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Reconnecting with yourself after a period of illness or self doubt can feel like climbing a mountain. You know the road ahead will be bumpy and that there could be the odd setback. But you’re not alone. I’ve always found it helpful to focus on taking small daily steps rather than staring up at the mountain top and feeling overwhelmed by how I’m going to get there. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. - Lao Tzu
So, let’s get thinking about that first step because without it, nothing changes. But, where to begin? Well, I don’t know about you but I feel so much happier and stronger when I take the time to nurture myself. It helps me to stay balanced and keep fears and self doubt in check rather than letting them sabotage my good intentions.
Of course, taking good care of yourself is just one of the first steps towards healing but I believe that it’s an essential part of the holistic journey that we all need to take. There are so many ways to get started but here are a few of my favourites. I hope these help you on your path and inspire you to begin a healing self care practice.
I’ve always found it easier to express myself on paper and so I often refer to journaling as my therapy because getting those unspoken words out of my head and onto paper can be such a relief. It’s like taking a step back from the issues that are flying around in your head and getting perspective. It’s also great to read back months or even years later and see how far you’ve come. Don’t feel that you have to journal everyday unless you want to, it doesn’t have to be written on anything special either - a scrap piece of paper works just as well as anything else. And, if you want to destroy it rather than leave your words where they might be read by someone else then feel free to do just that, it’s your choice.
WATCH YOUR WORDS
We have a long way to go to really understanding the power of positivity, especially when it comes to healing. But I think that a lot of us instinctively know that a positive mindset can make all the difference. I like to watch out for the negative words and phrases I use throughout my day and nip them in the bud by replacing them for something more positive. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed how many you catch yourself saying over the course of a day. And, if you have a chance then write them down so that you can work to eliminate them steadily over time.
USE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
When you’ve started to watch your words, you might need a hand replacing some of those old thought patterns and phrases. This is where positive affirmations can help, here are a few that I use…
If you love positive affirmations then here’s another 20 for you to try. And if you’re new to using them here’s more about how to use affirmations to create positive thoughts.
MAKE A LIST
Keep a list of at least 5 things that make you feel amazing and aim to fit as many into your week as possible; this could be as simple as dancing around the house while you take a nostalgic trip through your playlists, taking an extra yoga class, watching the sunrise or even watching a TV show that makes you laugh out loud (Friends, is my choice - makes me laugh every time!). Choose what works for you but be sure that it supports you on your path.
I know you hear this from me a LOT, and when you’re not feeling your best it can be so very hard to find time for gratitude. But it has a way of helping you look up and see the light. Some days, your gratitude list might be short and that’s ok - try for three things. They can be as simple as a sunny day, fresh water to drink and warm bed to snuggle up in - things that we easily take for granted but that so many of the world’s population still do not have. Using a gratitude journal is always helpful (a notebook works just fine) because it encourages you to write daily, I find the morning is the best time for me but experiment and see what works for you. Here are a few tips on creating a daily gratitude practice.
I’m all for comfort on those days when life just doesn’t feel good, but I draw the line at unhealthy food because putting junk into our bodies is never going to help us heal. Even if it feels great in the moment, you know that the effect soon wears off and you’re left feeling worse than before. But, if bad food choices have become a habit, it can take a while to change. Be gentle with yourself and take as many small steps as you need; try replacing a few sugary snacks with fruit and exchange the caffeinated drinks for an extra glass of chilled water.
Remember that this is the beginning of something new and so practice self kindness and words of support - just as you would a friend on the same journey. I encourage you to find as many ways as you can to create a healing self care practice that serves you well on your path.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.