Valentine’s Day always gets a lot of hate- but I have always been a big proponent for the holiday, even way before I was happily coupled up. There’s something about celebrating relationships that I find, well, romantic, for lack of a better word. This year, however, I’ve been thinking more and more about taking the day to focus more inwardly. More important than anything external, is the relationship I help you cultivate in class and through coaching-the one we have with ourselves.
I will never claim to have conquered self-doubt and negative thoughts. What I hope to share with my students are the strategies I’ve learned for identifying which anxieties are reality based and in our control and which thoughts are irrational and releasable. To me, self- love is not being so enlightened that you never feel pain or insecurity- rather it is being able to feel such intrinsic self-worth that when these emotions come up, you recognize them for what they are: just a passing moment in time- not a descriptor of who you are. It’s important to me to always remind you that while I’m a fitness instructor, what your bodies look like is not what I care about- it’s how good you feel in those bodies.
As for myself, developing a self- care practice has been monumental in remembering to make myself feel good. Below are some of my rituals for centering and remembering to love on numero uno after a day of giving my energy to clients.
OK, you knew this was coming, right? I work out on average 6-7 days a week and I have a reformer at home because this is my livelihood. All you NEED to get present and feel good is a mat and a body. I’ll be posting some more home exercises soon, so stay tuned.
Epsom Salt Baths
The last time we moved- my only “must have” requirement when we were apartment searching was that the new place have a bathtub. As a fitness instructor- hell is not having a place to soak sore and inflamed muscles and after 7 straight days of working out and tending to other people’s needs. Most people are magnesium deficient, (stress leaches magnesium from the body) and epsom salts can be absorbed through the skin. Also- despite not dancing anymore, I have chronic dancer callouses and need all the softening pampering I can get. I prefer Dr Teal’s Lavender Epsom Salts before bed to help me get sleepy ( especially after teaching at night- the adrenaline keeps me up late). If I’m feeling extra I will light candles, surround myself with my crystals, lock the dog OUT of the bathroom( he’s nosy), and listen to this playlist.
Developing a spiritual practice is a beautiful way to take care of yourself. I am not a religious person, after being raised Catholic- but I find that maintaining a meditation and journaling practice keeps me grounded- especially during big periods of transition aka (daily life in NYC). I discovered Lacy Phillips and To Be Magnetic this summer and am really enjoyed her guided meditations and manifestation workshops.
Somatic Experiencing Therapy
Somatic experiencing is a mind/body-focused approach to emotional healing with the science being that our nervous systems get “stuck” in our fight or flight responses. By slowly increasing tolerance for challenging bodily sensations and suppressed emotions, the fixated physiological state is eventually resolved. Being such a kinesthetic learner, this has been a game changer for me- but it took a long time to find the right person to work with. My therapist, in addition to being a LCSW is a meditation teacher and a Reiki master, and so our sessions are a little less traditional than what I had been used to in the past. My best advice for finding a therapist is lots of research and shopping around, because it is VITAL that you vibe if you intend on building a trusting relationship with them.
I recently upgraded my sleep clothes from my partner’s boxers and t-shirts to some sexy silk outfits and a robe. Now, even if i’m exhausted, having with a bad hair/skin/life day not only do I just feel so majorly grown up and goddess-y strutting around our one bedroom apartment in a slip- but it physically FEELS amazing on my skin too. This doesn’t have to be pajamas if that doesn’t do it for you- I’m also a big proponent of investing in killer workout clothes so I feel fierce when I look in the mirror at the studio- it’s all about making you feel like your best self- nice fabrics that fit your body correctly will make you feel incredible.
It’s Valentine’s day! Actually, like, LOVE yourself. I’m obsessed with how pretty this vibrator is- it’s definitely high on the GOOP scale but if ever there was a day to treat yourself, it’s today!