By Aoife Delaney
HEALTH & WELL-BEING:
The Real Deal to Real Self-Care
Karen Brar, Nourished Union
It dawned on me the other day, after seeing yet another article about “The Importance of Self-Care”, that this popularized term, now has a soft connotation to it. This notion of taking care of yourself, has somehow been reduced to burning incense, taking bubble baths, and lighting candles... and, losing all focus on the real value and purpose.
And so, I feel compelled to remind people that while bubble baths and candles are great, and often enjoyable, self-care in its truest form, comes from the ancient philosophies of yoga and ayurveda - where they were interested in preserving the health of the body to attain their greater purpose - achieving enlightenment. Whatever your purpose is today... whether to simply survive the day, achieve the next level of income bracket, purchase a new house or luxury item, create memories with family and friends or to truly make your mark in the world in a meaningful way - we need to ensure we are physically and mentally at our best, so we can live longer and achieve our goals. And with this, means taking actual time in your day for you. To care for your body and mind (as well as your senses and emotions), so you can be at your best throughout the days.
But what does that mean - take time for yourself? Well, that is entirely up to you. When working with clients, I notice that most are rarely, if ever taking time for themselves. They're too busy focused on meeting a work deadline, getting the kids out the door for school/activities and barely scraping together a balanced dinner, that they often say to me “I have no time for myself”. And this is likely true. We can always fill our days with things to do, and I challenge you to consider that each of those things are a choice. Choosing is where we need to begin. So starting by choosing you, will get you on the path to real self-care and living a healthy life that will lead toward your purpose. Commit to yourself by rearranging your schedule, and stepping away from EVERYTHING (work, family, personal life) for a minimum of 20-30 min / EACH DAY (eventually working up to an hour). That's right, each and every day! Carving out and prioritizing this time for you.
First, put it in the calendar. Block out time that you know you can commit to DAILY, and be uber protective of this time. Never double book, never reschedule. This is YOUR time. This is about making yourself better and stronger, so you can be your best at everything else you do.
From there, consider the joys and passions you care about. Dive deeper into a hobby that you've lost touch with, or pick up the hobby you always said you would get to. Learning and growing is a great way to expand your mind, and build motivation and confidence for your overall self. Other ways that will help you to connect back with yourself include journaling and reflecting. Connecting to your goals and intentions, as well as connecting to what you're grateful for in your daily life, provide clarity, focus and charged energy to continue to work towards your vision. In addition, we need to make space for our mind and body to sit in quiet. To process our experiences and be open to new ones. Practicing mindfulness through meditation and yoga are great tools to connect back to your deeper self through breath, body and mind.
And for those who do love their bubble baths - continue with this. Maybe add some calming music in the background, and explore essential oils that help to calm the nervous system (like lavender and frankincense), while taking time to connect in with your breath. TIP: Anytime you feel overwhelmed, lengthen your exhale a little longer than your inhale. This will signal to your nervous system to calm down. A great practice to do daily, so your autonomic system learns to breath deeper more often, thus starting to better manage overall life stresses.
And to gain additional release of tension, I love practicing self-massage. This will help release any lingering pain or physical holding in the body. Below is a great homemade Peppermint Foot Cream for tired feet. Whatever you do throughout the day, our feet take the brunt of it! Our feet are the gateway to our souls - they hold much of our life's history. By physically touching the feet through massage, we connect with our deeper sense of self, and open up the pathways for greater health and wellness.
So whatever forms of self-care you chose, be sure to always check in with yourself to understand your overall needs at the time. If you're in a time of more stress, find ways to prioritize this self care in a loving and nurturing way. In times of focus and energy, be sure to continue your learning journey. Wherever you are, stay connected with yourself (mind, body, emotions, AND senses), so you can enjoy each day to the fullest!
Peppermint Foot Cream
This foot cream has a great cooling sensation as it soothes tired feet. The combination of aloe and peppermint feels tingly and refreshing. Plus an aromatherapy blend of lavender and peppermint clears your mind, offering a sense of relaxation - great for your feet AND for your spirit, helping you to relax, reset and recharge.
Massage onto clean, dry feet until fully absorbed. For extra-deep moisturizing, put on a pair of clean socks and let the cream soak in overnight.
The Real Deal to Real Self-Care
By Karen Brar, Nourished Union
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