Friday, August 22, 2014

The tapestry of self care

It has become my mission this year to learn how to take care of myself efficiently and to place my self as a top priority. 

I have a lot of responsibilities. I am a full-time parent, wife, and daughter. I also work, but I don't consider that as much work as taking care of the important people in my life. Because I give so much of myself to others, it is essential for me to invest in my self. That way, I can give more to others bountifully and consistently, without feeling depleted or without having constant meltdowns. Since I have a shortage of time, I have to do the majority of these things either early in the morning, or in the evening. As it is with everything, self care is something you have to make time for - and it is so worth it.

It has been a long road to self care, and I'd like to share some of my new healthy living routines that I've been working on - things that bring me inner strength and peace of spirit...

Yoga
My chiropractor suggested that I do yoga to strengthen my spine, and doing regular yoga releases tension in my body as well as my spirit. I only go once a week and it is like a religious experience!


Exercise
Every medical professional will say exercise is the thing that's going to keep you healthy and fight disease. It's not just diet alone - it's also getting your heart rate up and sweating. I like to exercise early in the morning because it gives me energy throughout the day. If I don't exercise, I am exhausted by 2pm. If I do exercise, the endorphins sustain me for the entire day, and I also sleep better. I have set up a routine now where I'm actually excited to work out!

Regular chiropractic care
After becoming a mother, the first thing I started doing for self care was going to the chiropractor and everything has opened up from there. Going to the chiropractor really got me thinking about what other ways I could take care of myself. My chiropractor is family friendly so we all go together. It has really helped me move my body better - the first appointment, I could hardly lift my leg, and now I can lift my leg almost all the way up. There is nothing worse in life than being stiff!



Nutrition
The best thing about eating something healthy is how you feel after. Since it is Summer, I have been eating an abundance of seasonal fruits and loving it! Just eating something healthy at each sitting makes a huge difference...



Meditation
My MIL suggested that I start praying, like a good Indian wife. I didn't take her seriously until I had a tension headache and decided that some last minute meditation might help. I created a little impromptu pooja corner in my office, and I sit there for about 10 minutes in the morning and light incense and play my Ganesh mantra. It is nice to have a place where I can sit, clear my mind and give thanks to a higher power.



Pockets of Solitude
As a mother, solitude is a rarity in my home. While my daughter is sleeping (either morning or evening), I take some time to enjoy the solitude. To be mindful of the silence. My mind is constantly thinking so this has been a hard skill for me to master. Sometimes I will look out of the window or just sit and drink tea. Sometimes I will take a hot bath at the end of the day. My yoga teacher says that 10 minutes of silence per day for clearing your head can help stress levels.

Unplugging
I wrote about this earlier this year and have been taking the time to unplug throughout my day. I will disable notifications and put my mobile on airplane mode at certain periods of the day. I frequently do this in the evening after my daughter goes to bed - phones off, computers off.



Reading novels
One of the things I love to do is read a good fiction novel. By practicing unplugging and my pockets of solitude, I am able to concentrate more on reading. I love to get lost in a good book and get to know the intricate and eccentric characters and see how they develop over the course of the novel. And they say that reading more makes you a better writer. Plus, it makes me really sleepy!




Artwork
One of my favorite activities is doing my artwork alongside my daughter. I am a classically trained artist, yet I haven't done any art since she was born...until now! When I see her drawing, it really inspires me - she is so free. I sit right next to her, and I draw too - just a little sketch. There is something really beautiful about being next to a child who is so confident and instinctual in her expression. Just doing this small act of creativity calms me, makes me focus, and is a creative outlet - however small it is. I've also noticed it has really honed in Maya's concentration skills too. It's kind of like Art Therapy! During our little daily art sessions, I always put on some music - either carnatic classical music or Lana Del Rey (aren't we eclectic!)



Have fun
Whether it is taking my daughter to a park, calling a good friend and sharing a laugh, or watching a movie - it is so important to take some time out of your day to have some fun. Fun - meaning no pressure. So often we get stuck in our daily grinds of to-do lists that we forget to have fun, what ever that may be.

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When I was younger, I thought being healthy meant eating healthy food. Or exercising. It was all separate. 

As I get older, I realize that being healthy means being emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy. That it is a full combination of so many things - a lifestyle - that makes up a tapestry of self care. It is interwoven and interconnected. You cannot build this tapestry with one thread. It is the combination of threads (methods) that really makes it work.


"There is an [Native American] proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person." – Rumer Godden

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Dear readers, what are your favorite methods of self care? What self care do you practice daily?


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9 comments

  1. Great post and I think the Native American proverb is very wise.

    I practice meditation/prayer, and when I was in India recently, starting to get really wound up, suddenly I thought how is it that of all places it is in India I don't think about breathing and meditating ? Then I switched to meditation mode and saw how Big Ego was upset, and immediately felt better lol

    I should really do more physical exercise and creative stuff, that's sure.

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    1. I feel that meditation helps us bring everything into perspective. And the creative stuff just makes life so sweet! :)

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  2. I get a weekly 'Spa Day'.
    It's non negotiable.

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  3. Maya is going to be such a beautiful woman!

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  4. I do almost all of it except art. Alone time is so very important to me. I enjoy cooking and lots of sleeping. And journaling + talking to friends
    playing candy crush also counts right ha ha

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    1. Hahaha anything that makes you feel good! My friends love candy crush but I am afraid to try, it sounds so addictive!

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  5. Hi Alexandra,
    Great post about taking care of yourself, must do something like that myself, we women tend to put ourselves last and get frazzled or worse, sick. Hope you are still following these 8 steps.

    I especially like Rumer Godden's quote from her autobiography A House with Four Rooms (1989). She lived in India from infancy to adolescence and returned frequently during breaks from her high school in England. She went back to India after her marriage to a UK army officer.

    Rumer Godden has written children's books, memoirs and several novels- one of them was made into a movie "The River" which was filmed by director Jean Renoir who was the son of Pierre Renoir the world famous Impressionist artist> Film is great, i highly recommend it.

    I have not read her autobiographys (she wrote 2), and am inclined to think that the quote you have at the end is about the real Indians, several of her books reflect her deep knowledge about India. As I write this I made a note to myself to get a copy of this copy from the local library.

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