Although you wouldn’t know it if you saw me at work, life is about more than just curly hair. The following ideas are some things that you can do to improve your self-care routine that have little to do with your hair.
9 self-care tips that will make your curly hair look and feel better
1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up
Start your day off with a glass of purified water with lemon. Lemon will balance the alkaline levels in your blood, and a full glass of water will help to improve your cognitive performance, attention to detail and stress levels throughout the day. Also, since your hair is 10% water, keeping your body hydrated helps keep your hair hydrated as well.
2. Wash your hands when necessary
If you care about your internal health as much as you do your curl definition and glowing skin, regularly practicing the act of washing your hands before every meal and after using the restroom ought to be a no-brainer. I also keep plenty of mini hand sanitizers around my work and home to ensure that I can sanitize my hands when necessary. Keep in mind that in order to be effective, your sanitizer must be at least 60% alcohol-based.
3. Turn off the television
As radical as this might seem, it is possible to exist without a television. At the very least, give yourself a break from time to time. When you are at the end of your life, you probably won’t look back and wish you had watched more television. A recent study of people in their final days of life found that most dying people don’t regret the things they did, they regret the things they didn’t do. So set some goals for yourself, turn off your tv, get off the couch, and go live your life. I promise that your curly hair will look and feel better when you have stepped out of your comfort zone.
4. Eat plenty of dark chocolate
Is there anyone on Earth who doesn’t like chocolate? Two great things about dark chocolate are it tastes great and it is good for you! How can you beat that? This sweet treat is known to offer multiple health benefits including improving heart function, increasing healthy blood circulation, reducing bad cholesterol levels, and protecting your skin against the sun. While most research states that 100mg does the trick, I aim for consuming more because I am a chocoholic. The higher the percentage of cacao the better, I prefer 90%. Although I am not a nutritional expert, I say that if you haven’t eaten at least one ton of dark chocolate by the time you die, then you haven’t lived.
5. Listen to music
Have a jam session no matter where you are: during the commute on the way to work, at work, while cooking dinner, while taking a bath, when you wake up and before bedtime. When it’s time to get things done, music is my personal key that opens the door of productivity. Experts in neurology agree, saying that, “music stimulates an ancient reward pathway in the brain, encouraging dopamine to flood the striatum—a part of the forebrain activated by addiction, reward, and motivation.” Next time you have to practice more attention to detail, or if you feel the urge to refill your coffee cup, put on a good playlist that will give you the good vibes to uplift and encourage you.
6. Breathe intentionally and mindfully
Four thousand years ago, give or take 1,000 years, the great sage Patanjali, wrote The Yoga Sutras in which he taught, among other things, the importance of mastering your breathing. Most people have no idea that they can breathe differently, and that the way they breathe can affect their well-being. Next time you are faced with a potentially stressful situation that is seemingly out of your control, be aware of just how much power you have over the moment. Conscious breathing helps regulate stress levels and “is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system,” according to Dr. Benjamin Gonzalez, M.D., who supports the popular 4:7:8 breathing technique created by alternative medicine guru, Dr. Weil.
7. Move your body
I know you probably haven’t heard this before, but exercise is good for you. There has been a lot of discussions lately about sitting being the new smoking. We are meant to be in motion. It feels good to walk, run, stretch, do yoga, play and dance. Sometimes we are so lazy that we think it feels better to sit on our couch for months on end. But it doesn’t really feel good to be stagnant for too long. As a matter of fact, it feels terrible.
“Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing…sing a song.” Singing feels good and lightens your heart. It’s hard to be depressed when you are singing along to one of your favorite songs. So turn up the tunes and belt one out.
For thousands of years, great sages have taught about the importance of meditation and modern science agrees. Studies have concluded that meditation can benefit us in hundreds of ways. It can help us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Meditation is an integral part of my daily routine and it is often during meditation that I feel most at peace, centered and balanced. In this hectic world, you can’t get too much of that. If you don’t know how to do it, don’t worry, it is really quite easy. There are lots of tutorials on the internet and many books written on how to meditate. Two of my favorite books are Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Seven Masters, One Path by John Selby.
To sum it up, we are complicated beings and good self-care is essential to the enjoyment of life. If you aren’t going to take care of yourself, then who will? It’s up to you to love yourself. The new habits you create in caring for yourself will reward you with greater peace and happiness and maybe even some more love, and who can have too much of that? Peace and love be with you, my curly friends.