We all need and benefit from self-care to feel invigorated and restored, but have you ever thought about tailoring your self-care practices to the various phases of the moon? It's an interesting concept and there just might be something to it. We synced up with a few astrologers to give us the lowdown on these lunar phases and how to sync your self-care with each accordingly, so read on to learn more.
The moon and its energies
Fun fact: The various phases that the moon goes through not only affect the way we visually see it, but also the way we feel. "The moon casts a magnetic pull on the earth — stirring up the tides as well as the waters and emotions within," says Rebecca Gordon, professional astrologer (she also created this unique Astrological Body Scan to align your body and health with the stars which you can check out here.) Ashley Cramer, a fully-initiated Pampamesayok shaman, mystical wellness entrepreneur and founder of Lunar Alignment, a membership to all things lunar astrology, adds that during a lunar cycle, the moon goes through four major phase changes which are like a weekly reminder from the universe to take some time for yourself.
Tatiana Borsch, renowned Russian astrologer and writer who predicted the crises of 2020, tells Lively that the moon is hidden during the new moon phase and so we’re unable to see it. "When the sky is dark, it's like energetic blank space to plant seeds and grow your dreams — the new moon's gentle, quiet energy connects you with your inner wisdom and your intuition is highly activated," explains Cramer, adding that journaling your intentions is a great self-care activity to partake in during this phase. "This isn't your everyday journaling, so make it a special new moon ritual — set the mood with candles, flowers or anything that inspires you, and limit distractions like your phone notifications," she says. Jot down as many intentions as you'd like and really visualize each intention and feel what your life will be like when they manifest. Cramer suggests ending this ritual by thanking for universe for "what has been, what is now, and what is coming in your future."
Borsch also points out that during the new moon phase, people might start to complain about feeling weak, mentally imbalanced or fatigued. "It is best to avoid too much activity or overwhelming yourself during this period — gentle self-care is ideal," she notes.
When you see the D-shaped moon in the sky — the waxing moon — commit to action. Gordon advises that now is the time to move forward on your vision and intentions. However, Cramer also points out that in this moon’s energy, you may feel self-doubt or restlessness. "Expanding the vision of your life is scary for your ego, which wants you to stay safe by continuing to do what's familiar to you — taking action during this phase can be as simple as making a list or taking one small step towards an intention. As these small movements continue to build, you'll increase your self-worth and momentum."
For a creative self-care idea, Cramer suggests making an altar as a sort of physical vision board for the energetic work you're doing. "When it comes to how you build your altar, there are no rules — just follow your intuition and find a space where you can keep the altar for the rest of the lunar cycle or longer," she explains. Then, fill this space with items that represent your intentions (i.e. crystals, photographs, words from magazines, etc.) and visit this altar whenever you want to reconnect to these intentions.
Clarisse Monahan, astrologer, adds that the waxing moon is increasing in light and strength, so you'll generally have more energy to burn during workouts — now would be a good time to amp up those HIIT sessions. Interestingly, she also mentions that the moon during this phase affects hair growth, so you may want to do a quick trim during the waxing moon for hair that'll grow back stronger.
When the moon is bright in the sky, it's time for a self check-in and Cramer says the moon during this phase will help shine a light on what’s bringing you closer to or further away from your intentions. "The full moon is the climax of a lunar cycle and carries the energy of release," she notes. "Sometimes the moon asks you to look for what's hiding in the shadows and to release what doesn't serve you — other times, it calls you to celebrate accomplishments and how far you've come."
Cramer suggests taking a moon bath as a self-care ritual during this phase. "You can make a simple moon bath with three ingredients — a piece of rose quartz for self-love and heart chakra opening, lavender for peace (a big pinch of dried lavender or 5-10 drops of essential oil), and approximately two cups of Epsom salt for easing tension," she advises. When you're settled in the bath, take 10 rounds of deep breaths and let yourself drift into a meditative state, observing the emotions and thoughts that come up as you soak. She says that when you feel complete, imagine whatever you want to release going into the water and know that it's washed away as you close your bath ritual by draining the water (if you don't have a tub, Cramer notes you can do a foot bath instead and still get the same benefits.)
For other self-care practice recommendations, Monahan tells Lively that our body, skin and hair are all more absorbent during this time, so it's a great idea to do some deep moisturizing treatments. She, too, recommends a full moon bath for its detoxifying purposes and perhaps adding some apple cider vinegar and Himalayan salt to aid in this process.
The waning moon phase marks the last cycle of the lunar phase and it's time to wrap things up. "The C-shaped moon is the turning point between the full moon and next new moon," says Cramer. "It's time to get really honest with yourself about what limiting beliefs, behaviors, relationships, habits, or emotions are holding you back — letting go of these will free up energy and help you reorient yourself for the next moon cycle." She points out that now would be an ideal time to use sage (that's ethically and sustainably harvested) to clean up your energy field and energetically cleanse away any of those limitations you might have identified.
Monahan adds that this is the most introverted time of the cycle, perfect for massages, colonics, detoxes or facials, and if you feel like a big change for your hair, cut it now as it won't grow back in a hurry. Borsch also highlights that the waning phase is a good point to say goodbye to bad habits as it can potentially be easier during this period.