Self-Care and Taking Time for Yourself by Brooke Cade

When was the last time you took a moment out of your hectic schedule to pamper yourself? Many people get wrapped up in their everyday lives and responsibilities and forget to take time to recharge their own batteries.

A few years ago, I learned a hard life lesson about the importance of self-care. After bouts of depression and eventually a panic attack, I was forced to reevaluate my life and make some changes.

Taking time to meditate, write, and exercise helped me reconnect with myself. But more importantly, I noticed that when I set aside time for myself, I had more to give back to my family, friends, and community.

Here are some of the most beneficial practices I’ve found for rejuvenating mind, body, and soul. 

Exercise. Think exercise is only good for your body? Think again. Studies have shown that during physical activity, the brain releases endorphins that create feelings of happiness and improve emotional health. Exercise not only boosts your mood, but can also improve your self-confidence and sharpen your memory. In addition, evidence has shown that exercising can increase your creativity. If you have a hard time staying inspired, find a friend to exercise with. I look for someone who can hold me accountable and support my fitness goals.  

Essential Oils.  Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years, in nearly every culture, for medicinal practices. Throughout time, people have incorporated essential oils into their everyday lives to not only heal themselves, but to help with relaxation.

When choosing an essential oil, pick a brand that is pure, medicinal, and steam distilled to ensure the best quality. Essential oils are also great to use during meditation, as they can help center you and elevate you to a higher state of consciousness—cedar wood and sage are a couple of my favorites.

Meditation. When I was battling anxiety and depression, I found that meditation really helped me to reconnect with myself and relax my mind. Meditation can also help you solve problems, get in touch with your intuition, and become more compassionate. There are a lot of scientific reasons why you should practice the art of mediation. When I started meditating, I found that I struggled with quieting my mind, so guided meditations were a good solution for me. Even a yoga class can be a great place to meditate.

Journaling. In my darkest moments, writing down my thoughts, ideas, and positive experiences had a huge impact on my mood, and helped me find balance in my hectic life. Writing helped me to stay positive and see the bigger picture in even the worst of situations. A study conducted by James Pennebaker, University of Texas, found that expressive writing can help you reevaluate your life, focus on moving forward, and stop worrying about problems you cannot change.

Self-hypnosis/Visualization. Many people, especially those who suffer from anxiety, find self-hypnosis to be helpful for releasing stress and coping with certain triggers. One of my favorite places to start self-hypnosis is to picture myself walking down stairs or moving down in an elevator. From there, I stretch imagination a little further, and move into a peaceful room or a tranquil meadow filled with lavender. 

Visualization is another great technique for finding peace and gain clarity. For some, creating a vision board is a wonderful process that can provide a clearer picture of your life’s journey. Gather images that represent goals and dreams for your future and compile them into a collage. 

Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to devote to self-care, the most important thing is to take time for yourself. When I am calm, relaxed, and mindful, I can contribute positively to my fullest extent.

Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who works with Nature's Sunshine Products. When she's not writing, Brooke enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with friends

Is it Possible to be Mindful with Social Networking?

We might become friends, social networking and myself, but right now I feel like we are really just getting to know one another.
— Gina Biegel, MA, LMFT

Social networking can be challenging. If it isn't challenging for you, I think you should maximize this talent! I am approaching the social networking arena mindfully from the inside out. I am being as thoughtful as I can about what I write, how I write it and to whom I send it to.  I look at my intentions for the posting.  I try to get posts out regarding research and information pertinent to the community in which I work and serve.  I also share Stressed Teens marketing about this new blog, the new online class and to events being done by Stressed Teens.  

I am a bit frustrated but I am also excited.  I think I am doing something right.  I am posting to groups within Linkedin and Facebook and I am getting a few comments and likes reported. There is still that feeling that something is missing. It just feels a little weird.  I am sending things into an abyss.  In a way I actually am. I hope people are patient with me if I make mistakes.  If you can let me know if I am making them I would appreciate it because knowing what you don't know is a wee bit difficult.

I found a few articles on mindful social networking and I thought I would include links to them here: 

I understand if you are Kim Kardashian or Apple you probably have this social networking business down, but for the rest of us do we really have the help we need? I need the Dummies guide to social networking.  If someone hasn't written that one yet please do.  However, I am sure by the time it is published we will be onto a whole new group of networks for which to use.



Kudos Jon Kabat-Zinn on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday

Mindfulness is not a concept it is a practice.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness isn't something outside of yourself or a product that you go buy at a store. Mindfulness is an intrinsic part of who you already are. Mindfulness is being present to your mind, body, and life every moment of every day. When you are present and aware in the moment you are connecting to your mindful self. It doesn't take anymore time to be mindful because it can be as consistent as the breath in your body.  

When you are working on a task: making soup, taking a shower, or doing homework are you truly present to what you are doing in the moment?  When you engage in any task notice how you feel, what thoughts are present, how you are breathing!  Sometimes we can get off track, thinking about the past or future and lose sight of the task at hand.  There is no benefit to judging yourself when you notice you aren't as present to the task as you would like.  When you notice you are thinking about something else or that you have gotten off track gently bring yourself back to the moment.  Bringing yourself back to the task at hand is as important as doing the task itself. Being mindful is a skill that can be cultivated by practice. It is similar to building a muscle. You don't often start with very heavy weights rather lighter ones and slowly progress.  Mindfulness isn't about being perfect.  It is about being who you already are.  

Life is not about doing everything right.  Life is about being present to life moment by moment by moment. Mindful moment: BE PRESENT TO YOUR DAY AS IT UNFOLDS WITH AS LITTLE JUDGMENT AS POSSIBLE.

Don’t Believe Everything You Think
— Everyone

Thanks Jon for being my mentor, my friend and helping the world to be their best true self.

Leaving My Ego at the Door Being Truly Humble: A Personal Reveal

I try to the best of my ability to be compassionate, authentic, and non-judging toward myself and others.  These are among the qualities I consider to be part of living mindfully.  What about a quality that encompasses humility and "non-egoness" (ok, that isn't a word, but just go with it)?

I feel there's a few different takes on humility. There's the classic humility where you've got the wise elder who seems to have just enough ego seasoned with just enough humility to be well balanced. There's being humble to a fault, never giving oneself credit or being too self-effacing. There's also fake humility that is peppered with entitlement. I'll admit I've had a bit of that fake humility myself. I let my ego get tied a little too closely with my online class and started to feel a little entitled. I felt entitled that people should sign up for classes all along thinking I was being humble.  Now, I find a new lease on teaching and my business.

As I begin a new chapter in my career, the launch of an all new online training program I am also launching a new me (as best I can).  I feel like a little bean sprout that is just beginning to grow.  I am present to my humility and fear.  What if people don't sign up?  What if I can't get my mojo back?  What I am realizing is these feelings are humility and being real.  It is so amazing to feel so genuinely excited when people inquire about the class or when I get a new sign up.  

 I haven't taught this class for a year and now feel inspired, honored, excited, and authentic.  I am so grateful that Dan Siegel wrote a great endorsement for the program and feel supported and acknowledged for the work I do.  If two people sign up or a thousand I am grateful for what is brought to me and that anyone wants to learn from me. I'm excited for a chance to share ideas.  How amazing it that?  To get an opportunity to have a fresh start is really a gift.  We can give ourselves this gift.  

A good first step to getting a fresh start is to acknowledge when we want to make a change and then do something about it.  As a helping professional, there are times that we hit a wall and can burnout.  It is when we don't talk about it is where damage can really ensue.  It is so beautiful to find my passion and excitement again.  Mindful Moment IS YOUR EGO IN THE DOORWAY?  IF SO, PUSH IT OUT!

Eating a Houseplant Mindfully: It Can Be Done

Have you ever watched your pet eat something as if it had never eaten that item before?  I got to watch one of my cats today enjoy and savor each and every bite of the houseplant.  Why did he go for the hardest ones on the bottom by the base of the plant?  Was he hoping his effort would get him a more savory taste?  

When we teach teens how to eat something mindfully we want them to taste the item as if it has never been eaten before.  Cats are such a great model for eating mindfully.  Dogs however seem to be the opposite.  At times I am curious if my dog even really tastes what she is given.  

Take the time to savor each bite each taste life has to offer you this day.  Mindful moment, EAT SOMETHING YOU LOVE TODAY WITH ALL THE FERVOR YOU CAN.