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Relaxation for Mind + Body Healing

Self-care is an important focus for all of us at Province Apothecary. We work and live in a big, busy city and although it can be quite hectic at times, we try not to let it compromise our need for self-care. In fact, taking time to relax and unwind allows us to deal with the everyday hustle and bustle much more effectively.

A lot of people I encounter are constantly in a ‘fight or flight’ state - can anyone relate? - whether they’re commuting during rush hour, working late to meet a deadline, or trying to finish a handful of errands all at once, they’re dealing with persistent stress which takes a toll on our health and wellbeing. This constant stressful state can lead to, or flare up already present, conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, acne, body aches + pains, and so much more. Luckily, some ways to symptom relief can be accessible and affordable.

Before we get to the good stuff (think: a warm bubble bath!) let’s talk more about our state of being. Quite simply, we could either be in a sympathetic (stressed) or a parasympathetic (relaxed) state. Both are a part of our nervous system, and both are important. If we were always in a relaxed state of mind, we would never get anything done. The key is balance, and somewhere along the line we’ve lost touch with that balance. Regaining that balance takes some effort, but with the right tools and available time, it can be an easy part of your daily routine that you’ll look forward to.

Our parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for slowing our heartbeat and breathing rate, promoting digestion and elimination. It provides a calming effect on the body + mind and essentially a feeling of relaxation. This is so important because once we enter this calming state, we give our bodies a chance to heal themselves from the inside out. Our body can work on digesting a big meal, eliminating toxins, clearing skin eruptions and so much more. An example of the powers of this part of our nervous system: when I feel a headache coming on, shifting my attention to my breathing and focusing on long, deep breaths always helps clear the pressure. If i’ve got a full blown headache, lying flat on the ground with a lavender scented eye pillow while focusing on deep breath work is another effective method.

We can harness the healing powers of our parasympathetic nervous system and utilize it as a preventative measure, instead of just focusing on it as a healing tool when symptoms of illness arise. I’ve compiled some of my favourite self-care rituals that help me relax and listed them below. Let us know if you have any tips of your own to share in the comments below!

  • A warm bath with your favourite organic oils. Draw a warm bath, and right before you’re about to get in, pour your oils of choice into the water. Always dilute essential oils into a carrier oil like jojoba or avocado, never put pure essential oils into a bath as they could be irritating to the skin. I recommend using 1-6 drops of essential oils in 15ml of your choice of carrier oil. Try essential oils like Neroli, Lavender, Mandarin, Frankincense, Myrrh, Rose, Sandalwood, or Chamomile for a relaxing + mood boosting soak.
      • If you don’t have a bathtub at home, dry brush your entire body then apply your favourite scented oil (try our Radiant Body Oil) and then step into a hot shower. Allow the oil to infuse your senses and penetrate into the skin, imparting a soft hydrated texture once you step out to towel off.
  • Restorative yoga. My all time favourite restorative pose is simple, quick and insanely effective. Find a wall in your home that is accessible, and stick your feet up, resting them against the wall. The easiest way to get into this pose is by sitting beside the wall with your right hip bone touching the wall. Begin to lift your legs up and twist your body so you’re facing the wall. Rest your bum as close to the wall as possible, and lay your torso and head down on the floor. You’re working towards straight legs, but begin with your legs bent as much as needed to feel comfortable. If needed, use a small pillow under your head. This is a gentle inversion that will allow blood flow and circulation. Relax in this posture as long as you’d like. I like to do this every night before bed to ease my body into a parasympathetic state and allow a deep + healing nights rest.

  • Wake up mindfully. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? I know I always have to turn off my alarm, which is conveniently located on my phone. The urge to check social media and unread e-mails is strong. The best thing we can do for our bodies is avoid the use of our phones and laptops right when we wake. If we can keep a peaceful state of mind upon rising, we’ll continue with our parasympathetic state for a little bit longer into our mornings. Start your morning by focusing on your surroundings, deep breathing, stretches or some meditation. Even if it’s just 5 minutes.

  • Meditation. This refers to a broad variety of practices that include techniques designed to promote relaxation, develop compassion and build internal life force (chi). This can include physical postures, mindfulness and mental silence. An easy way to start your meditation practice is to spend 5 minutes each day sitting comfortably on the ground or a chair, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Be aware of any thoughts that pass through your mind, but don’t focus on them. Try to silence your thoughts as best you can. Most importantly, feel comfortable and relaxed. View our full Guide to Meditation here.

  • Wishing you all a relaxing + restorative week!

    xx Cassandra

    Cassandra is a holistic aesthetician at our organic skincare clinic in Toronto, ON. She began her journey to health + wellness through a holistic lifestyle in 2012, and began working for Province Apothecary in 2014. Currently she’s studying to become a certified Aromatherapist. Book an appointment with Cassandra HERE


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