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My Perfect Self-Care Rituals

Sometimes we take on too much and need to relax, but it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Here’s how I fit some of my most perfect self-care rituals into my busy schedule.

Why it’s so important to de-stress

Most of us are always doing something. Whether that’s working, looking after children,  exercising or simply flicking through our instagram feed.

Our brains are always active and being challenged. Even when we’re not physically busying ourselves we’re often mentally planning the next day or worrying about personal goals. We need to make sure we’re taking time to switch off, relax and enjoy just ‘being’.


I eat to feed my body, I cook to feed my soul.

Cooking is fantastic for relaxing. It allows you to be creative and productive whilst giving you time to switch off, relax and reflect on your day. I love cooking stews and casseroles to give me optimum relaxing time. Chopping vegetables, preparing meat, slowly cooking and choosing sides… to me, there’s nothing more enjoyable.

Stress can often dull your senses, but as cooking is such a sensory experience it’s the perfect task to unwind. It keeps you active and your brain engaged on the task in hand, giving you time to distract yourself from the worries and troubles of everyday life.

Sharing a meal with your family and loved ones is a wonderful way to end your day. Unwinding over cooking means you can enjoy a relaxing meal, without feeling rushed and stressed.  

Carolyn Byron Cookbook 2016 perfect self-care rituals

An early night

Sometimes you’ve got nothing left to give the day. On these occasions you need to shut out the world and take an early night.

Whenever I do this I make sure I’ve got fresh linen on the bed, a good book and some lavendar under my pillow. This magical mix creates the most refreshing sleep.

 

Get Active

Being active is awesome for those times when our mind is racing but we’re physically tired. A good workout to get your heart pumping works wonders!

Whether I’m dancing to music in the house, meeting up with friends for a jog or going to a class, taking this time to focus on moving and having fun is amazing for clearing my head and keeping healthy.

At the moment I’m loving pilates classes at Equinox gym, NYC. Such a productive way to wind down.

 

Candles

This may seem over-simplistic, but never underestimate the power of a good scented candle. I’m addicted! A fantastic addition to a relaxing bath, a good read or even whilst making lists and organising my thoughts.

 perfect self-care rituals candle

Lighting my candles is a little self-care ritual that just puts my mind at ease. Having them in the background creates a relaxing vibe and really helps me switch off.

 

How do you unwind after a stressful day? Get in touch on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I love hearing from you guys!

5 Fabulous Foodies to Follow on Instagram

I love using Instagram to connect with other amazing chefs around the world.

I’m often asked where I get the inspiration for recipes, or where I look when I’m running low on meal ideas. The answer’s very simple: I have a scroll down my Instagram feed.

I follow some wonderful cooks who inspire me in little ways every day. Here are some of this month’s favourites.

@hemsleyhemsley

@Hemsleyhemsley

Let’s start with my good friends the Hemsley sisters. In my opinion Jasmine and Melissa are THE influencers to follow on Instagram. Together, they make healthy eating accessible, fun and glamorous. They never fail to inspire me with food and style (but that’s a whole different blog post!)

@stephanie.h.park

@Stephanie.h.park

Stephanie has such beautiful images; so colorful, vibrant and inspiring. She’s also fantastic for fitness guides – a seriously good account to follow to help you with your New Year’s resolutions.

@a.healthy.nut

@a.healthy.nut

Laura SO helpfully reposts recipes from other healthy food accounts. Great for those of us that don’t have time to continuously search for ideas. Follow this account to start developing a fantastic foodie feed and connecting with people all over the world. Beautiful!

@heijalaura

@heijalaura

Speaking of finding new accounts, I found this account via @a.healthy.nut! Laura’s from Finland and posts such pretty images. Very smoothie based, with some delicious sounding flavor combinations. This account is brilliant for breakfast inspiration.

@mindful_moose

@mindful_moose

Jess is a vegan blogger who loves her desserts – I adore a fellow sweet tooth! I really enjoy following vegan accounts, I find they come up with the most creative recipes and use ingredients in ways I’ve never thought of before.

@rawspirations

@rawspirations

Plant based recipes, avoiding gluten and refined sugar. Perfect! Sabrina takes it back to basics in a delicious way and her black bean brownies are to die for – seriously, try them.

 

Those are my favourite Instagram accounts at the moment. What foodies are inspiring you? Tried any amazing recipes? I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch @simplycaro.

When does healthy eating become unhealthy?

Since realising I was gluten-intolerant I’ve become more conscious of everything I eat and truly believe that food is medicine.

In some sense, we really are what we eat. I have experienced first hand how changing to a gluten-free diet can be transformational. But lately I’ve become worried about some of the healthy eating advice being put out there, and thought I’d share with you my views on a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t cut out food

This seems to be a piece of advice that’s handed out very readily.

Get rid of dairy, don’t eat fat, abolish sugar from your diet. Each and every healthy eating guru seems to have a different stance about what’s poisoning our bodies. Who should we believe, and who should we follow?

I don’t cut anything out of my diet that isn’t directly linked to a health disposition. I don’t think it’s healthy or realistic. I don’t eat gluten due to health reasons and, apart from moral objections, I can’t see any other reason to never eat a particular food or food group again.

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and knowledge. The more you understand what your body needs, the better you can feed it. Of course I don’t eat dairy in every meal and yes I try to steer away from refined sugars. But I’m aware of, and welcome, the health benefits that come from different types of food and eating them in moderation.

Vary your diet

This is something that actually makes me sad.

Food is so wonderful! There are countless cuisines across the world with exciting new flavors for us to try and to inspire our cooking. Fusions to be created, and flavor combinations to change your food world. So why, oh why, would you limit yourself to the same meals day in day out?

I’ve seen health advice that advocated having roughly 10 tried and tested healthy meals over a month repeatedly. Varying your diet is key to ensure you’re getting all the right nutrients and energy from your food. It allows you to dip in and out of different food groups and ensure you’re getting everything you need to stay healthy and happy. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous with your meal times – that’s part of the joy of eating and cooking.

No cheats or shortcuts

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been tempted by a regretful quick fix diet, or thought I’d found the secret to being healthy. But the fact is there are no shortcuts. There are no cheats. There’s no magic. This is an illusion conjured up by the weight loss industry.

Being healthy is a lifestyle, it’s not a diet. The goal of living healthily isn’t to be thin, it’s to feel nourished, energized and happy. If the dietary advice you’re following isn’t doing that, then it really isn’t worth it.

When do you think healthy eating becomes unhealthy? Let’s talk – tweet me!

How to Eat Healthily Whilst Travelling

Vacations are a time for relaxing, experiencing new cultures and getting away from your day-to-day life. Perhaps even escaping colder climes for some Winter sun.

You should return home feeling fresh, rejuvenated and educated; not exhausted and ballooned from eating terribly.

Only eating indulgently isn’t actually much of treat. It really takes a toll on your body and you could feel the repercussions for weeks. There are ways to ensure you have the best possible trip and feel great, without missing out on the good stuff.

caroline-byron-vacation-swinsuit

Plan ahead

Use forums, trip planners, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to ask questions. This is incredibly useful if, like me, you have dietary requirements that require even more thought. Being gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo or Vegetarian highlights the importance of planning even more!

Thankfully, due to a little thing known as the internet, the world is a much more connected place and people are very willing to help. You’ll find that if a restaurant is very accommodating to dietary needs and serves delicious food, it has excellent word of mouth – people want to shout about it as they had such a good experience there. Equally when you return home, you should do the same and help other wary travellers!

Pack snacks

Never leave the house without something to eat. I always travel with a combination of nuts, seeds, grapes, berries or dried fruits. Finding a local market and detouring to them before you make excursions is a must.

Being too hungry leads you to make bad decisions – an empty stomach equates to an empty head! Having snacks to tide you over may save you from opting for foods that induce sugar rush, or perhaps aren’t the best option for your gluten-free needs.

grape-punnets

Picnic basket    

Taking a picnic on a day trip is a fantastic was to enjoy your beautiful new surroundings and really get to know your temporary home.

Supermarkets have a lot more choice than restaurants. You can put together a healthy menu of all your favorite foods – it’s often a bit mis-matched and thrown together, but that really won’t matter. After those long walks you’ll just be desperate for some sustenance!

The healthier the picnic the more energy you’ll get from it, making your days longer and even more enjoyable.

The odd treat

There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself a treat now and then. A couple per week is perfect, and will make it easier to maintain a healthy diet for the rest of your vacation because you won’t feel like you’re abstaining. That’s never a good feeling!

My favorite holiday treat was pistachio gelato in Portofino by the pool. It was the most amazing holiday – and such beautiful ice cream!

I’d love to hear about your travels. Get in touch on Facebook or Instagram.