Category Archives: self-care

Spiritual Pampering 101: 5 Ways To Rejuvenate Your Spirit

Life can pull us in many directions.  If we are not mindful, we soon find ourselves overwhelmed with obligations, impatient with ourselves and others, short-tempered, nutritionally challenged, and burned out. It’s important to take a break from the stressors of life so that the body can detoxify and relax and the spirit can expand and grow. If we are to be our best, we need to take time out of our busy schedules for some “me time.”

“Me time” is Spirit time. It is in no way a selfish act.  In fact, spiritual pampering is sacred work.  It is an act of self-care and self-love, and it is vital to our emotional and physical health as it helps to keep us balanced and connected.

BREATHE.  Life is absolutely dependent upon the act of breathing, yet it is a gift that is often taken for granted. Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere, at just about any time. Inhale all the way down to your stomach, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly. Repeat until you feel relaxed and relieved.

“MENDITATION.” Quiet meditation is a mental time-out to help us mend the mind and spirit. Guided visualizations are excellent mental escapes to help you focus your energies on more positive imagery. Picture yourself in a relaxing place like a palm tree lined beach, a desert oasis, or a forest path. You can also practice a moving meditation such as tai chi, qi gong, yoga, or simply walking, all of which will help you to connect with your inner resources.

YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE. It houses your Divine Self. Your physical body is the vehicle that has been loaned to you for you to live out your life while tending to the spiritual energies within. Love and honor your body, exercise, and give it the proper nutrition, rest and respect it deserves. Let nothing in that will desecrate it.

DISCOVER OR REVISIT A HOBBY. Hobbies provide a nice diversion from stress and help you to stay in the moment which helps to reduce tension.

A CHANGE OF SCENERY. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get away from your everyday surroundings. It doesn’t have to be an exotic, expensive vacation. Take a day, a weekend, or longer and spend it in nature or go on a spiritual retreat where you can focus on renewal. If you can’t get away, designate a sacred space in your home to which you can retreat, and “train” your other family members not to disturb you during your “me time.” Create a personal altar, luxuriate in your tub, and/or light scented candles. Allow your mind to drift in peace.

There are many ways to recharge your inner battery, and these pampering breaks will make you feel better about yourself and elevate your mood and vibrational level.

Practicing Self-Care

In his book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, Robert Maurer, Ph.D., writes “If you are trying to reach a specific goal, ask yourself every day: What is one small step I could take toward reaching my goal? Whether you ask your question aloud or in the privacy of your own thoughts, please take a kind tone with yourself, the same you’d use for a beloved friend.” 

How many times have you begun a project only to feel completely overwhelmed by the scope of it? Suddenly there are heart palpitations, stress sweat, tense muscles, confusion. You fidget. You’re frustrated and agitated. Your breathing quickens. Your imagination runs wild. Before you know it, you’re on the road to a full-blown anxiety attack. 
And you haven’t even started the project yet!  
During my years of teaching high school English, whenever I assigned the research paper, the biggest project of the year, my students complained, groaned, and even cried at the thought of it. Before I could review the project, they panicked. But as I broke down the process into daily steps, they felt more confident and mastered the skills needed to complete the project. 
To quell their nervous energy, I would have them voice their concerns about the project, so I could diffuse their fears. I would lead them in a guided meditation to calm them, and then assign affirmations for them to repeat or write out for homework. But more importantly, I would tell them to relax into the experience and to practice self-care whenever they felt overwhelmed.
When we get caught up in big projects or challenges, we forget to take the same kind tone with ourselves as we do with our loved ones. Instead, we allow fear to control us; we call ourselves names, put ourselves down, and yell at ourselves, when all we have to do is step back, breathe, and take one step at a time so we can break the project down in smaller, more manageable parts. 
Rather than eat Cheetos and curl up in a ball, the first small step we can take toward any project, goal, or challenge is practicing self-care. It’s also important to practice self-care during and after any big endeavor. Here are some things you can do to start.
1.  Affirm that all things are working out. Repeat as often as necessary until you feel calm.
2.  Listen to your favorite music. Sing it! 
3.  Do something creative. Engaging in a creative activity allows energy to flow more freely. 
4.  Meditate. Pray. Contemplate. Daydream. Visualize success.
5.  Drink a cup of tea. Sip it slowly.
6.  Take a lavender epsom salt bath (Dr. Teal’s is wonderful!). The scent of lavender calms the mind.
7.  Talk to someone you love and trust.
8.  Spend time with someone. Do quality things together.
9.  Spend time alone in nature. Observe what you see. Learn from it. Ask what it can teach you.
10. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. Sleep-deprivation will only zap your energy.
11. Keep a journal. Express yourself in any way that you want. Be daring! Write with fire!
12. Get a manicure, a pedicure, or a massage.
13. Do yoga. Stretch. Moving the body physically helps to remove unblocked energies.
14. B R E A T H E…
15. Read a couple of chapters of your favorite inspirational book.
16. Declutter your living or work environment. Energy gets trapped in clutter. Release it.
17. Turn off the news, and refrain from social media sites at least 30 minutes before bed.
18. Say no when you must. 
19. Eat healthy foods and snacks to give you energy. 
20. Choose your own method of self-care that is safe and healthy.
These are just some of the things that you can do to prepare for a big challenge or to calm yourself in the face of overwhelm. 
Be your own best friend. Treat yourself kindly. You wouldn’t beat down a loved one in this situation; you’d build him or her up with support and love, so why treat yourself otherwise? 
Be good to yourself. Practice self-care. And things will fall into place. 
How do you practice self-care? Please share. 

Knowing Who You Are Determines What You Want

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want,” says Mark Twain.
Mr. Twain, thank you. You’ve expressed my sentiments exactly.

How does a person not know what s/he wants?

To know what you want means to know who you are, first and foremost. If you don’t know who you are, how can you possibly know what you want?

When we don’t know who we are or what we want, we slip into depression and anxiety. And since we don’t know who we are or what we want, we find ourselves being influenced by other people’s goals and desires and then in our struggle to work toward those goals that we think others want for us, our misery magnifies as our self-esteem plummets because we know deep inside that their goals and desires are not what we want for ourselves.

So, how do you find out who you are and how do you discover what you want?

By making a conscious effort to listen to yourself. This means going within yourself and taking a self-inventory to find out what kinds of things you like doing. This is where you will discover your gifts and talents. These gifts and talents are the spiritual pointers of the direction you are to take in life, regardless of what society or others may tell you.

When I first started college, I majored in chemical engineering, not because it was what I wanted but because that was expected of me. I thought I had no choice since my father was paying for my education. But halfway through the semester, I began suffering debilitating migraines that landed me in the hospital at times. I grew more miserable with each passing day. I knew I had to do something or the stress was going to kill me.

So, I quit.

I enrolled in another school. I started taking classes that interested me. I worked three different jobs to pay my way.  And though it was challenging, I was happy because I was doing what I wanted to do, not what I was expected to do. The migraines stopped.

I learned some valuable lessons, and hopefully you will find these helpful in figuring out who you are and what you want:

1.  It’s your life, not anyone else’s. You have to live with yourself. If you make choices based on other people’s goals and desires, you put yourself in serious jeopardy. Realize that you have needs and wants and that they are important to your self-expression.

2.  Listen to your body. You may not know what you want intellectually, but your body will know, and it will react physically when you are not in alignment with something. Practice self-care and self-love. Do things that make you feel good. Your thoughts will become less erratic and you will feel a lot calmer so that you can face any challenges.

3. Let go of expectations. This is key. What other people expect of you does not matter. What matters is that you live in harmony with who you are.  You are here to live your dreams, not someone else’s. When I learned that I didn’t have to live up to someone else’s expectations, I was freed.

4.  You do not have to justify your worth. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking, “If I do this, then I am worthy of that.” Such conditional thinking is destructive because it presumes that there is some kind of hierarchy of people’s worth. You are who you are and you want what you want; there is no need to defend that to anyone.

5.  Try different things to figure out what you enjoy. Take classes that interest you. This will provide you with greater insight into what you really enjoy. Plus you will have some fun along the way.

6.  Don’t try to fit in. Instead be yourself. Sometimes it seems that belonging to a certain group is the most important thing. I have found that I am unique without being connected to a certain group, and the few close friends that I have love me for my unique qualities, not for my “role” within a group.

7.  See life as full of opportunities to grow and expand. I could have easily looked at myself as a failure for not pursing chemical engineering as a career, but taking those classes showed me what I didn’t like. Knowing what I didn’t like helped (and pushed) me to discover what I did like.

What tips can you offer to help others figure out who they are and discover what they want?