How would you like to live with deliberate joy in a world where self-care is the primary care and health care is helpful?
In my series about Primary Nourishment, relaxation is the second of eight menu options I’d like to share with you on Thursdays!
Relaxation is serious business! Primary nourishment is a valuable topic because it’s easy to overlook all of the things that contribute to it. It’s not just the food we eat, but all of the other factors present in our daily lives. Healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity and a spiritual awareness are essential forms of nourishment. When these “primary foods” are balanced, what you eat becomes secondary. The second item on my coaching menu is the art and skill of taking time for oneself.
PRIMARY NOURISHMENT MENU OPTION TWO: Relaxation and Rejuvenation
Many women think it is much easier to make time for others than it is to make time for themselves. I don’t think this is because we don’t understand the value of self-care. I think we’ve all been taught to “Do unto others” and somewhere along the line, we didn’t get enough of the “…as you would have them do unto you.” When we flip this on its head and determine that we are our own best caretaker, it becomes easier to spend time on relaxation and rejuvenation.
I coach my clients to take care of themselves on a daily basis: we call this Extreme Self Care. When you think about it, if you want to arrive at age 90 feeling happy, healthy, and in good spirits, the best game plan would be to take care of that 90-year old woman today, while you are in her 30, 40, 50+ year-old body!
Every time I invest in myself by getting a massage, I daydream about my 90-year old self. She is limber with great muscle tone, and she loves going dancing on Friday afternoon (that’s when I’d go dancing, before the crowds arrive). Whenever I take my fish oil and protein powder smoothies, I envision myself as the kind of grandmother who can keep up with her 40-year old grandkids. Who wouldn’t want to travel the world with those charming men and women?
Here are the 10 actions I teach women to use as they create a lifestyle of Relaxation and Rejuvenation. This is a primary part of their nourishment, and a respectful way to slow down, reduce stress, and enjoy the present day so that all their future days are joyful!
- Get enough sound sleep in a bedroom that is cool, dark and quiet. Consider the ideal number of sleep hours that you need. Prioritize this part of your life. We are not heroic when we are sleep deprived.
- Reduce time on the computer and television. Take a night to enjoy a good book, cook a new recipe, or catch up to a friend at the park.
- Take deep breaths during the day: practice “Soft Belly” breathing. Even just a few moments of deep breathing can change your reactivity and give you some perspective.
- Eat more slowly and savor your food. A lot of us tend to speed through meals — missing the chance to appreciate textures and flavors. Play with new aromas and spices. Digestion begins when we think about food because our mouth begins to water in anticipation.
- Enjoy a hobby or new activity — with good friends and loved ones sometimes. It is okay to enjoy time alone!
- Listen to music you enjoy.
- Meditate, pray and/or do yoga. Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan every moment of our day. One of the greatest gifts of a quieting practice is the relief we feel as we step off the ‘super highway’ that is our lifestyle.
- Go for a walk through the trees and enjoy nature. Consider taking five to 10 minutes breaks to step outside and breathe in some fresh air.
- Keep a journal. Daily expression of your heartbreak and heart’s desires is healing.
- Focus on the positive.*
*I used to feel silly being known as that redheaded girl who wears the Rose Colored Glasses. Now I just relax into the bliss of seeing the world the way that pleases me. I’m not unaware; I’m choosing to gaze at all I see with compassion while I focus on the good.