I don't know about you but sometimes I look at some of the selfcare tips and articles and they actually stress me out. I know that it's important to practice good selfcare, but how to juggle that with a busy life?
Not long ago I came up with some ideas for keeping Selfcare simple, making it work with my schedule so as to not be more stressful. Stress has a negative impact upon heart health and so it seemed ridiculous to me to be stressing out about my own selfcare.
When I first thought about my selfcare I created a list (yes, I'm one of those) of all the things that to me, were selfcare essentials that fit. That list was daunting in itself. I decided to take just 4 items from the list, that were important to me and make those my priority. Here is what I've been practicing...
Quiet Coffee Time
Not a morning person, I value quiet time when I first rise. My first selfcare essential was to recognize that...it's part of who I am. Also a coffee hound (only 2 cups a day but they must be good cups), I began taking the steps to set up the coffee maker the night before so that in the morning my coffee was ready and I could sit quietly in my space. Each morning I verbally thank myself for taking a few minutes the night before to do this. It may seem simplistic, but I began to notice a change in my thoughts in taking the few seconds to be thankful for my selfcare.
A recent move to Calgary has meant my skin adapting to the drier climate. Putting lotion on my skin has never been a priority as I've never really dealt with dry skin before...but now I have no choice, it can get so dry it hurts. Just taking the time to moisturize can be a moment of selfcare. For a few moments it takes you out of your head and connects you with your physical body. You can further the selfcare energy of this time by thinking or saying positive things about your body.
An example would me my gratitude for the strength in my hands and arms. It allows me to continue doing this work that I love, and also means I can give and receive strong, warm hugs.
I took this selfcare ritual further by purchasing a naturally scented lotion. I love the smell of roses. The scent calms and centres me and leaves me feeling peaceful. So that few moments of moisturizing with rose scented lotion makes me feel nurtured physically and emotionally.
I do find, with my work being so physical, that at the end of my work day I am tired. Once every couple of months I put aside a day to make healthy and nutritious freezer meals. Such a treat when I get home and can just pop something into the oven! I feel so much gratitude for my having the foresight to make sure I am eating healthy meals. I make ahead meals for breakfast and lunches as well so that throughout the day I am feeding my body well.
And my fourth daily ritual for selfcare is drinking something natural and healthy before going to bed. I try to end my day in the same quiet contemplative space that I started it with.
The benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and natural Honey are many (the picture shows a few). While I sip I take a few moments to think about a few things I'm grateful for from the day and I thank myself for taking some time to take these steps toward selfcare.
Those are my four daily selfcare steps...which may not seem like a lot but have had a huge impact in reducing my stress levels and increasing self esteem. I'm grateful to myself for taking the time to do just these things. It has encouraged me to do more in the way of selfcare on those days that I have time, but to not let it stress me out if this is all that I get done.
Have you made the Selfcare list? How can you make it simpler for you?
Did you know that when we take the time for selfcare we teach our children how important it is?
Something I hear from others, but also experience myself is the way in which misunderstanding, hurt and hard feelings come about through the lack of emotion when communicating through technology. When reading a text or other message we tend to interpret what we think the sender is expressing, but we do so through our own filter. That filter through which we see and hear others, is what we've developed through our past experiences in communicating with the world...but, is it true?
In order for it to be true we would have to have had the exact same experiences that the sender has had in their lifetime, and have dealt with those experiences in a similiar way. Yes, there are life experiences for which we can empathize with or share the joy of, but we still do that through our perception.
When communicating face to face, and really listening to another (and I don't mean listening to respond, but really hearing) we have the benefit of facial expression, hand gestures, body language, touch and tone of voice. It creates clarity in communication and the opportunity to ask questions to be sure that you are truly understanding another.
As a hands on therapist I have that opportunity to clearly hear what a client is saying in regards to issues they may be having with their health. I'm able to watch how they are moving, listen to their tone of voice and see their facial expressions.
What I find is that it is more often those personal interactions that are shifted to technology, as we find ourselves busier and busier in our day to day lives, and often relating from a distance. The communication with those that are the most important to us, our friends and family, are left open to the misunderstandings that can be created through our filters. While I see this causing stress in clients lives, I feel it in my own as well.
Many will respond to this dilemma with a shrug and say "well, that is just how the world is now". But is that true? Perhaps it is as simple as picking up the telephone. Granted you only have tone of voice to really listen to, but that at least keeps some of the emotion in communicating. Better yet, if those relationships are important to you then making the time for face to face communication is probably more essential than keeping up with the "busyness" of life. In the long run it is likely that you'll not only experience less stress and negative emotion, but increase the release of the feel good chemicals and endorphins in your body that keep you healthy and vital.
How do you maintain clarity in your communications with others?
How do you make the time in your life for those important, in person conversations?
How do these two things go together?
It's Simplify Your Life Week from August 1 to 7 and what a great focus as this is a topic brought up by clients regularly...more of a wish actually, that they could find a way fo make life simpler.
And really, Reiki and this goal or wish, go hand in hand. Here's why...
When receiving a Reiki session your Body, Mind and Spirit are encouraged to enter a state of deep relaxation. Usually the mind will begin to quiet it's busy, hamster wheel thoughts (for some this takes a little longer) and that is where the magic begins.
Our Soul or Spirit have so many answers to ways in which we can make life easier and simpler for ourselves, it's ego that often gets in the way of that. When the mind becomes quiet, ego is silenced and we have the amazing opportunity to listen to the messages soul/spirit have been trying to relay. The quiet time puts life into better perspective and often, spirit will assist us in finding a way to simplify life in unique and creative wasy we wouldn't have otherwise thought of.
It really can be as simple as that!
Teresa Graham, RMT is a Reiki Master and has offered both Reiki sessions and Reiki Classes for more than 20 years. Reiki is an integral part of everyday life. Learn more about Reiki sessions here
One of my passions is gardening and I like to keep up with it all summer long and into the Fall, but that takes some body selfcare to make sure that it happens. Here are some of the things I practice so that body pain doesn't grow, the garden does...
Here's the list of things I make sure I have before starting my day out in the dirt:
Water, lots of it
*Epsom Salts for the end of day
*Knee pads because as you know, gardening is hard on them
*A Chair in the shade
Be realistic about your garden goals for the day as your body can only do so much and you don't want to end up injured and on my Massage Therapy table the next day...or maybe you do!
Listen to your body as you go along and take breaks or at least check in every hour or so
Body Posture, Body Mechanics and Body Rest
Be sure to end your gardening day without back pain by remembering to bend from your knees when lifting and using long handled tools and being as close as you can to your project. Keep yourself in pelvic tilt, low back long to protect yourself
Use knee pads to spare the pressure on your joints for weeding, seeding and other on the ground garden work
Every hour or two take 5 minutes to stretch your muscles, replenish your fluids, sit down in the shade.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I certainly can't emphasize enough just how important water is for your body. Hydration plays a key role in your body's ability to function well. When gardening or participating in other outdoor activities, our body loses water through increased respiration and sweating...that needs to be replaced.
Treat Your Body With End of Day Selfcare
You've had a workout, your muscles have had a workout and it's time to rewards with some body selfcare! Muscles love hot moist heat as it increases the circulation of blood and therefore nutrients as well as encourages them to release toxins. They also love an extra dose of Magnesium after a workout and there is no faster delivery system than through the pores of the skin. So take a soak in the tub, through in a cup or two of epsom salts, pour yourself an extra glass of water and slip in. Your muscles will thank you for it
If you're still sore the next day book in for your Massage Therapy session with me in Calgary!
Whether you love your job or would rather do something else, the night of your last day off before the work week begins can be stressful when thinking about the week ahead, what needs to get done and finding the time.
My days off are Sunday and Monday and each Monday night I have a ritual, it's something I've been doing for years and it ensures that my week ahead will be smoother.
First the practical stuff...
Coffee is my get up and go juice, it's likely an addiction but really, I don't care. I really enjoy that first cup in the morning (I only allow myself 2 a day). I know that if I take the time to sit and sip then my day will go well. So on Sunday night I set up the coffee maker for the morning AND grind enough coffee for the week so that I can selfcare each morning.
I also take a wander through the fridge and cupboards and in my head figure out the meals for the week. I make sure that what is there will meet my nutrition needs and for the longer work days, will be easy to prep.
And then of course, given the work that I do, there is the nail care. Making sure that my nails are trimmed and short so that I don't knick or scratch a client's skin during their sessions this week.
There's also the mundane...checking that the clothes are clean and ready, the linen for clients session is washed and folded...
While meditation is a regular habit, I take some extra time with visualization the night before my work week begins. Lighting scented candles that I love and putting on some quiet back ground music I make myself really comfortable. This has become an invaluable practice in easing into the first day back and being in a space to give my clients the best of myself throughout the week.
What do I visualize? The work week ahead going smoothly and easily where clients receive the best care that I can give them, Sending positive energy ahead to the clinic so that as I walk into my workspace it feels really good from the get go and that will reflect upon my mood when working with clients, visualizing my days filled with clients as I do something that is my absolute passion!
And with those pictures in my mind I breathe deeply and settle into bed just a little earlier than needed with a book and a cup of tea, knowing that the week ahead will be fabulous!
What tips and tricks do you have to set your work week off right?
Do you take the time to visualize?
AND then there is our mindset...going from the confines of indoors to the spacious outdoors. Yes, even our emotions are affected by this new found liberation.
Throughout the month of June you will find a series of articles to not only prep your body and mind for the great outdoors but also how to maintain so that you can enjoy your passions throughout the summer months. On my Facebook page you'll find daily links and tips to be sure YOU are getting the most out of summer!
How are YOU getting ready for outdoor activities?