With 2020 wrapping up and the darkest days of the year offering plenty of space for contemplation, I've come to reflect on what this year has taught me. Covid-19 Pandemic, what seemed implausible at first, like a chapter from a dystopian novel, has now become our reality. This "new normal" of isolation, masks, quarantine, and social distancing has brought in many emotions of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. Prior, we had more options and activities that fueled us up physically and emotionally. This new quarantine lifestyle filled with stillness and introspection gives our minds more time to wander. This can be very draining, unsettling, and initially uncomfortable.
This discomfort can be valuable. Change is difficult for all of us, but we grow as people in these times of difficulty; we become stronger. We elevate, we learn, at times fall, but we also pick ourselves up and continue. Balanced mental health doesn't come with a guarantee of a problem-free life or a new you that is void of emotions. It draws on the strength that helps you face barriers, failures, or changes in life. Just as a physically strong individual is better at healing and recovering from injuries or physical trauma than an unhealthy person, people with well managed mental health can better overcome hardships, tension, or emotional wounds.
So it is essential to realize that it's the right time to take a step back, embrace the stillness, reflect, and connect to our inner self. Self-care is not selfish; it's essential!
Self-care has become a buzz word that is associated with a new brand of consumer marketing. Although my products fall into self-care, I want to convey that genuinely caring for oneself requires no purchases. What follows are a few practices that can help you take care of your mind, body, and spirit.
People meditate for many reasons, stress-reduction, enlightenment, self-exploration. These are great goals, but the true gift of meditation is that we can gain control over our minds with practice. We can change the narrative of our lives. "The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." - Milton.
Initially, guided meditations may be beneficial, giving the mind clear direction. I love using the meditation app Insight Timer; it is free and has so many teachers to choose from. The meditation timer feature is fantastic for when you want to sit and keep track of the time. Meditation is very personal; take the time to find a teacher who resonates with you. Focus, and let go. Breath meditation can help develop and soothe the mind, allowing the mind to experience intense emotions without panic taking over and making you feel at ease in your body.
The Art Of Giving
"Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness." -unknown.
What we send out into the world we receive back. Where are you placing your attention? What are you projecting with your actions, thoughts, and words? With everything that's going on, we need solidarity more than ever. We may not be superheroes, but we can positively affect those around us. Engage in acts of kindness, appreciate someone, offer smiles to strangers (they can see it in your eyes- even if your face is masked), help someone in need, bring warmth to someone who is anxious, or just be there for someone who feels lonely. The smallest of gestures can turn out to be a much needed moment of compassion and kindness for another. While everyone is fighting their own battle, it's essential to feel united. By giving a piece of your positive energy to someone, you invite and receive more positivity in return.
Attitude of Gratitude
It is no secret that gratitude makes us feel better. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself" is a phrase we often hear. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate personal unhappiness, it is possible to exchange gratitude for self-pity. It is often easier to focus on the areas of our lives that we are discontent. By redirecting our focus toward the things we are grateful for, we can experience profound shifts in perspective. You may choose to journal, say a prayer, or have a moment of reflection for the things you are grateful for in your life. However we choose to give thanks, it can change our lives.
Ask and You Shall Receive
Three main components lead to balance. Nurturing the physical self through good food and exercise, calming and training the mind through meditation and focus, and feeding the soul through spirituality. Spirituality is essential to a balanced human and often overlooked in our day to day busy-ness. Cultivate a healthy relationship with your higher power - the universe, God, nature - whatever your belief points at. Engage in a dialogue, be willing to speak when you're filled with emotions, and learn to trust. Create a bond of love and strengthen the relationship with trust and understanding. Control is an illusion. We cannot control the external world, but we can control our response to experience. Learning to relax into experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, helps ease the suffering we may feel. Learning to accept and adapt to the unknown can offer our minds a much-needed respite.
The Art of Bathing Rituals
One of my favorite forms of self-care comes in the art of bathing. It is the ideal time to send loving energy toward oneself. A candle-lit bathroom, a break from technology, warm relaxing water, it really doesn't get any better! Bathwater filled with salts helps to rejuvenate tired muscles, relax the body, and nourish the skin. You can make your own soak with simple Epsom and sea salt. Add some aromatic herbs - rosemary, lavender, thyme, etc. - if you're feeling fancy. Or try some of my herbal mineral salts for a more unique experience. By including different bath soaks, you can cater to various aspects of your life.
- Relax And Rejuvenate - A bath soap that eases strained nerves and anxious ideas. Especially at times like such, this natural mineral soak, filled with muscle relaxing kava and aromatic wild Juniper, frees you from fear and doubt. It helps in releasing stress, unwinding your mind while grounding you, and settling your spirit.
- Muscle relaxer - The perfect bath salts that help you recover from post-workout soreness or overworked muscles. This traditional mustard soak, which contains salt crystals and restorative herbs, provides tremendous healing benefits to the skin, body, and mind.
- Stir Your Passion - In this fast-moving world, we often forget to turn inward to find what truly excites us and perhaps even lose a bit of ourselves. This aphrodisiac bath salt packed with sweet-smelling and warming herbs awakens your body, mind, and spirit so you can get in touch with your most authentic self.
Be well, dear ones. Wishing balance and abundance in the New Year!!!