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Secrets To A Life Of True Balance Through Self Care

Do you remember when you were in your 20s and 30s when self-care meant an occasional day at the spa? A mani-pedi, facial and massage was all it took to feel alive and ready to take on the world?

Now that you’re approaching 50 or beyond, you may have realized you need so much more in order to feel balanced, or “normal”, like your younger self.  You’ve come to realize that your body, mind and emotional wellbeing needs equal amounts of love and care from you. And, if you haven’t realized that yet, you will. 

Here at JK Naturals, inside The Changed Woman, our approach is a holistic one. We believe that, in order to feel your very best, you need to focus on these three main areas of body, mind and spirit. We will cover the three areas individually in this first post. Watch for Part 2 where we explore the important, but often overlooked, connections between them.  

BODY

yoga

If you’re anything like me, how you see yourself in your mind does not connect with the reflection you see in the mirror. You’re disappointed that you’re not the cuter, tighter, younger version of yourself and so this is the area you might focus on first when it comes to practicing self-care.  

Eating clean, healthy food is a great start! Making the switch to plant-based, whole foods will not only improve the overall look of your skin (you may even have a glow), but you’ll notice a difference in your energy levels as well. In fact, new research has emerged which focuses on the gut. People with depression or anxiety often suffer from appetite disturbances, metabolic changes, gastrointestinal disorders, and other unwelcome changes in their gut microbiome.

Movement is also very important. As your body changes, you don’t need to do anything too strenuous as long as you’re moving and stretching your body daily. 

There’s nothing wrong with putting your attention on caring for your body, in fact, it’s highly encouraged.  After all, it’s the only place you have to live. But, it’s only part of the puzzle when it comes to really having a happy, healthy and well-balanced life. 

MIND

That oh-so-busy mind! You might be surprised to know that you have approximately 6000 thoughts running through your head per day!

Research says that negative thoughts outnumber positive thoughts and negative thoughts can have a greater impact on you. So why don’t people spend as much time caring for their minds as they do their bodies?  The good news is that there are simple ways to create a healthier mind which results in a happier you.

Meditation is an ancient practice and a defined process. It usually involves finding a space, somewhere that’s quiet and comfortable, where you can sit still for a dedicated amount of time. There are many different kinds of meditation that you can practice. Here’s a few to start you off:

  1. Sitting comfortably in silence and focusing on your breath for as little as 10 minutes a day, 
  2. Listening to a longer guided meditation, or 
  3. Chanting a specific mantra repeatedly.  

Whichever technique you choose to practice, the purpose is to help calm and ease the mind.  It can have tremendous benefits to your overall well-being. It’s been scientifically proven to help reduce stress, pain, depression and more. 

Mindfulness is a state of being.  For some, it could be quite literally “stopping to smell the roses”. It’s paying attention to what you’re doing in the world around you. Being present. Life is so busy that you often get caught up in the chatter in your head and go through your day on autopilot. Being stressed and not being present can raise cortisol levels, which over time, could have negative effects on your health.  

Meditation and mindfulness overlap. The easiest way to differentiate the two is to think of meditation as the workout you do in order to get results and mindfulness is that result. Mindfulness is a calmer, healthier mind by being present in all that you do. By practicing meditation regularly you’ll become more mindful in your everyday life. 

You can do simple things to implement mindfulness in your daily life. Here are a few places you can start:

  1. Mindful eating: Instead of being distracted by your smartphone or the TV, focus on the food you’re eating. Pay attention to the colors on your plate. Think about where the food came from or how it was grown. Really taste it. I promise you, you’ll enjoy it so much more. 

  2. Mindful walks: Being outdoors in nature, like going for walks, has so many benefits. But also try being mindful while doing it. Observe the colors of the sky, the trees, grass and flowers. Pay attention to the birds chirping and any other sounds that you may hear. Try to include all of your senses in the experience and you’ll find a more beautiful vibrant world that will uplift your mood.

  3. Mindful driving:  Although this should be a given, it isn’t really.  How many times have you found yourself in your car running an errand only to arrive and not remember the drive at all?  Next time you get in your car, try to really pay attention. Try to clear your mind of all the things you still need to do and just focus on the road ahead, the feel of the steering wheel in your hands, what’s happening in your mirrors and the feel of your foot on the pedals. 

SPIRIT 

Spirit is another way to describe your emotional well-being. It is the deepest part of yourself. It’s having an understanding that you are part of something bigger and it connects you to ‘all that is’. It is your true nature. It’s through your spirit that you forgive, show compassion, evolve as individuals and feel the call to live your life’s purpose.  

Doing things that feed your spirit makes you feel whole, happy and focused. This brings you the most joy. Need ideas on what can feed your spirit? Why not implement some of these into your day:

  1. Build community - people are social beings who need to feel like theybelong to something. Finding a community of like minded people or even building one yourself is a great way to feel connected and gain a sense of belonging. This might be more natural for some but, if you’re an introvert, try joining an online group such as a Facebook group of your particular interest, that way you can gain the confidence you need to meet up outside the group if it comes to that.

  2. Practice Gratitude - it has been scientifically proven that practicing gratitude can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. Gratitude, like love and joy, has the highest vibrational frequency. It’s in these high vibrations that you are able to manifest your life’s dreams and desires.  Easy ways to practice gratitude are by keeping a gratitude journal and list a minimum of five things you’re grateful for each day. Expressing gratitude before getting out of bed each morning and/or before going to bed each night can be a habit that’s easily cultivated.

  3. Laugh - it really is the best medicine! When you do what you enjoy, especially things that make you laugh, life is just better. It has the power to brighten anyone’s mood. Can’t think of anything to laugh about? Try a 15 minute laughing yoga class, I promise you’ll be in stitches and you will feel amazing afterwards.

  4. Practice Kindness - doing kind acts for others just makes you feel good about yourself. It must come from a good place though otherwise, it’s pointless. There are so many ways to practice kindness. You can be of service to others, “pay it forward”, volunteer at a local shelter, donate to a worthy cause, be a mentor, offer a kind word to someone in need of one, or give up your spot on the train to a tired mom or elderly person.

  5. Pray - connecting to a higher power can give you comfort both in times of need and in times of joy, which is a great way to feed your spirit.

Taking a more holistic approach to self-care helps you feel more balanced in every area of your life.  That’s what living a truly healthy lifestyle really means. So, spend some time reflecting on the different ways you can practice self-care through a focus on your body, mind and spirit. It is especially important as you age. But, don’t get overwhelmed by trying to do it all.  Choose one area to focus on and do one thing regularly to create a habit before adding something new. Before you know it, you’ll start to feel a difference in yourself and your overall well being. Keep in mind though, it’s taking action that gets the results so start today!

In the next post, we will take this a step further and discuss the importantconnections between the body, mind and spirit.

Tell me what your biggest take away was or what you'd like to hear about in the future. I'd love to hear from you! E-mail me: kathryn@jknaturals.com

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