Dear Friends, peaceful blessings to you and your family. I pray this article, My Top Three Self-Care Tips For 2014, meets you in good health.
With the cloak of 2014 wrapping itself around my shoulders, I feel drawn to sit down, and review some of the self care rituals and habits I’ve followed over the past year to nourish and replenish my core. I am sharing my top three self-care tips for 2014, as a way to let you know what’s working for me and, hopefully, if you are interested, to help you nurture and sustain your intentions to reduce stress, and have more love, fun and happiness in 2015.
Why Share Now?
Last week I returned home from an unexpected 11-day visit to Grenada to attend my dear aunty’s funeral. Aunty was 92.
Although aunty spent the last 20+ years retired in Grenada, she has always been an active part of our life. Whenever the girls and I visit Grenada, Aunty is there, open heart and filling us with home-made juices and stories of her younger days. It was an immense shock when dad rang and quietly whispered “Aunty Massay has passed away. Can I come over to support the family and be here for the funeral?”
As I sat in the church listening to the heartfelt tributes from family, friends and Auntie’s neighbours, I thought about my dharma, my desires and dreams for a better life for myself, my family and human kind.
Over the past few years, I’ve gone through a roller coaster of a divorce and financial pressures, which left me feeling fearful, vulnerable and destroyed my self-confidence. As a mother of three daughters and role models of strong black women to draw upon, I buried my fears and strove to carry on.
However, as you know, the body has a way of breaking down to let you know that things aint what they are supposed to be.
I finally listened to my body. As part of my desire to self heal and recover, I focused on building and developing a positive self-care programme. I delved deep into my past yoga and wellness teachings and selected a variety of yoga and spiritual practices to nurture my core and help me to start the day in a more peaceful, aligned and spirit-filled way.
My 2014 Self-Care Habits…
Over the year, my self-care routine includes a mixture of yoga breathing exercises, guided meditations, prayers, journalling, keeping a mindful eye on my diet, exploring what love means to me, yoga routines, walking as much as possible, watching my thoughts and the occasional on-line social media detox.
My Top Three Self-Care Tips For 2014
For the purpose of today’s post, out of all the “self-care” things I aspire to do, I thought I would select and share the practices, my Top Three Self-Care Tips For 2014, Breathing Exercises and Breathing Meditation, Rest and Relaxation Techniques and of course, Yoga Exercises. which I have consistently done this year.
These three spiritual wellness practices form the foundation of my daily self-care habits. If I don’t do anything else, I strive to make sure I carve time every day, preferably first thing in the morning, to do these three self-care practices.
***Side Note: What About Prayer?***
I wasn’t sure whether to include prayer as one of my top three self-care tips. For me, prayer is the cornerstone of life and such an integral part of what I do, it warrants a category of its own. For this reason I didn’t include prayer as one of my top three self-care practices. Does that make sense?
Self-Care Tip #1 Breathing Exercises and Meditation
Most mornings, as part of my daily spiritual practices, I do 2-10 minutes of yoga breathing exercises.
Depending what mood I’m in and time of day, I generally practice several rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing and follow this with anything from 2 – 30 minutes breathing meditation. My seven day ecourse, Pray As You Go, offers you devotions, affirmations and meditations you can practice anywhere any time for self-healing and happiness. Check it out. All the tips and practices in Pray As You Go are healing mediations I personally used to help restore my faith and belief in myself.
Learning Tip: The more you practice meditation and mindful breathing exercises and, weave these practices into your daily life, the easier you’ll find it to let-go of stuff and be calm and centered, no matter what is going down.
Self-Care Tip #2 Rest and Relaxation Techniques
For as long as I can remember, rest has always been low on my agenda. Even when my girls were babies, I would ignore my mid-wife’s advice to rest whilst they were sleeping, and instead catch-up on housework or outstanding work matters. It is only in the last couple of years, when my body rebelled, that I’ve come to appreciate and value the restorative power of sleep and rest.
This year, I have consciously slowed down, re-evaluated the way I work and started focusing on other ways I can help reduce stress and feel more at home in my body. Getting enough sleep is an ongoing issue with me, and I still go through phrases of struggling to switch my brain off and be in bed by 10.30pm.
Learning Tip: Moving forward into 2015, I wish to make more effort to have planned time-out breaks and to develop an evening wind-down routine to help me be in bed by 10.30pm.
Self-Care Tip #3 Yoga Exercise
Like most of you I have a “love-hate” relationship with exercise. I LOVE yoga, teaching it, writing about it and having my own home practice.
Despite this, over the last 12 months, I kept thinking I “should” do something else! Like weight-training, or go to the gym or take up swimming for cardio. However, I don’t like the gym, or swimming! So, I walk wherever I can. Walking is an excellent form of exercise for cardio and general heart health. Plus yoga is such a versatile form of exercise, when I feel the need for a “strenuous sweating-physically challenging work-out, I go to a Bikram Yoga or Asthanga Yoga Class. And on the days when my body needs more tlc, rest and soothing love, I have the option of practising a more gentle sequence at home.
Learning to listen to my body, tune-in and see what she needs at any precise moment in time, has been a major turning point in my self-care and self-love journey. My eldest daughter, Hasina spent last year in Canada, and when she came home, Hasina introduced me to hooping and during the summer we had fun, hula hooping in the garden. How cool is that!
Learning Tip: Whenever you feel you “should” exercise, resistance builds up and you lose the inherent joy of moving your body. So, be like me, when you feel the “shoulds” coming on, take your time to find out what other forms of exercise you enjoy which you can practice to move and be happy with your body.
Well, as you can see, my top three self -care habits and techniques for 2014 are breathing exercises and meditation, rest and relaxation and yoga exercise. These three rituals form the core of my daily self-care habits and together help me rest, recover and rebuild my self-confidence and love in life.
Looking Ahead To 2015: How Can You Love Yourself More?
Like you, taking time out for me and putting my needs for rest and self-care on the agenda is an ongoing journey.
As we wrap up 2014, what self-care habits have you practiced over the past year? What self-care routines and techniques do you wish to do more of next year?
What destructive, abusive habit/s do you want to let-go and replace with more loving self-care rituals and practices?
Maybe you are stuck and need help and support to boost your self-care muscle?
Drop me an email and let me know how I can help you let go off stress and enjoy more love, fun and adventures in your every day life.
For me, 2014 has been a year of personal reflection and inner spiritual growth; moving forward into 2015, I am ready to share the tools, tips and techniques I have learnt which have got me through some dark days.
My desire is to share my expertise and with your permission, support you in your self-healing and recovery journey. I am open to your love and suggestions as to the best way I can serve you. Please feel free to email me your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and /or share your ideas in the comment box below. Thank you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
All the love and blessings be with you and those dear to your heart.
In peace and love