If you have followed me for awhile you know I am a HUGE fan of this thing called Self Care. But here is the thing I have noticed of late, with myself, my friends and my clients.
What used to be good enough for self-care, in order to maintain a healthy sense of well-being, health, vitality and zest for life, is not really cutting the mustard these days. In plain English – the daily self care practices I have performed in the last 10 years, do not seem effective enough for my optimum vitality, health and psychological well-being, in the current environment.
My old self care drills are helping me ‘survive’ in a sense, but they don’t seem to be enough to make me thrive.
With this feedback I decided it was time for me to go back to the ‘optimized living’ drawing board.
A new environment, a new set of tools
The last 12-months has presented us with a very different environment, especially emotionally and psychologically. There has been more fear, more uncertainty (which can heighten anxiety), more disruption, and less ability to lock in plans for the future.
Now I don’t want to dwell on what that looks like because I am pretty sure that we all have our own unique experiences of disruption; and even though some people have thrived over the last 12-months, from my observation that is the exception and not the norm.
So…what to do?
As I said at the start, I have found that mine, and my clients, daily routines, and morning routines, and lifestyle routines in general, which kept us in a great emotional and psychological state in the past, are proving to be less effective in 2021.
Essentially a new environment requires adaption and most likely new ‘methods’ for adapting to the new environment.
Let’s jump straight into solution mode
Even though I practice a fairly robust morning routine (including stretching, mantra, meditation, gratitude, exercise, and a green drink); I found that my practice, which worked really well in the past (i.e. allowed me to access and experience an elevated emotional state the majority of the time) was not getting the same results I used to get.
Especially over the last couple of weeks, I was feeling a little disconnected, lethargic, unsettled in my stomach, and a bit blah.
It was time to roll up the sleeves, review my routine, and upgrade a few key elements.
My diet is pretty good, so there was limited work I needed to do there – but for you it might be a place to revisit and improve upon. If the microorganisms in your gut are not happy and healthy it is definitely going to affect your emotional states (think gut-brain communication). A good place to start is to limit or remove processed foods and sugar.
My meditation was good, but to allow me to do the work I love to do, and feel the way I love to feel, I needed to turn up the volume. This meant deeper, longer, and more specific meditations. Especially meditations designed to connect to (and open) the heart. When our hearts are coherent, they bring a greater level of coherence to our brains. A calm brain is a huge plus when it comes to experiencing more peace and joy.
I do a little bit of breathwork (pranayama) before my meditations, but it was not too specific or of any reasonable duration. I know that if I am stressed or worried or anxious, I am likely to be contracting my stomach, and breathing more shallow. And long term worry is likely to leave a residual tension and tightness in the stomach. So breathing deeply into the stomach (using the diaphragm muscle) for 5-10 mins, would have a very therapeutic and physiological effect (less tension and more oxygen).
My exercise routine just needed to be tweaked a bit to include more variety and be even more attuned to what my body was calling for each day. It might be a long walk on the beach, or a specific type of yoga session, or just 15-mins of freestyle movement of my body in any way that feels nourishing, or punching my punching bag, or picking up some hand weights. I needed to be more tuned into what my body needed most (on the day), as opposed to doing what I have always done.
Processing my emotions
Of all the things I was doing I knew I needed to be more deliberate in processing my emotional state. I used a number of different techniques and tools for this, which included:
– Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also called ‘Tapping’
– The Emotion Code by Dr Bradley Nelson
– Journaling (or Automatic Writing Experience as taught by Michael Sandler)
– Guided meditations based on the heart (e.g. a 2hr Dr Joe Dispenza meditation)
– A short version of The Lifeline Technique (by Dr Darren Weissman)
– Weekly Bodywork by a practitioner who works with the physical and energetic
– Reiki (you can do this for yourself if you do a Reiki 1 course or find a practitioner)
– 8 hours (plus) of sleep of a night (this means going to bed earlier than ‘normal’)
I also made sure I did more of the following:
– Practiced gratitude
– Had open, honest, and deep conversations which select people who could have a conversation at a level I desired
– Spent more time in nature
– Spent more time with my bare feet on the ground (earthing)
– Went for more walks with the dog
– Got sunshine on my body
– Looked for and acknowledged beauty
– Avoided people who are energy vampires (and places)
You could also do the following:
– Add more bright colours in your house with flowers
– Make more vibrant salads with different coloured vegetables
– Watch comedy movies that make you laugh
– Pick up a hobby you had when you were younger
– Stop watching news
– Stop checking social media (especially before 11am)
– Take a bath with Epson salts
I am sure there are other things that come to mind for you as you read through my suggestions. My biggest takeaway from this newsletter and my desire for you to do something with is this:
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WHAT WORKED IN THE PAST (TO KEEP YOU PEACEFUL & JOYFUL) MAY NOT BE EFFECTIVE ENOUGH IN 2021. IT IS VERY LIKELY THAT IT IS TIME FOR AN ‘UPGRADE’ AND PRO-ACTIVE ACTION.
It is time to upgrade your self care to RADICAL SELF CARE.
What do you need to add?
What do you need to remove?
Who do you need to add?
Who do you need to remove?
What do you need to change?
What emotional processing technique could you learn?
Do you need to reach out for some help?
I know that now you know, you have got this!
Have a great day.
Take care and much love,