Well, we did it! We have gotten through another year! It has been a good one, and our hearts are full. So why does it feel like we are running on empty?
To say life is a busy affair is an understatement, to be sure. We spend so much time giving ourselves over to various projects and to our family, that not only do we forget to take care of ourselves, we feel guilty if we do take a moment because we have so many more pressing obligations. As each new year dawns, so many of us resolve to change ourselves for the better, only to find ourselves, a few months later, back on the same worn and comfortable paths we have always taken, feeling weary and frazzled as ever. But all patterns can be broken. Here are some simple, soul-soothing tips to help make 2018 your best year ever!
Create a Meditative Morning Ritual
From the moment that alarm clock sounds, most of us are going full throttle until it is time to lie down to sleep. It is too easy to put off taking time for yourself, promising that you’ll do it before bed which turns into a promise to do it tomorrow which, inevitably, turns into a promise to do it sometime before you turn 83.
Set aside an hour for yourself first thing in the morning, before the kids wake up, before the dog needs walking, before anyone but you is awake. Brew a cup of your favorite hot beverage, snuggle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and just be with yourself, no screens, no agenda. Envision the day before you and how you would like it to go. Savor the sacred silence and lack of external stimuli, allow your thoughts to go where they may. Breathe and be present. Knowing that you had a glorious hour set aside only for you, makes giving of yourself less exhausting and more fulfilling.
B R E A T H E
With stressors surrounding us on all sides, we are a nation of shallow-breathers and breath-holders. We have forgotten the art of diaphragmatic breathing, which is the way our bodies are meant to breathe.
Babies breathe from their diaphragms; when a baby breathes, his or her entire belly rises and falls with each breath and the breath itself enters and exits the nose. Most adults today breathe more from their chest cavities, overloading neck, shoulder, and chest muscles in an effort to lift the rib cage as the lungs expand. Diaphragmatic breathing is slow, deep breathing which engages the diaphragm muscle and allows for the lungs to take in the optimal amount of oxygen, which, in turn, oxygenates your entire body. The benefits to diaphragmatic breathing, in addition to those already mentioned, are:
- Reduces heart rate
- Decreases anxiety
- Encourages better sleep
- Improves mood
Coupled with mindful intention, diaphragmatic breathing can really help you let go of that which may be disturbing your personal peace and allow you to approach the same stressful situations with a healthier, more positive mindset.
Click the link to learn about different diaphragmatic breathing techniques https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing
Receive Regular Massage
Headaches, stiff necks and sore lower backs are all symptoms of lives thoroughly lived; however, they certainly make it difficult to accomplish the duties of everyday life.
Receiving regular massage is the ultimate in self care. You cannot perform at your greatest potential when racked with muscular aches and mental fatigue. In addition to the obvious pain relieving benefits, a few more benefits of massage therapy are:
- Helps relieve anxiety and depression
- Relieves headaches and migraines
- Improves sleep
- Lowers blood pressure
- Deeply relaxes body and mind
- Lifts the mood
Moreover, massage is something that you do solely for yourself. It is a deeply healing experience to allow another human being to nurture you without expecting anything in return. To experience such a caring therapy allows you, in turn, to tend to the people and projects that are important to you.
Create a Nighttime Meditative Ritual
Yes! Another day has been conquered! You took some time for yourself before the craziness of the day began, you remembered to breathe and be mindful, you received a lovely massage. Now what? After all evening obligations are completed, create a space for yourself in which you can unwind and prepare your body and mind for a good night’s sleep.
Taking a warm bath before bed is a highly relaxing and pleasurable ritual that helps prepare you for a deep sleep. Adding Nelly De Vuyst’s Relaxing Bath Oil will further the sedating effects. Containing mandarin, sage, ylang ylang, tangerine, and grain of bitter orange essential oils, in a rich, skin -soothing sweet almond oil carrier, Relaxing Bath Oil has profound effects on reducing anxiety, lifting the mood, and lifting the heaviness of insomnia. And, it smells like heaven.
According to various sleep studies, the time frame in which a person should go to sleep in order to get the optimal amount of REM and non-REM sleep is between 8pm and midnight. The exact time a person goes to sleep depends on whether that person is a morning bird or a night owl, however it is generally agreed that turning in at roughly the same time every night makes for a more productive sleep. Whatever time you turn in, make sure that you turn off all screens an hour before going to sleep, as the blue screens are known to cause disruptions in sleep patterns. Instead, journal, read a book, or have a talk about your day with a loved one.
And if you’re snugly tucked in, eyes closed, ready for sleep and then your brain starts to remind you of that time you had a chocolate covered raisin stuck to the side of your face all day and nobody told you and you start to get anxious all over again? Try some visualization: imagine that cursed chocolate raisin, or whatever that nagging worry might be, is inside of a balloon that you are holding. Acknowledge the worry and then let go of that balloon with your worry inside.
By following these self care tips and giving yourself place of pride in your own life, 2018 is sure to be your best, most fulfilling year ever!
Remember, we’re here to help you take care of yourself this and every year! Drop by and pick up some products to help you relax, and give us a call to schedule your next massage appointment: 704.339.0909.
About the Blogger
Massage Therapist since 2004
Modern Salon & Spa | Phillips Place
Mama, lover of cats and the written word, massage therapy enthusiast
I spent half of my life in a small beach town on Long Island, NY, and the last half in Charlotte; Charlotte is where I have chosen to put my roots down and am raising my son. My attraction to healing touch has always been a part of me; from a young age I have always rubbed my loved ones’ sore shoulders and feet after a long day. It was something I did that was completely intuitive. After realizing that, while having a great affinity for the English language, I didn’t necessarily want to be an English teacher, my mother, knower of all the things, told me she wanted to send me to massage school, so I went and I have never looked back!
My passion for massage is definitely fueled not only from my desire to help my guests feel as relaxed and pain-free as possible, but by the support of my MSS peers, whose excellence in their crafts inspires me every single day. The ongoing education of both our team and of our guests is a huge part of our culture at Modern Salon and Spa and being able to share my passion with an audience wider than 3 cats and a bored tween boy is a dream come true for me!