3 Latinx Self-Care Rituals That Center Your Wellness & Culture
Parenting is hard. Show yourself some love with these Latinx traditions that have been passed down for generations.
By Zayda Rivera
While various Latinx communities may be filled with distinct cultural beliefs and customs, collectively we often struggle with the concept of self-care. Many believe it appears to be selfish and takes time away from caring for family members, but more and more Latinx parents have awakened, realizing that they need to prioritize their own mental health and wellness. Not just for themselves but their family as well. After all, parents deserve self-love as a reminder that their role in life is far greater than raising children. And since children often mimic what their caretakers do (good or bad), by watching us prioritize self-love, they’ll see the importance of prioritizing their own. The beauty is that by choosing rituals that are rooted in our culture our families can continue to grow as individuals and keep culture alive for generations to come.
But while many may get scared when they hear the word “self-care” it doesn’t have to mean a week-long retreat (although don’t be scared of those either). Whether it’s a few minutes daily, weekly, or even monthly, make it known to your family that your care time is non-negotiable.
Here’s 3 Latinx Rituals to Show Yourself Some Love
Baños and Limpias
Also known as spiritual baths, baños and limpias are deeply embedded in Latinx traditions. They can be used for many different reasons, including removing stagnant or negative energy, calling in love, or setting a self-love intention.
How: It’s a combination of herbs, flowers, spiritual colognes like Florida Water and Rue Water, and may even include fruit, essential oils, and various salts like Epsom salt or sea salt. The ingredients are added to a bath filled with water, or the herbs and flowers can be placed in a pot of boiling water to simmer for 10 to 15 mins and then cooled down. Once cool, the water is then strained before pouring it into bath water or over your head and body while standing in the shower. Get the kids involved by having them help select the flowers and herbs that will be used. Let their little hands get in there and mix the bath water with the ingredients as they set their own intention for this special baño.
For centuries our indigenous ancestors have practiced smudging, a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. By utilizing tools to represent the four elements— water, earth, fire, and air — you can shed whatever no longer serves you and renew your energy, an optimal sign of self-love.
How: A shell, which represents the water element, is filled with a sacred plant like sage, sweetgrass, tobacco, or cedar. This is the earth element. The plant is then ignited to create a fire element, preferably with a wooden match, and then gently blown out, producing smoke— the air element. The smoke is believed to contain the power to heal your mind, body, and heart, and cleanse your energy, leaving you feeling overjoyed and filled with love. The kiddos will benefit just as much as you. Normalize spiritual cleansing by doing it while they’re involved in everyday activities like watching cartoons or playing with toys and explain how this sacred ritual is intended to protect them and their home.
Latinx culture has deep roots in organized religions that heavily involve prayer— and according to the Oxford Dictionary, meditation is a form of mental prayer. When you go inward the intention is to quiet the mind and tune in to your spirit. As you do this, you may find a deeper connection to the Divine presence in your life, as well as with ancestors, spiritual guides, sacred ones, and animal spirits. Daily meditation practice has been credited with relieving stress, better sleep, less anxiety, and overall happiness. What better way to say I love you to yourself than that?
How: Meditation can take on many forms. You can sit in stillness or meditate while walking or even in the shower. You can meditate in silence, with music, or by listening to a meditation guide. Whichever you choose can be done as a family. With small children it’s important to tap into their imagination. Have them lie down and close their eyes, imagining they are a bear cub laying in the sun. With their eyes closed, ask them to stay as quiet as possible as they try to hear all the sounds around them. Without even realizing it, they’re meditating.