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12 Powerful Self-Care Tools That You Can’t Live Without

12 Powerful Self-Care Tools That You Can’t Live Without

How much do you love yourself? How much do you show it?

My guess is that your self-love often takes a backseat in your life, right? You take care of all the people around you, but forget about your own needs, desires and emotional and physical health.

We’re going to change that today with some powerful self-care tools.

Self-care is one of the most important practices you will ever learn in life. If you’re happy, taken good care of, relaxed, empowered and in tune with yourself and your yearnings, you’ll be able to live life to the fullest.

We all respond differently to self-care and self-love practices and we all need different tools at different times in our lives. Don’t hold on to one single self-care tool, but be creative and have a whole toolbox ready for you to fall back on when you’re tired, stressed, overwhelmed or simply in need of some radical self-love.

The following ideas will get you started on your journey to a more fulfilled and peaceful life.

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1. Feed your mind with positivity

Unfortunately, we live in a society where negativity and lamenting about life, the economy and the world is almost a competitive sport. Who can complain more? You or me? But, you don’t have to play along.

You can play your own game: the game of positivity and self-empowerment. By feeding your mind with all kinds of positive statements about life, yourself and the world, you’ll subtly change your thoughts and your entire mindset. You’ll be empowered, more relaxed and, which is the most important part of all, completely at peace with who you are and what it is you want and cherish.

2. Be creative

Creativity is essential in every person’s life. When you let your creativity flow freely, you can release tension, let go of resentments, anger and blame and everything else that is keeping you from living freely and fully.

Put some music on and paint, scrapbook, write poems or stories, sing, play the piano, dance and express yourself in whatever form you want.

It’s crucial that you don’t judge yourself and your art and simply accept it for what it is: yours. Art can never be good or bad, ugly or beautiful. It just is. Art is all about perception, so perceive yours as truly you, nothing more, nothing less.

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3. Sleep

Oh, sleep. How important it is and how often it is neglected, right? Life gets in the way, we get busy, work late, take care of our kids, spouses, partners, parents and more. We go to bed late, get up super early and drag ourselves through the day, grouchy, tired and without energy.

7 hours of sleep is a must if you want to be well-balanced, in a good mood and function on your highest level.

4. Plan an at-home spa day

I love at-home spa days. They’re more affordable than their public counterparts, but just as relaxing and rewarding. Have breakfast in bed, soak yourself in a long, hot bath, give yourself a massage, paint your nails, plug your eyebrows, apply a face mask, do a natural body scrub and take a long, well-deserved nap.

You’ll feel rejuvenated, energized, relaxed and more grounded than in a while.

5. Create your own sanctuary

Having your own sanctuary, in which you can withdraw when you need some alone time is balm for your soul. Create it after your own likings with the colors of your choice, the decoration that soothes and comforts you whenever you feel down. If you do it right, you will feel safe, taken care of, loved and at peace the moment you step into your little haven.

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6. Stay in bed and read

Treat yourself to a day in bed with a good book, escape into the world of your favorite author and lose yourself in the story of the hero of the novel.

7. Practice mindfulness or meditation

I’ve recently taken on practicing mindfulness and meditation and it has enriched my life in many ways. Give yourself the treat of 15 minutes a day to just be. Let your thoughts pass by without holding on to them and focus on your breathing.

If meditation is too big a goal for you, then practice mindfulness by focusing on the things you see, hear and feel. Be in the moment and let all thoughts of the past or the future be overwritten by the reality that is right in front of you.

8. Do yoga

Yoga is amazing for your body, mind and soul. Your body wants movement, needs movement and is happy whenever you give it just that. When doing yoga, you’ll be able to connect your mind with the sequence of asanas and you’ll be deeply in tune with your body and the universe. It’s a great spiritual practice and something I won’t want to do without anymore.

9. Learn to say no

Having firm boundaries is one of the hardest things to have, especially if you’re a born people pleaser and who isn’t, right? But saying no, even if it feels uncomfortable at first, is crucial when you’re serious about honoring yourself. Always saying yes, always being there for others means always putting yourself last. Now, that goes against everything that self-love is about. So, say no to others more often and say yes to yourself.

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10. Start something new

Starting a new hobby or journey engages your mind in many ways and releases the happiness hormone dopamine. Take up a pleasurable activity that you’ve always wanted to try to see how rewarding it is. Pursue a new road in your life and notice how empowered you’ll be.

11. Declutter your home

Having a lot of clutter in your home weighs down your mind and your mood. Taking a day to get rid of everything you don’t need, wear or use will lighten your emotional baggage and free up space for something new.

12. Be you

Be you with all the perfect imperfections and flaws you have. You’re enough the way you are. There’s nothing more destructive than pretending to be someone you’re not and constantly going after the approval of others. Instead, focus on being who you’re meant to be and being unquestionably proud of it.

Do you have a favorite self-care tool? Be sure to share it with us.

(Photo credit: Row of Lightbulbs on Blue Backdrop via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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