The last couple of weeks have been immensely stressful due to both work and my personal life. I started to notice that my days and weeks were seemingly passing by in the blink of an eye and it was primarily the after hours activities and “everyday condo living responsibilities” which were consuming all my time. If and when I had time leftover, I would only then slide in some self care time for myself. I looked ahead in my calendar and despite the fact that it was only the beginning of summer, MOST of my weekends being fully booked out until mid-September.
I was burnt out.
I decided it was about time to put myself first and I came up with 3 weekday self care pick-me-ups that I can do sporadically throughout the week to pick up my energy and to ultimately treat myself better!
1) Restorative Yoga – I purposely didn’t call this blog post “3 Week NIGHT Self Care Pick-Me-Ups…” because I actually prefer doing restorative yoga first thing in the morning. I start off my routine by finding a different “Yoga / Spa Music” on Youtube as background music and spend 20-30 seconds holding each pose. The restorative yoga sequence I use most frequently is this one from popsugar.com but I change it up here and there with some stretches I learned from my BodyFlow classes at Goodlife Fitness. Restorative Yoga leaves me feeling energized to start my day!
2) Make yourself a bubble bath with a side of your favourite tea – The first thing I do when I come home is light all my Bath & Body Work Candles. The two that I purchase the most often are the Mineral Springs 3 wick candle and the Bergamot Water 3 wick candle. I generally prefer scents that are a bit more light & mineral-y. For the bubbles, I use Zoella Beauty Soak Opera Bath & Shower Cream which might be pretty hard to find in Canada as they’re sold in the UK so a good alternative I use is the British Rose Pedal Soft Bath Foam from the Body Shop! Once the tub is filled with water, I add a few slices of oranges, boil some water and prepare myself a cup of hot Shell Ginger Tea from Kokoro Care Packages.
Kokoro Care Packages is a subscription box service that delivers premium quality, all natural Japanese foods straight from Japan to customers worldwide. They deliver to 34 countries including Canada. These care packages are really well thought out and each box includes a story behind the beautiful region where the food came from and the people who passionately produce them. Kokoro care package works directly with local supplies in Japan to ensure their products are naturally made and many cannot be found outside of Japan.
How does it work? There are 2 care packages to choose from: a monthly subscription or a a seasonal subscription that delivers every 3 months when the season change (March, June, September and December). If you’re not sure and want to try the subscription once, there is an option on their website as “gift” that enables customers to purchase the package as a one time payment and it does not auto-renew. Once the frequency is decided all you do is just wait! The care package, filled with premium quality Japanese foods will be rdelivered straight to your door step
Kokoro’s June Care Package featured Japanese foods from Okinawa – Japan’s southern most tropical island. Okinawa is a chain of islands with its own history, unique culture and language and some magnificent beaches with stunning blue waters and coral reefs. Okinawa was originally an independent kingdom known as the Ryukyu Islands and was a tributary state to China. It became a Japanese prefecture in 1879, yet has still maintained its own culture, cuisine and language that is distinctly different from the rest of Japan.
This is what I received in my June Kokoro Care Package:
Shell Ginger Tea, a part of the ginger family, is a plant commonly used in Okinawa cuisine and as a traditional herbal medicine. This tea is locally grown on an Okinawan farm and contains no caffeine and has 34 times more polyphenols than red wine. It’s aroma is used to help relax your nerves and has been known to improve sleep quality.
Raw Ponzo Umami Dashi, is a versatile citrus sauce that can be described as a mix between a light soy sauce and a vinaigrette. This ponzu combines Moromi black vinegar from Ishigaki Island with mackerel, shiitake mushrooms and kombu to give it a true island umami taste. It will add a delightful citrus flavor to any of your favorite dishes while enhancing the flavors of the ingredients. It can be used as a dressing, dip, seasoning or sauce.
Ishigaki Gourmet Chili Oil, a sweet and spicy chili oil is said to be the original catalyst for the gourmet oil phenomenon in Japan. It was created on Ishigaki Island with the Okinawan philosophy of “Nuchigusui” which means “life’s medicine” – a concept that describes how food, relationships and meaningful connections can create a happy, long lived life. It combines a variety of unique local island spices and seasonings including local sweet and spicy chilis, turmeric, salt from the sea of Ishigaki, Okinawan black sugar, garlic, sesame seeds, black beans and a dash of “chimuguru”, the heart and soul of the Okinawan spirit.
Purple Potato Chips – The Okinawan sweet potato is made up almost 70% of the centenarian’s diet and is thought to be one of the reasons for their longevity. Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C, the purple potato also has 150% more antioxidants than blueberries. These Okinawan purple potato chips are thickly cut and vacuum fried in low temperatures to preserve the taste and nutritional value. They have a delectable crunch and a wonderful sweet taste.
Kokuto (Black Sugar) is one of the most popular foods from Okinawa and can be found everywhere throughout the islands (the sugarcane crop makes up about half the farming land in Okinawa). It’s made by slowly boiling sugar cane juice to achieve a complex and dynamic sweet taste. Kokuto has an elegant liquorice-like flavor and is considered a healthier option to regular sugar as it contains high levels of calcium, iron, and vitamin B. It’s also thought to support intestinal and liver function. These adorable packages have local designs which represent a different Okinawa island and it’s unique culture.
3) Treat yourself to your favourite home made meal. I recently tried Cactus Club’s Tuna Poke Bowl for the first time and it inspired me to make my version of it at home! Instead of tuna I used salmon sashimi and replacing the rice, I opted for Kokoro Care Package’s Mozuku Udon. Okinawa mozuku is characterized by its thick chewy texture, and contains many minerals and nutrients (including calcium, magnesium, folic acid and fucoidan). These Okinawan mozuku noodles are made from two simple ingredients: mozuku produced in Iheya Island in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa and wheat flour produced in Tokachi, Hokkaido. Raw mozuku accounts for about 30% of noodles, giving it a smooth and springy texture. No salt, preservatives or chemicals are added.
GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCMENT – Head over to my instagram for my details about my Kokoro Care Package giveaway. You can find the post here.
Do you like monthly subscription services, such as Kokoro Care Packages as much as I do? Let me know in the comments why you would you want to receive a subscription box from Kokoro Care Packages & what your self care pick-me-ups are 🙂
Written by Grace Yeung
Edited by Eden Yeung
This post was done in partnership with Kokoro Care Packages but gracelisamay.com remains unbiased in our content.