- Make a cup of tea.
- Rub lotion on your feet or hands.
- Try the slow-exhale breathing exercise.
- Stretch your muscles.
- Dance to a happy song.
- Write for a timed 5-minutes.
- Recite some positive affirmations.
- Light a candle.
- Spray your favourite scent in your room.
- Give someone a hug.
- Type a quick email to a friend to check-in.
- Write a thank you card.
- Listen to a 5-minute guided meditation.
- Follow a 5-minute yoga video.
- Put on your favourite outfit.
- Wear something bright and colourful.
- Look at a family album.
- Buy a bouquet of flowers.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Declutter one surface in your house for 5 minutes.
- Take 5 minutes before committing to something new.
- Make a quick phone call to cancel something on your agenda.
- Look at an inspiring work of art.
- Read an uplifting poem.
- Do nothing but daydream.
- Research a fantasy trip.
- For 5 minutes, prioritize your to-do list into 2 categories: what needs to be done now and what can wait.
- Write down 10 things you are grateful for.
- Change up your commute.
- Doodle or sketch for 5-minutes.
- Get our your colouring supplies and colour for 5 minutes.
- Read some jokes for a good laugh.
- Adorn something outrageous for the smiles you will get.
- Check in with yourself about what you are feeling.
- Take 5 minutes to reach out and ask for help.
- Do a body scan meditation.
- Say no to what you don’t want to do.
- Mindfully eat a piece of dark chocolate.
- Grant yourself 5 minutes to express the emotion you’ve been bottling up all day.
- Write a love letter to a friend, a partner, or yourself.
- Get up and walk for 5 minutes.
- Practice the square breathing exercise.
- Make a list of all the things you want to do in your lifetime.
- Blow off steam by cursing, screaming, or punching a pillow.
- Begin a book that you’ve always wanted to start.
- Massage your own shoulders.
- Lay on a tennis ball to work out the knots in your back.
- Set a much-needed boundary.
- Make your work space a pleasant place to be.
- Make plans that you can look forward to.
- Sing from the heart.
- Accept a compliment, maybe even write it down for your own reflection.
- Connect to your spiritual side through prayer.
- Acknowledge a fear by sharing it with another person.
- Cuddle up in a blanket.
- Challenge a negative thought.
- Write down an inspirational quote.
- Put an inspirational quote in a place where you can see it daily.
- Open a window to let some fresh air in.
- Watch a funny Youtube video.
- Make a list of all the things you are responsible for that you can delegate to other people.
- Take 5 minutes to reflect on your accomplishments.
- Relegate your worrying to 5 minutes daily. Instead of worrying throughout the day, make a list as worries arise.
- Make a list of all the resources you have for when things get tough.
- Put up some inspirational images.
- Play with your pet.
- Book a doctor, dentist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, hair stylist, or any other appointment for yourself.
- Brush your teeth.
- Ask yourself: how you I meet myself where I am at today?
- Intentionally lower your shoulders if they are scrunched up to your ears.
- Write down all the things you have planned that you are looking forward to.
- Smile widely.
- Move a photograph of a loved one to a more visible place.
- Make your bed in the morning. At bedtime, you will be grateful!
- Call a friend.
- Ask for help from a family member.
- Thank someone for their help.
- Choose a hot bath over a quick shower.
- Ask for what you want, even if you think the answer will be no.
- Choose an herbal tea at night instead of wine (or any other comforting habit).
- Take a tylenol when you have a head-ache.
- Turn off your computer, phone, tablet.
- Spend 5 minutes outside to reset.
- Offer a heart-felt compliment.
- Look out the window for hints of the seasons changing.
- Express the nagging feeling you’ve been having to a trusted confidant.
- Spend 5 minutes organizing your important papers to avoid a future head-ache.
- Pack a healthy snack, instead of purchasing convenience food when you have a sugar drop.
- Grant yourself 5 minutes at the start of the week to ask: What do I want to accomplish this week?
- Seek reassurance from a friend.
- Put a hook by the door for your keys so you don’t have to struggle to find them.
- Take a moment to recognize and accept a negative feeling.
- When you are feeling overwhelmed, spend 5 minutes to ponder the question: What can I let go of?
- Write some affirmations on post-it notes and put them on your bathroom mirror.
- Set the timer on your watch or phone for periodical alarms. When it beeps, take a moment to ground yourself in the present.
- Create a new email account for a clean slate.
- Smell the roses.
If you need inspiration, print this list out and post it where you can see it daily.
It’s cold season! It’s time to practice good self-care to ensure that we remain as healthy as we can.
Here are 6 immunity-boosting foods to incorporate into your diet:
- Citrus Fruits: oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes, mandarins, clementines.
- Ginger: The heat from ginger might ward off seasonal bugs, while the properties help to soothe the stomach.
- Garlic: One of the oldest-known immunity-boosting foods.
- Chicken Bone Broth: Lately, nutritionists and wellness experts are praising bone broths for their healing properties.
- Green Tea: A cup of green tea is packed with antioxidants and is an excellent germ-fighter.
- Yogourt: Yogourt is full of probiotics and stimulates white blood cells.
What immunity-boosting foods do you like to eat?
Whenever I think about acceptance of life’s imperfections, this quote from poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen comes to mind. Here it is:
From ‘Anthem’ by Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Poetry can be very soothing at times, don’t you agree?
“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.”
We spend so much time on our technological devices now. More of us our working remotely from our phones and computers, allowing us to balance (or juggle!) multiple responsibilities. The computer is the number one way to communicate so we are on our social media, we are sending emails, and we are even communicating with friends and family from afar using video conferencing.
Because of the computer’s many capabilities, it can also be a major distraction in our lives. We have multiple tabs open on our window at all times and we flip back and forth between pages at an alarming speed. Our ability to focus is diminishing with each click of the mouse.
If this post is resonating with you, I have some suggestions for you to practice office mindfulness. It doesn’t matter whether you have a home office or you work out of home; the principles are the same.
Here are 6 ways to practice office mindfulness:
- Do a cursor meditation: focus on your cursor as it moves around the screen. Then, switch to focusing on the space around the cursor. Move your attention back and forth for several minutes.
- Make sure your office set-up is ergonomically correct. Check in with your body throughout the day to ensure that you are sitting in a healthy way and notice the way you are feeling.
- Limit the amount of tabs and windows that you have open at one time, in order to successfully complete one task before beginning another.
- Block distracting sites like Facebook temporarily so you can get some tasks completed using the many free apps available.
- Turn off the sound on your computer so you don’t get the distracting beeps every time you get a message or a retweet.
- Get up and away from the screen for 5 minutes at least once every couple of hours. It helps to ease eye strain and clears the mind for better focus.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Let us know in the comment sections.
In the fall, I love to curl up with a hot cup of homemade masala chai tea and a good book. Masala chai is an Indian spiced drink and is a deliciously warming beverage because of its inclusion of various spices.
Here’s how to make homemade Masala Chai Tea:
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds or ground cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 white peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups water
- 5 teaspoons loose orange pekoe tea
- Grind cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle.
- Simmer the milk in a saucepan.
- Stir ground spices and ginger.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer gently to infuse spices in the milk.
- Separately, bring water to a boil and add black tea.
- Once steeped, add tea to hot milk mixture and cook for one minute.
- Sweeten to taste with brown sugar or honey.
“The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.”
In Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book, On Grief and Grieving, the author created the five stages of grief:
- Acceptance and hope
Despite the fact that Kubler-Ross never intended them to represent a set process, the five stages of grief have created a societal perspective of grief that has hindered the griever’s process.
If you’ve felt like people are surprised that you are still dealing with the loss of a loved one (or a job or a marriage, etc), know that there is nothing wrong. Anyone that experiences loss can identify with these stages but it is not a set process. In fact, we may never see the end of our grief. Years later, something could trigger our emotions and we can experience the depths of our despair once again.
Do you find it difficult to make time to nurture yourself?
Is it hard to stop and feed your own soul?
As a healer and coach it has been a long journey to fill my own cup first so that I can better serve others. I currently have a thriving practice with clients that I love and a schedule that is more and more balanced and supportive to my wellbeing. There are many tools that I have used to get to this place, however one of the foundational pieces has been self-expression: finding my voice.
Did you know that voice is actually a key to self-care? Opening your voice helps you express yourself in general. It opens your creativity and gives you an outlet to channel your emotions. It helps you speak your truth and get clear on your needs and boundaries. This helps you to listen to yourself as well as communicate better with others.
I used to find it difficult to reach out for help. My “go to” mode was to figure out a way to do everything myself. Does this sound familiar? I was embarrassed to bother or burden someone else with my needs. The problem was I was struggling with chronic fatigue.
In 2014 I hit a low point. I went through a phase of insomnia that went on and on. Still I continued working with clients. My eyelids were drooping and I was having trouble speaking clearly. I could no longer go on so I wrote a letter to a trusted mentor. She sent me to a life coach. Through coaching I began to stand in my inherent value and unique life direction. I built back my energy and began to make some necessary changes. I learned that I needed to empower my clients more rather than just healing them and this started with empowering myself. By using my voice I no longer feel alone with the weight of giving.
I know I have support when I need it and my voice is a huge part of this support!
Caregivers, please join me for a special workshop on Thursday November 17th at 10:30 AM called Find Your Voice and Care For You. In this workshop you will learn how to unlock your centre of creativity and self-expression. Explore the healing power of sound and silence and learn how to sustain your positive energy levels so you’re a more effective caregiver. It’s going to be fun and inspiring! Here is the link for more information: http://www.nscr.bc.ca/information/caregiver-events.html
“If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, then I will be incapable of drinking the tea joyfully.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
You don’t need a meditation room; you don’t need aromatherapy oils; you don’t need a mindfulness guru (though these would be nice!). Mindfulness can be practiced while doing your household chores.
Whether you like housework or if you hate it or if you overwhelmed by housework or if you’ve been keeping on top of it, household chores can bring us to the present moment.
Here are 10 ways to approach housework more mindfully:
- Deflect any thoughts that judge the activity as good or bad.
- Focus on your breath: the deep inhale and the slow exhale.
- Redirect your thoughts back to the task once you notice your mind wandering.
- Slow down the activity (despite the urge to get it done.)
- Notice the details of the task at hand: Look at the weave of your blouse; See the line of dust change as you wipe a surface.
- Mindfully declutter your spaces of things. (A caregiver recommended Marie Kondo‘s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up! )
- Delay your morning to make your bed.
- Appreciate what you hold in your hands, your home, and the effect of your work.
- Make dishes a sensory experience through scented soap and hot water.
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products for a more mindful footprint.
Did this pique your interest? Read our related post: Single Tasking the To-Do List.
Enjoy your housework!
On Remembrance Day, it is important to recognize the experiences of your veteran carepartner. Veterans may be needing care, due to aging, illness, injury, or other causes, related or unrelated to their time serving their country.
Unfortunately, the scars of war and conflict can last much longer than any physical injury. Recently I read about survivors of the Second World War and only some veterans were compelled to share their experiences as a way of deterring future generations from war. Other veterans were more guarded, unsure if they would become overwhelmed by feelings, or scared they would re-experience long-buried trauma.
I remember talking to my grandmother as she was experiencing symptoms of dementia and she was worried that the boys would be sent to war. She was coming of age in Saskatchewan during the second world war. When her friends and classmates enlisted, it signalled the end of a happy prairie childhood. After the war, she married my grandfather, a veteran who experienced symptoms of PTSD which lasted the entirety of his life. The reality is that the traumatic experience of war is one that stays with a person for their lifetime.
To honour your veteran carepartner’s experience, you can:
- Listen to your carepartner’s stories.
- Gently ask questions about their experience.
- Pull out the photographs of your carepartner in uniform.
- Spend a moment in silence, no matter where you are.
- Support The Royal Canadian Legion and wear a poppy by your heart.
- Recite John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields.
- Attend a local Remembrance Day ceremony.
For information on Remembrance Day events on the North Shore, click here or here.
“When you become aware of silence, immediately there is that state of inner still alertness. You are present. You have stepped out of thousands of years of collective human conditioning.”
Sometimes when we notice the silence, we look for sound: we play soft background music; or we tune in to the voices of the radio; or we blare the television even if we aren’t watching.
Sometimes when we are faced with silence, it reminds us that we are alone and we call a friend or family member. We want to hear a voice – any voice – to fill that space.
Why is that? I was inspired recently by composer John Cage’s work 4’33 (You can watch a performance of this piece here). In it, Cage explores silence and for a whole 4 minutes and 33 seconds he sits in silence despite the presence of musical instruments. It seems that silence is also an act to be performed.
For this mindfulness exercise, I invite you to embrace silence. Sit comfortably and listen to the true sounds of silence: the hum of the refrigerator, the beep of a truck backing down your street, the sound of rain hitting your windows.
What feelings does silence arise in you?
What urges do you have to fill or disrupt the silence?
What thoughts arose in the silence?
Enjoy the moment of peace and quiet.