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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 might be bumpy but if you can keep yourself focused on how good it’s going to feel to get started then I think that helps us take the first step. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes…
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. - Lao Tzu
So, it makes sense to get thinking about that first step, doesn’t it? Because the alternative is to stand still, which achieves nothing (straight talking, I know)! But, where to begin? Well, I don’t know about you but I feel so much more positive when I’m feeling good about myself; it helps me to turn down the volume of my inner critic and tackle the self doubt standing in the way.
Of course, self care is just one of the first steps towards healing but I believe that it’s 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 that i hope will help you on your path to creating 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! But, getting those unspoken words out and onto paper can be such a relief. It’s like taking a step back from the issues that are swirling around in your head and when you read it back through it helps you to take a much more objective look though what is really at the heart of everything. 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 the 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 look out for the negative words and phrases throughout my day and nip them in the bud by switching 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 get chance 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 want 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…
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.
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 face the light. Somedays, 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 - things that we easily take for granted but that so many of the world’s population 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.
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 it 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.
This is only the beginning for you and I encourage you to research many other ways to begin a healing self care practice that will serve 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.