In light of the recent news, I thought this month’s topic could be about love. I was so delighted to hear love talked about so much in the news recently. It’s a welcomed change in comparison to the unpleasant topics we normally hear about, right? Wherever you stand on the issue of same sex marriage, I think it’s so cool that the hashtag trending everywhere is ‘lovewins’, what a great reminder!
Can you imagine in your own life if love could win all the time? That moment when you look in the mirror and see your perfectly imperfect body and instead of thinking, “Eww, you’re gross” you say, “I love you” and actually mean it?! That moment when you’re totally drained after a long day and your loved one does something to annoy you and instead of initiating an argument, you stay present and love them.
How can we allow love to win more often?
When working with clients, too often I hear people saying, “I’m just so exhausted”, “I’m really busy”, “I’m totally stressed out” and the list goes on and on. When we give too much of ourselves away, it’s hard to be compassionate and choose love. Compassion Fatigue is something that’s being studied especially in the caregiving professions. Many of my clients admit to saying ‘YES’ too often to others, which can take time away for their self-care.
Taking time for yourself is not selfish, it’s responsible. Place the oxygen mask on yourself first, then begin helping others is a perfect example of self-care. You’ve heard it said before that in order to truly love someone else, you must love yourself first. So with that being said, when we talk about love winning, self-love is at the core. Here are the patterns I notice when love wins most in my life and in my clients’ lives. Our tank is full, we feel whole and ready to give our best gifts with the world and feel totally and utterly supported and loved unconditionally. But HOW can you feel this way, you ask?!
Well, here’s my recipe for daily self-care and self-love:
1. Acceptance. Accept where you are without judgment and practice self-compassion. Dr. Kristen Neff has studied self-compassion and shares that in order to practice self compassion, we must accept the fact that we are suffering. Often times, it’s hard to acknowledge the pain and suffering we cause ourselves when we are self-critical, but to quote Dr. Dan Siegel, “name it to tame it”. Be mindful of how you speak to yourself. I often joke with clients that I’m a lot nicer to you than I am to me! Practicing self-compassion is a moment to moment opportunity.
2. Rest. We all know getting a good night’s sleep can change our entire outlook on the world. If I’m sleep deprived, look out! I’m cranky, negative and complain-y. Not a good look;) One of the the best ways to get a restful 8 hours of sleep each night is to create a cool, calm, peaceful environment to relax and rest. Many of my clients have TVs in their room and watch the news before bed, the temperature is not conducive to sleeping and they’re bedrooms are filled with clothes and clutter. If any of this sounds familiar, start by cleaning up the space. Put things in their proper places, remove the TV from your bedroom, experiment with the temperature and develop a 30 minute calming ritual before bed. Set a bedtime that’s realistic for you each night (ideally 10pm or earlier) and 30 minutes prior to your bedtime, start your relaxation rituals. Some enjoy taking a warm shower or bath to wash the day away, reading, praying, writing in their gratitude journals or meditating. Explore what works for you and notice how the quality of your sleep starts to improve. Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my teachers at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, shares his 10 Natural Sleep Tips.
Connection. Human beings long for connection. Connection to spirit, connection to the earth, connection in our communities, connection with our loved ones and most importantly connection to our true Self. Some of my favorite ways to connect is through quiet time in prayer, meditation, walking in nature and deep breathing. Watching, listening or reading positive spiritual resources also help us feel connected. And of course, giving and receiving hugs is mandatory 🙂 Virginia Satir says, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Movement. Getting physical activity each day is so important for good health of the mind, body and spirit. 30 minutes of exercise most days each week is the goal. If you don’t have 30 minutes, then spread it out into 3-10 minute walks each day. ANYTHING is better than nothing. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week or 75 minutes of intense activity and 2 days of strength training exercises. Moderate activity includes brisk walking, mowing the lawn, tennis (doubles) and biking 10-12mph. Intense activity includes hiking, jogging, tennis (singles) and biking 14-16mph. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise routine. Once you’ve been given the OK to workout, it’s important to do activities you enjoy and do them often.
Purpose. Waking up each day with a sense of purpose gives meaning to why we are here and will naturally energize your life. As the Buddha says, “Your work is to discover your world and with all your heart, give yourself to it.” Now, does this mean you need to know your ultimate purpose and why you’re here right now? No, in most cases that answer is revealed to us in the precious moments of daily living like caring for your children each day and making sure there is healthy food for them to eat, holding your loved one’s hand when they feel alone, tending to your garden, rescuing animals who are in danger and providing warmth and shelter. The simple, yet profound action of providing love and attention to anyone who crosses your path is enough.
So, what gets in the way of love winning? What distracts you from the choice of choosing love? What’s your prescription for self care and self love? Hop on over to my Facebook page to see some of my personal examples.
May love win more in your life,