Hey all you gorgeous women with your fierce, generous hearts and your making-the-world-a-better-place businesses. It’s time to lavish as much care on you as you do on everyone else!
I know you know that self-care is important. You do your best to work it into your schedule as often as you can, right? But we all can use a reminder sometimes, or a bit of inspiration. Maybe even a handy list.
Remember, stress is stress is stress no matter what the source. Whether it’s excitement and an earnest desire to do good or life happening with a vengeance, we really do need to make conscious self-nourishment an inviolate part of our daily rhythms.
Here are eight fun, quick, easy ways – ranging from practical to spiritual – to nurture the part of you that does so much. (I even included statistics and studies for those of us who love things like that.)
Smile: From a post by Greater Good of UC Berkeley, “Researchers at the University of Kansas found that the act of smiling has a positive effect on our happiness and physical health, helping the heart recover more quickly after stressful events.”
Laugh: Some research is pointing towards laughter actually being the best medicine. From Web MD, “People who believe in the benefits of laughter say it can be like a mild workout – and may offer some of the same advantages as a workout.”
Hugs: They not only feel good, but being heart to heart with someone brings a whole host of other benefits. According to an article in the Daily Mail, “Just ten seconds of hugging can lower blood pressure and after this time elapses, levels of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin increase, while the amounts of stress chemicals, including cortisol, drop.”
10 minutes of appreciation: From a post at Care2, “According to research at IHM (Institute of Heartmath), true feelings of gratitude, appreciation and other positive emotions can synchronize brain and heart rhythms, creating a body wide shift to a scientifically measurable state called coherence. In this optimal state, the body’s systems function more efficiently, generating a greater balance of emotions and increased mental clarity and brain function.”
Accept love: A post from Organic Authority sums this up nicely. “Giving and receiving love – whether with a romantic partner, a family member, friends or a furred companion – is actually quite beneficial to our health.”
Smell a rose: Or Rose essential oil. Rose has a long, long history (thousands of years) of being associated with the many faces of the sacred feminine and with healing wounded, tired and depleted hearts. Katharine Koeppen, in her article Rose, Queen of Flowers and Feminine Divine says, “Rose returns juiciness, coherence, and brightness to the spirit, and allows for joyful clarity of purpose.”
Mind-free movement: In other words, dance, yoga flow, hula hoop – any movement that gets you out of your head and lets you feel your body swirling, dipping, undulating. Dance has a long history of being a conduit for connection with the Divine and for letting our hearts and spirit soar free.
Connect with the heart of the earth: Go outside and stretch out on the earth with your heart resting on the ground. Breathe as slowly and deeply as is comfortable for you. Visualize – or imagine – light radiating from your heart into the earth and meeting the light from the heart of this glorious planet. Inhale that light into your heart. Exhale your heart light into the planetary heart. Continue the love bath as long as you’d like. (I can lose track of time with this one. It’s the practice that most restores me!)