It seems like everyone goes on some sort of diet when January 1st rolls around.Read More
October is here, and it’s really starting to feel like fall in New York! Time for sweaters, apple cider donuts, and scary movies!
A cozy corner table in a coffee shop can be oh-so inviting. I can spend hours in The Black Cow or Manhattanville Coffee, and it’s because these spaces make me feel really comfortable. Heck, I wrote this blog post at the Peekskill Coffee House.
Maybe it’s the bustle of the morning customers in need of caffeine, the smell of steamed milk and cinnamon, or the endless stream of tunes that keep me coming back. The combination of these factors make the magical coffee shop a perfect place to practice self-care.
From one coffee-love to another, here are a few acts of self-care to try the next time you visit your local coffee shop.
Allow the Environment to Affect You
Why do I love coffee shops so much? The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes are generally pleasant at the majority of shops. One of the easiest ways to practice self-care is to put yourself in an environment that makes you feel good, and coffee shops just do that for me.
My favorite coffee shops emit warmth, play music to fit the mood, and are full of light. What environmental details matter to you when it comes to feeling good? If your ideal coffee shop has free WiFi, serves sandwiches, and sticks to a jazz playlist, then search for that spot and visit it often. Your coffee shop could become a self-care spot for years to come!
This tip is related to allowing your environment affect you but deserves further explanation. I’m not suggesting stalking anyone in particular, but people-watching (and dogspotting) can be a wonderful way to reconnect with humanity and ground yourself. Simply grab a table and take in the fascinating human beings and animals around you while you sip your tea.
Relax, you’re not creepy – everyone people watches! Starting by simply observing the actions and reactions around you that catch your eye. Focus on the occurences that bring you joy and let yourself get lost in someone else’s universe.
Check Tasks Off of your To-Do List
In my opinion, the coffee shop is the perfect environment to complete tasks you’ve been putting off at home. Tax prep, studying, or finally organizing your inbox may be slightly more bearable in the presence of pastries. There’s also a good chance other people will be working around you. Let the atmosphere of productivity inspire you.
Complete that nagging task and take a sip of coffee. I always feel so good when I cross something off my list.
If the background noise becomes too distracting, I suggest listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while you work. You could try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks or Join Amazon Prime Music and start with a 30-day Free Trial.
Some people prefer to meditate in a place that is totally silent, but I actually like to meditate with a bit background noise. Maybe you’ll like meditating in a coffee shop too!
I typically try to meditate alone at a table for a few minutes before tackling that to-do list. I start by focusing on my breath in relation to the various sounds and smells around me. I feel my body touching the chair and my feet resting on the floor. A few minutes of being aware of my environment creates the calmness that allows me to reach that tranquil place.
Order a cup of green tea once you’re done meditating and let the calm vibes flow!
Strike Up a Conversation
If you have extrovert tendencies and social interactions re-charge you, then take advantage of the friendly atmosphere that many coffee shops provide. Connecting with the person at the next table could make you feel really great.
Unsure of how to make that first move? Try respectfully complimenting a stranger, chatting with your favorite barista, petting a dog (with the owner’s permission), or making a silly face if a baby or young child looks at you.
Do you practice acts of self-care at your coffee shop? Share your personal experiences and favorite spots in the comments!
When it comes to keeping yourself comfortable on a long flight, train, or bus ride, it’s essential to pack a few extra items for self-care purposes.
A Self-Care Travel Kit, previously mentioned in my guide to Practicing Self-Care While Traveling, can help you handle the stress of getting to your final destination. Here are a few essentials, including some that are in my kit!
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By luxury, I mean toiletries that aren’t the typical toothbrush, deodorant, etc. Think the special pampering and beauty items that help you unwind or feel clean on the go.
Trying to catch a few zzz’s on a red-eye? Studies have shown that lavender can aid sleep and reduce stress, so consider slathering on this lavender cream before take-off. Made with shea and cocoa butter, this cream won’t feel greasy and will soften you up while the scent chills you out. Plus, this container is small enough to bring through security!
The grime that builds up after a long flight is one of my least favorite feelings. Avoid that yucky situation by stowing wipes like these Burt’s Bees ones in your carry-on. The cucumber and sage will help you freshen up!
I pack this daily moisturizer by Olay on every trip I take! It includes SPF 15, so it will protect your skin from the sun when you arrive in your destination. Just squeeze a bit into a FDA-approved travel bottle like the ones in this set: Silicone Travel Bottles Set, RockBirds Large Leak Proof Travel Bottles, FDA Certificated, TSA Approved (89 milliliter 3 Pack)
Sleep Accessories – Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Neck Pillow Airplane Travel Kit With Ultra Plush Velour Cover, Sleep Mask and Earplugs
A neck pillow, sleep mask, and ear plugs can all help you get coveted rest while on the go. Save by purchasing all these items in one kit! Memory foam will help you stay comfortable for the duration of your flight.
The key to having an enjoyable flight is distraction from the customary unpleasantries. Tuning out turbulence, snoring neighbors, and the roar of the plane engine can be achieved with adequate reading, listening, or watching material.
Trying to lull yourself to sleep with a pre-downloaded podcast? Try these CozyPhones on your next trip. They lay flat against your ears, making it more comfortable to relax while listening.
I personally like to pack a paperback, but e-readers are great storing numerous books, magazines, and news sources. My mom swears by her Kindle. Check out this sleek option from Amazon that provides the paperwhite tone readers love.
Protection – Zoppen Mulit-purpose Rfid Blocking Travel Passport Wallet (Ver.4) Tri-fold Document Organizer Holder, 1 Black
Knowing my travel documents are safe makes feel feel secure. This wallet has plenty of pockets for your passport, tickets, and other documents, and is made from material that will protect you from identity theft. Double win!
Smart Snacks & Drinks
Here are some of my favorite snack suggestions to keep hunger at bay.
Protein is the best bet in terms of making me feel full. Check out these Game Jerky Sticks which come in a 15-piece pack. There’s enough to try a different flavor on multiple trips!
Looking for a non-meat protein source to bring on board? Rx Bars are my personal favorite. Egg-whites and nuts provide protein while dates and figs make these super tasty. I love the blueberry flavor, which is also Whole30-compliant!
Don’t forget to refill your water-bottle once you’re through security! These bottles by Swell come in a variety of colors and sizes. Pick your favorite variety and pack it to stay hydrated wherever you go.
What are your must-haves in your Self-Care Travel Kit? Share them below in the comments and I’ll consider adding your suggestions to future blog posts!
Sometimes your vacation can become more stressful than pleasurable. Getting to your final destination can be an extremely frustrating beginning of your trip. Upon arrival, you may feel overwhelmed. So many sites to see, so little time! It’s normal to crave the comfort of your bed once the initial excitement of being in a new place wears off.
Isn’t a vacation supposed to be relaxing in the first place? Not every vacation is meant to be relaxing (ahem, Walt Disney World) but feeling too stressed is not ideal when you’re on a holiday.
Stress related to travel is pretty common, but your travel experiences do not have to completely burn you out! Establishing a few self-care rituals in your hotel room, rental car, campsite, or wherever you are on your journey can help you re-charge. Read on for some simple tips and tricks I use when traveling that help keep me grounded.
Pack a Self-Care Kit for the Journey
Clothes, underwear, shoes, travel-size shampoo to new a few suitcase staples… It’s important to pack the things you physically need for your trip, but it’s also important to pack a few things that will put you at ease.
Picture it: You’re on an eight-hour flight and your skin starts to feel gross. You only took a few bites of the in-service meal and hunger begins creeping in. You’ve already read the airline’s magazine cover-to-cover and the free headphones your stewardess gave you aren’t cutting it when it comes to the aggressive snoring of the man behind you. We’ve all been there.
Creating a self-care kit to keep in your personal bag can help you avoid that bleak situation. What should go into your self-care kit? That depends on what items will specifically keep you comfortable or entertained. Here are a few ideas based on previous kits I’ve had:
- Luxury Toiletries – Or toiletries that are helpful but not mandatory. Sure you packed a toothbrush, but did you also bring a little bit of your favorite lavender lotion that always calms you down? Lotion, perfume, chapstick, dry shampoo, and face wipes, to name a few, can really make a difference when it comes to feeling clean and pampered on the go. Just remember to be respectful of space boundaries when it comes to fragrances!
- Sleep Accessories – Sleep is one of the most important self-care practices we do every day, so do what you can to not disrupt your sleep cycle in your travels. Sleep masks, neck pillows, sleep aids like melatonin, and ear plugs or sound-proof headphones can go a long way if you’re trying to rest on a plane or train
- Reading, Listening, and Watching Material – All forms of entertainment can be self-care when you’re on the go because distraction is golden. I personally prefer reading and listening to music or a podcast than watching a movie when I travel, but it’s a matter of personal preference. If you’re a book fan, bringing an e-reader is better in terms of having more material without sacrificing coveted packing space. Try Audible or Amazon Music Unlimited.
- Copies of Essential Documents – For me, part of self-care is preventing situations that could stress me out. Having copies (digital or paper) of travel documents, credit cards, and other essentials like my license helps make me feel safe and secure
- Smart Snacks – Pack snacks that will keep hunger at bay. Avoid anything too messy, especially something that could open in your bag. I usually bring a pack of almonds, jerky, or a fruit and nut bar, but snack preferences are personal. Don’t forget to refill your reusable water bottle once you’re through airport security to stay hydrated as well!
- A Journal – If you like to write or doodle, then absolutely bring a notebook and writing utensil in your kit. Jotting down your thoughts can be a healthy way to decompress and express yourself, which brings me to my next self-care tip…
Express Your Feelings
Whenever I’m planning a vacation, I imagine how wonderful I’ll feel. I’ll see beautiful sites, eat amazing food, and have a perfect time.
That is just not realistic. Sure, I’m generally bubbly when I’m traveling because it makes me happy, but that doesn’t mean that all other emotions in my wheelhouse won’t make an appearance.
When I was developing my love of travel as a high school and college student, I tried to bottle up feelings I deemed negative. I convinced myself that there was no reason to feel scared/sad/angry while I was travelling. In hindsight, this was an act of self-sabotage.
Through therapy, I worked on having a healthier relationship with my feelings. I now encourage myself to express openly as an act of self-care, regardless of my environment. This does not and should not change just because I’m on vacation.
So if you need a good cry or want to tell your travel buddy what’s bugging you, do it. After my break-up, I spent plenty of time crying and swearing on the streets of Paris and it made me feel incredibly human.
Plans go awry, people say hurtful things, and issues from home can sneak into your carry-on. Don’t ignore your feelings just because they weren’t on your itinerary.
Maintain Your At-Home Habits
This may seem like a given, but I tend to find myself skipping essential parts of my home self-care routine when I’m on the road. Some parts are okay to skip (most hotels don’t have tubs to put a bath bomb in any way) but missing out on some of these habits can really make you feel off-kilter.
Drinking a cup of water in the morning makes me feel good, so I try to remember to do so when I’m on the go (even if the water from the hotel sink tastes weird.) If I forget to start my day with water, I’ll get dehydrated pretty quickly and feel crappy.
Another self-care habit that occasionally slips through the cracks when I’m traveling is properly caring for my skin! Forgetting to put my moisturizer with SPF on my face always leads to sunburned regret.
Keep up any of the usual healthy habits that make you feel your best. Your body will thank you!
Go With Your Flow
FOMO has added major stress to my previous travels. I have tried to eat, see, and do everything possible on various vacations. Meticulous planning has helped me experience more than improvising a schedule would, but I have never been successful in doing absolutely everything a destination has to offer because it is impossible to do so.
Instead of cramming activities, accept that you won’t be able to do it all. Prioritize your must-dos and follow your intuition otherwise. It’s good to put aside time for the sites you absolutely want to hit up, but putting too much pressure on yourself will make your vacation feel more like a marathon.
I strongly encourage leaving plenty of free time in your itinerary. This will allow to you to explore and go with your own flow throughout your journey. Free time is also when those magical travel moments, like striking up a conversation with a local or finding a hidden gem in a big city, tend to happen.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your plans if that is what you need or want. You may have had an afternoon museum visit on the schedule but let yourself take a nap that day instead if that’s what your body is telling you to do.
Of course, changing plans could cost you money depending on the situation. If you’re aware of the associated costs and feel comfortable with them, do what your gut tells you!
During my previous trip to Paris, I decided to extend my stay by a few days. Six days there would have been more than adequate, but my intuition begged me to stretch the trip to nine days. I did, and, even with the extra cost of changing my flight, I have no regrets. Adjusting your schedule to suit your needs is an act of self-care that will improve your travel experience.
The bottom line? Be a little selfish when you’re traveling. Your dedication to your well-being will only make your journeys more enjoyable.
Share your favorite self-care tips below in the comments!