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It's Glow Time! 10 Personal Care Practices That Will Ignite Your Inner Light

January 4, 2013

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It's winter time...time to slow down, hibernate, reflect on dreams and goals, rest, cuddle, bundle, and tune inward. If you're anything like me, you're probably working a lot, juggling 5 million projects, activities, and commitments, along with helping others. So, when do you find time for yourself?

a) When you allow yourself a few hours of sub-par sleep at night, even then your rest is not your own. Many of us toss and turn, our minds occupied and racing in thought. I forgot to reply to that email, I need to pick up my dry cleaning, etc. Or b) When your body shuts down and you finally come down with a cold, and if that doesn't stop you in your tracks - the flu.

Busy modern living can really take its toll if you allow it. But here's the good news: you are in total control of your actions, and you can design your day with a style that honors yourself first. You can - and deserve to - look and feel your very best. Taking care of yourself sounds like a simple task, but it's a constant mantra for me. Living a life of optimal wellness is a full time job and office hours are 24/7.

Being a single mom, I often find myself playing Wonder Woman. But I just because I can do everything that's put before me, doesn't mean I should. Styling your life is all about taking accountability for what exists in your orbit and implementing practices that reinforce the intention of loving yourself. Don't let the cool winter chill dull your glow, work to ignite your inner light as a daily practice. 

10 tips for personal care practices that can help you get your groove back and ignite that inner light!

Take out the trashLiterally and figuratively, meaning clearing any clutter that shows up in your life. Resolving and dissolving emotional baggage so you can keep a clean heart. Clearing out old clothes, clearing your phone of some contacts you no longer need in your life...You see where I am going with this.

Surround yourself with beautyWhat you see is a reflection of what you are. Place lovely flowers in pretty vases all over your home, open the curtains and let the light shine in, paint the walls a color that resonates with you. You deserve it, gorgeous!

Take a hot salt soakYes, you have to run a bath for this one. But it is quite nice to soak. A mixture of dead sea salt, epsom salts, essential oils like lavender and hot water is the perfect solution to a long day. To really do it big, treat yourself to a nice scented candle or two, shut off the phone and the light and relax in the tub for a minimum of 15 minutes. You'll thank me!

Get your green on!Literally speaking. When you are green inside, you're clean inside. Try bulking up on more upward reaching leafy greens. Kales, collards, arugula, mizuna....Our ancient ancestors would eat up to 6 pounds of leaves per day! Can you imagine eating a grocery bag full of greens daily? Few of us even eat the minimum USDA requirement of 3 cups of leafy greens per week. Dark green leafy vegetables contain, calorie for calorie, perhaps the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients  which protect our cells from damage. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega 3 fats. They help to regulate blood sugar and break down fats, and cleanse the blood. I'm done with my PSA, so gobble 2 salads a day and down a green juice in the mornings. Make kale your new BFF.

Get up and go!Exercise during the mornings whenever possible. When you work out at the start of your day it decreases your appetite and stimulates the thyroid to burn calories all day long. Try power yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, or spinning in the mornings to start off your day, add some resistance training at the end of the workout to further stimulate the fat burning process. This might include push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and squats. Since it's getting warmer outside, our bodies naturally desire more sunlight and activity. Carve out some time in your busy schedule to do some of the things you love to do outdoors, which might include: rollerblading, bike-riding, recreational sports, dancing, walking more, etc. You're happiest when you do what you love. It's exercise without effort.

Celebrate ORGASMS! That's right, I said it...I mean it too. You know that old adage, an apple a day....well it applies here too. As long as you feel safe, empowered, loved, respected, and SEXY, it's all good. When females climax, the release of endorphins is very relaxing; it's like a tranquilizer. Orgasms regulate your appetite and reduce cravings for junk food - so those of us who want cookies and ice cream all too often may be craving a different type of the bedroom. Orgasms can also help with pain and stress management. So, with all that being said, if you can't remember the last time you had one, you better get crackin'. 

Try Phone FastingTune all the digital chatter out of your life for one day per week. If the thought gives you a panic attack, then try half a day. Phone fasting includes iPads, computers, video games, etc. Take that time to tune inward, be with yourself, go for a run, play frisbee in the park, cook a meal for someone, write a letter, spend time doing what you love with those you love, and take time to appreciate the precious moment that is the present.

Learn to say NOSometimes our bright light goes dim when we take on too much, when we pile too much on our plates. We need the breaks to recharge the batteries, check in with ourselves, to make sure we feel in alignment. We need space to dream and when you're doing something you don't want to do, it takes up a lot of your energy. Practice saying no, politely declining, without apologizing for being who you are. It's quite simple - say yes to things that make your heart sing. When you are in conflict about whether or not you should be doing something, it's a NO.

Practice confessions of lightWe all love being showered with love. When you can bless someone with the awareness that they have touched your life in some small but meaningful way, it makes a huge difference in that person's life as well. You can offer the "gift of glow" in acknowledging them. This practice will infect those around you with doses of gratitude. Who can you call right now and confess to? Light someone's inner candle who has lit yours in some way. 

Plop down on a pillow, meditate & be merrySet up a sacred space in your home where you can sit in silence and tune inward. Deep breathing and focused concentration slow down the brain waves and make them more organized. They allow us to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, giving us a release of endorphins in the blood stream - happy hormones! This helps us to have presence, peace of mind and a practice of gratitude. If giving thanks is part of your practice, your inner light will shine!!

Latham Thomas is a maternity lifestyle maven, wellness & birth coach, and yoga teacher on the vanguard of transforming the maternal & women's wellness movement. A graduate of Columbia University & The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Latham is the founder of Mama Glow,  a holistic lifestyle hub for women to explore their creative edge through wellbeing. Her practice provides support to pre/postnatal women along their journey to motherhood offering culinary and nutritional services, yoga, and birth coaching services. Latham is a recurring guest on the Style Network hit show Tia and Tamera where she guides Tamera through a healthy pregnancy.