Spring is upon us and it is a powerful time to cleanse the waste of our past and make room for our hearts desires to take root; to celebrate and embrace new beginnings. We are emerging from darkness (winter) and moving toward the light (longer days). We are awakening from our deep slumber, our hibernation and preparing ourselves for longer days filled with playfulness, vitality and joy.
Here are six ways that YOU can harness the energy of this potent season.
1. Spring Cleaning: Get organized
Begin with your home, your sanctuary. Where you can make space, organize or declutter? Is there a particular room in your house that could use a little organizing or maybe a whole new makeover? Go through your closets- if you haven't worn it or used it in three years toss it into a donation bag and give it to a local charity or host a clothing swap gathering with friends. Do the same with your kitchen cupboards- what can you eliminate, where can you make space? If you don't know the name or function of the item, toss it in the donation box. When your sanctuary is clean and organized you'll feel lighter and more at ease.
*Warning: this can be addicting. If you find yourself organizing and cleaning your entire house, invite your significant other, children and/or housemates to join in the fun- you can sing and dance or make a game out of it.
2. System Reboot: Cleanse
A great way to transition from one season to the next is with a cleanse or detox: a reboot for your system. Find a cleanse or detox that is practical for you- one that fits your needs and lifestyle. A 7-day juice cleanse is not for everyone, nor is eating raw; don't let these discourage you, they are not the only options. Have some fun with this- do your research and maybe even create your own mini detox or cleanse, perhaps invite a loved one or friend to join you- this provides accountability and motivation.
3. Seasonal Grinds: Healthy Eating Habits and Routines
Now is a good time to check-in with your eating habits and routines. Where can you improve? What can you eliminate from your diet and what can you add?
When eating for the season, find locally grown produce that is available in your area. Not sure where to start- check-out this website. Get creative and make a new dish using only seasonal produce.
4. New Beginnings: Start a New Routine
A good place to begin is to look back at your New Year's resolutions/ goals. Is there routine on your list that you meant to start but haven't, or maybe you did start and then lost momentum. If so, that's okay, if it's still something you wish to have in your life, make adjustments and start again.
Some other ideas might include; daily meditation, exercise, waking up earlier or going to sleep earlier.
5. Start a New Project or Hobby
Is there something you've been wanting to do, perhaps a home improvement project, or maybe take a cooking or photography class? Do it now! With longer days, we have more daylight hours to take advantage of. Harness the energy of the sun to fuel your desires and start movin and groovin.
Organize a gathering with family and friends. Invite everyone over and show off your clean and organized home. Wow your guest with your scrumptious seasonal grinds and share the blessings of the season with those you cherish most.
How I found a morning routine to be helpful in managing my anxiety and depression.
There was a period in my life where waking up in the morning was a real struggle. The dawn of the day marked the remembrance of my troubles and worries. Before my eyes fluttered to open, my mind was flooded with a surge of negative thoughts, my heart became heavy as it sank into my chest and worry drenched every cell in my body. I wanted to pull the covers up over my head and drift back into the unconsciousness of my being- where my worries and troubles did not exist.
My aversion of mornings put me in a salty mood, which unavoidably followed me around all day. I needed something to snap me out of my morning funk- something stronger than coffee. Thus, the creation of My Magical Morning.
Below are four things that I started doing every morning which transformed my relationship with mornings from dreadful to divine.
1. “Today is Magical”
Say this phrase 5 times, with feeling, before you get out of bed.
I found that the first thing I was saying to myself in the morning, before my little eyes even fluttered open to the morning light, was “Oh cr*p, it’s morning again. Another day of this sh*t.” This was literally how I started each day and this phrase is what set the tone for my day. I was, unknowingly, sabotaging my day before it even began. So I set a little note with my alarm, a reminder, that said “Today is Magical” with some stars and hearts emojis (the unicorn had not yet debuted). From that day on, each morning, when my alarm would wake me up, I was kindly reminded that Today is Magical.
*Other options might be- Today is the best day of my life. I love my life. My life is fabulous and fruitful….. You get the idea.
Start with 5 minutes and work your way up as you see fit. There are many different forms of meditation and apps available to support your journey; sit in silence, follow your breath, visualize yourself being filled with love, or chant mantras, play around and find one that best serves you.
I like to tack this step onto my meditation since I’m already sitting with eyes closed, and typically feeling relaxed and receptive. I spend about 5 minutes visualizing, in as much detail and with as much feeling as possible, having all of my hearts desires; frequently creating a big ol’ smile across my face.
You’ve likely heard about affirmations and the claims made about their benefits. I was once a skeptic myself and I avoided them like vampires avoid daylight. But the relentless buggers kept following me around; hiding out in books, making surprise guest appearances in movies and blurting themselves out in conversations. Eventually, I surrendered to their persistence and now I am an avid believer in powerful magic of affirmations. Write them out as though every word you are writing is the truth, and in time, it will be your truth.
I took great delight in experimenting with various activities and fine-tuning the details to create the perfect morning routine for my needs. I encourage you to do the same- have fun with this, play around with different options and fine-tune until you find a Magical Morning Routine that fits your lifestyle and meets your needs.
I didn’t always dread mornings; there was another time in my life when I was having a magical love affair with them. I would wake up in the dark hours of the early morning to watch the sunrise over the ocean. I would sit quietly, in solitude, grateful for the stillness of the early morning; with sand between my toes as the gentle sea breeze would softly kiss my cheeks. Mornings and I, we had a real romance going on- it was the real deal kinda love. But when the seas of life got rough, and I was relentlessly tossed around as waves crashed over me, sometimes pulling me under, I found it difficult to catch my breath, hard to stay afloat. My Magical Morning Routine became my personal flotation device and through maintaining a daily routine I have become more buoyant and resilient when facing rough seas.
Sleep is an essential component to our physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, in our fast paced culture, sleep seems to be put on the backburner: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”; the reality is, “you’ll be dead if you don’t sleep.” When we sleep our body undergoes a restoration process; brain chemicals are restored and the body receives much needed rest.
Have you ever notice that you sleep more when you’re sick? That’s because your body is mending itself. Your body is physically making you slow down so that it can nourish and repair itself.
Without an ample amount of quality sleep, we experience burnout and fatigue and we are more susceptible to illness and plain ol' grouchiness.
A good night's rest not only leaves you feeling refreshed, alert and ready to take on the day but can improve your mood, lower stress levels, help maintain a healthy weight and decrease anxiety.
I consider myself to be a sleep queen in that I take sleep very seriously as it directly affects the rest of my life. Restless sleep affects my mood and behavior and increases my anxiety. Frequent nights of restless sleep can keep me in the anxiety loop. If you experience anxiety, I encourage you to make getting a good night's rest a priority and watch how the rest of your world begins to, seemingly effortlessly, change.
5 Tips for Better Zzzz’s
Learning your body’s natural sleep cycles and honoring them with drastically improve your quality of sleep. It is important to note that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep during the night, some of us need more sleep than others to feel well rested and ready to take on the day ahead.
Experiment: Notice when you start to feel tired at night and begin your nighttime routine. Sometimes if we push ourselves past the time when we are feeling sleepy, we may experience an unwanted boost of energy later, making it harder to fall asleep. Note the time you wake up naturally, and relish in the bliss of waking up at your leisure. I recommend doing this experiment a few times to get an average idea of your personalized natural cycle.
* I recommend exploring your natural cycles on an evening when you’re at home and do not need an alarm to wake up the next morning (you don’t have to be anywhere at a particular time).
Personal example: I naturally begin to wind down between 8- 9pm and I put myself to bed between 9-10pm. If I push myself to stay up later this will often give me an energy boost making it more challenging to fall asleep and often resulting in restless sleep. I naturally arise anywhere between 5:30-7am. For you math wizzes out there, you probably already noticed that I require a longer period of sleep than most. I am a creature that operates best between 8-10 hours of restful sleep.
Essential oils truly are a gift from Mother Nature and they are a wonderful aide for sleep. I personally recommend lavender, vetiver and Serenity (a blend by doTerra). There are two ways to use essential oils for sleep: topically and aromatically.
When applying oils topically (to your skin) you will want to mix them with a carrier oil. I personally like sesame and almond oil. Since I know I’m going to use this blend regularly, I mix my oils into a 4 oz dropper bottle that sits next to my bed. The majority of the bottle is filled with my carrier oil. I then add 10-15 drops of lavender and 10-15 drops of Serenity. Vetiver is a heavier oil that I don’t use every night. On the nights that I use vetiver, I mix 1-2 drops in my hand with 2-3 droppers of the lavender/Serenity blend.
Now for the good stuff- I then massage my feet with the oil. Why the feet? The feet have much larger pores than the rest of the body and they don’t have sebaceous glands which acts as a barrier- making them the perfect place to apply oils- quick and effective absorption. Indulge in this experience, lovingly massage your feet and enjoy the relaxing sensations. *Be sure to place socks over your feet when you’re done so that the oil doesn’t get everywhere.
To use oils aromatically, you’ll need a diffuser. You can purchase reasonably priced ones on Amazon. If you plan to leave your diffuser on while you sleep, be sure to purchase one that has an automatic shut off, like this one.
Fill the diffuser with water to the water line and add 2-4 drops of lavender 2-4 drops of Serenity and 1-2 drops of vetiver. Place your diffuser in a location where the scents will wash over you throughout the night.
*When purchasing oils be sure to choose quality products. I personally use and recommend doTerra and Young Living, but they can be pricey. Do your research to find an oil that best meets your needs.
Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurveda that is helpful in preventing anxiety, relieving insomnia and reducing stress-induced depression, amongst many other benefits. I first began taking ashwagandha in the morning to increase energy and stamina however, I personally found that it made me groggy and sleepy, and therefore I switched to taking it at night as a part of my bedtime routine. I use the powder form and mix about half of a spoonful with hot water and fresh juiced ginger cubes. Ashwagandha has an earthy taste to it, which some may not care for. You can also mix it with warm milk, which may help with the earthy taste.
I only recently discovered binaural beats and to be frank, I can't get enough of them. I find them to be profoundly healing for the body and mind. You can find a plethora of binaural beat tracks available on YouTube- for Free! What makes binaural beats unique is that you must listen to them with headphones on and the reasoning for doing so is that one frequency is being sent into one headphone while a different frequency is being sent into the other, voila- binaural beat. For sleep I recommend finding a sleep specific track or a theta focused one. Simply plug in and play as you rest in the comfort of your bed.
A regular practice of Yoga Nidra will improve your quality of sleep. The systematic technique is designed in enhance full body relaxation and rejuvenation. Through a regular practice the body and mind, effortlessly, learn how to relax more easily, to let go of the day and drop into the alpha-theta space of deep relaxation.
* The practices and information provided in this article are for educational purposes only. They are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure physical or emotional conditions. They are not intended as a replacement for medical advice.