Self-Care by the Numbers
Keep your well full, that others might drink.
-In other words, we can't help anyone else if we, ourselves, a We can only help those we love from a place of well-being. So here are my top 10 self-care methods.
Our friends and pop psychology are always telling us to engage in self-care. But it occurred to me that some of us might not know where to begin trying. So I thought I'd share my 10 best methods for self-healing, self-nurtiing, and self-loving practices. If our wells are empty, we have nothing to give.
But first, my best advice. Catch it early. Don't wait until you're off the rails to begin. Some ways I can tell I'm "off my zen," as I call it:
I catch myself complaining, it can be about people or politics or the weather, it doesn't matter. If I'm complaining on our blissful morning walk, I am walking a cliff's edge on crumbling ground.
I start to get short tempered.
I use CNN as background noise and leave it on all day.
I call an anti-vaxxer an idiot.
BUT let me add that noticing you're off is the second line of defense. The very first and most effective method is prevention, or to positively spin that, the steady, loving maintenance of our high vibration. That's what I call my zen. For me, it's a high, easy, comfortable, confident, steady, knowing, following-my-bliss-in-absolute-faith vibe. And the best way to maintain your zen, whatever level that is for you, is to make self-care a daily practice.
The methods below can be used as emergency rescues when you feel too much in your head, or all knotted up about something, or too far off your zen.
More importantly, any of them can become a part of your new daily ritual of self-care. Take what works for you. Add your own. Try things out, and then change them up to fit you perfectly. And try to do them daily. I do certain things on this list daily, and I feel it helps keep my ship steady even when it sails through stormy seas.
How to regain and maintain our zen
1. Physical distraction is powerful medicine. I try to get involved in anything I love doing, and better yet if it's something that involves physical movement. I might go for a brisk walk or easy jog, indoors or out, but out if at all possible. Sometimes I pretty up the house or do some gardening. Any physical activity is distracting to my mind and has the added bonus of raising my heart rate and respirations which signals my brain to release endorphins and other happy chemicals.
2. Nature heals. I try to get outside as much as I possibly can, even if I can't bring myself to take a walk or run. It's so easy to spend time outside right now, in summer. So I get out every single day. We walk the dogs several times a day, but I like to get out alone, too. I meditate outside in the early morning sunshine, just basking in it for those fifteen minutes. Or if it's too warm, I sit in the shade of the gigantic spruce trees that border the pond.
3. Meditation helps immensely. If I can quiet my mind for a few minutes a day, focusing on a repetitive, boring sound and counting the beats of my breaths, my thoughts stop racing, and the flow of Source energy is unblocked. It flows through me freely while my brain is distracted. It updates my hardware and software and apps. It rebalances my body systems, realigns everything, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Meditation is so good for me.
4. I remember to GROUND myself when I feel too in my head or uneasy or nervous or anxious. Sometimes, in stressful times, I lie outside, my body flat on the grassy ground for a few minutes. Or sometimes on a big, flat boulder of just the right size. It's embedded in the ground, my basking boulder, and it really sucks the stress right out of me.
5. When I need extra grounding, I eat more root vegetables like potatoes, beets, onions, carrots, radishes, sweet potatoes and yams. Wholegrain snacks are also very grounding. Oatmeal, wholegrain breads, healthy granola, pasta. Hearty, savory meals like soups and thick, chunky stews.
6. Sitting on the ground itself is grounding. I like to imagine my roots unfurling from the base of my spine and burrowing deep into the rich, dark soil of the earth, deeper and deeper until they find a buried boulder to wrap themselves around. Then I imagine any stress draining down through my roots where it's absorbed by the purifying earth, while clean, green, stable, steady, calming earth energy seeps up through my roots and fills my body.
7. Walking outside barefoot is very grounding. Every contact with Earth pulls me, holds me, restores me. Go barefoot in the grass. Walk through tufts of baby clover. It's amazing. Every now and then I kick up a whiff of wild mint as I walk. Powerful cleansing agent, that mint.
8. Hugging a tree, or standing with my back pressed fully to its trunk is incredibly grounding. The tree's energy comes from the earth up from its roots, and radiates out through its bark, branches, leaves, and straight through me when I'm in contact, or even just relaxing beneath those shade-giving limbs. I am convinced that one cannot hug a tree and hold onto stress at the same time.
9. Sunshine and wind in my hair. The breeze clears the electric clutter from my mind, and blows fresh clarity into its place. The sun-warmed summer air evaporates the stress chemicals from my blood, out through my skin, and the sun itself joins in and refills me with calming light, soothing warmth, vitamin D, and stimulates the release of seratonin, the happy juice, in my brain. It clears out the gunk, just like it clears bilirubin from jaundiced babies.
10. I write it out. Artists paint it out. Sculptors sculpt it out. Landscapers landscape it out. Gardeners garden it out. Cooks bake it out. Engaging in any kind of creating is a cure for almost everything. It's the act of moving Source energy through us and into our creation. And Source energy heals everything it touches along the way. Not a day goes by when I am not creating something. Right now, I am creating a Bliss Blog post, which is one of my favorite things to do.
My Daily Self-Care Practice
I wake before everyone else in the house, which gives me some exquisite time alone. If it's warm enough, I take my first cup of coffee outside and walk to the pond, and just bask for a while as I drink it.
I meditate a little bit later, after breakfast and our morning dog walk. But if it's nice enough, I do that outside, as well. Just fifteen minutes. Sometimes, if it's going really well, I stay a bit longer. Then I usually sit out there for a while, or walk around the place. I love watching the birds. There's a swallow who has nested near my meditation spot. He used to sit atop a garden trellis yelling at me the whole time. But he's used to me now, and he just sits as quietly as if he's meditating with me. Every now and then I open one eye to peek at him. This morning I saw a hummingbird, too.
Starting my mornings with this only works from late spring, through summer and for most of fall. I hope the greenhouse my hubs plans to build someday soon will make it possible year-round. When it's really nice, I will take my laptop out and do my day's work out there instead of in my office. That's another form of self-care.
When I'm in the shower, I try to shut my head off and be fully present, really feeling the warm water, and enjoying the scents of my chosen products. I usually have music playing, and it matches the mood I'm seeking to maintain for the day. Sometimes soothing, sometimes mystical, sometimes a pulsing, powerful beat.
Throughout the day, as often as it occurs to me, I remind myself to be fully present in whatever it is I am doing, rather than giving voice to the 10,000 random thoughts chasing their tails through my brain. Presence, all day long. That is part of my self-care routine.
In the evening time, right before sleep, I like to think back over the day to recount all the little treasures it held. That bald eagle who soared right over my car yesterday, or the way the vulture seemed to play with me the day before. The smell of the just mown grass greeting me when I got home from a love-filled visit and got out of my car, the other day. There is nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass. It smells like summertime as a child, chasing lightning bugs in my grandma's back yard. It smells like fireworks' smoke and swimming pool chlorine and coconut sunblock. Can you smell that? That's self-care too, recounting the day's gifts, its joys, all its little miracles. When you're watching for them, they show up everywhere.
These are my routines. Some days I do more, full-on rituals or outdoor bonfires by night, which I love.
Sometimes I do less. I get busy and let some of my essential daily practices slide, and then I start feeling bad or manifesting experiences that are no fun. I've become pretty quick to nip it in the bud, and to quickly nurture myself back to good.
What are your daily self-care rituals?
I would love to hear your favorite methods of self-care, too! Please share them in comments. Maybe I'll find something of yours to add to my routine. You are welcome to try any of mine.