When I was a student, my lifestyle was study, study, study, socialize, eat lots of junk food, with the occasional yoga class … when I wasn’t hungover. At the time, I didn’t even entertain the importance of taking care of my mind and body. Me-time? Forget it.
Since graduating and starting a 9-to-5, I’ve a lot more structure in my life, plus more free time after work and on weekends. I set the intention to set an hour for myself, switching off my phone and keeping it far away (in another room) for a full digital detox, doing yoga and reading. I’ve even created what I like to call a ‘self-care ritual’. According to Mind, self-care techniques can help manage the symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as many mental health problems. Winding down with a relaxing ritual, including a bath, can help aid sleep, which is fundamental to wellbeing. It’s also psychologically beneficial, when you live alone, to give yourself a bit of TLC.
Elemental Herbology sent me some products from their Wood and Balance range to try. They are a natural and cruelty free spa brand, so go with my ethos, and it gives me a break from making my own products. I decided to fit them into my self-care routine: here’s how I got on.
Create the space
First, I turn on my salt lamp which gives off a lovely warm burst of orange, and play some French music, transporting me to a warm vineyard somewhere in the South of France. I’ve made my own eco-friendly candles using soy wax and essential oils in old glass jars which I put by my bathtub. Vanilla is my go-to scent but I also love the combination of orange and grapefruit to make me feel uplifted. Watching the flickering flames puts me in a state of peace.
According to studies, having a bath two-hours before you go to bed can aid sleep (it’s the cooling down after that tricks your body into thinking it’s night-time). Elemental Herbology’s products are aligned to seasons and natural elements, and their Wood collection is all about Spring – said to be good for the workaholic and people with aching muscles.
I put a couple of pumps of Wood Rejuvenation Bath Oil into my bath. It does indeed work wonders after a stressful day at work and helps to relieve any twinges from my yoga routine. Infused with rosemary, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and soothes my skin (especially after shaving). I adore the scent – I can close my eyes and imagine I’m laying in a fresh meadow. Hopping out the bath with satin-like skin was a first - usually it dries out.
Balance in nature
My skincare routine is a vital part of my self-care ritual. I was looking forward to trying out the Balance range aimed for normal to combination skin, which focuses on replenishing the moisture levels in your skin without drying it out.
First, I use the Harmonising Cleanse facial cleansing oil to remove makeup plus dirt from walking home from work through the city. Some cleansers are really drying, but this one makes my skin not only squeaky clean, but also super soft.
The Skin Resurfacing pads help to minimise breakouts, which I can be prone to very easily due to stress! They contain amino acids; great for my dull skin as it can quickly get very dehydrated and uneven in tone. They also act as an exfoliant to get rid of any dead skin. After using, I notice my dry patches on my cheeks have vanished.
The Perfect Balance facial moisturiser is my final step. I apply a few pumps and gently rub it all over my face; I like to pat my fingers softly on my face which feels like a mini facial. It contains Kakadu Plum which has high levels of vitamin C - essential for my tired and sluggish looking skin.
At the end of my ritual, l I feel calmer and more grounded. The Elemental Herbology products were gentle on my skin, which felt so much smoother after use, refreshed and soft. If I had to pick, my favourites were the cleanser and bath oil - the first worked wonders and the latter smelt divine. I am always budget concious, but felt these products were good value and left me with skin like silk: an affordable luxury with a feel-good conscience. What more could an eco millennial ask for?
My intention for this month: Adding meditation to my self-care ritual. I’ve used headspace for a few sessions and really enjoyed it so far.
New favourite book or podcast: (Book) Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life – Gisele Bündchen. She talks about her career from being one of the biggest supermodels in the world to now finding love and peace in yoga, mindfulness and finding ways to be more sustainable.