It’s that time of the year for a refresh but forget the feather dusters, give yourself a PERSONAL WELLNESS SPRING CLEAN. You’re welcome.
You know it’s time to Spring Clean the Self when:
You are feeling drained
Finding it hard to stay focussed
Lacking energy & motivation
You are reaching for coping mechanisms you would rather avoid
You are struggling to find the time or the desire to DO YOU!
Too many things in your diary
No breathing space
No moments to recharge
You experience a shift in cravings
Feel withdrawal from social connection
Negative thoughts happening more often
Nip things in the bud and start ‘Mission Spring Clean’ (MSC) now!! A regular MSC is so good for you and should be done 3-4 times a year. This helps you respond to the whispers and make change. Here’s what to do.
6 things you can do to take control of your selfcare and put you are back in charge, of what your soul needs:
1.Review Your SelfCare Rituals.
Probably one of the hardest to do. It is so variable and the default setting is to drop off the things that make you feel great when life throws a challenge your way. Why does this happen? Gina Della Penna LMHC, a licenced mental health counselor in New York shares 3 reasons why……...
1) Historically the human brain is designed to pay more attention to potential danger, a ‘negativity bias’, therefore latching on to negative things and keeping them coming. So we are constantly in battle mode.
2) When we experience stress or are not able to move past things, it takes up alot more of our mental resources than you think. We are then drained and find it hard to get into selfcare mode.
3) The internal desire to achieve. A huge driver is also social and cultural expectations to keep doing. It can become a habit formed early in our lives and the world rewards us for our efforts to keep going. Who rewards you for looking after yourself? We humans respond to outside validation. No matter who they are. Even Beyonce, fact!😊 Find Gina Della Penna tips on stress here 5 Tips for Navigating the Stress of Life Transitions - Gina Della Penna, LMHC
2.Simplifying Things & Paring Back
Are you a lover of Hygge? [my hands up!] The Danish ritual of ‘living comfortably and showing kindness towards yourself’. Hygge blog link HERE. You may also have heard of Kakkukahvi. It is a Finnish word meaning to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake but with more purpose and the intention of mindfulness. Very much like the English tradition of a cuppa and biscuit, (not as glamorous but just as effective). It is the simplicity of living that I love.
Slowing down doesn’t have to mean doing nothing, which some of us find boring. It's about putting things in place to make your life easier and more streamline. Don’t get me started on outsourcing and planning. You can take some things out of your schedule and replace them with something more meaningful. Simple doesn’t have to mean less enjoyable. Active, Sensory and Inner Energy SelfCarers know what I mean...it’s simply making life easier to manage so you can fully indulge in the areas of life that please You.
3.A health check -
Most of us do an annual health MOT right? As we head toward midlife we start to notice shifts and changes. It’s important to know what the optimum you feels like, so you can sense quickly when you’re a little off. Remember to listen to the whispers!!! Ross Barr, a registered acupuncturist with a clinic in London, explains that there are different types of exhaustion; ‘City Syndrome’, and ‘Lack of Mobility Fatigue’. When we are constantly putting out fires - adrenaline kicks in and floods our system. We are only designed to have this in our system occasionally for short periods of time.
Constantly trying to figure out what could happen or what we need to do, namely ‘catastrophising’ can become our default setting and we will find it difficult to relax. This can have a huge impact on our health. Simone De La Rae recommends tracking health as a great way to develop awareness, but don’t become obsessed. Journal your food or exercise if that helps. 😊
Simone De La Rae also suggests movement can be therapy. I call it ‘move - ment!’ Clue is in the name. We are meant to move. It’s why astronauts in space for years have gym routines. Why? Because their muscles will waste away if not used. It goes for everyone - anyone who has broken a leg and been in plaster will experience the same thing because their leg hasn’t been used. It is what our bodies need, but not what we always want. You have to make it non-negotiable for yourself. Make it part of your week. Some movement is better than none, so don’t use the excuse that you’ve only got 20 minutes so it's no point. You have 20 minutes so there is a point! Start somewhere!
Movement can really help with menopause too which explains why so many women take up serious exercise in their 50’s. Kids are grown up, careers are steady and there is a bit more time on your hands. I’ve been nerding up on tracking my menstrual cycle through an app. I recently discovered it’s remarkable at tracking my mood. Apparently, we are more productive at certain times of the month. (Don’t tell the men though, we don’t want judgement!) 😂
5.Increasing your creativity
Here’s a secret...gather in and get up close. Everyone is creative! There I’ve said it. Say after me “I AM CREATIVE.” Feel a meditation coming on...lol….you are, it's a fact. Lots of people say they are not creative but they are lying to themselves. I get it. It’s just your view of creativity that holds you back. Not your expressiveness. Change the narrative. Except the way your creativity chooses to show up - and that could be very different to those around you. Embrace it. Let it free. Let your imagination run wild and see where it takes you. You can always bring it back down to earth later. But for now, as you start, be free!!! This is why I love coaching - it allows true creativity to flourish and thrive. I am working on some creative masterclasses - sign up to the HLB family and subscribe to be the first to know. Watch this space!! 👀
6.Emotional check in & mood monitoring
Believe it or not this is the hardest of them all. So much of what we do and the decisions we make are wrapped up in this little package of ‘feeling’. It governs us more than we would like to admit. The annoying thing is a lot of the time we operate based on a lie. A lie to ourselves. I learned as part of my Selfcare journey and coach training that few problems actually exist. “NOOOOOOO!!” I hear you say. “I can name so many”. The thing is...situations happen all the time, it's the meaning we attach to a circumstance that determines whether it is a problem or learning experience or opportunity. In Drama we call this a ‘Given circumstance’ essentially a situation given to an actor. It can change depending on circumstances given by the director. Listen, here is the clever bit, you are both the actor and the director in the play called ‘My Life.’
Although it may not always feel like it, you are in control of how you feel about things. What makes it hard is believing that you are right. Yes I know these are bold statements but our feelings can lie to us. Don’t let the little feeling tricksters get a hold. We are onto them!😊
Here is what to do.
Am I feeling ok?
What do I need to do to shift my mood.
Have I lingered here too long?
Have I given myself the recovery time I need?
When was the last time I felt in a good mood? What did that look like?
Our feelings also affect us on a cellular level and this can negatively affect our bodies. When we don’t get enough of the right food, correct sleep (notice I didn't say enough sleep as, I don’t subscribe to the set number of hours) or movement, it affects our emotions. It’s a chemical thing - but that's for another blog. Rosemary Ferguson, a nutritionist whose philosophy is all about making healthy living achievable says we are actually aging all the time, so it’s important to prepare our bodies for the future. She operates the 80/20 rule; eat healthy 80% of the time and 20% eat what makes your soul happy! Now that's my kind of living! 🙌
All 6 of these will directly feed your soul and just like the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery Kintsugi - mends areas of breakage, with lacquer mixed with powdered gold or platinum - we mend the areas of the SELF that need some golden healing to restore us back to our vibrant, effervescent, dynamic selves.
Happy Soul Spring Cleaning!!
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