compassion

Taking Care Of #1

Who is no: 1 in your life? Many of you have been told that it’s selfish to put yourself first. Have you ever struggled with that knowing what’s right for yourself while trying to accommodate the needs or demands of others?

I can think of a few instances when this could be an issue for people, for instance where your values conflict with your employment circumstances, when you want to eat more healthily, but you live with unsympathetic adults, or perhaps you feel guilty about taking a night off from the family…

Sometimes we believe that it’s just plain selfish to put yourself first, especially if you’re responsible for nurturing and caring for others who may be more vulnerable than yourself. But self-care is an essential component within a caring and nurturing role too, since it's impossible to sustain quality giving, without the input that will enable you to be at your optimum best.

Self-care is an all encompassing term used to describe the ways in which you can take care of your personal emotional, physical and spiritual needs — self-love, personal development, self-esteem, all form part of it's infrastructure. Self-care is provided by you for you, after identifying what your needs are, in a loving and kind way.

The emphasis is on improving and transforming your life to create a consciously lived experience that is radiant health and optimum wellbeing. It's literally looking after yourself well enough to be able to dance with the nature of life (resilience) and not be floored by it (although that too may be a temporary condition), perhaps recovering faster than you might have done otherwise.

This means that you are likely be affected by the events that happen to and around you, but conscious self-care is about improving your strength and ability to deal with whatever may come along, from a position of garnering your vulnerability into resilience and strength. That strength comes from developing enough self-awareness to understand what your needs are and how to take care of them, enough to develop a self-nourishing mind-set and lifestyle.

Many of us are overloaded with stress, grief, fear, anxiety and anger without sometimes being aware of it. Making YOU your #1 priority, instead of leaving your wellbeing to chance on the back burner of life, means taking personal responsibility for your self-care. Self-care activities are voluntary daily choices and activities that help you to maintain your equilibrium for physical, mental or emotional and spiritual health and holistic wellbeing. Self-care activities support your healing processes and can help to release any pent up emotional burdens.

There are a range of breaking techniques to choose from that can enhance your wellbeing...

There are a range of breaking techniques to choose from that can enhance your wellbeing...

Making a conscious decision to develop a healthy lifestyle can have a ripple effect on those around you, but it may also repel some who are not ready to make the same kind of commitment to themselves, so beware. Take some time away from the doubters while you gather your clarity. Knowing just what your unique needs are requires your commitment to a non-judgemental process of self-discovery, spending time with yourself, exploring the landscape of your life and how you feel about yourself in order to select and adopt healthier habits.

New habits are relatively easy to adopt by creating a plan of repetitive activities, backed up by finding out which new self-care activities would best suit you. This is your first task.

By encompassing more self-care strategies into your lifestyle, you can create evolving opportunities for becoming a flourishing, more well-rounded human being, with an optimisstic outlook and life. Not only that, you can become more hopeful, resourceful and creative, which is a mind-set choice. So much has been written about how our diet, emotions and health are interrelated, so beware of the importance of covering all areas of your life and the need to recognise this as a gift to yourself which is an unhurried, life-long process...

This therefore means your adopting a totally holistic approach to your personal development through healthy dietary habits, emotional intelligence, spiritual grounding and regular physical movement.

Here's a simple jumping off exercise for you to try out...

There are a vast number of self-care tools available for you to employ, from massage to meditation, aerobics to affirmations and deep breathing to dietary solutions, get the picture? 
Decide, delve in, there’s no need to rush. Here’s a quick list of low and no-cost possiblioties which you try out…

Here are 10 Deliberate Self-care Activities for Healthy Time Alone and for Exercise and Fun

  1. Unplug from stressors and information overload! Try a regular digital detox for anything from an hour to a full weekend.
  2. As Joseph McClendon III would put it “shake that ass”! Dance at home like no one is watching (or go dancing), Physical movement is a must for your health. Adopt activities suitable for your level of mobility.
  3. Stimulate your cognitive abilities. Vary your route to university, college, work etc.
  4. Upscale your food choices. Find a dietary style (not a diet) that enhances your energy and health, get support and stick to it.
  5. Try a 1-minute meditation and breathing exercises to start off with and feel the difference. Increase the time as it becomes more familiar. Proper breathing helps to oxygenate your blood and cells and meditation can support mental clarity.
  6. Try sky watching. Lay on your back and just drift with the clouds, feel the warmth of sun, or listen to the rhythmic patter of rain.
  7. De-stress through bodywork, touch therapies or safe a good hug, which provides relaxation, grounding and safe human touch reassurance, especially if you lack safe touch in your life.
  8. Use your sense of smell with natural diffusing essential oils to aid relaxation, emotional calm, mental clarity etc.
  9. Spend some of your time in the calm and beauty of nature, every chance you get (weather permitting). A walk, a jog, a climb, a swim, a ride, can help to produce endorphins (happy hormones) and
  10. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Not necessary to hold on to them, record them as future reminders, so you can rev-visit if you want to.

Remember to that most activities can be adapted as needed and that any change takes time, so be patient. Your safety is the most important consideration.

One love,
Sistahintheraw x

p.s You can also use the Raw Soul Food Map as a tool for your journey that is focused on your health and wellbeing.

As July is my annual special month, I've designated it as Sistahintheraw's Self-Care month, in 2017. Watch out for more self-care prompts and tools coming your way during the rest of the month. You can also sign up and stay updated and connected with the Raw Soul Food community here

Want to know more? Click on the link below.

Resource and Research:
http://hippocratesinst.org/self-esteem-do-you-know-what-i-mean
http://hippocratesinst.org/finding-a-healthy-self-and-maintaining-it
www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/self-care/#.WVfp1DPMzLE
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21220576
www.spiritualityhealth.com/articles/7-self-care-practices-support-you

Living Food = Vibrant You - Create healthier habits, try out one of my online wellness programmes, register here

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Anita McKenzie, is a Raw Soul Food and Holistic Health Lifestyle Mentor, she is founder of the brand "Sistahintheraw" and "Raw Soul Food" and a leading authority on Raw Food Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make healthier choices, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Sistahintheraw now at: www.sistahintheraw.com

Medical Disclaimer
Sistahintheraw.com provides information on this website as an educational service. This website does not provide medical advice. The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. The products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications and medical conditions.

Restoring Your Radiance From Within

Find up-lifting activities and do them regularly.

Find up-lifting activities and do them regularly.

We all know that healthy, clean raw food is just one part of the holistic equation to wellness. You also need to take care of your inner emotional-mind world. However, at times life can overwhelm you and diminish your capacity to cope with the impact of situations outside of your control. This can challenge you to the core of your capacity and possibly lead to instability like depression.

This is a topic very dear to my heart, so when I was asked to write about recently, I welcomed the opportunity. Depression is a theme that runs through my family history and I have learned a great deal from the experience of witnessing others manifestation of depression, as well as experiencing my own periodic episodes.

I believe that the stigma generally attached to most mental health labelled issues, specifically with depression and anxiety, which is widespread, is based on ignorance. This viewpoint is based on my own personal experience.

Sometimes it isn’t until you find yourself lying in bed, shaking on the inside, tearful and afraid, that you finally realise something is very wrong. Not being able to think clearly, binging on chocolate, cake, and cookies, leaving behind everything you know that is healthy, living with insomnia and a dodgy digestion, are all glaring signs that something within you is out-of-sync.

Your personal awareness may usually be quite strong, with a spiritual life that is evolving and a thriving in work or business situation; but suddenly if it all stops, you may be finding it almost impossible to function!

One thing I learned quite quickly is that when you’re a doer, people around you may rely on you and expect you just to carry on regardless. When you can’t, they can become afraid and even impatient with you, if you begin to falter away from being the high-functioning individual their used to. Their lack of understanding can be the cause of great tension and strife, often triggering and feeding feelings of guilt, unworthiness and 'badness' inside.

It can be difficult when you can’t really understand and explain what is happening to you and you don’t recognise yourself anymore.

I’ve figured out that meeting yourself in a space where you can feel safe is crucial. Taking tiny steps towards healing can lead to bigger steps and so these hints could be helpful:

  • – Consider who might sit with you in the darkness of this experience and just be there, not even speaking if necessary, willing to be with you, on the end of a phone, hearing you cry etc. Yes, these people do exist. Sometimes they are called counselors, spiritual advisors or deeply grounded friends.

  • – Learn how to acknowledge your fears, perhaps terror and worries, recognise that you are in your very own transformation process, so you proceed in this without self-judgment and self-criticism.

  • – Get your doctor to refer you to local services like counseling, a healthy eating class, or exercise class in your area, or find activities that lift your spirits and do them regularly.

  • – Try using quality essential oils such as lavender, orange, geranium, lemon or frankincense oils to promote calm, peace, acceptance and emotional balance.

  • – Buy, borrow or go to a library for books to read if you can. Personal development books that encourage your healing and help you not to over-identify with past and present challenges or trauma in your life-story and which teach you how to live in the present.

  • – Learn how to practice forgiveness and gratitude. Journaling can really assist you with this process.

  • – Get physical! Move your body more and you can even start this in your bedroom if you like. A bit of stretching, yoga online, or dancing to uplifting music; and when you feel bolder, get physical outside. Try walks outside in the beauty of nature, trying to appreciate as much of it as you can manage. This is a real energy booster and mindset enhancer. The better you feel, the more you’ll do.

  • – Eat well – forget the stodge. Wean yourself off any overindulgence on sugar, salt and fatty processed food; and stay well hydrated. Get rid of processed food, sodas or fizzy drinks and coffee. Go for a walk to the park instead and pick up some fresh fruit and water along your way. You’ll be surprised at how a cleaner diet with life-sustaining plant-based foods will energise you and do away with any brain fog.

  • - Mindfulness meditation has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression by amplifying more positive thoughts, and developing deeper self-awareness and self-compassion. Healing mindfulness mediation is best learned in a class with a qualified instructor, which is less isolating; alternatively it can be learnt through reading, online resources, or listening to audio meditation instruction.

  • Shift your focus. Instead of giving your precious energy and attention to fear and worry, place your focus instead on where you want to get to and what could be your next move. If you're not clear about where you want to progress to in your life, don't worry, spend some time figuring that out - explore it and enjoy it!

Selected from the Sistahintheraw Mindset Affirmation series

Selected from the Sistahintheraw Mindset Affirmation series

Keep in mind that it isn’t about getting back to who you feel you were before, it’s about making space for that new you that is evolving through this painful experience. As you learn to love yourself enough to seek help and support, remember that you are the main ingredient in this healing process and what you chose to add to the process moment by moment, will make a world of difference to your progress.

Eventually, developing a positive mindset, and making life-enhancing and self-loving practical choices, can enable you to reconnect safely with yourself and to cultivate greater loving connections with others. Reaching a place of inner peace, requires love and stillness, then you will later begin to feel that your inner radiance has been restored.

One love,
Sistahintheraw x

p.s You can also use the Raw Soul Food Map to take you on a journey that is focused on your health and wellbeing.
 

Originally published:
https://afrodeprochic.com/how-to-deal-with-the-stigma-of-being-a-depressed-black-woman-expert-roundup-post/

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Anita McKenzie, is a Raw Soul Food and Holistic Health Lifestyle Mentor, she is founder of the brand "Sistahintheraw" and "Raw Soul Food" and a leading authority on Raw Food Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make healthier choices, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Sistahintheraw now at: www.sistahintheraw.com