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Wellness

How to Nurture Yourself

Often when we are hurting, we find ourselves reaching past the healing we need toward means of comfort and distraction. It’s easier to distract from pain than feel it, and that distraction can move swiftly toward indulgence that becomes something more. Walking a path of distracting instead of feeling and indulging instead of healing, is a treacherous journey that often leaves you feeling worse after every redirection. 

So where do you go from here? When your impulse is to distract or indulge, how do you make choices that look or feel better for your wellbeing? Is self-care the way forward or self-nurturance? Will it require more pain for you to make a different choice? 

What does it mean to nurture yourself?

To nurture yourself does not mean to make yourself comfortable. In fact, it often means the opposite. Nurturing is a way of caring for ourselves in the challenging moments as much as the ones that come easy. We nurture ourselves in the moments we are afraid and push through; we nurture ourselves when we pursue something that we aren’t sure we will succeed at. We nurture ourselves especially beautifully when we allow ourselves to sit in emotions that are messy or situations that are uncertain. 

Nurturing is the act of giving the whole self holistic care. Much like parenting is to a child, nurturing yourself is the persistent and compassionate belief in your ability to overcome. 

Self-care vs Self-nurture

The much-lauded practice of self-care is everywhere in one form or another. That bath? Self-care. A pedicure? Definitely self-care. Yes, read that book, watch that show, indulge in that chocolate- it’s self-care, after all. But self-care is so much more than we are often shown. It is not all easy, and it’s certainly not the indulgent picture painted so often in media. Self-care can be difficult, rigorous work. The acts of care that help us move forward and progress in the world—like rising to a challenge—is self-care just as much as taking a shower often enough to feel clean and productive. 

Self-care is the verb to the self-nurture’s noun. Care is what we do, and nurturing is how we frame our thoughts about it. We nurture our thoughts, our needs and our worth. We care for them too, but first, we must nurture them into the certainty that they are valid and deserve to take up space. Though we need self-care to self-nurture, we must learn to nurture before we can offer ourselves true care. 

Are you prone to self-indulgence? 

Ah, indulgence. To sink into the wanting instead of the needing, and allow yourself to truly know decadence. It’s something special to be able to appreciate the finer things in your world- from small brief delicacies to extravagant ones. 

When indulgence becomes a form of coping instead of confronting, it becomes a substitute for nurture and care. Emotional pain may be difficult or confusing to feel. Often, it’s not clear what we’re meant to do with those feelings, and as society sweeps the messy things under the rug, we may want to as well. Indulgence can be something benign like an extra show, an extra scoop, or an extra hour- or it can seep into substances or habits that can become dangerous. Indulgence may become addiction if it’s not curtailed when it moves past an occasional treat into a daily habit. 

Re-writing your healing 

Stepping into the uncomfortable spaces to shape the way you nurture yourself can be difficult, but you are more than capable. Spend some time with yourself, considering the ways you approach your inner child. Give yourself the space to think about what would feel best in a variety of situations or emotional experiences. 

What would feel best when you’re afraid? When you’re angry? How can you celebrate your wins? Where do you look for clarity when you’re confused? 

Focus on these feelings and the authentic places you react and then apply them. Listen to your intuition for what you need, and move toward the nurturing habits that will allow you to give yourself those things. 

Ways to shape your nurturing 

The hows of nurturing yourself are always going to be highly specific. Just like your fingerprint and your self-care, it’s entirely unique to you. Shaping the nurturance you offer yourself is a delicate dance of identifying the unconscious needs that drive your emotions and sitting with them long enough to hear what they’re really saying. 

You can shape your nurturing through: 

  • Meditation 
  • Journaling 
  • Inner-child care 
  • Affirmations 
  • Moving your body 
  • Practice radical honesty 

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it never could be. You are so beautifully unique that the chances for nurturing yourself will bend and extend as often as you do. No matter where you are on your healing or recovery journey, it is never too late to learn to nurture yourself, and we’re always here to help

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Wellness

11 Self-Care Ideas for Women

If we don’t care for ourselves, who is going to do it? Relying on anyone else to care for us, give us what we need, or make us feel whole and complete will never work. 

If you want to truly learn how to love yourself and fill yourself up with self-worth and empowerment, then you need to start practicing self-care

In this article, we’re going to share several self-care ideas for women.

Self Care Ideas for Women

We can easily take ten minutes each day to show ourselves some self-care. The idea is to find something that brings you comfort and just makes you feel good — and make a point to do it daily. The great thing about self-care is that it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. And it doesn’t have to take up hours out of your day.

We spend so much time thinking about everyone else that it can be hard to even think of something to do to take care of ourselves! So, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of 11 self-care ideas for women. 

Here are 11 self-care ideas for women.

1. Say I’m Sorry – to Yourself

Forgiveness is powerful and can rebuild and strengthen relationships. And when we let things go, we free ourselves. Unfortunately, we always find it easier to forgive others rather than to forgive ourselves. Today, give yourself permission to say, “I’m sorry!” For everything. Or anything.

2. Have Coffee With Someone

As humans, we need connection. This doesn’t have to be anything formal. Simply meet a friend and connect over coffee (virtually or in person, according to your comfort level). This doesn’t mean sit and chat about the weather, but take the conversation deeper where you can start to open up and get to know one another on a meaningful level. This type of connection feels good. 

3. Go for a Walk

We are not talking about going for a long walk or a fast-paced walk or even a jog. Simply strolling through your neighborhood or the park is a good way to get the blood flowing a little while breathing in fresh air, soaking up the vitamin D from the sun, and so on. A 10 or 15-minute walk is all you need to transform your day and breathe life into stagnation. 

4. Buy Yourself a Bouquet of Flowers

We all love flowers. There is no reason why we should ever wait for someone to bring us flowers. If having a fresh bouquet of flowers sitting on your dining room table makes you smile every time you see them, then buy the flowers. Treat yourself to this small indulgence. You deserve them and all the smiles they bring. 

5. Dance

In your room, turn on some feel-good music and dance. Let it out. Whether you want to waltz or booty shake, just let the music carry you away. Maybe even consider creating a playlist that is an instant mood-booster that you put on your headphones and go to town dancing. This can make you feel so good in so many ways. 

6. Read a Book

Reading is one of those peaceful things that are nearly always available to you, but not always on the top of our to-do list. If you are like most women, you have a list of books you would love to read, but never have the time, right? Make the time. Make it part of your self-care routine. Even if it means only reading one chapter a day or setting a timer and only reading for 10 minutes – do it. This even works really well when reading self-help books that can help you grow. 

Not much of a reader? No problem. Audiobooks are fantastic ways to get the benefits of a book without having to read!

7. Take a Bubble Bath

Escaping the real world some days sounds so enticing. But, let’s face it – it is not realistic. We can’t just disappear. Unless, you disappear in a bathtub full of bubbles! Light a candle, fill up the tub, turn the lights off, turn on some relaxing music, and soak. 

Let the hot water melt away all the heavy worries, burdens, and stresses you carry. 

8. Write an “It’s Done” List

When you write a list of all the things you have to do, life can suddenly feel so overwhelming. Even more than normal. Seeing those tasks in black and white is too much. So why not ditch the to-do list and start looking at the glass half full? 

Write an “it’s done” list of all the things you have accomplished. This might include tasks you have completed today or this week or it can be all the things you have already accomplished in life. 

9. Write Yourself a Love Letter

Keep a journal of letters to yourself. Spend a few minutes looking at yourself, your life, your day — and write yourself a love letter. Praise yourself for things you did and offer encouragement for things that maybe didn’t go so well. Keep it positive.

Do this regularly and watch how you become your biggest cheerleader. 

10. Turn Your Phone Off

Our phones can be so distracting. In fact, it is hard to even have thoughts to ourselves without hearing a chime or a ding notification. Turn your phone off or put it on “do not disturb” for an hour or so. No calls, no texts, no emails, no social media. Just enjoy the uninterrupted time. 

11. Watch the Sun Rise

Waking up early – when it is still dark outside – and watching the sun rise above the horizon with its breathtaking views can help, in some way, to bring perspective to life. It reminds us that the world is so much bigger – and that we are just a tiny little part of it. Our problems and struggles that we feel are enormous, are really not so big after all. 

And, if that isn’t a bit of self-care, then we don’t know what is. 

Try these tips for self-care or find some more on your own. Lots of people have ideas for engaging in self-care or you can choose something on your own that will make you feel good. The point is to find something and do it. Treating yourself well is one of the first steps toward finding whole-body wellness and balance in your life – and in recovery. 

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Wellness

The Health Benefits of Journaling

There are several profound health benefits of journaling. Every minute of your day is used in the manner you choose, whether you think you have control over it or not. Today is based on a series of events and actions that have taken place in the past and have landed you right here, right now. Maybe you made some good choices that you are proud of. Maybe there were a few poor decisions that had a great impact on your life. Or maybe you were dealt a tough hand from the very beginning of your life. 

The thing about gratitude is that it can still impact your life in incredible ways from the place where you are standing at this very moment. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or where you are going. It is life-changing in this moment.  In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the health benefits of journaling.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude means being grateful or thankful. It means being able to show compassion and kindness and care toward others, toward yourself, toward a higher being, or toward life in general. A definition of gratitude needs to include appreciation – such as the appreciation of all the goodness in your life despite the hardships, struggles, and other negative aspects. There is always good to be found and those who practice gratitude can often find it. And, being thankful for that small piece of good can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life. 

The Importance of Practicing Gratitude

Getting in the habit of practicing gratitude means that you will soon find your body and mind are feeling the benefits. It is true — gratitude can bring positive changes and transformation that you may have never otherwise imagined. These include: 

Better overall mental health. You will find that toxic, negative emotions will begin to be outweighed by positive, happy emotions. In fact, many research studies have shown that feelings brought on by gratitude reduce depression. 

Improved physical health. Studies show that those who regularly practice gratitude are more likely to care for their overall health and live longer lives. 

Better sleep. Keeping a gratitude journal by your bed and jotting down a few things you are thankful for before going to sleep leads to better quality sleep. 

Decreased aggressive, angry emotions. When you learn to look at the positive aspects of every situation, you begin to adjust your focus. This results in a reduction of negative emotions such as anger and aggression and replaces them with feelings of happiness, empathy, and even sensitivity.

Greater self-esteem. Gratitude helps you view everything in a more positive light – including yourself. You will find that the more you practice gratitude, the easier it will become to appreciate others and yourself. And, let’s face it – when your self-esteem begins to soar, so will you. 

A reduction in stress. When you can truly see that there is goodness, you are no longer allowing yourself to get worried or worked up about things you cannot control. Guess what? You can control your ability to find gratitude in every moment. 

How Keeping a Gratitude Journal Can Help

Practicing gratitude is one of those things that we know we should do – and need to do – but we don’t always find it so easy. We may have very good intentions, but in the middle of a tough moment, there is a low likelihood that you will stop and say, maybe I should take a moment to look at the things I am grateful for. Sure, it’d be wonderful if you could do this, but most of us are not wired that way. We need to get in the habit first. We need to practice. The more we do, the more we will find ourselves looking for that silver lining in every situation. 

This is why a gratitude journal can help. It is a way of making your mind focus on the things you are grateful for every day. No, you may not stop in the middle of an argument to reflect on gratitude, but at the end of a rough day, you can look back over it and find things to be grateful for. 

A gratitude journal should ideally be used every morning and every evening – as the perfect way to begin and end your day. Sit in the quiet for a moment and reflect on your day and your life in general. Then, write down at least 3 things you are grateful for. 

That’s it. A task that doesn’t have to last longer than 5 minutes can have intense benefits on your life. 

Creating Your Own Gratitude Journal

Now that you know just how powerful a gratitude journal can be, there is a good chance you want one, right? Great! Creating your own gratitude journal is simple – and it is the best way to bring positivity and light into your world. 

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

  1. Find Yourself a Journal. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy at all. You can go buy a new one at the store or you can use an old notebook that you have left from school. Choose what is easiest for you – -as long as it has plenty of space to write. Remember, what matters most is not what the outside looks like, but the words written inside. 
  2. Determine When You Will Practice Gratitude. Will it be in the morning? At night? Both? During your lunch hour? You are trying to develop a habit so you need to find a time during your daily routine that will allow you to do that. 
  3. Choose Your Method of Gratitude Journaling. You are showing gratitude for 3 things, but it is up to you if those 3 things are just general things, or 3 fantastic things that happened during the day today, or 3 things that will make your day great (if journaling in the morning), etc.

Final Thoughts

Starting a gratitude journal is taking a step toward a positive future. It is not easy to make changes to your life, even when you know it will have great benefits. But, setting yourself up for success is the perfect place to start. 

Get your gratitude journal, keep it where you will remember to use it, and watch the powerful transformation that happens. 

 

Categories
Wellness

A Recovery Journal to Inspire Us All

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Wellness

How to Keep a Daily Journal

Did you ever keep a journal as a kid? If so, then it was likely one of those little hardcover notebooks with the lock and key. Maybe it even said “Keep Out” on the cover.

Fast forward to your grownup self and journaling is significantly different. It is more than just a recounting of your day. Instead, it is a few therapeutic moments that are meant to actually help you grow.   

Let’s talk about the different types of daily journals there are and how to keep a daily journal.

Why Journaling?

If you find yourself wondering whether you should invest any time and effort into journaling, the answer is – without a doubt – yes! There are so many benefits that come with getting in the habit, such as managing anxiety, reducing stress, coping with depression, and so forth. 

Journaling can also: 

  • Help you address your fears, problems, and concerns. 
  • Help you track your symptoms so that you may learn to recognize triggers – and develop ways to learn how to control them in the future. 
  • Teach you to develop positive self-talk while identifying patterns of negative thoughts and behaviors. 

Many avid journalists look to their journals as a way to escape. It is like that go-to bestie who isn’t going to give you advice or drone on and on about how her problems are worse than yours. Your journal will listen to anything and everything you have to say which can be healing in itself. 

Not all types of journaling will work for everyone. Find what fits for you – and give it a try. You may be surprised just how greatly it impacts your life. 

How to Keep a Daily Journal

How you journal is going to vary based on the type of journaling you do. We will get to the different types of journaling in just a moment. But, in a general sense, to begin journaling, you will want to: 

  • Get a Journal. Invest in a notebook or formal journal. You don’t need anything fancy — just something you can write on. You can even make your own. 
  • Commit to Journaling. Commit to writing every day. You may want to set aside time to write during a specific time of day. Or you may even choose to carry your journal with you to jot down thoughts as you have them. 
  • Keep it simple. The process of journaling is not meant to overwhelm you, but to help you. So keep it simple and informal. 

By journaling, you are taking control of your thoughts. You are blocking out all the chaos around you — and focusing your attention on one thing – yourself. It is good for your mind, body, and soul. 

Now, on to the different types of journaling. 

A Gratitude Journal

Gratitude journaling is about focusing on the things you are grateful for. You don’t have to use a lot of words. Morning and/or night (or whenever you find it suitable) give yourself a few minutes to reflect on life right here, at this moment, and what you are thankful for. Then, grab your pen and jot down at least 3 things you are grateful for. 

That’s it. 

Keeping a gratitude journal can help shift your mindset and help you start looking at the world, life, and yourself in a more positive light. 

A Self-Reflective Journal

A self-reflective journal is not so much about writing down your daily activities, but rather reflecting back on your day – or any time in your life, really. Think about how you reacted in certain situations or how you felt in others. Write down what you think about certain situations or how you see yourself acting differently in the future. 

This is a way of getting to know yourself and learn about who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, your triggers, your goals for the future, and maybe even a chance to forgive yourself for past choices. Everything you write within these pages is a conversation with yourself – and about yourself. 

Self-reflective journaling is great for learning and growing. When you are going through changes in your life that are scary, sometimes reassuring yourself that you are strong and capable can help you overcome it. 

A Free Writing Journal

Freewriting is something you will either love or hate. But it is a way of journaling that helps you remove all the nonsense in your active, conscious mind and really get under the surface of your thought process. Here’s how it works. 

Designate a certain amount of time each day for free writing. Then, set a timer for that amount. Grab your pen and start writing. What are you writing? It’s free writing. Just let your pen lead you. Don’t put any thought into the words that hit the page, just write. Let it out. All of it. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar or spelling. Just write. 

This exercise is fantastic for unveiling feelings and emotions we may not even realize we are holding on to. Sometimes things you haven’t thought of in years can come pouring out of you and onto the page. It is such a release – and very therapeutic. 

The more you get comfortable with freewriting, the less you need to worry about setting a timer. At first, this type of journal experience can seem weird because we are usually always trying to be in control of our thoughts. So the time helps you set boundaries of when to let go and when to bring it back. But the more you practice it, the easier it becomes, and the better you will feel. 

Final Thoughts on Journaling

As you begin your journey through healing, you are going to spend a lot of time reflecting on your life while finding healing within yourself. Journaling is a great way to stay connected with your thoughts and gather insight into your overall sense of wellbeing. Whether you choose to start a gratitude journal, a self-reflective journal, a freewriting journal, or a combination of any or all of them – you are sure to find that this is a great tool to have. 

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Wellness

How To Learn To Love Yourself

Knowing the value of loving yourself and navigating how to do it are vastly different things. The first echoes from our loved ones, support networks, and even pop culture, but none of their affirmations convey the complexity of the often winding journey of learning to love yourself. There is no quick slip to bypass the work of giving yourself the same softness you give to others, but there are a few skills we’d like to support you in as you learn. 

Doing, not being 

Have you ever heard the popular quote that tells us we are each “a Human Being, not a Human Doing”? Well, learning to love yourself is nothing like that. While spending your time as a human being will support your journey toward self-compassion and enhance your mindfulness practice, it’s not going to help you love yourself. At least, not actively. 

Loving yourself is a hands-on process. It involves the unlearning of martyrdom and self-blame to embrace the active choice to nourish yourself. It can be messy, but most art is. Actively identifying and working toward the things that make you feel alive, fulfilled, and excited to move through each day is important. Some of those things may look like fun, but others can be punishingly hard work, especially amid early recovery. 

Boundaries

Maybe it sounds more punishing than like an act of care, but spending time with what you truly need to thrive and enforcing those boundaries is a vital part of loving yourself. Knowing yourself well enough to identify what you need and using your energy to declare that you are entitled to the space it takes up to ask for them will reinforce your value in the world and within yourself. Boundaries can be difficult to identify and set, but they’re one of those forms of self-love that can shape the landscape of all your relationships in powerful ways. 

Seek acceptance 

 As you move toward self-love, feeling accepted and accepting others is key in fostering that same energy inwardly. While external validation doesn’t beget self-love, being loved out loud is a fantastic way to see what makes you so very lovable. Love from someone else is a mirror that helps you fully see yourself to fully embrace yourself. 

You can choose to be selective with the love you receive from others. Use those boundaries to accept only what serves you as well. 

In your relationships that influence your life, look for connections that make you feel seen and supported. At work or in your commitments, be honest about what you need and accept your presence in the spaces that feel good as you move toward a life that loves you back. When they don’t, work to let go of those things in all the ways you can. Accept others as they present themselves and not as you hope they’ll be. Of course, the counter to this is the pain of letting go of things that no longer fit. Just like boundaries, pain can help us see how to love ourselves better long term. 

Embrace Intention

Showing yourself love and gentleness is an intensely personal process, but no matter how you choose to go about that, there is one constant; you must embrace the intention you set. Commit to the concepts and ideas you try to lovingly support yourself. Promise your energy to those spaces of learning and lead with the desire to do your best. This does not require you to follow through on everything you try or to always show up as your best. Always expecting perfection or success is the opposite of loving yourself. Letting go of that expectation for yourself can be a powerful way to enact boundaries and accept yourself as you are in the here and now instead of in the loftiness of impossibility. Intend to show up with a passionate and committed heart and to show yourself grace and tenderness when that commitment requires some adaptations along the way. 

Loving yourself isn’t a smooth and beautiful process. You can’t romance yourself to genuine love any more than you can hate yourself there. It’s a highly individual experience based on just a few universal principles. But despite the simplicity of the concepts, applying them can be a learning curve that feels steep and trying. You are capable and worthy of the love you have to give, so keep trying. Through setbacks, struggle, and recovery, keep trying. Keep showing up with love and honesty and move through the spaces that make your own love feel out of reach. We will move with you. 

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Wellness

How To Start A Gratitude Journal

Journaling is one of the most versatile and beneficial ways you can engage your mind and body in support of your mental wellness. When introducing the practices of mindfulness and gratitude, it can be an excellent tool to make those things into an active process. 

Don’t know where to start? Learning how to start a gratitude journal begins here, whether you’re already practicing journaling in your recovery or this is your first foray. If you’re ready to manifest magic with your gratitude, we want to give you the getting started tips that will make your hope into a habit to carry you to new heights. 

Start small 

When both journaling and gratitude are new to you, start both with a micro step. So micro, in fact, that it doesn’t require any tools or forethought. It requires nothing but you, your heart and the life you’re already living. Begin (or end) each day with a single thought: 

I am grateful for… 

Finish that sentence any way you wish. It doesn’t have to be a big gratitude. Sometimes, isolating and lifting up the little things can be more helpful in recognizing the miniscule permanence of your ability no matter how much you’ve struggled. 

So what are you grateful for? Right here, right now. Just think it. 

Look at that, first step done and you’re doing great already. 

Make some choices 

There are a few key choices to make in navigating the infinite world of journaling, and they’re each a part of the art of tailoring your relationship with your words and yourself. 

1. What medium do you want to use? 

You have lots of options for the space and format in which you want to keep your journal and there is no wrong way.  

If you’re thinking digital, this can take many forms. Whether you choose to use the notes app on your phone, a multi-access platform like Google Docs or an app designed for journaling, your phone is always in the palm of your hand and ready for your use. This is a great option for brief, consistent forms of journaling where you may want to note each small gratitude in the moment. 

Analog options are also plentiful. Choose a notebook you love- maybe it’s the size, the design, the sentiment or even the feel of the paper. Involve the choice as part of the journaling experience and make that very act one that solidifies your gratitude. Use a pen or pencil you love, or even make it an artful experience. There is no wrong way to write down your thankful thoughts. 

2. How often do you want to do this? 

Will you journal daily? Multiple times a day? Maybe you decide you’d like to do Thankful Thursday or some other alliterative or less constant format for this practice. Does the morning feel best, or maybe just before bed? Perhaps you’d like to spend a little time in the middle of the day checking in with yourself and the life you’ve created.  

The frequency isn’t what’s important- setting yourself up for success by journaling on a schedule that suits your life is the real key in finding time to journal. 

3. Is there a length or format you’d liked to abide by? 

For some, keeping the grateful notes brief is the key to being able to create a routine around journaling. For others, a stream of consciousness time limit works more effectively. You may choose to write a certain line, word or page count or focus on getting a number of thoughts- maybe you want a list of grateful things. Beyond that, you can time yourself, or structure your journaling into other formats or forms that feel best for you. Just as the timing, there is no wrong length or form in which to be grateful. 

4. Where will you keep your journal? 

If you’re using an app or a phone-based journal tool, this one’s easy. But analog journaling can take a bit more thought. Consider putting your journal somewhere that’s easily accessible at the time you’ve decided to set aside for journaling. Perhaps that’s by your bed, in your bag or at your workstation. Ensuring you have easy access when you need it but can create the privacy you’d desire to write authentically is important. 

Be consistent

Once you’ve decided what’s important to you about your gratitude journal and gotten yourself set up, be consistent with the terms you’ve set for how you want to proceed. Try to stick to the time table, the schedule or the frequency you outlined as being important to your process so that you set yourself up for success and can adequately block out time to make space for your gratitude process. Consistency is a hallmark of success and repeating the action of documenting your thanks will help to create a Law of Attraction style success in manifesting more to be grateful for. 

While consistency is important, don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself. Being gentle and flexible with your needs and boundaries is valuable as well, and sometimes those things need your attention more than consistency. Offer yourself the kindness and flexibility of knowing when you need to change things up. Notice if something isn’t working for you, and don’t be afraid to offer those things gratitude and move on to something new. In your journal and your life, self-compassion and gratitude will always lead you toward success. 

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Wellness

8 Ways To Feel Happy In An Hour Or Less

In recovery, it can feel heavy to do the kind of work demanded of you. Factoring in this type of work as necessary to creating happiness in your life may feel a bit overwhelming, but even a moment can move you toward a long-term sense of fulfillment. While every experience has the potential to have a profound impact, not every experience requires profound commitments. 

Whether you are trying to build a fulfilling life, feel more content, or just experience a brief flash of happiness on your journey toward those things,  you have many tools available to you.  To use them effectively, it’s important to distinguish which kind of happy you’re prioritizing right now so you can move your energy toward the small tasks that will help you achieve it. 

There are small things you can do right now to feel happiness. The impact of some may be brief, tiny prisms in the sunshine, but others are long-lasting or build upon one another. Either way, they take minimal prep and can be done right now for a little boost of happiness—you are deserving of exactly that. Take what serves you, leave what doesn’t, and let your happiness take front and center, if only for a little while. 

1. Exercise. 

It doesn’t have to be a lot, as just seven minutes of moving your body is enough to get the endorphins and dopamine flowing. The emotional payoff and tangible sense of achievement can give you something to hold on to in the moment as well as continue to build toward longer-term feelings of happiness. Whether it’s a long walk, a HIIT circuit, or a balanced yoga flow, moving your body can make you feel happy. 

2. Eat some chocolate.

For real. Chocolate can improve your mood. Eating a square of dark chocolate can prime your brain to produce all the chemicals that help manufacturer happiness and improve your mood, as well as creating a distraction when you take a moment’s break to find and consume your confectionary sunshine. 

3. Label your emotions

Giving your feelings a name can help you address them head-on, whether good or bad. Sad emotions (and sad songs) can allow us space and permission to experience the world in its entirety. Balance is vital to genuinely feel the full scope of the world, after all. So take inventory of what you’re feeling and slap a label on it, then find gratitude for yourself in doing so.

4. Reach for a friend

Calling someone you love, sending a text, an email, or writing a letter can be a valuable way to reinforce a connection and bring about positive feelings that a relationship with something outside of yourself helps you feel. It’s also a helpful reminder that you matter to someone, which can go a long way in reinforcing your conviction in recovery. 

5. Make a done list. 

To remind yourself of all the things you’ve already accomplished, set aside that to-do list and make a list that shows you everything you’ve already achieved for a quick mood and confidence boost. 

6. Plan a trip 

You don’t even have to leave your comfort zone to feel the positive benefits of travel- the mere act of planning a trip can improve your mood. Taking the time to research, apply and coordinate the potential of a new adventure can boost your mood. Let your heart wander the globe, and take notes. Your next trip will benefit you now and then. 

7. Have an orgasm 

In addition to supporting your heart health long-term and improved sleep and a stronger immune system, orgasms can help boost your mood. By increasing the oxytocin and dopamine in your body, a little bit of self-love can profoundly impact your emotional state. Spend a little time on you, and carry that post-o glow right into a better mood.

8. Make a meal

Just like the done list, cooking a meal can give you a tangible product to boost your sense of productivity and create some feel-good instant gratification. Eating food you’ve made can give you a sense of power over your body and engage your mind in what you’re creating. Nourish your mind as you prepare to nourish your body. 

While feeling happy right now may not be the long-term solution or the golden ticket to your best life, it’s undoubtedly a little glimmer in the right direction. Take as many steps as you need to move toward fulfillment in your recovery. In the meantime, you’re worthy of the many moments of happiness you can gather and treasure.  

Categories
Wellness

How to Be Kind to Yourself

We are reminded regularly to treat others with kindness, but when was the last time you were reminded that you are deserving of it yourself? There are a lot of things we need to hear right now, but there are three I want you to walk away from this blog today knowing: 

Kindness isn’t the same thing as niceness.
You deserve kindness. 

And, most importantly:  You owe yourself kindness. 

Often, the thought of being kind to ourselves feels indulgent. Like a privilege we must earn for good behavior or as a reward for notable achievement. It is not. You do not need to hold yourself hostage to receive grace in your life- not from everyone else, and especially not from yourself. 

Let’s talk about how to be kind to yourself (and why it’s imperative that you do). 

Spend time on self-care

Investing time and energy into the things that nourish your soul is a critical element of self-kindness. Caring for yourself can be guilt-inducing and challenging work, but it is the foundation of showing yourself kindness. Recently, the term seems to have evolved into a new way of saying treat yourself, but realistically, caring for your mind and body can be a challenge. 

Self-care includes more than just relaxation. Things like getting enough sleep, nourishing your body with food and movement, or setting boundaries are essential elements of caring for yourself. Doing those things may feel like denying yourself of other things you want to do, but meeting your needs with grace and surety instead of punishment is good self-care. 

Balance fun and function 

While self-care may not always look like the indulgence we’ve come to view it as, it’s essential to take time for those genuinely indulgent forms of care. Make time for your favorite hobbies and relaxation, and make it just as non-negotiable as you would an obligation to someone else. Balancing those obligatory forms of self-care with more relaxing or rewarding forms is a critical facet of ensuring you are giving space to your peace. 

Fortify those boundaries 

If you find yourself struggling with finding kindness or compassion for yourself, you likely need to work on boundaries. Boundaries don’t just apply to when and how people touch you or to needing that meeting to end on time. Boundaries extend into every aspect of your life and of the self. We are most disrespectful to our own needs by allowing our emotional boundaries to fall away or be violated with little to no resistance. 

When you enforce a boundary on the availability of your time or emotional space, it reinforces to others and yourself that your needs are not negotiable. Boundaries communicate autonomy, emotional awareness and help prevent burnout from the things that seek to threaten your peace. Every time you hold a limit in place, you show yourself kindness by telling others that your self-respect is not negotiable. 

Forgive and accept

Who you think you should be and who you are are different people. It’s a hard thing to accept, but it’s an important one. Every time you measure yourself against an idealistic version, you are letting yourself down. Instead of meeting those misalignments with criticism and judgment, it’s vital to your well-being that you practice radical self-acceptance

When you fall short of a behavior or ideal you feel you should have obtained, forgive and accept. Practice offering yourself these things in the form of saying, “It could have gone this way, but it didn’t. That’s okay.”. Compassion for the self begins with kindness toward the self, and acceptance is the first step toward both. 

Stay curious

What if we replaced the focus we put on self-esteem with a focus on self-compassion? The distinction between the two holds an important insight: self-esteem relies on our evaluation of our worth. At the same time, self-compassion implies offering grace for our existence. Imagine if we stopped trying to bolster our value to ourselves and others and instead took that energy and poured it into curiosity for our passions. If we didn’t allow these to define our worth, the world becomes a playground for exploration instead of an exam to prove our validity. Recognizing your humanity, making room for it in beautiful and trying times, and asking questions to explore the depth and value in each is a powerful way to embrace kindness toward yourself. 

There is no denying that our global society puts an emphasis on cultivating kindness to one another. Even if we often fall short, that goal is still primarily a shared one. But where is the focus on being kind to ourselves? When we are on airplanes, the flight attendants always insist on securing our own oxygen masks first. Being kind to yourself is much the same practice. Put that compassion to work in your own heart, and turn your thoughts toward kindness when speaking to yourself. 

If you’re unsure where to begin, and you recognize how your history of addiction has eroded your sense of self, self-compassion therapy at Villa Kali Ma can guide your journey toward a kinder and more vibrant you. 

Categories
Wellness

How to Live Your Best Life

The concept of living your best life is simultaneously a vague and clear directive. So what does it mean to live your best life? Is it the same for everyone? Is there a clear sign you’ve made it? For such a simple phrase, it sure elicits a lot of questions. The good news is, we can answer questions. The even better news is that those answers will empower you to move toward your best life and support a fulfilling journey toward it. 

Know yourself now 

From the time we are small, we have hopes of what we will become.  Those hopes evolve into expectation as we grow, not just for ourselves but for our lives and the world at large. We often know what we want, and when we don’t, we know how we want to be perceived, and we move toward it. This is what we’re taught. But what happens when those expectations change, or when we do? 

Because they will. They’re meant to. But understanding big changes in the calibration of our future can be painful. Finding meaning and purpose in those new shapes can push us to recalibrate our expectations in beneficial ways. Learning to adjust your hopes and needs is vital in creating your best life. After all, best is only best if it feels right for you. 

Embrace the changes in who you are, how you feel and the things that matter to you. Use those changes to craft aspirations that feel good, and strive for them. If you’re working toward goals that mean something to you, whether big or small, the effort and the end goal will feel good. 

Foster positive self-talk 

Be kind to yourself first and ruthless when required. That might sound a little counterintuitive, but drawing a hard line in your own mind about the way you speak to yourself is a critical step in cultivating your best life. Speaking kindly to yourself is a gift that can lower stress, increase confidence and make you a better friend. 

When your self-directed thoughts veer toward the critical or negative, put up a pause. Tell yourself, “You will not talk about my friend that way”. You are your own friend after all—the loudest and most persistent one. Enforcing a code of respect in this intimate relationship you share with yourself will set the standard for speaking with respect to others, and doing so in a positive framework. With lower stress and kinder words to reframe the situations you’re confronted with, you’ll be well on your way to a better mindset fit for your best life. 

Breathe fully 

There is so much more to bringing fresh air and perspective into your body. Misnomers like “just breathe” or “just let it go” make us feel that it should be easy but breathing with your whole self doesn’t “just” happen. While mindful breathing can decrease anxiety, pain and sleep troubles, it’s also an exercise that requires regular training. 

There are many breathing tools that can be employed to expand your health and restore your body’s clarity but pranayama has a special place in our hearts. Through this powerful breathwork, we can confront and heal the things holding us back in our bodies and reach more fully toward it. Through individual or supported pranayama work, overcoming your body’s resistance to risk can become an empowering tool in achieving your full potential. 

Live with intent 

With your adjusted expectations, kinder self-talk and grounding breaths, you’re ready to move toward a life cultivated with your personal best in mind. In order to reach that pinnacle of gratitude and fullness, we must first envision what that looks like and then set our intentions.  Just as our expectations and goals change, so too will our intentions. It’s best to set them in the short term, but just how short term is up to you. 

For some, it feels best to set intentions daily or every couple of days. Maybe a weekly or bi-weekly intention feels better. The great thing is- you can choose both, neither, or a combination of any timeframe you choose. It is your best, after all, and no one else’s schedule need apply to your intentions. What matters is that you set your intentions and then spend time with them. Visualize, or daydream what those intentions will look like as you work toward them and how you’ll achieve them. Let yourself spend time with those hopes and cement them as your plan instead of a dream. 

Crafting your best life is an active process. It’s not a dream set in stone by a collective, and it isn’t something you must hold to. Your best life is a changeable thing that grows with you. It’s not a burden or a risk to take up or carry along, but a visualized collective of your aspirations and intentions. Whether you are working through the early steps of recovery or well along your path to healing, you are deserving of your best life and we are committed to helping you achieve it.