Turn Your Self-Care Routine Into a Ritual

PRACTICING TRUE SELF-CARE—nurturing your mind, body, and spirit—is more essential than ever, says Vivianne Garcia-Tunon of The Well at The Mayflower Inn, a holistic and integrative spa and wellness destination in Washington, Connecticut. The resort specializes in restorative treatments that draw on Eastern as well as Western healing traditions. To elevate your at-home routine to more of a therapeutic ritual, Garcia-Tunon suggests setting an intention and doing 10 deep belly breaths before you begin. “Initiating self-care from a place of tranquility can help unwind the tension of the day and help you get the most health benefits,” she says. Try it for yourself with one of these practices.

Indulge in self-massage Ayurveda is based on the belief that regulating your dominant dosha can help bring all aspects of your life into balance. One way to do that is through abhyanga, or oil massage. “It promotes relaxation while improving the health of your skin,” Garcia-Tunon says.

How to: Two to three times a week (you can incorporate this therapy into your morning or bedtime routine), apply warm sesame or coconut oil to your temples with your fingertips, then progress in circular motions down your body, from your scalp to your toes. Wait five to 10 minutes before showering to let the oil drench your skin.

Relax to therapeutic sounds

One of the most popular events at The Well is its transcendental lunar sound bath. It relies on tonal and rhythmic instruments to shift brain waves from an alpha state to a theta state, which induces relaxation and reduces stress.

How to: Pull out your crystal or metal bowls or a gong and vibe! If you don’t have one of these instruments, listen to a sound therapy playlist (download one from your favorite meditation app or Spotify). You’ll lose some of the nuances of the music and its vibration if you use external speakers. Opt instead for earbuds or headphones, which also convey to those around you a sense of your needing a little space, Garcia-Tunon says.

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Commit to regular stretching

Integrating regular bodywork into everyday life can help you achieve and maintain well-being, Garcia-Tunon says, citing research that links stretching with enhanced joint mobility and spine health. “It also reduces deep-seated tension and works to help counteract the decrease in height that comes with aging,” she adds.

How to: If you’re a beginner, go slow and meet your body where it is, Garcia-Tunon says. “Stretch your neck from side to side for two minutes. Or just pause and take three slow and intentional cleansing breaths.”

If you already have an established yoga practice, gradually incorporate subtle forms of stretching into your day to complement more intense workouts. During warmer weather, take a cue from The Well’s Saturday morning garden class and bring your Yin Yoga practice (find a sequence at yogajournal.com) outside to a backyard, park, botanical garden, or beach.

WYLD YOUNG is a journalist, multimedia personality, and on-air talent.

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