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The holidays are here and doesn't quite feel the same. With a changing world around us and stress at an all time high, when have we taken the time to care for ourselves? Most of us who celebrate the holidays usually shift our attention to what we can give to those that we love to show our appreciation for them. Although it is important to give our family and friends their roses while they are here it is up to us to make it a priority to give and show ourselves some love as well.
In the course of two years there are a few activities that have helped me get through this experience called life. I have learned the importance of balance, energy shifting and facing demons in order to move on from past traumas. I saw a post on social media that read "Remember, you are the most beautiful and expensive thing you will ever own." For me it was a reminder that above any thing or anyone I am my biggest investment. If I don't take care of myself I will not be able to accomplish or enjoy what my purpose here on earth is.
Self-care can start with activities that become a ritual for ourselves. The importance of self-care is not just for temporary gratification but can have long term benefits if practiced often. The word itself has become a buzz word and for some it may dilute the importance of taking the action of catering to yourself. The truth is when we lack giving attention to ourselves we can become irritable, physically unwell and experience burn out mentally and physically. I gathered a list of some activites that have assisted me with my well being, are easy to follow and inexpensive.
1. Journaling - Two years ago I learned about a book called ' The Artist way ' by Julia Cameron. This book was a gift from the universe. In my experience of using this book it assisted me with understanding my inner self, peeling back layers of emotions to get to the root of any particular feeling that I may be experiencing and manifesting what I most desired for myself. It takes you on a journey of self discovery in a way that I have never experienced. Each week there are different task to accomplish which leads you to finding out more about your identity. What I love the most about this book is its ability to help you establish a ritual of journaling. Journaling helps to get out all of your thoughts that you may not be comfortabe sharing with others but the freedom to just "get it out" on paper gives room for happier thoughts and clarity on what you feel is important for your well being.
2. Breathing Excerises- Many people experience different levels of anxiety whether it be temporarily or an ongoing challenge. However, the importance of breathing exercises have a huge impact on maintaining control of your emotional response to your environment. Neurophysiological studies have shown that breathing practices can reduce stress, attention deficit disorder and panic attacks just to name a few. There's an application named HeadSpace that has a library of breathing practices for specific needs. One of the biggest challenges in adulthood is feeling like we don't have enough time. HeadSpace allows us to give ourselves at least five minutes to clear our mind and gain mental balance throughout the day. Their guided exercises are an excellent way to get started on making it a habit to combat feeling overwhelmed before it consumes us.
3. Detoxing- Your body has the natural ability of removing toxins from your body, however, a detox containing fruits and raw vegetables helps the process along. From time to time I feel that I need to give my body a break from what isn't the most consistent or healthiest diet ( I'm still working on this) . So, when I feel that I need a reboot I go on a detox. My go to detox was introduced to me by a friend, the 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanser. It is an easy to follow guide that provides your shopping list for ten days, what is needed for your daily smoothie, snack recommendations to have in between your smoothie and more importantly how to prep yourself before you embark on this journey. When detoxing I have felt more energy, less bloating and clearer thinking after the first three days. Part of self-care is ensuring that your body is functioning to its highest ability and by reducing inflammation, increasing liver function and improving digestion, you are making a lifetime investment. Go Green! Who knows you might love it more than you had anticipated.
4. Cardio-Throwing in cardio for 30 minutes can be a game changer. Since I am not a fitness guru I use old exercise videos to help me get my cardio in. It is scientifically proven that excerise can help increase blood flow to the brain, influences our reaction to stress and has a positive impact on parts of the brain such as our limbic system that deals with our emotions and memory.
5. Create-letting your inner child come out to play is necessary from time to time. You dont't have to be the best artist, seamstress or photographer in the world to have some fun with activities that interest you. Take some time out to create or do something that you always wanted to do to activate your inner child. Visual expression can assist in expressing and releasing trauma that we may have surpressed from childhood or adulthood. Creating serves as free therapy with lasting results.
Carve out some time to love yourself during the holidays and leave a comment on some of your favorite self-care rituals that gets you to your happy place.