We’re so excited to introduce our latest contributor, Sara Weinreb, writer, design thinker, and total change maker. She’s helping us celebrate this Valentine’s Day with some important self love reminders we can keep up with everyday of the year.
If you open Instagram (which I do a bit too frequently), you may think that self-care and self-love is a stuff-driven experience. Buying fancy face masks, taking expensive powders with exotic names, going to the spa, crystals, palo santo, and more. It feels like we can buy our way into taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves, and while some of those products and experiences may be supportive of your wellbeing, there are so many other low waste, free or super affordable ways to practice true self-care. Don’t get me wrong, your face mask might be just what you need after a long week! But I encourage you to look beyond the trends and evaluate what will be most nourishing to you.
Here are five of my favorite ways to practice self-love in a low waste, affordable manner:
Spend time amongst nature
As someone studying herbalism and regenerative agriculture, I deeply value our connection to the earth. Spending time in nature can mean going out to your backyard, hanging in a local park, or heading on a hike in the forest. The research surrounding the impact of spending time in nature on our health is profound— increasing our natural killer cells (which fight disease like cancer), decreasing stress and anxiety, and a whole slew of other health benefits. And it’s so simple, too!
Connect to your community
We’re in the midst of a loneliness epidemic, and while sitting on your phone chatting with your online friends may seem like it’s enough, connecting to people in real life can be so nourishing. Whether that’s meeting a friend for coffee or hitting up your local book store or hardware store instead of ordering something online, human connection is fundamental for our health and wellbeing. When the season is right, head to your local farmer’s market— it’s a wonderful way to connect to your food, shop locally, and connect to the farmer’s growing what you are consuming.
Take yourself on an artist date
I love the concept of an “artist date” from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. The concept is simple— and you don’t need to be an artist! All you have to do is take yourself on a date somewhere that interests you. Examples include spending time at the local park or botanic garden, heading to the library or bookstore, going to a museum, or anything that sounds fun to you. The idea is to draw inspiration and have fun from taking yourself out on a self-date.
Cook or bake something special
I love experimenting in the kitchen, so for me, a way to practice self-care is to make up a fancy dessert using local ingredients. I love to shop the bulk section and find recipes that incorporate herbs and other plants, so it’s a further way to connect myself to the earth! I have been loving this chocolate tahini mushroom mousse via The Kosmic Kitchen— I make it with coconut milk for a delicious plant-based treat. Or making our cinnamon apple spelt cake I can have for breakfast all week.
Grow your own food, herbs, and/or local flowers
Whether you have space for a garden or room on your fire escape for a basil plant (been there!), there’s something magical about growing your own food and herbs. Once again, you are connected more deeply with your food system, it doesn’t get much tastier or fresher than picking some herbs while cooking, and it contributes positively to the planet. If you have a yard, consider planting some local species. These will provide your local pollinators with an environment to thrive, and you too can be part of regenerating our planet. I love the idea of being additive— giving back to the planet, not just trying to do less, buy less, and consume less. Instead, what if we focused on how we could provide? This is why regenerative agriculture inspires me so much, and you don’t need to have an entire farm to participate.
The most important element in your self-love routine is to find the things that speak to you. What is your body craving? What does decompressing look like to you? How can you nourish yourself, your community, and the environment? Perhaps journaling to find the right activity or adventure might be helpful if you are stuck. Look for easy, affordable, low-impact ways to connect inwards and to the beauty around you.