As Instagram school holiday snaps and Facebook feeds went into overdrive last week I went into quite a decline. What a failure I was not to be able to take my family on holiday. Why had I got to this time of my life where things should have become easier, vacations should be abundant, yet the day-to-day struggles were immense. Well this was in my head of course as reality was quite different. I had just come back from a trip to Korea – it was work, crazy busy and certainly no holiday but it was an incredible experience. It was time to re-write the story that I was creating and starting practicing a bit of self love.
When I started this blog at the beginning of the year it really forced me to move out of the past and into the new – particularly with self-love through exercise, healthy diet, mediation – in general being kinder to myself. I was reasonably disciplined and noticed what a huge change it made with my mental health and happiness monitor. What had happened? Yes, I am now busier but as I have always said that was no excuse. Exercise had fallen off the wayside and the food that made me feel sluggish had crept back into my daily life – hello cheese and bread in abundance. My green juicing and temple tonics had become weekly rather than daily and mediation was an occasional afterthought. Time to get back on track as I believe that self-love and taking time out for yourself will make you far more productive and can help to cut back on stress which in turn is a huge player in brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Day 1. Self-Love Yoga Poses
The following gorgeous yoga poses are designed to cultivate compassion, self-love and self-acceptance. They help withdraw the senses so you can focus your energy inwards and connect with your innermost being. They are super easy to do and you integrate them easily into your day
The lotus position opens your heart chakra and represents natural beauty emerging from darkness into light. It is a symbol of purity. The Lotus flower grows out of the mud, opening to the sun as its roots remain deeply embedded into the muddy bottom of the pond. It is a reminder to stay connected to our roots yet open ourselves to light and transformation. This encourages us to be more compassionate and loving to ourselves and others.
SUPINE BOUND ANGLE
This pose helps stimulate the heart and improve general circulation. By gently placing your hands over your chest and lower abdomen you are connecting the heart chakra with the sacral chakra. The heart chakra is associated with love of self and others, warmth, compassion, and joy. The sacral chakra is related to feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. The energy of this chakra allows you to let go and to feel transformation occurring within your body. This is a good one to do when you first wake or at the end of the day.
APANĀSANA (KNEES TO CHEST)
This pose represents self acceptance. Drawing your knees in and holding them close draws the senses inward and reaffirms self-love. I love this pose as it stretches your back and aids in digestion too.
This balancing pose reminds us to soften our judgement and be gentle with ourselves even when we are trying to find balance in different aspects of our lives. By wrapping your arms around yourself and giving yourself a hug it embodies self-love. You can feel your warm embrace and trust your inner strength and stillness.
LORD OF THE DANCE
My favourite – this pose represents a celebration of self, named “lord of the dance” as it opens your heart chakra and extends your love into the world. Plus it is a wonderful stretch
Day 2. The School of Life
My new fav website The School of Life is devoted to developing emotional intelligence. The facilitators address such issues as how to find fulfilling work, how to master the art of relationships, how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm, and how better to understand and, where necessary change, the world. There is a section on the website called Book of Life. There are 6 chapters including Capitalism, Work, Relationships, Self, Culture and Curriculum – an abundance of great reading!
The course that interested me and was most relevant to now – How to master the art of self love through self compassion.
One approach is to identify a loving voice you knew in the past and give it more scope. Perhaps you had a grandmother or aunt who was quick to see your side of things and who would offer you words of encouragement. If you knocked your juice all over the carpet, they’d remind you that accidents can happen to everyone (last week they themselves spilt a cup of coffee over the sofa). Instead of promoting a punitive, critical voice, they represent a calm, understanding way of addressing failings. You to can try to focus on this kind of supportive approach and use it on a regular basis; rather than waiting for it to pop (as it rarely does) into our heads, you can deliberately nurture and train it. When things don’t go as you want, you can ask yourself what this person would say – and then actively rehearse to yourself the words of consolation they would most likely have offered. In my case it was my mother who always gave me words of encouragement so now when self doubt creeps in, or I am beating myself up, I summon the loving words of my darling mother. As she can now barely speak I hear her talking to me as she did when I was a child. It is pure magic and has helped me immensely
As well as offering great reads they have daily self-compassion videos you can practice. The short clips are so simple yet profound and put such a smile on my face (you will know what I mean when you watch them). It’s all too easy to be extremely tough on ourselves; we need – at points – to get better at self-compassion. Here is one of my favs – an exercise from The School of in how to lessen the voices of self-flagellation
Day 3. Stars Aligning Crystal Facial
I developed this very simple 5 minute facial massage using carefully selected crystals that not only will give your skin a super boost, smooth out wrinkles and a natural lift I also created it to give oneself 5 minutes of love. It is so simple to do and perfect when you are feeling unbalanced or simply a wonderful addition to your bedtime routine.
How is your skin feeling right now? Stressed, hormonal, or tired? Tailor-make your facial massage to suit your skin and mood, by choosing the crystal that your skin and inner-self is craving.
Hormonal skin – Amethyst is incredible for soothing and adding a sense of wellbeing, making it ideal for hormonal skin. It is so incredibly cleansing and has a detoxifying effect while also calming any inflammation or blemishes. This beautiful gemstone also aids in reducing the toxic load in the body, introducing soothing vibes to your skin.
Stressed and lacklustre skin – Rose Quartz is a miracle stone that is wonderful at reducing tension, which in turn helps to relax facial expressions. Rose Quartz is not only the crystal of love, but also helps your skin to radiate with health and happiness.
Tired & irritated skin – Citrine is an incredible crystal for skin and nails, and keeps hair healthy and shiny. It is also good for relieving skin irritations and allergies. This gemstone is a little ray of sunshine, as it encourages rejuvenation and puts positive thoughts into play.
Here is a one minute video on How To
Day 4. Maitri
Maitri is the Buddhist practice of loving-kindness towards yourself, essentially self compassion and is the foundation of the four virtues, which are:
- Loving Kindness
- Sympathetic Joy
So how do you befriend yourself? Positive Affirmations are key for Maitri
Some examples of positive affirmations you can use in daily life and struggles include:
- If you happen to find yourself in a negative spiral of thoughts repeat to yourself, “May I be happy.”
- If you’re struggling physically repeat, “May I be healthy and strong.”
- If you’re in an unhealthy relationship repeat, “May I be safe.”
- If you’re feeling anxious or stressed repeat, “May I live with ease.”
Within a short space of a week I have found these affirmations incredible and could feel some of the old self doubt and self- flagellation slip away
Next time you notice you aren’t treating yourself with the same acceptance, understanding, and kindness as you would with a friend, stop, connect with nature and practice maitri or do some loving yoga poses. Maybe even a crystal facial. I am sure you will discover like I did that Self-Love for a Beautiful Mind can work wonders.