Self Care

The greatest gift you can give to yourself is your own attention and focus.  What we ignore and neglect ceases to thrive and grow.  We are Universes unto ourselves with dynamic emotional, physical, financial and spiritual ecosystems.  How do we relate to those ecosystems?  How do those ecosystems operate and function?  How do we inventory those systems and nourish them in ways that lead to peace, ease, joy and a sense of well being?  Do we make our own well being a priority?

Much can be said on this topic.  I've compiled a list of tools and resources that can lead to greater self care.  Please feel free to leave comments about your self care regimen.  Please drop some of your own go-to juicy resources with the Inner Light Community in the comments.

Emotions and Feelings

Emotional wellbeing and emotional hygiene are tops on our list. Check out this TED talk for an in depth discussion on the importance of taking care of our emotions. 

To gain clarity, we need to empty our pockets and see what's in them.  What follows are some questions to ask yourself.   You may feel confronted by them.  Some may resonate.  It's ok.  This may be the beginning of new awareness, which can lead to connection, healing and transformation.  Shining the light on how you relate to yourself and your world takes courage so be gentle and kind to yourself for going deeper. 

Spot check Inventory questions

How are you processing your day to day life (ie., at the end of the day, do you journal about how you felt throughout the day - noting what went well and what could have gone better and/or at the beginning of the day do you reflect on the day ahead using a planner)? 

Do you have a nourishing routine that brings you joy? 

Are you feeling fit emotionally, financially, spiritually? 

Are you clear on your financial life? 

Do you have a checking and savings account?

Are you feeling well rested, physically nourished?

Are you a joiner, a part of thriving community?

When was the last time you took a vacation? 

How do you feel about the shoes you're wearing? 

Do you love your pjs? 

When was the last time you exercised in a way you loved (yoga, brisk walking, swimming)?

When was the last time you laughed?

Do you take breaks throughout the day? 

Are you breathing properly? 

Are you isolated, do you keep yourself starved of friendship and companionship?

When was the last time you spent 2-3 hours in nature?

Might you benefit from working with a therapist? 

Is there a support group that can help you work through areas in your life where you feel powerless and stuck? 

Are you of service in the world? 

Do you do one act of kindness (without telling!) per day?

Are you dating? 

When was the last time you told your significant other that you appreciated and loved them? 

Can you set boundaries so that you can take care of your physical, emotional, financial wellbeing?

Do you have a spiritual practice? 

What is your inner dialogue like? 

How do you communicate?

What is the quality of the tone of your voice?

Do you appreciate your children?

Have you expressed your love for them? 

What can you do today to as an act of self love?

Are you forgiving?

Do you need/want a hug?

This brief inventory will enable you to detect ways you feel nourished and areas in your life that may need your care and attention.  What follows are some tools that you can pick up and use today.  Congratulate yourself for your willingness to reflect deeply.

Creating well being

Breathe.  The breath enables life to continue.   It's easy to lose touch with how we're oxygenating our body.  For cleansing breaths, exhale once, fully.  Breathe in while slowly counting to four, feeling the abdomen rise as your diaphragm expands. Pause for two counts, if you're able to, and then exhale for four counts, drawing in the tummy as your lungs deflate. Pause again, aware of your breath.  Repeat this sequence five to 10 times.

Practice gratitude.  There's immediate and immense power that comes with being grateful  for the gifts and blessings in your life.    Because it's doable and portable and contagious.  Think of at least 3 things you're grateful for in your life and share your list with another person each day.  You'll feel the impact instantly. For a closer look at how this works, click here.

Physical:  Getting into a routine that includes a bit of sweat, stimulation, exfoliation, and deep detoxification. Goop has a luscious array of products and service referrals to help you get going.  Brisk walking for 45 minutes per day will spark your creativity, improve your mood and add zest to your sex life.

Meditation.  Meditation is the pathway to peace and presence.  Eckhart Tolle, international bestselling author of The Power of Now, among other books, leads a guided meditation here.

Yoga: There are so many benefits that come with adopting a yoga practice.  The Architecture of Peace is an inspiring film about one man's journey to developing a yoga practice. For more benefits that accompany a yoga practice, see this list.

Bathing.  Taking a bath can be a daily christening of the mind, body and spirit.  Let the warm water hug you and hold you.  Let go.  Flood your body with presence.  Oxygenate.  Be.  Listen.  Soak.   Enjoy. Feel at ease.

Clothing...Do you like your clothing?  If so, thumbs up!  If not, can you ask a trusted friend to go shopping with you?  Add to your wardrobe slowly.  Invest in things that make you feel incredible.  Discard that which is worn out, broken, stained.  

Clutter.  Clutter is merely unmade decisions.  Sounds simple but it's a complicated matter.  Spark Joy came out a couple of years ago.  It's a book by Marie Kondō outlining a method for clearing clutter and keeping only things that bring joy. 

Clearing clutter can literally make space for a new partner, job, project, hobby. It can also just make space for, er, space.  Decluttering is a powerful self care gift that you can give to yourself anytime (or for as long as there's clutter).

Using a dry brush daily, you can support your body’s lymphatic system. (the best time to use the dry-brush is before you shower).  It keeps the skin radiant and exfoliated.

Bouncing on a trampoline is another way to tone your body and support your lymphatic system.

Essential oils:  research shows that simply inhaling lavender can help to shift moods.  Grapefruiteucalyptus, spearmint...Try mixing them with pure, organic coconut oil.

Infusers can be a great self soothing remedy.  You can find an infuser to suit your needs here.

Interpersonal Communication Tools:

Effective communication can aid you in advocating for yourself and others.  We assign meaning to everything, based upon our unique life experience.  It's worth examining how our words are delivered - are we loving, kind, considerate, and non-defensive? What is the tone of our voice like?  Is it tense?  Take a moment and reflect on what you say and the quality of your vocal tone. 

The way we speak and what we say can either create or burn a bridge.  In 2003, Tom Bond, Nellie Bright and Larry Wydro created the Center for Nonviolent Communication in an effort to share the work of Marshall Rosenberg who sought to train individuals and groups in nonviolent ways of communicating in order to create a "compassionate and sustainable world."  They hold classes throughout the world for those wanting to practice nonviolent communication.

Here are 3 TED talks to help you strengthen your communication skills.

Financial

Meeting with a financial planner to gather information might feel good.  Keep track of spending.  Create a savings plan.  Create a monthly and quarterly review.  Create an financial action group with trusted friends.  Giving and receiving support around money matters is a worthy investment of your time and focus.  Clarity is empowering.

Best Apps for financial tracking, according to Tom's Guide. 

Spa Getaways: Because sometimes you need to unplug and restore.

Here's a list of the best spa vacations, according to Travel and Leisure.  

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Present moment

"Start where you are.  This is very important.  Meditation practice is not about later when you get it all together and you're this person you really respect.  You may be the most violent person in the world-that's a fine place to start. That's a very rich place to start-juicy, smelly.  ...Just where you are-that's the place to start." ~Pema Chodron

The present moment.  

Feel it.

It's here.

It's the great equalizer because every living creature has access to it now.  

It's rich with sound, taste, smell, visual food.  

We can take refuge in the present moment, use it as our momentary resting place.  

In it we can breathe. Five breaths in, 5 breaths out.  

How do you access and relate to the present moment?  Please let us know in the comments.