Monday Morning Self Care Recap

I get to have a lot of one on one conversations with people about how I take care of myself, and how I cope with various things. I find that I often get asked what I do and I get comments that I seem to have a healthy self care practice. Recently I even got invited to share some of my self care practices with listeners of a new podcast about self care. I realize that I have kind of made it my mission to share my tools, and it has happened organically. It feels good when I can offer a little self care life hack to someone who might be struggling, or who may just be waiting on one person to give them a permissive nudge to do something nourishing for themselves, and I happen to be at the right place at the right time to inspire them to do it. The book that I am working on is about how I navigated through cancer physically as well as emotionally, but it is also about how I am still learning to thrive through the adversity of major body changes, secondary health issues and premature “aging” symptoms. There are some monumental milestones of self discovery and self love that I have been able to unlock for myself, by way of diligently focusing on self study and enacting a healthy curiosity for how I can best take care of myself, not only to recover from cancer treatment or even to prevent it from recurring, but on a more holistic level that affects me on a soul level. But these monumental milestones of self discovery and self love are born from smaller daily practices that I have learned to incorporate as a way to nourish myself practically.

Making these kinds of lists for myself has been a practice of mine for a long time, and I thought it might be fun to share it as an offering to my readers, as this blog is a platform for me to talk more broadly about self care than what I am able to do one on one with clients while I do their hair. Inspired by my recent podcast interview (airing in February),it feels like a fun way to share rituals and tools. My intent on putting it out here is for inspiration. You might have similar practices or be inspired to pick up a new one. In some ways, things that you already do every day can become more meaningful when your mind shifts to think about doing them with more intention.

I am thinking about making this a weekly Monday post, offering a little peek into what I am doing on a more subtle level to take the best care of me. I find that my self care practices shift as my needs shift. I find that I have several go to practices that I can rely on to keep me on track and help me gain clarity on what those needs are, and then I kind of tailor build short term practices around those needs. It kind of allows a framework in which to reflect, assess, make new goals and chuck old goals that are no longer appropriate. I will highlight how I am feeling, what I am learning, and the tools that I am utilizing for support. I have structured this one in two parts. First, my Check in Checklist, breaking down what I am experiencing into three categories, my physical body, my mind body, and my emotional body.  Second, my list of Tools, where I list the major tools that I have been utilizing lately, with a brief description of what the practice looks like. I ended my list with Wildcards: extra things that I have been incorporating regularly, maybe not daily, but that have shown themselves to contribute to my self love, or things that require less explanation or are less involved. I am willing to let the composition of these blog posts happen organically, keeping them up if they seem helpful, or letting them evolve into something else if they need to.

Check in Checklist:

Physical Body:

  1. Energy level very low!
  2. Weighed down by allergy symptoms and symptoms of fatigue 😦
  3. Physical Pain in my back/shoulder 😦 😦
  4. Lymphedema flair after two years of no symptoms 😦 😦 😦

Mind Body:

1. Anxiety around physical aches and pains and pop up symptoms 😦

2.Weighted by the responsibility to make the best decisions about my body and what to put into it to best function.  Confused by and overwhelmed with options to sift through for diet, exercise, healing modalities. 😐

3. A strong curiosity and willingness to learn new ways of integrating, coping and aligning. 🙂

Emotional  Body:

  1. Feelings of defensiveness :{
  2. Revisiting old wounds and the sadness that comes along with that 😦

Taking those observations into account, I know that I will need to support myself in ways of rest recuperation, and honor a lot of solitude. The tools that I am currently utilizing are.

Tool Number 1 Free write journaling is often the quickest way for me to hone in on what my psyche is grappling with, what I need to pay attention to or redirect my attention away from. I have been cross examining past experiences from different angles. I have really been diving into my old stories and looking at them in new ways. I have taken a greater interest in picking up new healing modalities, or learning new skills around how to better take care of myself and how to effectively identify and utilize the power that I have within me. The gifts, per se, that I have to bring or to offer, which in turn inspired me to explore what is out there to learn about empathy, which led me to the next tool on the list.

Tool Number 2 is a book called The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren. It is very lengthy and I have carved out enough time in my week to get through the first half of it. I have adopted it as a tool for hitting right into the gut of some of my most basic truths that I need to shine new light on in order to heal. I am excited about learning new habits and practices that can bring relief of trauma and pain.

Tool Number 3 is Dreamwork.  A playful but ripe with intention and reverence practice is to have an easy ritual of intending to learn something from my dreams before falling to sleep, and writing down the dreams in the morning. I have a (mostly)daily practice of some combination of writing down a question or a prompt for my dreams the night before, writing down my dreams the morning after, with some combination of tarot card pulling and interpretation. It has been fun to experiment with intentionally asking for guidance or messages from my higher consciousness through dreams and archetypes. There is so much mystery in this practice for me but in it I continue to sense a deep connection to a very basic elemental collective consciousness. This is fruitful work but can also be kind of annoying and taxing, as it truly does bring to the service loads of healing homework to tackle. Which leads me to…

Tool Number 4 Sleeping Medication. I have a very complicated relationship to my sleep patterns and problematic associations with needing to take sleeping aids. I often weigh the healing pros and cons of sleep aids from nature or pharmaceutical sleep aids. Serious bed time rituals that help me wind down consciously with the intention of getting good sleep are usually helpful, but I have to allow myself to use the medication when needed. My body needs sleep to function properly on a purely physical level. This week I have been pulling out all the stops to get to bed early and sleep as late as I responsibly can. This means taking the prescribed medication by my medical doctor.

Tool Number 5 is exploring plant medicine. I love my plants and the lessons and correlations to my own healing that I have been able to draw from them continue to expand my loving connection to them. The relationship is very reciprocal and very nourishing. I have recently acquired several new houseplants, mostly succulents and ferns. I enjoy getting to know them, giving them offerings, learning how to best take care of them. I had the opportunity to bring in loads of new plant friends from the snowy patio this week, as we got unexpected snow and major temperature drops! Whutt!! On the December 3 Full Moon I made my first batch of flower essence, a rose essence from the pink roses in my garden. I have a huge batch of it that I bottled to share with anyone who would appreciate it. This rose bush in particular was planted in our yard while I was going through chemotherapy treatment. It was also a gift from my Mother in Law so it reminds me of the way I am cared for by others. It has been a friendly totem for me to reflect on the awesome cycles and milestones that I have reached since that time. The essence when taken with intention conjures cheery and bright feelings, calmness and relaxation. I definitely feel the color of bright orangey pink vibrate through me as I take a little of it before my morning meditation, as part of my nighttime ritual, or put it in my bathwater.

Tool Number 6 is Making LISTS! This time of year is reflective AF for everybody and it is my birthday month too, so I am assessing what I want to leave behind and what I want to pack and take with me on my next trip around the sun. I have been making practical lists like what I want to prioritize learning, ways I would be happiest spending my time, what I need to learn in order to better manage my time and my business, and how I can serve myself and also serve the greater good of the collective, the planet, etc. I make lists of things I can start doing now and things I can plan to start doing later. Lists have always been an effective way for me to manifest practical organization and discipline to support a creative life.

Tool Number 7 is following Kris Carr’s advice for a daily green smoothie. I choose from a list of five recipes each day. Kayla and I adopted this habit at the beginning of November and it has course corrected some of the eating habits we had gotten into. Now it is easy to keep the ingredients for these recipes on our staple grocery list. I believe that it is always better to nudge your way into better habits by putting the focus on adding new ones instead of eliminating bad ones. Eventually they give way to better ones.

Wildcards: Ani DiFranco’s Little Plastic Castles on repeat to support my reflective nature during this time. Tulsi Jasmine Tea for rest and relaxation. Self Lymphatic Draining Massage to redirect the swelling from my arm and back. This can be done while watching TV or waiting for the coffee to brew or the light to turn green! Bone broth for blood building AKA energy production and collagen building! My Fit Bit to motivate me at my most sluggish to at least start thinking about creative ways to get enough movement in my day. My friend Nanette’s Glitter Lounge Facebook posts because she studies Ayurveda and always has amazing knowledge to share. Salt baths with essential oils and Rose Essence and fashion mags to inspire how I present myself. Teaching my new kitten to fetch. She is very good and it makes me laugh!

And that’s a wrap for Monday Morning Self Care Recap. I hope you found some inspiration here. Feel free to comment below on self care practices that you have or would like to try. Enjoy your week!

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