A post by OLO's Founder, Kassandra Lefakinis
As we ease into Autumn here in Athens with the welcome of cool mornings and rustling leaves slowly fading that chlorophyl-rich green into sunset yellows and oranges, I feel ever-more mindful and into my selfcare rituals. According to one of my daughter’s favorite books, “the quiet harvest arrives.” Autumn is a process of slowing down and preserving the bounty and glow of summer.
So, here are ten of my favorite selfcare rituals - I alternate them or do them sporadically for good hygiene and preservation of beauty, youth and mind!
Essential Oils and Chill:
Let me start basic then amp it up. BATHS. I add a few drops of the essential oil/s I’m craving and that’s a wrap. Something about being immersed in hot, fragrant water is just bliss. Low lighting is a must. Neroli essential oil is one of my favorites due to its antidepressant qualities and delicate aroma.
I try to remember this as often as possible but end up doing it about once a week, usually before a bath. Take a dry brush / sponge and sweep your skin all over in gentle strokes in the direction of your heart. This helps your body purge toxins within and removes dead skin cells.
Coconut Oil Mouth Rinse:
It’s called “oil pulling” in Hindu culture – you place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth in the morning and swish it around for ten minutes or more if you can manage. This pulls out bacteria from your mouth which you then expel by spitting it out. Eat, drink, brush your teeth etc. afterwards as you usually do. I love the feeling of the warm oil coating my tongue and the non-classic, for mouth wash, flavor of gentle coconut, not zingy mint.
I love to do a good exfoliation and toxin-purge with a white clay face mask. I use white clay as it’s the most sensitive, and I mix in organic rose water instead of water to make the mixture I apply. The rose water adds hydration and aids as a calming element for my sensitive skin. I leave it on until its dry then rinse it off with cool water. While my daughter does not like the sight of me in this mask, I love the results.
I recently got my second degree of reiki, meaning I can practice reiki on others and can use the sacred symbols to enhance the practice. I like to do reiki on myself daily, even if I have no apparent physical or emotional ailments. I also enjoy sending others reiki and applying it to my daily tasks – it empowers me to infuse my network and activities with good vibrations. Learning reiki was one of the best gifts I’ve given myself.
Water and Herbal Tea:
I am a coffee drinker for better or worse. When I drink more water daily, mindfully, and treat myself to a cup of herbal tea within the day, I feel I’ve given my body a gift. Since I am breastfeeding my 3-month old son at this time, I made sure to have teas that support this function and help re-hydrate such as Weleda’s organic Nursing tea and Clipper’s organic Raspberry leaf infusion tea. Another herbal tea go-to which is also local is Krocus Kozanis’s organic Greek saffron tea with apricot and mango– it tastes like sipping the warm earth during an Indian Summer. I imagine the infusion and medley of herbs attending to different parts of my body and feel an immediate boost.
On most days our house is saturated with the sounds of my daughter singing her favorite school songs, on repeat…. My husband keeps us chill with mindful playlists to increase our focus and calm on Sunday mornings or Saturdays when we work at home for a few hours. So more rarely do I end up listening to my own jams. When I put on Kosmos radio (a local Greek station you can listen to as well online globally), my favorite, or pop on a playlist via Spotify that I’ve made, I reconnect with myself. The other night while cooking I was in the mood for Greek soul music and ended up having a little dance party. I cherish this and do consider this an act of selfcare. My music J
Foam Roller action:
What a simple tool that brings much joy and many benefits. I love my foam roller; gliding up and down on it to relieve upper back tension is a solid 5 minutes of pure selfcare. Another favorite and a quicky is standing on it and moving my feet back and forth while balancing against a wall with my hands. It activates my feet and wakes up my body in turn.
Not exactly what you might imagine to appear on this list but finding an artistic or educational Netflix show is ideal to have to watch when I am exhausted and need to steal a half hour doing nothing. It keeps me from mindless social media use and is good for a hands-off “guilty” pleasure. My show show is the Queens Gambit.
My passion is writing… If I can take even a half hour to write something or re-read some writings, I feel accomplished and whole.
We all know that skincare is major as far as selfcare. It can also be daunting and time consuming which is one of the reasons I made Opuntia Luxury Oils face oils. Every time I apply my face oil, and no its not every day even though that is the goal, I know I am engaging in an act of selfcare and it shows. I hope you all find your simple selfcare rituals and I encourage you to make your own “best of” selfcare list and keep at it!