Valentine’s Day has long been remembered as a day filled with vibrant red heart-shaped chocolate boxes lined, and stacked on top of one another at the store, passing letters accompanied with sweets to friends at school, and coming across endless bouquets of red roses at every street corner you turn. While the origins of Valentine’s Day differ, the holiday has been celebrated since the 14th-century and has long since been associated with romantic love. While love from family, friends, and romantic partners are celebrated on this holiday, we would also like to encourage the importance of taking the time to love yourself, especially when we feel drained, y no podemos más. Here at Nopalera, we’ve come up with a couple of ways to begin your self-love journey this Valentine's Day.
1. Plan Out Some Alone Time
In our busy lives, especially in American work culture, taking the time for yourself throughout the day is often-times– not even considered or taken into factor. In contrast to Latin American culture, Siesta, a midday break or ritual, is considered normal, and essential for mental, emotional, and physical health. Since most of our schedules don’t permit us to take a Siesta, planning at least 30 minutes in the morning or before going to bed to meditate, pray, listen to music, read or stretch will significantly improve any anxiety, stress, or brain fog will guarantee a slow, and grounding start to your day.
2. Create a Daily Ritual
Setting aside short intervals of time just for yourself are baby steps to fully embracing a rich self-care routine without feeling guilty or selfish. A few examples of self-care rituals you can start incorporating is taking control of your Circadian Rhythm. The Circadian Rhythm is your body’s hormonal response to light. Taking the extra step of turning your devices to night mode or lowering the brightness to completely avoid any artificial light 1-2 hours before going to bed can significantly improve stress levels, and give you much better sleep. Waking up with the sun, and going to bed with a soft warm light is often ideal for an optimal circadian rhythm, but since that might be difficult for many of us due to busy work schedules, taking the extra mile to imitate this would be worthwhile.
Our sense of smell is strongly tied to our memories and our emotions. Spraying or rubbing an aromatic herb on yourself or over your bed before going to sleep, can promote relaxation, and associate the time to relax as a positive one, rather than a negative one where many often feel unproductive for taking the time for themselves. Using an herb like rosemary is known to use for protection, warding off negative energy, and when burnt, used to disinfect bacteria in the air. Or Lavender to promote sleepiness and relaxation. Meditation and prayer are great ways to come back to center, reflect, analyze your emotions, and ground yourself. Accompanied by sage or incense of frankincense or myrrh, bring a positive association to concentrated experience, which is known to rid of negative energy.
3. Care for your Skin
Little by little get to know what works for your skin, and what doesn't. Before applying any product it's always best to do a patch test on your arm to watch out for any allergic reaction. The four basics of skincare are to cleanse, moisturize, nourish, and protect. While Nopalera's products gently multi-task within the basics of skincare, it's great to know how to differentiate and how to get started.
Cleansing is often the most tricky part. Finding a cleanser that doesn't dry out your skin, and one that effectively cleans and gets rid of any pollution or bacteria can be difficult. Keep in mind that it's also how you use the product. A foaming cleanser can be outstanding for the evening before getting into bed, but too drying in the morning. Customizing your skincare routine and choosing a brand that focuses on high-quality ingredients is essential. Nopalera's Cactus Soaps are gently formulated and balanced to meet the skin's needs. Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut oil, and Castor oil moisturize the skin, while Rice Bran Oil is known to dissolve excess sebum and get rid of clogged pores. And lastly, prickly pear cactus (nopal) nourishes and aids in both the cleansing and moisturizing process.
Exfoliation being part of the cleansing process offers a more in-depth wash by lifting up dead skin cells, therefore renewing, nourishing, and moisturizing the skin. While the general advice for exfoliating is to do it once or twice a week, Nopalera’s Cactus Flower Exfoliant in Hibiscus, and in Mandarina are gentle enough to use every day.
Following up with a moisturizer is essential to aid the skin's aging process throughout the years, and to add a protective layer to the skin. Shea butter, Cocoa butter, Jojoba oil, and many others naturally contain SPF, which is often enhanced with the addition of sunscreen to your skincare routine. Nopalera’s Moisturizing Botanical Bars are eco-conscious by intentionally avoiding plastic packaging and coming in a reusable or recyclable tin. Being purely formulated with rich and lush butters, and indigenous oils like Tepezcohuite extract, a specimen native to central and South America, Tepezcohuite has been revered to reverse skin aging and skin irritation. Nopalera’s Botanical Bars last longer and save water when compared to other lotion products that are usually 70% water.
Expressive writing has been known to be therapeutic in aiding your emotional and mental health. It helps us understand where we are coming from, our feelings, our fears, goals, passions, and what can help us go after these things. After going through a difficult situation, writing is also a way of letting go, coming to terms, and moving on to the next chapter of our lives. Even when we are stressed or going through a lot in our lives, writing can free our minds, and allows us to clearly see where we’re at. Writing allows us to explore our creative side, whether that’s through creative writing in developing stories or novels to writing letters to friends or family. There is something so special when holding a letter, that takes longer to write, resources to take, and moments to think that bring us to the present when everything around us often seems to be going one hundred miles per hour.
We hope you take the time to care for yourself FIRST this Valentine's day, amig@.
Written by Angelique Hechavarria