It’s all the buzz! But what is it really? I mean, I don’t have time to sit quiet for hours, nor can my mind get totally clear, so.... I’m not doing it. Sound familiar? We’d like to dispell myths about mindfulness and help you establish your practice of it- after all, 20 minutes per day (does not HAVE to be all at one time) significantly decreases depression and anxiety- so let’s get on it!
I was recently exploring self care practices with a client. There are numerous types and manners in which we can care for ourselves. For example, we may want to practice relaxation. We may want to get grounded, meditate, "come back to ourselves"- or as this client and I were describing, to unhook (shall I say detox?) from others unhealthy energy. We may want to take care of our bodies, perhaps by way of exercising. We may want to nurture our creative side. And so on...
While exploring self care practices with my client, we determined that the actions were there but the intent was missing. Let me explain. She would make and take a detox bath for herself but would get in the bathtub and get right on her iPad. Strength: taking a detox bath (see a great recipe for this below). Concern: she lacked mindfulness; awareness of what she was giving to her mind and body.
No matter how short or simple your act of self care is- formalize it! Come up with an affirmation, meditation, and/or prayer to implement intention. Try some of these:
- "I am taking this time to cleanse and heal my body". Then take some breaths and really visualize what you want your body to receive (e.g. Increased muscle strength, relaxation from stretching, release of negative emotions).
- "I am taking this time to give myself a break/come back to myself/refill my cup". Then physically remove yourself from the chaos/your office space/etc. and make your break worth it!
- Say a prayer before and after your act of self care. This can be to any spiritual entity, the sun, nature, or even yourself. Practice formally beginning and ending your acts of self care so that they are sacred.
Or choose your own way of setting intention for your time to care for yourself! And let me know your great ideas and how it changes your self care routine!
P.S. Make a lovey detox bath by adding baking soda, Epsom salt, and some lavender essential oils. Don't forget to hydrate too! Enjoy!
The recent spring snow storms of Colorado have reminded many of us to slow down. I've even heard from clients, "the snow storm allowed me a weekend to do nothing". Wait just a minute!!! WE can give ourselves permission to slow down, relax, "do nothing", etcetera etcetera. And we should! (Many of you know how I feel about the word "should", and... I will still use it here).
My wise uncle recently told me, during a conversation about my move to private practice only, that it's also okay to do nothing sometimes. A good reminder for me too! Most of us live in an environment that promotes go go go. "Doing nothing" appears lazy, like something we are only allowed to do if we take a beach vacation. Our minds and bodies actually NEED down time to rejuvenate. We truly can give ourselves and others permission to relax and revive.
How do we do this you ask?
1) Take a mental health day (sick day) from work. If you were throwing up and/or contagious from the flu, you would stay home, correct? How is feeling mentally unwell any different? Take a day to heal your mental health just like you would your physical health. Doing this from time to time actually reduces our chances of getting serious mental or physical illnesses that take us out for weeks or longer at a time. Ideally, we would work a mental health day per month into our schedule....ready to go for it?
2) Prioritize your mental health/need for relaxation as you would your physical health. If you injured yourself, would you pay whatever necessary to heal it through doctors? Same philosophy as above...if your mind or body feels injured from stress, depression, anxiety, just the go go go of it, heal it! Rest. Comfort yourself. Pamper yourself. Check in with a mental health professional or other healer. Rest.
3) Make relaxation part of your routine as you would exercise or the like. We don't have to wait until we are feeling mentally unwell to rest. Work it into your schedule! This can look like a few minutes a day, when you take the time to breathe and stretch. This can look like a weekend a month to do something you truly want to do- whether it be binging on Netflix or hiking a 14er. Remember, relaxation and rejuvenation looks different for each of us.
Feel like that's a good start to give yourself permission to go do nothing for while? I hope so.
I'm off to do a little nothing.....