Mindful self-care is more important than ever in an increasingly chaotic world and fast-paced society. It seems like there is always something to do, another thing to think about, and plenty of stimulating distraction. And yet, the instruction for our overall wellness is to slow down to find our center. While a tall order at times, it can be done.
There are so many ways to love ourselves but here are a few ways to consider our commitment to wellness as we go about our days.
Connecting to Mother Earth
Gaia sustains us, replenishes us, encourages us to play and graciously provides us a place to walk our feet. Remember the days of daisy chains, fairy houses in the forest, and playing outside until sunset? How can we love Mother Earth more now that we are grown?
It turns out that nature provides most elements for daily wellness and self-care. How lovely of her!
Whether this be for skin and body care, herbal nutrition, a quiet place to sit and enjoy the cyclical beauty of nature, or a mountain to climb, the more we integrate the bounty of nature in our daily lives, the better.
I like to keep this simple. For example, a simple organic oil for my skin is enough often rather than a lotion with multi-syllable ingredients I don’t recognize. Or an organic salve for minor skin issues rather than a heavy chemical I may not need. While our culture normalizes over-processing and synthesized ingredients, we can find much of what we need in the natural world.
How about tinctures and natural elements for daily wellness? I try to keep processed food out of my morning smoothie and include extras like tinctures to my tea. It feels empowering and purposeful to think about what will be easy on my body.
Lastly, spending time outside is important for human beings. It doesn’t take a large commitment and it does us wonders. This is a great study about how just a small amount of time can help the human mind. And maybe a favorite way to enjoy the outdoors is through play: with a pet, child, or by yourself flying a kite.
Stillness and Quiet
This one seems simple but why can it feel so difficult to achieve? Especially for those of us that live in an urban environment. Personally speaking, I know I have a better day if there is mindful stillness somewhere along the way.
By quieting our environment, we can help quiet our minds. If it feels like a challenge, a good idea is to design a place or time to ensure it happens. I have a friend that uses her first break at work to sit in her car with a meditation playing just to re-center. Schedule it into your day and try to avoid caffeine or stimulants like sugar beforehand. If you live on a busy street, try a white noise machine to block out excess noise like this one.
You could try creating a small altar of your favorite things to sit in front of, a comfortable corner by a window, or a place outside that you find peaceful. Meditation or prayer is proven to help mental wellness. If these concepts are new to you, start by thinking about what you are grateful for and taking cleansing breaths. There are many great apps for meditation but my favorite is Insight Timer. You will find helpful meditations here for every level and preference.
Yep….boundaries. While being flexible is beautiful and important, boundaries are an essential part of protecting our wellness. By framing what feels healthy to us, rooting ourselves in our own heart’s desire, and showing ourselves unconditional compassion, we are able to let go of all that does not serve us.
While it is far easier said than done, it is achievable and you are worthy of peace. The more we invest in wellness and the quality of our lives, the less space we will find for negative soul sucking influences. I like this book as a starting place for some frame of reference with boundaries.
Boundaries can be mistaken as many things but they are rooted in mental health and love. They give us the mental space needed to be our best selves.
Movement Means Momentum
Last but not least, moving our bodies. It awakens the spirit, conditions our bodies, and creates momentum. During a harder moment in my life, I learned that by moving, my mood shifted so quickly. At the time, my movement of choice was running. Since, I have added everything from yoga to dance to difficult hikes to long walks with my husband. I just know that I have to move everyday. My body thanks me so much and so does my mind.
If you have a hard time with exercise motivation, start small. Try an app that guides you through movement and set the time to ten minutes. Experiment with different ones. Walk around the block or decide to walk somewhere rather than drive. Try commuting to work without your car one day a week. Use the stairs, not the elevator. Ask a friend to help you commit to a long walk together once a week. Try something new like a swimming class, gentle yoga, or a hiking group.
I like this article by Time about just how much exercise helps.
Last Words of Encouragement
If you feel you are in a slump, are struggling with self-care, or feel overwhelmed by health, you are not alone. It can be so helpful to find people that are in the same place that you are rather than advanced level participants of things you would like to try. Remember we all struggle, we all start as beginners, and we all fail too! Keep swinging, reaching out when you need help, and returning to what matters most. You ARE light, and you are worthy of wellness and love. Continue to seek the path to your peace and it will reveal itself.
It took me a month to feel like meditation was successful. After years of being very fit, I started as a novice with yoga and was quickly humbled by how much I had to learn! But the practice, or the journey, is really what it’s all about after all.
I recommend the Tiny Buddha blog for help with mindful living and I wish you so much success!