Friday, March 28, 2014

Self-Care: 8 Ways to Liberate Your Mind

Developing a beautiful self-care practice goes much deeper than the products stored away in the bottom of our purses or tucked away in the cupboards of the bathroom. There's no doubt those beauty essentials make me feel fresh, cared-for, and luxurious but if the focus is only fixated on the external, that feeling is fleeting.

There one day and gone the next.

On any given day there are literally thousands of thoughts running through our mind, and at times, it can feel pretty overwhelming. So, how can we care for our mind?

What can we do:

... to shift our mindset?

... when we're overcome by our own inner critic?

... to lessen the impact of every day stresses, emotions, and feelings?

... when we feel depleted and overwhelmed?

... when we're feeling creatively blocked and run by resistance?

... to consciously let go of what no longer serves us?

1. A FRESH MINDSET: If you're not open to a fresh mindset, new way of thinking, or a new set of belief systems, you can't receive it. You can't walk through a closed door. Chances are, if you're here, and you're reading this, you are a seeker. You want more out of life. You have a desire to unlock your own joy and freedom and deep down, even if you haven't admitted it yet, you know that you have the power within you to transform your life.

Surrender. Spread out your arms to the sky and be open to receiving. Become aware of your thoughts. Consciously release old, negative ways of thinking and invite in positive feelings. Bring clarity to what you want. When you feel your heart closing down, open it back up. 

It is a practice and it does take time. For most of us, we've carried around these old habits for years, so be patient and practice on a moment-to-moment basis.

2. BE GENTLE: I've said it before and it's worth saying it again: This has completely revolutionized the way I live. It's made me more compassionate. More responsive, rather than reactive. It brings me back to awareness. Everything feels... softer, lighter, more spacious. Less forcing, pushing, striving, proving. More being.

If you haven't read it already, check out 5 (Super Actionable) Ways to be Gentle with Yourself. It's simply the best way to dive into this meaty topic.

3. CHECK-IN: Get curious. When we get curious about our feelings and emotions, we're less likely to berate ourselves for feeling the way that we do. There's nothing wrong with our feelings.

Let me repeat that: There is nothing wrong with your feelings. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive. There is nothing wrong with being emotional.

Instead, stop labelling certain feelings as "bad" or "good", and just bloody feel them. All it is, is energy vibrating in your body, nothing more, nothing less. When these feelings rise up, just check in with yourself.

"What's the real reason behind my fear? Is there proof that _______ will happen?"

"Why do I feel angry/ frustrated/ overwhelmed/ upset/ rejected right now?"

And ultimately, "What would it feel like to not feel like this?"

4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY: Specifically, surround yourself with positive people.

Is there anyone in your life who drains you? Makes you feel less-than? Who you feel doesn't value or appreciate you? Maybe they project their own limiting beliefs and fears onto you?

There is something (huge!) to be said about being there, accepting them as they are, reaching out and saying, "How can I support you, right now?"

Other times, maybe this relationship (romantic or otherwise) has run its course and it's time to let go. And that's okay too.

This post on letting go of toxic relationships remains one of the most popular and searched-for that's been featured on this space, and if you feel like this could speak to you, please check it out. (And if you know someone who it might resonate with, I would love for you to pass it along and share. Sometimes the best thing of all is to know that we're not alone.)

5. DIGITAL DETOX: Delete some (or all) social media apps for your phone. Stop checking your feeds immediately after waking up. Turn off your phone for a weekend. Disconnect.

Last year, I went through this huge stage of just needing to retreat. As much as my mind was telling me to keep going, everything in my body was screaming, "Stop! Slow down!" I needed to connect back to my truth and get curious about what was happening. This resulted in a few digital detoxes. From a weekend in nature to an at-home retreat. Batteries = charged. Trust me on that one.

6. GET INSPIRED: Throw away the tabloids, close down the gossip websites, and get inspired. Tune into TedTalks, they will change your life. My favourites are here, here, here, and here, to get you started.

Next week, I'll be sharing a juicy post chock-full of my favourite reads, which I'll link to this post once it's live, so stay tuned and keep an eye on this space!

UPDATE: Check out my list of 21 Radical Reads to get inspired.

7. WHIP OUT THE YOGA MAT: Yoga is not just an awesome workout, it can actually calm your monkey mind and bring you to another place of awareness. Whenever I roll out my mat, I know that the next 30/ 60/ 90 minutes is time to just surrender myself on the mat and be still. I give myself permission to stop thinking, "But there's so much to do!" And I'm present.

Often, when I'm feeling overwhelmed or creatively blocked, I'll settle in for a yoga sesh, or even quickly hop into a handstand and it's works wonders to get the juices flowing again.

Insider tip: For those of us who don't have cash to burn (those classes are expensive!) and would like to develop an at-home practice, I highly recommend checking out YogaGlo. It's amazing!

8. LET GO: A gorgeous practice that I've started is when I'm laying in bed, ready to drift off to sleep, I consciously say to myself, "I let go of all thoughts from today." and picture myself opening a window, and seeing all of my thoughts float away. Even though my conscious mind is asleep throughout the night, my subconscious is wide awake. This way, I don't burden my subconscious with the 35932593725 things that popped into my mind earlier in the day.

Another trick? Burn 'em. 

JOIN IN: What do you do when fear/ resistance/ overwhelm crops up? (Or, maybe, what would you like to do?) What are your non-negotiable self-care practices? I'd love to take this one step further and start a conversation over in the comments, see you there! 

P.S. You may have noticed an option on the sidebar to sign up for inspiration straight to your inbox. If you're diggin' this post, I'd love for you to hit 'subscribe'. I've got something pretty special cookin' up behind the scenes that I can't wait to share with you, and it's all-exclusive for the mailing list tribe xo 

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