You Have To Practice Self Care

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Hi There!

How do you practice self care?

Self Care has become such a cultural theme that I see everywhere these days. It is being used to sell everything from retreats, spa treatments, vacations, and consumer products but I’m not thinking about pleasures as in treating yourself to a new haircut, or a mani-pedi with a glass of champagne (although, that’s a super fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon)… The kind of self care I’m referring to isn’t a four hundred dollar hand bag or the two hundred dollar pair of shoes. It’s not having a prestigious job or a house in the West Hills… The type of self care I’m referring to is knowing yourself. Knowing yourself enough to know how you want your life to feel and are taking actions to create the kind of life you want. Far to often people spend their entire life on auto-pilot and never develop a relationship with themselves. The type of self care I’m referring to here is taking radically good care of yourself…

“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action thats important.” ~ Mahatma

In school we’re learning about Vitalist practices which are practices of self care. The principles of Vitalism views that the body has an innate intelligent life-force based on the healing power of nature and has the ability to heal itself and mend our pain(s), physically and emotionally. The vital force exists in all living things. Similar to chi in Chinese Medicine or prana in Ayurveda, the vital force serves as a protection against disease and is a channel connecting us to our higher self. Vitalism recognizes the relationship between the healthy spirit and the healthy body. A self care practice is the same, it is knowing when you are depleted and knowing what to do to heal. Self care is knowing when to say no when something doesn’t feel right for you. It is knowing that you’re relationships are no longer supporting you. Its knowing that the job and your lifestyle no longer serves your beliefs.

Vitalist practices are actions that you can incorporate into your daily life that will help to improve your overall vitality, energy level and health. When we have more of these qualities, eyes shine brighter, hearts crack open, we have more creativity, more drive, more energy, and even more control over our emotions… There are many benefits to incorporating rhythms and ritual into our daily life, and these practices listed below are great options:

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1. Water and Hydrotherapy

    • Drink 12-16 oz of filtered water upon waking in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else. Adding lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar will boost energy, stimulate digestion, enhance immunity, adjust blood sugar and start metabolism which is important for weight management.
    • In the morning, while washing your face, splash cold water over your face. This closes up the pores, stimulates and brightens the skin, and helps alleviate puffiness.
    • Before going to bed, fill the tub with hot water and take an herbal bath. Bundle fresh herbs together with a rubber band or use dried herbs in a muslin sack. The herbs I recommend for this is Lemon balm, Linden, Valerian, Lavender, Rose for soothing relaxation. You can order dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.
    • When taking a shower, alternate 3 minutes of hot water to 30 second of cold water turning completely around under the cold water. Doing this two or three times to increase circulation and stimulate your immune system.

2. Sleep and Rest

    • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than your regular time. Lights off with no extra brain stimuli
    • Take a short nap during the day when you can
    • Take 10-15 minutes once or twice during the day to lie down in savasana (lie on your back and simply relax your mind and muscles entirely)
    • Simply increase the amount of sleep you are getting overall.

3. Prayer

    • Upon waking, give thanks for another day. Set an intention for the day, add any other prayers you may have for that day.
    • Upon awakening or retiring, make a list either mentally or in a journal of 5 things you were grateful for that day.
    • Make a prayer before and after eating for the nourishment to your body that you’re receiving.
    • Ask for forgiveness for any hurt you may have caused anyone and send forgiveness out to those who have hurt you.. 
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Image Created by Cyndi Hackett

4. Meditation

    • Sit quietly, relaxed, and contemplate on the life flowing through you, your heartbeat, your breathing, your warmth. Then feel the reality that you are surrounded by a Great Life Force that also runs through all things.. Affirm: “The Sprit that Moves in All things Lives in me.”
    • Sit quietly, breath in, saying “I breathe in Life” and exhaling, saying “I relax into Life.”
    • Pick a mantra (an affirmative and positive saying) of your choice and sit in meditation, repeating this mantra to yourself for at least 5 minutes.
    • Do any other meditation of your choosing or sign up for these helpful apps; Headspace, Calm Mind App.
    • Meditate while sitting out in nature contemplating on the sounds you hear around you
    • Journal your experience after you meditate. Over time, recurring thought patterns will be revealed for further reflection.

5. Pausing/Relaxing and Breathing

    • When you get home from your day, or transition from one task of the day to another, take a few minutes to pause and settle yourself before starting the next thing. You may take this time to drink some warm tea, do a few light stretches, walk around the office, simply take 5 deep breaths, or take time to do a meditation or say a silent prayer.
    • As part of you morning routine, practice a deep breathing exercise of your choice for 3-5 minutes. Do this at any other point during the day, like when you come home from work. This can even be done while you’re showering or driving to and from work
    • At any point during the day, come back to the breath. Taking several more deep breaths.
  • Set your alarm clock on your phone at random times during the day to remind you to breathe deeply. We often have shallow breathing which adds to stress and anxiety.

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    6. Physical Activity

    • Before eating in the morning do some light stretching, a few yoga positions, or other light movement of your choice.
    • Walk for 30 minutes a day, breathing in fresh air paying attention to your surroundings
    • Park further away from your destination to increase walking or take the stairs instead
    • If you tend to do vigorous workouts late in the evening, adjust the schedule so as to complete the workout once the sun begins to set. This helps with circadian rhythms which will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep

7. Nature

    • Get up early to watch the sun rise and listen to the morning doves sing their song
    • Spend some time in nature every day
    • Spend a few minutes with your bare feet on the earth. This is grounding and reminds us we are connected.
    • Five days a week, sit outside for 10-20 minutes in contemplation or meditation
    • When moving in and out throughout the day, make a conscious effort to notice the eagle flying overhead, the buds blooming on the trees and the shape of the clouds…

8. Nutrition

    • Eat alive vibrant fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably with every meal.
    • Eliminate processed foods , refined sugar and hydrogenated
      trans fats
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Image Created by Cyndi Hackett
  •  Cook from scratch as much as possible
  • Be conscious about emotional eating and eating while you’re bored. This will help to build a better connection with your body, and how you fuel it

9. Digestion

    • Drink before meals. Not during meals, or take small sips of warm water during. This helps with not diluting your gastric juices which aid in digestion
    • Drinking before meals. Not immediately after a meal, helps to eliminate filling the stomach further, diluting stomach fluids, and causing reflux
    • Take a small dose of digestive bitters 20 minutes before meals or a digestive enzyme daily
    • Eat at least one meal per day in quiet, sitting down and with a restful state of mind.
    • Chewing your food well reflecting on what you are eating as fuel and how it is nourishing you. Doing this helps to make you more conscious about what you eat and aids digestion

10. Journaling, affirmations, and other practices

    • Add a creative activity to your schedule at least once a week, or if you already have a creative outlet, increase the amount you do it. For example, painting, drawing, writing poetry, playing an instrument, singing, dancing
    • Take a flower essence. Each flower essence has an ability to activate and access a deep part of ourselves to shift prospective
    • Have a life purpose and a meaningful life
    • Journal each day, even if it is just to log how you felt that day, and anything else you want to journal about. You can be the only person to see this journal.
    • Pick a positive affirmation to repeat to yourself throughout the day, in the morning during your meditation, at every red light, or when you begin to feel stressed, for example. The affirmation must be something that you truly feel and are able to accept.

All of these practices only take a few minutes and can easily be incorporated into your regular daily routine… Working with these principles will bring you closer to knowing what feels good in your body allowing you to know how you want to feel. Often times we don’t even know what it feels like to feel good, accepting the way we do feel as “normal”… Practicing these principles can end up becoming daily rituals that you can’t go without and over time, will end up doing automatically. Pick a few you resonate with (don’t feel like you have to do them all) and practice for 10 days. Do the work and let me know what changes for you.

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Keeping in mind that a self care practice is also about being discerning. Seeing all the articles and media hype out there about everything you should and shouldn’t be doing to be a successful happy human and realize that taking care of ourselves is a very personal act; it is subtly different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way. I’ll just say this, for me, it doesn’t mean going all out trying to emulate some sort of celestial being or reaching enlightenment, it means practicing a little neutrality, kindness and love towards a self I’m not entirely satisfied with… its understanding that my practice is not about waiting around for the real, raw, alive part of someone else to show up for me… we have to show up for ourselves.. that’s real self care…

~ Take Care ~

Medicine of the Heart

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With Valentines Day upon us, I wanted to give attention to some heart opening herbs for supporting increased compassion, stimulation, softening, and healing heart ache… Whatever your heart is calling for, let these heart-nourishing herbs help to support the physical, spiritual and emotional heart.

I hope you enjoy these herbal offerings and will be inspired to use them in recipes, crafts, tinctures, elixirs, flower essences, cocktails and herbal blends to bring about the lover in us all…

0j6a0699Holy Basil (Tulsi) – As an elite class of adaptogens, Holy Basil is valued for its ability to fundamentally restore balance and harmony in the mind, body, and spirit. As the name implies, Holy Basil has spiritual as well as medicinal significance. In Hindu mythology, the plant is an incarnation of the goddess Tulsi, offering divine protection.. Tulsi is also beneficial for clear breathing and immune support during cold and flu season..


imagesHawthorn
– Revered as a cardio tonic Hawthorn represents courage, improves circulation, balances blood pressure, strengthens arteries, oxygenates the blood, and clears the mind. Hawthorn can help with disconnection, emotional or spiritual heartache; opens to forgiveness and removes emotional obstacles for healing.


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Linden – The Linden tree is considered to represent mercy. As a heart tonic, Linden eliminates blood stagnation and relieves heart conditions related to stress. Linden is used for calming emotional turmoil and helps to balance emotions. It allows a softening of the heart for releasing and letting go after painful experiences and to release emotional blockages in general.

 

shutterstock_215637520-672x372Cinnamon – A cardio exhilarant, Cinnamon is both stimulating and arousing physically and sexually. It is comforting and tranquil. Cinnamon focuses on intention and concentration opening the heart chakra to clear inhibitions connected to issues of giving and receiving.


imgresMotherwort
– As a heart strengthener we can work with Motherwort with regards to feelings of being alone, grief, sadness and loss. Restlessness and disturbed sleep from emotional ailments of the heart. Motherwort was traditionally used for all conditions of the uterus.

 

images-1Rose – One of the most ancient plants with which we have a romantic attachment. They are associated with divination and healing. Considered a restorative, Rose invites a therapy for the heart and soul. It is deeply nurturing, heart opening, softening and love-promoting.

 

lemon_balm2Lemon Balm – As a nervous/cerebral restorative, Lemon Balm is an amazing healing plant whose deep therapeutics are said to be a mood elevator bringing about merriment and uplifting the spirit. This lemony herb has delighted lovers for centuries and in medieval times betrothed couples made bracelets for each other as a sign of their love…


Disease stems from disconnections within the spiritual or emotional heart…

“When the heart is not healthy, the whole system is diseased”
~ an aphorism of Unani Medicine

~Wishing you a life of love~

“Samhain”

I love traditions & ceremony; especially with the rhythm of the seasons, and this is my favorite time of year!

img_1419-1“Samhain” (pronounced / SOW-in), meaning summers end. Honoring the cycles of life. It’s a Celtic celebration marking the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year. Celebrated on October 31st, which is also “All Hallows’ Eve” and followed by “Dai de los Muertos” (Day of the Dead), on November 1st. The focus is about honoring the end of harvest season, transformation, our ancestors, the calling of the spirits, and preparation for the approaching winter season. It is also said that the veil between worlds (life and death) are the thinnest and communication with those that have crossed over becomes easier..

This time of year is a good time to set up an altar for our loved ones that have passed. Its thought to be especially important for those that have passed in recent years, as their spirits may still be in-between worlds.. On my altar, I burn sage, pine, frankincense, and copal. I send prayers of hope, good will and love up with the smoke.. I place water, flowers, fruit, plants, spices and herbs as offerings to honor ancestors and protective spirits.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, I wonder how you’re planning to celebrate Samhain, All Hallows’ Eve, & the Day of the Dead…?

Ideas for Creating A Samhain Alter:

  • Candles: black, orange, white, silver or gold
  • Copal, pine, myrrh, frankincense or patchouli incense
  • Plants, spices and herbs such as mugwort, sage, allspice, cinnamon, catnip and anise
  • Dried autumn leaves, mums, marigolds (said to be the only flowers that can be smelled from the other side..), small pumpkins, gourds, nuts, dried corn
  • Stones: black obsidian, smoky quartz, amber, garnet, granite, quartz, labradorite
  • Offerings to the ancestors and protective spirits include food, mulled wine, photos, and sentimental mementos
  • Tree branches of oak, holly, ash, birch, hazel, elm, hawthorne or willow

~ Blessings on the rhythms of life ~

Hello Friends!

FullSizeRender (4).jpgI am happy to announce that my blog is finally up and running.. It’s been a long road because I’m not the most tech savvy person. It has been like learning a new language with lots of hair pulling… but I am super excited to be sharing herbal recipes, health and wellness tips, easy to understand information on herbs and their medicinal uses along with a collection of ideas and
personal passions.

Please share this information with your friends and family and feel free to leave comments and ask me any questions. If there are certain topics or recipes you would like to learn about please let me know.

So, to kick off my blog, and with the winter season fast approaching, I wanted to share a nourishing tonic with you. This tea is my go-to, vitamin-and-mineral rich tonic thats nourishing and supportive throughout the winter months. We can do so much for our wellness with the foods we choose as daily nourishment and yes, herbs can be a part of that sustenance as well. 

I hope you enjoy this warming, nourishing, immune supporting herbal blend throughout the winter months.   

Nourishing Tonic

Ingredients

2 parts alfalfa
2 parts milky oat straw
2 parts nettle leaf
1 part peppermint or spearmint leaf
1 part lemon balm
1 part red clover blossom
1 part burdock root

Mindfully blend herbs together. Steeping 1 – 2 tablespoons in 1 cup boiled water for 10-15 min. Sweeten to taste with honey, if desired. Several cups of this blend can be consumed throughout the day. (A longer infusion time of several hours will extract more of the vitamins and minerals; so you can make a quart and let it infuse overnight, and drink it throughout the day, reheating if desired)

~ Enjoy!