After January left me feeling depleted and dull, I decided February (with my least favourite holiday: Valentine’s Day) needed to be about self care and SELF LOVE. I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and spent a little more on me then I normally would. February included: Belly dance, Aquafit, and a mini vacation up north (I even had a day spa booked for today, the last day in February, at Ste.Anne’s but had to post-pone it due to the flu running through our home. Oh well, the self care can over flow into March). I used hot tubs and steam rooms more in one month, than I have used in my whole life total. For my skin I used a “dry brush” once a week, and essential oil blends and Epsom salt baths for sore muscles. I tried four days of a FlorEssence detox, and cut way down on caffeine, drinking my usual tons of water. I even went to the dentist for the first time in over a decade (ahhhh!). This all on top of my usual 12 yoga classes a week, and daily walks.
THIS IS WHAT I LEARNED:
Even as a generally active person, we can get into habitual movements that over time aggravate our bodies, instead of support them. All that yoga I have been doing, is great in theory, but I was finding my shoulders and hips were getting tighter and tighter, and I was starting to feel drained from the constant push that teaching demands. My body needed something new, and I needed a better balance of movement and rest.
After my first belly dance class, my mind was blown by the new awareness of how tense I was. Let my belly relax? How? It is relaxed! Oh wait, no it’s not. There it is… nope sucked it back in (habit!!!). As someone who is very aware of my body, this class gave me a new tool to understand the value of softness and strength. Shimmy is my new favourite exercise, it feels soooo good!
Then there was Aquafit, what a blast! I have never been a water person, and I was worried that I might feel a bit out of place, so this one was definitely out of my comfort zone. I was hooked after one class, it was so fun. Upbeat music, and a solid mix of movement for strength building and toning (and a bit of cardio), without any hardcore impact. Although, whoever says this one is easy, I would disagree. Coordination and balance are tough when you’re being bounced around by waves of water from everyone around you. It’s a fun challenge, and I plan on going at least once a week, forever.
REST AND STILLNESS
When I made my brief escape up north, I was lucky to have a day of leisure. It involved sitting outside in the fresh snowy air, sipping coffee, and relishing in silence. It involved multiple naps, and great friends. While I was there it was impossible not to feel grateful for this life and these moments of blissful peace, calm and freedom.
I often feel, as a society and culture, we do not put enough value on rest and rejuvenation. This idea of self-care can often be viewed as self-ish, or lazy, or even unnecessary. In my personal experience (and opinion) it is a vital way to thrive in life, relationships and work.
If you are feeling bitter, on edge, cranky with friends and family and coworkers, it might be a sign of burn out. How good is it to just “get away from it all” for even a few hours? Every little bit counts. If you can do it, try to find one hour a week just for yourself, and do something you love, or try a new activity. Just do something; or even better, do nothing for an hour! Treat yourself, and give value to your needs and desires. It sure helped get me out of my funk.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
What is Self Love to you? How do you best care for yourself when you feel depleted?
Need some ideas?
- Start a new class or activity for yourself (fitness or yoga or art?)
- Take up an old hobby again (what is something you used to love doing?)
- Try 10 minutes a day (beginning or end of day) and just sit in stillness and observe the world around you. Learn to cultivate mindfulness in each moment.
- Focus on gratitude, or even start writing lists of gratitude at the end of your day.
- Epsom salt baths, and/or essential oils (aromatherapy can help uplift mood).
- Treat yourself to therapy (any kind- maybe try counseling, or reiki/energy work, or a massage, or chiropractic, etc.)
- Buy yourself a gift (I love getting myself a bouquet of flowers once in awhile)
- Start a ritual (pull a guidance card once a day, light a candle while you clean kitchen, use some sage or incense to clear the energy and air in your home.)
- Clear the clutter. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, getting stuff out of the house and/or organized can be so therapeutic.
- Get a haircut, a manicure or pedicure, a facial, or something that helps you feel good about yourself.
- Drink lots of water
- Get outside- fresh air can work wonders.
- Get out of town! Vacations don’t have to be long or expensive. Maybe you try a day spa, or get out with your friends for a weekend.
With Mother’s Day coming in May, I thought I would re-introduce my “Spring Renewal Workshop” on Saturday, May 12th (Mother’s Day Weekend). It’s a 3 hour workshop that focuses on self-care and a serious reset of body, mind and soul. We do some restorative yoga, meditation, guidance cards, reflective writing, discussion around the value of Sacred Self, and goal setting/scheduling our time and life in a more manageable and meaningful way as we move forward.
Note: all women are welcome to join this workshop, it is not just for moms! It might even be a good way for moms and daughters to celebrate together!
If you are interested in joining us please contact me, Jenni at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, bring on Spring! It’s much easier to feel good with the sun coming closer, getting warmer, and staying out longer. Get out and enjoy it friends.