I utilize to help myself on those “can’t even” days where the fatigue is deep in my bones and my Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism is acting a fool. From Manduka Mats to Facial Massages, here’s what helps me for the days when I truly #canteven, and my trusty black top and MOTHER Denim ain’t cutting it.
1| Shakti Mat
When my college roommate, Kate, told me that her favorite way to relax and feel better is by lying on a torture device, I hesitated for a second, but ultimately purchased it because she lives in England and therefore — in my mind — oozes with poshness (poshity? I don’t know, she’s just cool).
I’m glad I listened to Kate. Now it’s not actually a torture device; it’s an acupressure mat. The Shakti Mat has been an absolute game changer. When I’m feeling tired in the morning/late morning/early afternoon/mid-afternoon whenever, I will lie down on my back on the Shakti Mat on my bed, cover myself with a cozy throw blanket and chill for 20-30 minutes. I always end up feeling refreshed, energized and my muscles are looser. It is guaranteed “me” time every day. The Shakti Mat is especially good for people with inflammation — pretty much anyone with an autoimmune disease — because it increases blood circulation which lessens inflammation. It takes a few uses to get used to the initial fight or flight sensation your body will probably signal to you, but I’ve definitely noticed a difference in how my body feels since I started using it earlier this year.
If you’re a “nope, not a Yoga person” don’t skip this part. You read that right. You don’t have to be into yoga. You can be into stretching, which — not the same as yoga — but still movement. (For a great piece on what yoga is, what it means to practice yoga and issues with modern-day yoga, check out this article by Anusha Wijeyakumar.) Activity, even low-impact, is important if you suffer from an autoimmune disease or a “can’t even” day: it boosts physical energy, reduces inflammation and creates endorphins. And, if you learned anything from “Legally Blonde” you know that “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Bend so you don’t snap.
I’ve referenced the Manduka Mat before, and there’s a reason it is the OG, beloved by practitioners of yoga all over. It’s the perfect thickness and it lasts. I was a $20-with-a-Target-Circle-Coupon Yoga Mat buyer, but after going through a few of those, I decided to invest in a Manduka PROLite Yoga Mat 71′ in purple (although ooo, I’m digging this Lavendar one). I’ve had it for five years. It’s totally worth it if I apply Shana’s cost-per-use model to it. I also purchased some props including: Recycled Foam Yoga Block, Yoga Strap and Yoga Bolster. I find the Yoga Bolster to be particularly important in helping me relax into Pigeon, supported backbend and child’s pose. (To keep your mat in tip top shape, use a mat cleaner after each use…or whenever you remember to, let’s be real.)
Rose Quartz is wonderful for the skin. It stimulates blood circulation, de-puffs, releases toxins, among other health benefits. It also just feels heavenly on your face. Some mornings I wake up feeling like I’m having an allergic reaction to life. This immediately helps me calm down and the cooling sensation under the eyes cannot be beat. I like this Rose Quartz Facial Roller by Sephora because it is double-sided to hit larger and smaller planes of your face. I’ve also read rave reviews about this Jade Facial Roller by Herbivore, which uses ethically sourced stones. Jade is naturally cold, which helps with brightening your complexation, reducing puffiness, and lymphatic drainage.
4| Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Speaking of lymphatic drainage… anyone experienced a lymphatic drainage massage before? I had several after my Abdominalplasty because of its ability to drain waste and toxins plus debloat. Little did I know that most of your lymph nodes reside in your breasts (is that commonly known?) so I ended up having my pillows batted around like a kitten with a ball of yarn for 1/2 of the massage. Strange at first, but I’m sure that’s just the Puritan in me. I actually found that after a few sessions I felt energy returning and recovery quicken.
Since I don’t have the time to pay someone to batter my boobs (plus Covid) I’ve been doing these at home lymphatic drainage exercises on my face. The woman in the video has worked on one of those Kardashian/Jenners, which is enough for me.
5| Under Eye Care
I use these cruelty-free, free of icky stuff Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels to help de-puff on those mornings where, for whatever reason (probably consuming gluten), my under eye area looks like it’s packing suitcases for a hasty escape. I’ve also used these Pacifica Eye Bright Undereye Vitamin C Patches (one can never stick to a list at Target). In a pinch, frozen spoons also do the trick!
And, if those five things aren’t cutting it, I go back to the real basics. Like a 15-minute walk in the sun (you’d be amazed what a difference it can make), a 20-minute Epsom Salt bath or foot soak (this one from Dr. Teal’s is my absolute favorite Epsom Salt, throw in some of their foaming bath as well), hot water with lemon (gets your digestive system moving), and just a ton of H20 in general — yes, it means more W.C. trips (v Julie Andrews of me), but your body will thank you for remembering to hydrate it.
Oh, hey, Pinners…