3 Tips To Restore Mind, Body and Spirit
Isn’t it strange how time can seem to pass by so slowly yet it also seems like in the blink of an eye it's already March!? Even though we’re in a lockdown with nothing to do and nowhere to go, many of us still feel drained, tired and overworked. With the short days and winter in full effect (for those north of the equator) coupled with everything going on in the world today, it is only natural to feel like we’re running on empty. We also live in a society that is obsessed with productivity. In the age of side hustles, we consciously (or subconsciously) feel like we always have to be doing something, accomplishing more, putting more on our plate. Even though this is definitely a positive; the powerful driving force behind many individuals to shatter glass ceilings (I know that’s right Kamala!), reach their perceived potential (and then surpass it!), accomplish all they’ve dreamed of (and more!), it can be a beautifully packaged poison if we don’t take the time to rest. In the digital age where everything comes fast, it’s easy to lose track of time and fall out of touch with yourself. Grinding and reaching for the stars is great but it is also important to pause, breathe, rest and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. This may seem counterproductive to many, however it is actually scientifically proven to improve productivity, increase efficiency and provide the space for creative energy to flourish. Rest is an important component of the maintenance of homeostasis. Without adequate rest, the body is unable to function at its optimal capacity due to the fact that our brain’s countless number of nerve cells require down-time to rewire themselves; a crucial component in the maintenance and improvement of memory and learning. Neuroscientists who have studied various individuals' brain activity during sleep confirm that though you may feel like this part of your day is hindering you from accomplishing more, in actuality, there is a marked change in neuroactivity. This change in activity allows new connections to be formed. Also, breaking news!...rest is important for that oh-so hot topic right now….your immune system! Many studies have proven time and time again that those who do not get enough rest are more susceptible to falling ill after exposure to viruses.
Now, most of this information is probably not new to you. But sometimes you need a solid foundation of knowledge to explore and maintain physical actions that blossom into wellness rituals. We all have our own individual reasons for feeling depleted, drained, empty and hollow. Armed with the knowledge of the importance of rest, it is paramount to dive deep into the world of restoration. This space is a guilt-free, self-loving, sacred space where you pour back into yourself through small, yet powerful, acts of self-realization. Gaining enjoyment of the present moment through setting aside time to give back to yourself is just as important as anything else you do.
March also represents Women’s History Month! In celebration of women, let us recognize the divine feminine strength and sensuality within all of us. We as women have so many wonderful things to celebrate, so many accomplishments, so many steps forward and firsts as a female collective; all through hard work, dedication and perseverance to build a better world. That takes a lot of time, energy, courage, resiliency, power and love. So in celebration of the feminine energy within each one of us as human beings on this earth, let's restore and rejuvenate ourselves so that we can pour from a cup of abundance and keep making great changes in the world.
Here are a few simple ways to achieve self restoration…
One way to restore yourself is through affirmations. Some may choose to write little notes of positivity, love and appreciation and place these around their living quarters as a cute and constant reminder of the beauty of life. Another way is to practice “mirror work”; in which, through the reflection of a mirror, you stare directly at yourself, the thinker, the watcher, the believer, and speak kindly to yourself, sit in silence, move your body, feel the flow of energy and whatever emotions arise within you. Allowing yourself to just be, to feel and see yourself has the potential to boost self-love. Often, we are too preoccupied with the perception others have of us to truly feel our emotions, recognize our emotions or express our emotions. Mirror work gives you that rare opportunity in life to be raw, real and unapologetically you. To see yourself, to hear yourself, to feel yourself is to be yourself. And in a world of false advertising, the quest for perfection, social norms and pressures, it is challenging to truly know and be yourself without fear of judgement. Mirror work helps you control the one aspect of judgement of which you have power over - the judgement of yourself. Pay attention to how you speak about yourself to yourself, how you feel about yourself and stop any negativity in its tracks. Using a mirror to reflect all you think, see and feel, you can become more aware of who you are, what you are and the why of many facets of your existence while affirming your self-love and self-respect.
Touch deprivation is a real (and unfortunate) thing. Many people are uncomfortable with the thought of a stranger touching them and culturally, in the western world, touch has been demonized, sexualized and stripped of its significant importance in the maintenance of mental health. Especially with the current restrictions, many people feel deprived of human touch. But if we focus on the negatives and the have-nots of our current situation, we neglect to take responsibility for ourselves while placing the expectation on others to fulfill our needs. Intentionally setting aside time each day to gently adorn your body, your temple that is, in luxurious creams, lotions and oils not only proves beneficial for your epidermis, but also calms your mind, feeds your soul, and nourishes your spirit. While focusing on appreciating every inch of your beautiful body, one becomes aware of the intricacies we take for granted. Appreciate every scar that tells a story, every stretch mark that reminds you of your humanity, every curve or bony prominence that is uniquely yours. Dedicate your attention to loving, feeling and embracing your body and the skin you’re in, for far too often we are harsh towards a beautiful organ whose only desire is to protect us. Setting aside time to consciously love your skin combined with the soothing powers of massage proves to be a powerful ritual giving space to restoration. It can help alleviate both physical and mental pain and calm your senses. Why not go a step further and soak yourself in a tub of hot water, scented bath salts, surrounded by luminous candles and a cloud of gentle melodies of your choice creating an ambiance of wealth, abundance and wellness. Romance all your senses as part of a healing bedtime ritual in which you unwind from your day, unplug from technology and bask in the stillness of your heart. Feel each breath go deeper within you and relish in the benefits of aromatherapy. Doing this once in a while proves beneficial, but just like everything else in life, if you want to see results, consistency is key. What makes an act a ritual is the combination of repeated actions and sequences. In order to truly reap the benefits of rest and restoration, it is of utmost importance to make these actions individualistic and ritualistic.
Prayer and meditation can be deeply personal and individual. These acts are uniquely spiritual but they do not necessarily have to come in the forms of organized religion. Studies have shown that those who actively practise conscious gratitude in the form of prayer and/or meditation, benefit physically as well as spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. Gratitude is a simple act that can actually significantly improve your satisfaction with life. A simple way to incorporate this in your life is to take 5 minutes each day to pause, and express your gratitude (either silently to yourself through thoughts) or verbally, for example in the form of prayer. You may choose to light a candle each morning as you set the intention each morning to be a more grateful version of yourself and take 5 minutes at the end of your day, before you fall asleep, to reflect on something you are grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be this grandiose effort, just merely being grateful for cooking yourself a healthy meal that nourished your body during the day is a grand gesture to yourself! Too often we fall victim to the negative thought patterns on which we allow our mind to ruminate. Gratitude is proven to decrease depression and increase happiness; but once again, the key is consistency. Do it once and see how great you feel! Keep doing it, that is to make it a ritual, and you will forever be fostering an internal and external environment of self-restoration!
So there you have it! 3 simple steps to kick start your journey of self-restoration and daily relaxation. By combining these physical, spiritual and emotional/mental rituals, you will be surprised to see yourself transform your inner and outer world. You may not be able to escape from the stress of the daily grind, or the trials and tribulations of life, but you will be better equipped to deal with adversity, and be kind to yourself in the process. This March, leave the guilt behind and fall in love with yourself through your new-found peace.
Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
~ Alice Walker
Written by: Bayza Mirotchie