Let’s face it y’all: it’s a weird world out there sometimes! Whether you’re struggling with pressures from work, family, social life, or any number of internal struggles, it can be easy to become burnt-out or just frustrated AF, pretty quickly. However, by turning inwards and checking in with yourself on a spiritual level, you’re addressing all of these areas of your life from a nurturing and compassionate lens. Here are several easy ways to deepen your connection with yourself, be your own pillar and thus offer more solid, positive vibes to the world around you, in your actions and reactions to the daily BS.

While these tips are not necessarily universal and are not fundamental to a healthy relationship with yourself, it’s these moments of care that turn your internal desires for peace into practice. Feel free to take bits and pieces from these principles that resonate with you in order to create your own version of zen.

Take a bath or shower mindfully.

Right out of the gate, cleansing yourself is the first step in any spiritual practice. Although spirituality incorporates intangible or ethereal means of improving the self, taking care of your physical body is first and foremost on a path towards expansion on any level. Yeah, we all know it’s essential to proper hygiene to shower at least once a week – JK guys, do it daily (ish), obviously. But by doing it mindfully, taking time to think about it as less of a chore than a method of self-care and compassion towards yourself, you can expand the way you go about your physical existence in a practical yet holistic way.

Taking a calming bath is the easiest way to practice this principal. Not only are you cleansing yourself, it’s a relaxation technique and by adding a few drops of essential oils (bergamot, lavender and lemongrass are several for stress relief), you may find yourself rinsing and releasing on a mental level as well. If you don’t have a tub, take your time while showering to also cleanse your mind. Use the water as a metaphorical tool to consciously wash off negativity, release yourself from any burdens that don’t belong to you and refresh yourself for your own well-being. There are plenty of ways to detox, but overall, water is an extremely powerful element that is essential to life on a spiritual and physical level.

Burn incense or use sage to clear your space.

For centuries, incense has been used in spiritual practice around the world and is beneficial to open up, encourage deep thinking, increase positivity and stimulate creativity in your everyday life. Whether you do it just for the airy scents or to expand your awareness, the act of lighting incense can create an atmosphere to welcome all of your most positive habits. You can also use incense to set the mood for other things, and amplify the spiritual intention behind practices like yoga, tai chi, meditation or just to unwind with some sweet, sweet Netflix and chill.

If you’re a sensitive person who is highly receptive to the moods and energies of others, you might consider buying some sage “smudge sticks” at your local esoteric shop as well. Along the lines of incense, the spiritual properties of burning sage help clear away negative energies and “detoxify” the space around you on a spiritual level. When you light sage, open all the windows, set your intentions – whether it’s to cleanse your aura, wipe away the energies from the day or clear a space for yourself to just dance around and be yourself, and let this ancient magical plant do its thing while you elevate and celebrate who you truly are.

Connect with nature!

Calm yourself and broaden your spiritual practice by appreciating what naturally is, on this planet. Go for a quick walk outside in the fresh air, look at some trees, visit a park, pet an animal, eat clean organic products if you can afford it, drink loads of water, buy some crystals! Oftentimes, in our increasingly digitized world, we can lose contact with the essence of our physical bodies and the fact that each and every one of us is innately connected to Mother Earth. In re-aligning with nature and increasing this quiet and peaceful awareness, we can re-connect the mind and body in a deeper sort of way. It’s not just a flower-child life hack; you don’t have to frolic barefoot through the forest or eat Okra for every meal (although you can absolutely do this, I mean yes) – nature is accessible to each and every person, inwardly and outwardly.

On a tangible level, this can be as simple as keeping up with your eco-friendly habits, i.e. being a conscious consumer in ways that need not impede the natural environment – a little “hey, how are you, sorry” to Mother Nature, filling up your humble abode with plants or going out into nature every once in a while to feel the breeze and reconnect yourself with the Earth element.

Meditate or pray.

Yes, meditation and prayer are essential and highly beneficial part of spiritual practice. If you’re feeling pressured to meditate, don’t be; there is no correct way to meditate and you don’t need to beat yourself up over it. Remember that there are many ways to meditate. There are meditation apps that walk you through how to meditate and why, you can do a simple search on YouTube for guided meditations or meditation music, chants and mantras, you can meditate while gazing into a flame or you can even try more active meditations that engage body and mind through walking meditations or the ancient Chinese practice of Qigong meditation. The key is to take a few minutes to practice being, instead of doing. The ultimate goal of meditation is not to stop oneself from thinking altogether, but encourage an overall more kind relationship with your thoughts, knowing that your mind will wander from time to time, not judging yourself and staying present in your physical body for the duration of your meditation practice.

Also, after you meditate or pray, feel free to find something to jot down a few notes about the experience. This simple practice, whether several minutes or hours per day, can greatly benefit your spiritual practice, create space for the mind and increase your self-awareness on the road to self-knowing. It need not be that grandiose or overstated; find the meditation practice that fits for you, feel out what your intentions are, and how you imagine the practice improving your life – it’s for you to decide.

Give back.

One of the clearest ways to increase your spiritual practice is to give back to others. Kindness is the key to a peaceful and powerfully positive life. Whether it’s giving your love and attention to someone, making someone laugh, offering your time or energy to helping someone in need or donating money to a cause you believe in, these acts of respect and love towards humanity increase your spiritual self by feeding your positive connection with the world around you. It’s like the ripple effect: the more positive energy you put out, the more it will be amplified outwards and eventually come back to you in the end. It works with giving to yourself as well; the more energy and love you give to yourself, the more you can project this outwards, so you’re offering a stronger and more empowered you to those who need you.

Try out these spiritual practices and #bless your own life. Take care of yourself out there!