While interviewing some of the most intelligent and humble holistic health experts on Zaya's event/podcast series, Beyond Modern Medicine, I've been able to partake in some of the most memorable conversations of my life. Since the launch of the series in June 2020, we've been able to educate and share expert perspectives on healing holistically with over 900 people around the world! Conversations like these are a reminder of how relevant and important these conversations are for the field of health care and how we must continue to push the envelope and deconstruct the root cause of our illnesses (both mental and/or physical).
We've had quite a few words of advice regarding the practice of self-care during the series. So, I figured why not write a blog post about them! Here are 5 self-care tips recommended by some of our guests on Beyond Modern Medicine.
1. Create a dialogue with your body
If you're experiencing a health issue or hoping to find an answer on something, you can practice writing to your body or intuition to find clarity or a resolution to your problem.
Write out your question on a piece of paper. You can sit in silence or be in a meditative state while you do this.
Listen for what you hear (or see) and then write it down. If you have digestive issues, write to your stomach and ask it why it's been bloated, or why you've had indigestion. Katie says, "There's no right or wrong way to do it. Write whatever you hear and whatever you feel. What tends to trip people up when doing this is overthinking or not trusting that their intuition is actually talking to them, thinking it's not real if they don't have a mystical experience, or thinking they're making up something they want to hear. People tend to lose sight and loose trust in whatever messages comes to them through this exercise. And so what I advise is whatever you get, go with. Do it for as long as you need to."
The process of writing becomes a mindfulness meditation as it helps to cut down a lot of our mental chatter - which is excellent for anxiety.
2. Paint your emotions
Paint what you feel without analyzing, planning or judging what you're creating. This is a great way to process your emotions without the intensity you can sometimes feel when you journal. Watercoloring is a great medium to work because they don't require expensive equipment or supplies to get started, and its always an easy cleanup.
3. Build a space where you can feel safe
Spiritual practices like mindful breathing, meditation or burning incense can get us from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state- to go from a flight or fight state to a rest and digest state. Many of us have digestive issues (IBS/IBD, Crohn's, etc.) or fertility issues when stressed because we're essentially telling our body (either from an external factor or internal imagination) that it's vulnerable to attack. This can cause the body not to feel safe enough to eat or to have a baby. All of this is due to living in stress and living in a sympathetic state. By creating a safe space where we feel supported mentally, emotionally, and physically, we can avoid being in sympathetic dominance. Start by building a small space in your home or finding a special spot in nature that you can always return to in order for you to feel safe and at rest.
4. Create more body awareness
When we make decisions, they're often pretty body-based, even if we don't realize it. Take eating as an example. We usually eat on the run, or we eat with other people, so we're not fully paying attention to when we are full. Aviva advises us to create a practice of sitting with our food and paying attention before and while we eat. Ask yourself, "Am I hungry now? Am I ready to eat? If so, how do I know that? If I'm full, how do I sense that my body is telling me that I'm full? This practice can guide you towards developing more body awareness practices to help you make decisions that are in line with what your body truly wants and needs - from picking out what to wear for the day to knowing whether you should hire that potential employee.
After you've experienced deep and intense processing, like going to therapy, taking psychedelic medicine, or even hearing bad news, take a nourishing day or two so that your system knows that it can decompress and feel safe before going back into the world.