The relationship you have with yourself is the most important you will ever have. Putting our own needs first is not selfish, it’s a necessity, and one that sometimes we forget to honor. Without our own foundation of self-love, and the health of our emotional well-being, we can’t begin to love and care for others. While our self-care rituals take many forms; eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising and breathing, staying hydrated, we often turn to plants to give ourselves a little something extra special – especially around this time of year. Instead of starting with “what do I need to fix about myself in order to be happy” we like to go straight to the desired outcome – to be more joyful. Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate plants into the pursuit of happiness.
1. We use traditional lovers herbs – even if only for ourselves! Plants used for love and romance, and often referenced by Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, and sensuality, are plants that are often already in our wellness cabinets. Some of the best herbs for self-love are nervines. Nervine herbs replenish the nervous system, and support calm in the body, they quiet mind chatter and awaken our senses. Whether you are getting cozy with a loved one or not, these plants open up our hearts and allow the tension in our bodies to melt away – leaving us in a comfortable place to engage in loving conversation and be a little gentler and kinder with our actions towards ourselves and others.*
A few of our favorites:
Rose: A beloved herbal medicine for the heart, rose is used to support and open the energetic heart chakra.* Rose allows us to be open to new possibilities, yet strong and protected in our self. This is a great herb to use in syrups and elixirs as roses are sweet and their floral nature pairs excellent with raw honey.
Damiana: Traditionally used to support circulation, and has historically been prized for promoting a healthy libido. Damiana’s true qualities increase desire and enthusiasm with warmth and excitement, allowing us to be more open, and connected, even if just within ourselves. A lovely one for tea or in chocolate truffles.*
Vanilla: The scent alone can take us somewhere else. Vanilla invites qualities of pure euphoria and bliss and is wonderfully decadent! We love adding vanilla to just about any dessert, tonic drink or syrup.
Kava†: A special and more exotic plant that we pull out at this time of the year. Kava is traditionally used during welcome ceremonies as it is excellent at soothing tension, calming the mind and supporting a healthy stress response.* Kava’s qualities wash over us with a sense of calm and warm-hearted openness – leaving us fully present in the best of ways for our partners, friends, and family. It has often been said, “where there is Kava, there is love in the heart.”
Many of these herbs can be used in combination with food, and desserts – especially with cacao!
2. We Take Herbal Ritual Baths: Therapeutic, and much like a spa experience in your own home, botanical baths are a lovely way to wind down after a long work day, or when you need a moment of retreat and alone time.
Fill up your bathtub with hot water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or a handful of fragrant herbs like rose petals, chamomile, lavender or lemon balm, and a few tablespoons of Epsom salts for a relaxing soak. You can put the herbs in a small cotton bag or use a mesh tea strainer to catch them when you drain the tub. If you don’t keep bulk herbs in your home, herbal tea bags work just as well. Our organic Chamomile with Lavender and Lemon Balm teas are two of our favorites to use.
To set the mood, we light candles, prepare tea (a bath time favorite is our Cup of Calm tea), listen to soft, soothing music, and soak for long periods with a good book, or just simply being. It’s a great time to focus on your breath or do gentle self-massage.
3. On-the-go Wellness: It’s a rare situation when you come across an herbalist who doesn’t carry herbs with them, as you never know what you might encounter. While we often carry a wide range of herbal products for various situations (digestive support, immunity, occasional sleeplessness) while traveling, herbs are incredibly powerful for emotional resilience and we never leave home without them. Keeping ourselves together emotionally day by day is an act of self-love, and you never know when you might need a little support.*
Here are a few of our favorite items we carry with us:
Urban Moonshine Joy Tonic – an uplifting tincture blend of nervine herbs that help to turn around a bad mood and calm the nervous system if feeling overwhelmed or occasionally stressed.*
Herbal tea is always there for you and convenient to take on the go. H+H Stress Relief is our favorite if you need a moment to take a deep breath to feel like yourself again. It helps you relax, anytime.*
Essential oil blends for a change of perspective. Scent alone can be powerful, and herbs like lavender, chamomile, geranium and clary sage are all great ones to keep on hand for a pleasurable pick me up. It’s easy to find pre-blended aromatherapy rollers to carry with you everywhere.
For inspiration on putting together a wellness pouch, see our Herbs for Travel blog post, or Urban Moonshines Herbal Travel Apothecary article.
4. Surround Yourself with Beauty, Pleasure and Plants: Don’t save the best for last! Drink your best herbal tea from your favorite mug, cook a special meal and set the table as if you are a guest in your home. Treat yourself to those gorgeous flowers or an aromatic massage. The feelings of pleasure are part of a well-balanced and joyful life. And this doesn’t just mean sexual pleasure — it includes pleasurable experiences like foods and scents; happiness inducing activities such as yoga, dance, and creative hobbies like making art, gardening, or cooking. Whatever your budget allows – treat yourself with Joy.
These pleasurable acts of self-love help us feel inspired, loving, receptive, and liberated.
†Safety is a concern for users of kava. People, especially those with liver disease or liver problems, or persons who are taking drugs that can affect the liver, should talk with their health care practitioner before using kava.