10 of my favorite self-love rituals

When I think of the best ways I take care of myself (mind, body, and soul), it all comes down to being present. Allowing myself to be completely present, without feeling as if I need to be ‘productive,’ is the best gift I can give myself.

While meditating, I often find myself listing things I need to do and I even catch myself thinking about cutting my meditation short so I can ‘get things done.’ Why am I just sitting here, I can always meditate later, I think. I have to constantly remind myself that these 10 or 15 minutes of silence will probably be the most ‘productive’ moments of my day.

My meditation practice is just as important as my workout or yoga routine, but I often forget this. Sitting and doing nothing can feel pointless at times, just as focusing on being present. Usually, it is only afterward that I realize how important those moments were. And if you are bit confused as to why I am so focused on the present moment, I definitely recommend reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It is life-changing if you are in the right state of mind to read it.

 So here are some self-love rituals, besides meditation, that allow me to ground in the present moment.

#1. Walking/hiking/running in the mountains

Machu Picchu, 2017

If you know me, you know I’m all about the mountains. I’ve never craved the ocean or beach, but when I am away from mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes, I feel as if a piece of me is missing. This is a bit ironic considering it has been a long, long time since I’ve lived close to mountains. As I travel, I keep choosing cities that are either far away from the mountains or where it is hard to access them. I definitely need to make this more of a priority as I choose my next place to live because just being in this type of nature feels like an overwhelmingly spiritual experience. I think most of us have felt this feeling in nature, the experience of realizing that nothing matters and that everything is connected. This is heightened by the endorphins from hiking or running, and it is altogether an intensely healing experience. For me, even just seeing the mountains is somehow healing. Right now, I am in Oaxaca city where there are beautiful mountains that frame the entire city and just seeing them brings me peace.

#2. Night yoga with music, incense, candles, and essential oils (and maybe weed too)

Barcelona, Spain

This is one of my all-time favorite self-care rituals. Something about it feels so magical and almost psychedelic. What I’ll do is turn off all the lights in my room, light candles, put on music (here’s one of my favorite playlists for this), burn incense, and put a bit of essential oil on my third eye center and wrists, then do whatever type of yoga my body is craving. It is usually a fusion between yin yoga, vinyasa, hatha, and dance. Closing my eyes the entire time also feels amazing, it’s as if I am transported into another dimension (high or not).

#3. Dressing up

I love dressing myself up, especially if I haven’t been feeling great. This usually involves some makeup, a nice outfit, doing my hair (or attempting), and the most important part, earrings. I don’t know why, but putting on big earrings always makes me happy. Usually while I’m getting ready I’ll put on music, which makes me take twice as long since I end up dancing and singing along. 

#4. Eating dinner at sunset without any distractions

Oaxaca, Mexico

I have a bad habit of eating while watching YouTube videos or rewatching my favorite tv shows. It feels comforting in the moment, but later I feel groggy and unhappy. What makes me really happy is to prepare a healthy dinner (my current favorite is cucumber, bell pepper, tuna fish salad with mango Thai dressing and feta), and eat it outside while the sun is setting. Right now I have a gorgeous terrace and I can see all of Oaxaca below me as the sun sets.

#5. Listening to music as I walk home from work

Chico, California

This is one of my absolute favorite parts of my day. After I’m done working at a cafe or coworking, around 5 or 6, I usually have a 15-30 minute walk home (depending on where I’m living at the moment). It feels so good to be back in the fresh air, stretch my legs, and see the beginning of the sunset. The music makes me feel like I’m in an indie coming-of-age movie (yes, I’m one of those people) and it just gives me this huge dopamine boost at the end of the day. Some of my best walks home have been in Chico, California, where my dad lives, and walking through beautiful neighborhoods with huge, colorful trees.

#6. Deep talks with friends

One of my favorite people to talk to in the whole world

Connection is so important and when I’m talking intimately with my close friends it always makes me happy. I love learning more about others and talking about absolutely everything, nothing is off-limits. Just creating a safe space to talk and listen, without judgement, is a way of being in the present moment.

#7. Sipping tea and watching a movie

Barcelona, Spain

Maybe watching movies isn’t entirely being in the Now but it does feel like a certain kind of ‘presence’ to me. When I’m watching movies, without looking at my phone or talking to friends, I become completely absorbed in the world of the movie and it feels like a flow state. I was listening to the Super Soul podcast recently and learned that the average college students can only focus on one task for 65 seconds and the average office worker can only focus for three minutes. That is kind of terrifying. So there is something special about concentrating solely on one thing for two hours.

#8. Reading spiritual books

When I’m reading books about spirituality, I feel completely present and in flow. It feels much different reading Harry Potter (which I absolutely love and will continue to reread until I die) than a book by Eckhart Tolle. Maybe it is because most spiritual books have the underlying message of being present. If you are looking for some spiritual books (besides The Power of Now) I definitely recommend A New Earth, The Alchemist, The Secret, and Beyond Religion.

#9. Art picnic

Santa Barbara, California

In Santa Barbara and Barcelona I had plenty of art picnics; always with good food, tons of art supplies, and great company. I love these picnics because I’m in nature, expressing myself creatively, enjoying food, and connecting with friends. I have yet to have a picnic by myself, but it is definitely on my list of things to do.

#10. Ecstatic dancing

Barcelona, Spain

Ecstatic dance is moving to the music without a specific choreography and without worrying about what you look like or how others might perceive you. For me, it feels just as spiritual as my yoga practice. You can do it at home or in a group, outside or inside. My favorite ecstatic dance session was in Santa Barbara with my friends, it was on the beach with a group of about fifty people. We all wore silent disco headphones, so only people with the headphones could hear the music. Plenty of people walking by stopped to watch, because it was definitely an interesting sight to see. Normally, I would care if a stranger was laughing at me, but that’s the beauty of ectstaic dancing, the whole point is to not care about other’s judgements. It’s completely freeing and it makes you realize how silly some of our societal norms and rules can be.

4 responses to “10 of my favorite self-love rituals”

  1. Fun reading. Thanks IsaPodge

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved all of these so much and share so many of them. Miss those art picnics ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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