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Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why?

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, why and what actually is it?

The words, ‘self care’ have been bandied about in newspapers and on social media. They are the new buzz words. Take care of yourself, put yourself first, be more gentle with yourself, eat more healthily, exercise more, do more meditation.

I’m not undermining the importance of these actions. Any form of self care is beneficial. However it needs to be more than the occasional outing for a massage or reflexology treatment. It needs to be more than the ‘walk around the block’ or the odd smoothie.

Self care needs to be a concerted effort to put yourself first. All the time. This is where extreme self care comes in. It means loving yourself enough so that the actions you take and the decisions you make on a daily basis reflect this self love.

It means having strong boundaries and only saying ‘Yes’ to what you really want and need. It means listening to your body and what he/she is telling you. It means not trying to push through when all your body wants is rest.

You may think it is selfish to put yourself first all the time. This is what we were taught as children. We need to give to others first, put other’s needs before our own. We need to give, give and give until you have no more to give, then give some more. We give out of obligation and we give out of guilt. We give because we feel it is expected of us.

How many of us end up burnt out, exhausted, defeated and resentful? We are perpetuating a myth. Trying to live up to an impossible image of perfection. This was my story too. So much of my self worth was based on my achievements, helping others, being the ‘good girl’, aiming for perfectionism. As author, Cheryl Richardson says, “So many of us, especially women, have taken on this ‘noble’ role. What we don’t realise, until it’s too late, is the high price for being ‘generous.”

Ending up exhausted and always fatigued, made me realise that my life had to change. Extreme self care was warranted.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care or is this your story too? If so, how can you start implementing more extreme measures? How can you start putting yourself first? By learning to love and accept yourself. All of you. Your perfections and imperfections. We all have them and it’s time to accept ourselves as we are. No more comparing ourselves with others. We are all different. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us. Embrace them.

Accept where you are at. We all start this journey at different points. Sometimes it is easy to make changes and sometimes it is really hard, but make a start. It may feel uncomfortable putting yourself first. You may fear the judgement and criticism of others. You may feel guilty. But do it anyway. It will get easier.

Know too, that the more you do for yourself, the more energy you will have to give to others. The more you start to care for yourself, the greater your ability to make choices from a place of love and compassion. The more you demonstrate extreme self care, the more you will inspire others to do the same.

So start small so that it feels doable. Start with some simple self care. Drink more water, every day. Go to bed earlier. Start adding more vegetables to your meals. Look after your health, so go for those overdue dental check ups or eye checks. See your GP when needed. Don’t put your health in the “do later” basket.

Start asking for help. It may not be done the way you would do it, but that’s okay. You don’t have to do it all! If you are invited out socially or asked to help out, don’t say ‘Yes’ straight away. Say you will get back to them. Then think about it and decide whether it is something you really want to do or have the energy for.

Begin saying Yes to more fun, more creativity, more ‘me’ time, on a daily basis. Book in your regular reflexology or self care practices. Set limits on your availability. The more you respect your time, the more you allow others to do the same. Spend time in nature, even if it’s just sitting in the sun every day or going for a walk.

Do more of what lights you up. Give more to yourself. Do things that fill your soul. As you start to finally listen to your own needs you will begin to feel more fulfilled and happier in your life. You will then be able to give to others from a space of true giving. No guilt. No obligation. Just a place of appreciation and connection with those around you.

Do you practise Extreme Self Care? If not, perhaps it’s time to start. It’s never too late.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: The Art of Extreme Self-Care By Cheryl Richardson, Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Can you find Peace in a Crazy World?

Can you find Peace in a crazy world when so much seems to be out of our control? How can you switch off from the constant stress that seems to surround us on an everyday basis?

It isn’t easy, but it is possible and there are things you can do today to remove you from that ‘fight or flight’ response.

Firstly, acknowledge when you are feeling stressed or impatient or anxious. If we stop and recognise our feelings, we can do something to address them.

There is no shame here. The last few years have brought up so many anxieties and fears that we never knew we were capable of feeling. Current world events only add to this stress. It’s okay to be angry or feel scared. We are in unfamiliar territory and that’s uncomfortable and often frightening.

So we react in different ways, depending on our past experiences, beliefs and values. We may lash out at others in anger or impatience, we may retreat from the world in fear or we may experience physical symptoms that affect our health.

Acknowledge that this is okay. Don’t criticise or condemn yourself. It may not feel pleasant, but we are just reacting to our circumstances and so many of these circumstances are out of our control. Try and give yourself space in your day. Space where you are not always meeting the needs of others. Space where you can just be and sit or have a nap if you need to. Nurturing ourselves is so important.

Try some meditation. It has huge proven benefits to still the mind. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit still and chant. It can be as simple as sitting outside with the sun on your face, while you tune in to the sounds around you. Being present in the moment is deeply healing.

Go for a walk or dance around the house. Move your body. This encourages those ‘feel good’ hormones to flood your system and leaves you feeling more relaxed and energised. Scream out loud if you need to or sing at the top of your voice. You may feel more comfortable doing this at home, but do it whenever you can, as it helps to release pent up emotions.

Spend time with those who make you laugh. Laughter also releases those ‘feel good’ hormones, such as Dopamine and Serotonin. If you need time alone, then do that. Sit in stillness at home, binge on Netflix or read a book. We all need some down time. Don’t feel guilty!

Definitely, don’t watch the news. It’s meant to be dramatic and alarming, to catch our attention. Your nervous system doesn’t need that. By all means stay informed, but a quick look on the internet will fill you in on all you need to know.

Eat healthily. This may sound strange, but junk food has a negative effect on our brain and hence, affects our mood. It is highly addictive, so the more you eat, the more you want. It gives us temporary pleasure so our brain encourages us to repeat that ‘fix’. It is also inflammatory and can damage our neurones or nerve cells.

Engage in supportive treatments such as Reflexology. It addresses any underlying emotion or trauma and is deeply healing and powerfully relaxing. Try yoga or tai chi. Both are very grounding and stress-reducing practices.

Can you find peace in this crazy world? I really believe you can, but it does take some effort. You need to be willing to change and be accepting of how you are feeling, without judgement. I try and do this on a regular occurrence. I don’t always get it right but I know I have the tools to become more grounded when I need to.

Try and give it a go. Recognise your emotions and don’t judge yourself. Accept that life is weird and uncomfortable now. Then sit in stillness, laugh out loud, dance and sing as if no one is watching and find peace in your life and hopefully, peace in your Heart.

With warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

This facial reflexology chart may be helpful to reduce fear and anxiety. You can download it here. https://solevitality.com.au/fear-and-anxiety/

References: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/sep/five-ways-junk-food-changes-your-brain, Photo by Javardh on Unsplash 

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

What can I Create Today?

What can I create today when life is so uncertain? When so much is out of my control. Can I even create under such circumstances?

I sat down to contemplate this during Melbourne’s latest lockdown. Our sixth! Two hundred plus days without freedom. Two hundred plus days away from family and friends. It’s very easy to get caught up in the fear, anxiety and uncertainty of our lives and live life from that perspective. It’s very easy to stay negative and feel that there is nothing to look forward to, as how can we plan when things just keep changing.

What can I create today? What could I create and bring into my life to not just pass the time, or make it more bearable, but to actual create opportunities and thrive? I decided to try and find out. Maybe you can do the same.

I looked at the areas of my life that were important to me. The physical, emotional and spiritual. Then I began to create routines to give my days some structure. It’s very easy to forget whether it’s a weekday or weekend when all the days feel the same.

On a physical level, exercise is important for me. My body needs to move not just for it’s own health and flexibility but for the ‘feel good’ factor it brings with it. Exercise also releases endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin which enhance your mood. This became a daily activity for me.

I also began my days with meditation. This practice reduces stress, especially when the morning news brings more drama. It sets me up for the day so that I begin everything in a calm and relaxed manner. I must admit I don’t always stay this way, but meditation is a beautiful way to start each morning.

I also returned to photography and started painting, bringing forth all the creative parts of me. I don’t always get it right and a lot of it is experimental, but I’m loving the joy and fun it brings to my life. I commenced writing a book and later some poetry. I set aside time each week so that I could follow these creative pursuits.

Time in nature is very fulfilling too. It calms you down, lifts the spirits, reduces stress and focuses you on the present moment. You can do this on a walk, just sitting in the sunshine or working in the garden.

Overall I created space to just be. To sit quietly with my thoughts and ponder on what my heart and soul needed in that moment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘When we sit in silence, we hear the whispers of the Gods.”

Do you take time to sit in silence? To listen to the voice within, the whispers that guide you, the Muse that speaks to you?

What can you create from that space? Maybe it’s book you have always wanted to write or some jewellery you have longed to create? Maybe it’s a new exercise routine? Maybe it’s starting Yoga? Maybe it’s beginning meditation, a new course, painting, cooking, playing the piano or dancing?

Put times in your diary for work and play so that you are more likely to make things happen. They don’t have to be set in stone but having some structure helps.

Then ask yourself, ‘What can I create today? What can you do to make your days more playful and worthwhile. At a time when life is so uncertain, we can take positive action now.

We may not be able to control our external environments but we can control our internal ones.

Let me know how you go.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

References: Photo by  Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash. Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.

Is your need to Control everything affecting your Health?

Is your need to control everything affecting your health and if so, what can you do about it?

It’s understandable to feel that nothing is within our control at the moment. Our current circumstances are creating such uncertainty, that we may feel that we have no control over our lives. As a consequence we may overreact and try and control the things that we can.

Control is a normal response. If our happiness is affected or our safety is threatened, we automatically try and control the situation. If danger is involved, we go into our ‘fight or flight’ mode. Even if it’s not a life or death situation, stress levels can be activated. Our current situation since the pandemic began, is a huge example of this.

When we activate our stress response, for whatever reason, our levels of cortisone and adrenaline rise. Our body prepares to flee the situation. This is a primal survival response that has served us well. However when this stress response remains elevated, we stay in this high alert state and that’s when health issues may result.

Chronic stress can lead to illnesses such as Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Digestive problems, Diabetes, Asthma, High Cholesterol, Lowered Immune Function and Chronic Fatigue.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Lung and Colon meridians are related to control. The Lungs relate to how easily we ‘Breathe’ through life, whether we need to control everything or whether we feel we have no control. The lungs also hold grief and how we control our emotions and whether or not we have processed or dealt with grief in our life. In many lung conditions, we actually have difficulty controlling our breathing.

The Colon or Large Bowel is also about control. If we are always in control or tightly controlling of ourselves and others, this may result in constipation. If on the other hand, we feel we have no control or allow others to control us, diarrhoea may ensue. Just think of a situation where you are extremely nervous because you have little or no control, such as a job interview or before an exam. You have no control over the questions that may be asked. Very often you have to make a few trips to the toilet and your bowels may be upset.

Our fears around control may stem from childhood or our experiences throughout our lives. We may have had controlling parents who never gave us freedom or perhaps life’s circumstances threatened our safety, so we learnt to control everything that we could. Our reactions are never wrong. We always do what we can to survive and make the best of whatever life presents. Panic buying is just one example of us trying to control our lives. If we are restricted, at least we can control what food etc we have at home. Panic buying helps us to feel safe. It gives us some control over our situation.

What do we do about our need to control everything? And what if control is beyond our reach? What if always being in control no longer serves us?

What I have realised myself, is that I need to let go. I need to ask for help and I need to allow myself to receive. I have had to admit to myself that I cannot control everything, no matter how much I may want to. I allow myself to feel all the emotions, such as anger, frustration, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, fear and whatever else may arise. Having no control brings up many emotions such as fear and it’s important to recognise this. Look at your fears and decide if they are rational and if your life is in danger. If not, try and let the fear go.

Accept all the emotions that you are feeling. It’s okay not to be happy about your situation. The circumstances may not be what you want, but acceptance reduces the stress. If you can change your outlook and your actions by choosing a different way of doing or looking at things, they may not seem so insurmountable. Perhaps you can’t do things the way you normally do. Does that really matter? Maybe there is another way. Maybe new opportunities will present.

We all have choice and we can all choose how we cope under current circumstances. Ask for help if you need to and recognise if things are beyond your control. Allow others around you to make their own choices. We can’t control their decisions and we shouldn’t try to or judge them for their opinions. We all cope in different ways.

If we try and always stay in control, or fear that we have no control over our lives, we will always stay in a stress response. If on the other hand, we try and accept the things that we cannot change and alter our outlook, we may find that we are a lot calmer, happier and healthier and better able to cope with whatever life presents.

I know which one I would prefer.

Warmest wishes,

Judy xxx

If you are feeling fear or anxiety, these facial nerve points may help. https://solevitality.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Fear-and-Anxiety-Wellness-Package.pdf

References: Photo by Patrick Mallert on Unsplash 

Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.