Just Breathe…

breathing

Breathing. It’s something we rarely think about, really.  What’s to think about, after all?  I mean, we breathe in, we breathe out.  That’s all there is to it, right?

But did you know there’s breathing, and then there’s breathing?  Breathing properly is breathing all the way down into the belly.  In our fast paced society, we have developed a nation of shallow breathers.  People who breathe mostly from the upper chest area.  And when we do that, oxygen is no getting down into the places where we most need it.

Here are some benefits of deep, belly breathing:

1. The respiratory system works better

2. The lymph system flows more easily, helping to get rid of toxins so that the body can heal itself.

3.  Helps the digestive system to work more efficiently

4.  Calms the nervous system – you might have already heard that a good solution for nerves is taking deep breaths.

5. Gives the immune system more energy to keep the body in high function.

6. Circulation system works more efficiently – increasing oxygen to the heart, allowing freshly oxygenated blood to circulate throughout the body, relieving congestion.

7. Helps you to be ‘in the moment’ and helps with mental clarity

These are only a few of the many, many health benefits of learning how to breathe properly.

Being to notice how you breathe.  When you are breathing properly, your tummy should rise on the in-breath, and fall on the out-breathe.  If you find when you are breathing that only your chest is rising, then begin to intentionally take deep, cleansing breaths more often.  The great thing about deep breathing is you can practice anyplace!  In the car, standing in line at the grocery store, sitting watching tv or reading a book.

Tip for today:  Sitting or standing right where you are, take a deep in-breathe.  Put a hand on your belly – you want to be able to feel your belly rising.  Breathe in as far as you can, then exhale slowly.  Now your belly is falling back to its normal position.  This is deep belly breathing.  And it’s got SO many health benefits, and is SO easy to do!  Begin today to benefit from this type of breathing.  Your body will thank you!

How To Be Kinder To Yourself (And Calm Your Inner Critic)

springtime

More and more in my daily life, I notice people are talking about kindness.  Be kind to others. Practice kindness. Get involved in random acts of kindness.  Be kind.  You don’t need a reason to be kind. And so on.

It’s wonderful to practice kindness!  But I wonder…..do you extend that kindness to yourself?  We can be so kind to others, and yet still treat ourselves as if we are worthless.  Why is that ok?

As children, we often create certain ‘beliefs’  from various situations and people in our lives.  For instance, I learned that if I didn’t do everything perfectly and be the perfect child, I would not be safe.  I don’t even think that was a lesson that was verbally spoken to me – it was a lesson that learned from watching the world around me, I think.  As children there are so many beliefs that we form to stay safe, to please someone, to gain attention…and when we can’t live up to those perfect ways of being, we develop this inner critic that constantly reminds us that we’re stupid, or not enough, or that we’ll never get it right….and on and on…

And so, while we seem to be perfectly able to show kindness outwards, it seems sometimes impossible to afford ourselves that same courtesy.  How can change this, so that we can learn to be kind and loving to ourselves in each and every circumstance?  Here are 3 ways to change your way of being with yourself:

1.  Accept yourself, just as you are, right in this moment.  Learning to be ok with who you are, recognizing that you are trying your best, and accepting yourself, right here, right now,  is going to go a long way in helping you practice kindness – toward yourself.  Giving yourself permission to Just BE can bring a huge sense of relief to our lives, and enable us to move toward more and more self kindness.

2.  Decide.  Wake up in the morning and decide that just for today, you will treat yourself with kindness.  Then, become aware of your  thoughts.  If it helps, keep a small notebook and write them down over the day.  Whenever you catch yourself thinking a troubling thought, stop yourself – and try to change that thought into a positive.  For example – I will never be enough becomes I AM enough just as I am.  Begin to catch and change each of these thoughts.

3.    Try to view your inner critic as a frightened child.  That frightened child has formed beliefs that might have served them when they were young, but are not serving you today.  Try to catch yourself  when you have unkind thoughts toward yourself.  Ask yourself, is this really true about me?  Or is this just a frightened child, trying to keep me safe?  If you can begin to view that frightened part of yourself as a child – ask yourself – would I speak to a child the way I speak to myself?

Start on the road to self-love by practicing these 3 small steps, with consistency.  Don’t worry if you ‘don’t do it right’ – the whole secret to travelling the road to self – love is loving and accepting yourself even when mistakes happen, or you’re not doing as good as you think you ‘should’.  Erasing ‘should, ought to, supposed to, have to’ and anything similar will be important on this journey

 

 

Nourish Your Soul/Self This Week – Tell Us How And Win!

nourish

 

Join us  this week for our “5 days of Nourishing Self Care Challenge” on our Facebook page, and you could win “Cellular Wisdom” – a Gabriel Method CD of guided meditations and music to promote relaxation and calm stress hormones.

Here’s how:

“Like” our facebook page :   https://www.facebook.com/nourishingselfcare 

Set aside 1 hour each day for intentional self care.  Post each day on our facebook page and let us know what you did to nourish yourself!  That’s it! We begin tomorrow, and the winner will be announced on March 1st.

Happy Self Care-ing!

take one hour

 

 

But… What About Me?

best for me

What is the cost to you to say (and mean) these words?   How much guilt, or trepidation, or shame, or discomfort is associated with these words for you?

What IS best for you?  Do you know?  Oftentimes we are so far from our authentic selves that we don’t even know what we want – or what is best!

That was most certainly my experience!  I didn’t even have a thought to call my own!  I looked outside myself for every sort of validation.  I did not believe the answers were already inside me…

But, as I began to take the tiniest babysteps, I began to hear that voice within, and not just hear it, but I began to allow myself to believe it held the answers I needed.  That’s when change began to happen…

Here are a few ideas to help.  Make (and decide to keep) one small promise to yourself.  It has to be small – small is the only way to begin to uncover your true self.  That true self has been hiding from you, because you do not believe she exists or you have been giving your power away to others for years, so you really don’t believe you have any power to call your own!  So, in order to help her trust you again, you need to start small.

What’s one tiny promise you can make?  Perhaps..today I intend to write in my journal for 5 minutes.  Or, today I intend to stop for half an hour to do something I want to do.  Or, today I intend to take a 10 minute walk. Or, today I intend to get to bed on time.

Make that one tiny promise and keep it.  Tomorrow, make another (or the same one!)  The important part of this exercise is that you place enough value on yourself to keep One Tiny Promise to yourself each day.  Make it an intention.  This is how that true part of yourself will begin to believe you mean it – you want to find her.

And,  no beating up on yourself allowed!  If you don’t keep that promise today, make it again tomorrow. You WILL get there.  Babysteps are a very powerful catalyst for change.

Five Ways To Find Time For Self Care

Let’s face it.  You’re a busy mom who barely gets time to go to the bathroom alone, let alone practice self care!  Or, you’re taking care of your aged father in your home, plus you’ve got kids and a partner AND a job.  How can you possibly find time for self care?

1. Set an intention.  Be committed to finding 15-30 minutes of ‘me’ time every single day. 

2.  Rise 15-30 minutes earlier than everyone else. Having even a small amount of time to yourself to meditate, pray, do some stretching, or journal can make all the difference to your day.

3.  Schedule ‘me’ time into your daily routine.

4. Evaluate your ‘time-wasters’.  How much time do you spend on facebook?  Are you a person that checks their emails twenty five times a day?  Do you run to the store three times over the course of the day because you don’t have a list?  Take a few minutes each morning (while the kids are eating breakfast, perhaps?) to prioritize your day – a short to-do list can work wonders in giving you some extra time.

5. Say “NO” sometimes.  You really don’t have to be there for everyone, all the time.  If you’re a true giver of all your time and energy, saying no will feel uncomfortable at first.  And it might surprise the people around you!  That’s ok.  Saying no to some things in order to nurture yourself is important!

Sometimes, thinking of ways to find ‘me’ time can seem overwhelming.  The one thing that will help with actually finding time is going to be setting an intention.  You’ll be amazed at how you are able to find time when you decide you’re important enough for some ‘me’ time!

5 Small Steps You Can Take Today To Honor Your Self

babysteps

 

Five Small Steps

1.  Look into your own eyes in a mirror.  Tell yourself “I Love You.  You Are Enough!” Do this, morning and night.  Don’t think it’s dumb.  It isn’t.  It’s powerful.

2.  Hug yourself.  In our society today, there is not enough hugging, in my opinion.  Sometimes there’s no one around to hug!  So, Hug. Yourself. It might feel awkward at first.  Keep doing it.  Soon it will feel awesome.

3.  Say NO.  The world won’t disappear if you say NO.  But, YOU might feel a whole lot better.

4.  Go to bed on time.  The house doesn’t have to be perfect.  Facebook will still be there tomorrow.  Your body needs sleep in order to heal itself.  Give it some – preferably lots!

5.  Journal.  Find 10 minutes at the beginning of the day, or at the end, to journal how you feel, or about your day.  This is NOT a to-do list!  Spend some time free-writing.  Don’t worry about structure, or spelling, or any of that – this is for your eyes only.   Don’t use a computer.  It’s just not the same.  There is something powerful in the (hand) written word.  Trust me. Journal writing helped change my life.

Try these 5 small things today.  Your ‘self’ deserves to be honored in this way, and in many other ways, which we’ll talk about as we continue…

Have You Met Your Inner Child?

i heart me

The moment I began to heal from my dark-night-of-the-soul was the moment I met my inner child.  She had the answers I had sought for most of my life – and once she felt safe enough to give them to me, huge waves of relief poured over me, and I literally began to relax into my life.

And, too, that was the moment that I realized that, for her, for this child part of myself, I was going to have to learn to love myself.  Because, in not loving myself, and in not living my life in line with what I deep-down knew to be true, I was betraying her.  And the thought of not wanting to betray this fragile child within me is what enabled me to begin to get strong again.

Because, you see, every single time I hated on myself – I hated on her.  And did she deserve that? Absolutely not.  She had already endured years of self-loathing – and that had to stop.  Believe me, it wasn’t easy.  And it took a long time.  There’s no quick  fix for years of abuse -self abuse or any other kind of abuse, for that matter.  It took dedication, time, and literally immersing myself in positivity.  With time and practise, I healed that spiral of self abuse.  And every single time I wanted to quit, or hate on myself, or tell myself the work I was doing was stupid or not important, I envisioned that tiny girl inside me.  Was she stupid?  Was she not important?  And I had to keep going – for her.

We all have an inner child, whether or not we call it that.  That child comes out when we are tired, stressed or angry, or have been triggered by something or someone.  I believe when we feel the purest joy, that’s our magical child inside.  Meeting and having a relationship with that child has been, for me, the most profound experience in my life.

Babystep:  Take out a picture of you as a child, if you have one.  (If not, remember yourself as a young child, picture her or him in your mind).  Does he/she deserve to be hated on?  Does he/she deserve to be told they are too ugly, or too fat, or too stupid?  If you were the parent of that child, how would you parent them – the way you longed to be parented?  Then do that.  Carry that picture around with you and every time you feel the need to hate on yourself, or tell yourself you’re not good enough, look at that tiny child.  And refuse to  abandon her, ever again.  Then choose love instead.  If you begin to do this consistently, your life will change. I know that from experience.

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