Little daily habits will accumulate one way or another,” my mother, sainted Ruthie, used to say to me as a child, as she’d remind me daily about the things children seem to forget, like making my bed or picking up my clothes. Little did I realize that this familiar saying held so much truth.
In ayurvedic medicine we recognize that simple daily habits begin to shape our lives. The tendency to rush out the door or eat while in the car can build up over time and shape our life in such a way that self-care becomes something we do on occasion, like a monthly massage or a trip to the salon. But that same energy, when put into self-nourishing daily activities, can shape a healthy, relaxed, and vibrant life. How does that happen? By starting with a simple self-care routine each and every day!
In ayurveda, this self-care routine is referred to as dinacharya, which means “daily routine” in Sanskrit. For many folks, understanding ayurvedic medicine seems overwhelming; just the language is off-putting to many, which is understandable. Yet if we look at the practices of ayurvedic medicine, they might seem very familiar—similar to something our grandmother might suggest, just as my mother did so long ago.
Take 10 minutes each morning to support yourself before you go into the world. Remember, those daily healthy habits add up! Check out these 10 suggestions to develop a daily simple, nourishing, self-care routine.
- Wake up for the day a bit earlier than you normally would. Start with 30 minutes and work your way earlier from there over time. Try to eventually wake up just before dawn.
- Before getting out of bed, offer gratitude and set an intention for your day. This positive act for the mind will be both soothing and helpful for setting the tone for the day.
- Get a tongue scraper, or use a spoon, to clean your tongue. Toxins can accumulate here, and the scraping will remove those toxins, plus it also helps to start digestion (digestion begins in the mouth).
- Have some hot water with lemon to sip on before anything else. This simple act helps the lymph system drain, provides hydration, and can even trigger a bowel movement for gentle daily cleansing.
- My last tip touched on this: sit down to evacuate! A morning poop makes for a happier day. This is a vital step for all of us, as it will alleviate any issues with constipation later in the day.
- Dry brush your skin to cleanse and stimulate your lymph system. It’s also a great way to start a nourishing self-massage.
- Apply warm oil for a morning self-massage to support your skin and nerves, and to nourish yourself. Take a shower after letting the oil soak in. Experiment with this step: if you like to shower before everything else, do this before tip #3.
- Try to breathe deeply for one minute. Diaphragmatic breathing will support your nervous system and your connection to the relaxation response for a calmer mind.
- If you have a few more minutes, try some type of gentle movement to get circulation going in your wrists, ankles, shoulders, and hips—maybe a morning dance or yoga practice.
- Make your mom proud and make your bed! Clutter and mess can stress. A tidy space can help you feel better about your surroundings.
Shaping your day for ease and steadiness is truly simple but does require determination and commitment. Consider starting with two of the above activities for one week. Then add two more the next week, and so on. Or you can stop when you have four daily habits, which might be enough for now. The point is, start a daily routine today. You deserve to take care of yourself—to be nourished, cared for, and supported—and only you can do this for yourself.