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Posts Tagged ‘Self Care’

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I haven’t always been the best parent to myself. Bad decisions aside, I used to be my own worst critic, hurling a ridiculous, endless litany of insults and harmful non-truths at myself daily. Accomplishing even the simplest of tasks required a drawn-out inner battle where me and my strong-willed inner child self would grapple for victory.

It went something like this:

 

Me: “Sarah, go brush your teeth.”

 

Strong-willed inner child self: “No! I don’t want to go brush my teeth. I hate brushing my teeth!”

 

Me: “Sarah, it’s time to go to bed. Go brush your teeth.”

Strong-willed inner child self: “No! I hate brushing my teeth!”

Me: “Sarah, this is ridiculous. You are a grown woman. Why do we have to go through this every single night? Go brush your teeth.”

 

Strong-willed inner child self: “No!”

And so on and so forth.

 

Some nights, she’d win and I’d go to bed with dinner rotting on my teeth. Most times though, I’d win and tumble defeated and minty fresh into an exhausted sleep.

This went on every day, at least two times a day, for the majority of my life.

Then, finally, I decided I was sick of it. I was sick of the insults, sick of the relentless battle, sick of feeling bad all the time.

I wasn’t getting anywhere by fighting and guilting myself into each and every task, and I sure wasn’t winning any popularity contests with my inner child by constantly putting her down.

 

Something had to change.

 

Now, I’ve read all the self-help books and all of the insightful information about changing your negative thoughts into positive ones by the sheer power of your will, but for some reason, these positive mantras soon gave way to the old and before long, I was arguing with myself in the bathroom mirror again.

Here’s how I fixed it:

I decided to be a supportive and loving parent to myself. I began to tell myself how proud I was, how much I was loved, how truly awesome I was. I listened to all of my complaints, secrets, worries, fears and dreams with an open and loving heart. I gave myself permission to feel my feelings and bought myself treats to celebrate even the tiniest of accomplishments. I gave myself permission to play and have fun. I told myself I was strong and for some reason, I actually believed it; believed it in a way that was deep and soulful and unbending.

And that is how I do everything now, from resisting the urge to hit the snooze button just one more time to brushing my teeth to overcoming my fears – by telling myself:

“Sarah, you are strong enough to do this.”

And I am.

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Yoga Love

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection.” –Buddha

Today, I bought myself flowers. I had no reason to buy them for myself other than they were bright yellow and made me smile. I would like to be able to say that I do these little random acts of kindness for myself all the time, but I don’t. I give up my seat on the subway for those who need it, I compliment and smile at strangers, I call friends and family regularly just to say ‘I love you’, but I sometimes forget to extend these types little courtesies to myself.

So, this month, as Valentine’s Day approaches, consider showering yourself with a little self-love – whatever that means to you. Maybe you buy yourself a special treat at your favorite bakery, take a bath, skip to work, write yourself a love note, or try a class at that new pottery school that just opened up. Whatever self-love means to you, give it try. You deserve it.

And since sometimes, I like to practice theme-appropriate yoga around certain holidays, this month, I will focus on a heart opening practice. Here are a few heart-opening yoga poses for you to try on your own:

  • Cat/Cow – On your hands and knees begin by breathing in deeply and lifting your head, heart, and tailbone. As you exhale, curl your head and tailbone under as you look at your naval. Repeat 6 times.
  • Downward-Facing Dog – From your hands and knees, curl your toes under and push with your hands to lift your hips and lengthen your legs. Allow your heart to open and your head to gently hang from the neck. Stay for 5 deep breaths.
  • Bound Bridge – Come onto your back, knees bent, feet hip distance with heels under the knees. Lift your hips, and press your palms down by your waist. Begin to bring your shoulder blades together as you open your chest. Hold for several breaths before rolling down through the spine back to neutral.

End in a comfortable sitting position with your hands in a prayer pose in front of your chest, your thumbs lightly touching your heart. Visualize the sun coming into your heart and radiating throughout your body.

Here are some tips for awakening self-love during your yoga practice:

  1. Practice your poses with total attention on your breath.
  2. Take a moment to sit in stillness and focus on someone for whom you are grateful.
  3. With your focus still on that person, flood him/her with forgiveness whether he/she needs it or not.
  4. Extend those same feelings of gratitude and forgiveness on yourself.

~ Namaste ~

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