Week 2 of the self care journey was this week. I began this week in good form, I was still on a high from the sound healing, though it was my first full week back at work. It was also going to end with Daddy’s month’s mind mass which I wasn’t really looking forward to.
I continued with the box breathing and picking my oracle card every morning. My daily cards were all centred around new beginnings this week. I also reintroduced some EFT into the routine – but more about that next week. By Wednesday I was exhausted so I decided to spend an extra half hour in bed on Thurs and Fri morning. Sometimes self-care requires you to listen to your body!
I also continued to take my flower essences four times a day. Flower essences provide very gentle support for all situations. They work with the energy and vibrations of the body. Flowers and plants have very healing vibrations. I make up treatment bottles which contain drops of a few different essences.
Usually I choose my essences based on intuition but for this bottle I felt I needed more focused help. I was drawn to very Irish essences – my celtic roots were very active. I used some essences from 2 Irish producers. 2 of the essences I used were Lilac Double Tulip from Nature’s Essence Alchemy and Snowdrop from Clare Troy. Both essences help with the release of grief and I felt things coming up gently that I could release. I feel ready for a different selection of essences this week.
This week I had my oracle cards done. As we are starting a new month, I like to get some guidance for the month ahead. I had an amazing session. I get my cards done by someone else because, although I choose a card every day for guidance, I love getting someone else to read for me. It is such an uplifting, positive experience it really sets me up for the month. I went for a general reading so I didn’t ask a specific question, I let the reading go in whatever direction was right. It very much left me feeling more positive and ready to take on February.
I had some family and friends time at the end of the week which left me feeling very supported. At the end of the week I felt a lot lighter. I feel I am ready to really start moving forward with some new ideas. I am more positive and more focused. I need to work at staying in this mindset.
As 2023 began, my life was turned upside down. My daddy died on Jan 3rd. Any huge life event can bring with it a time of reflection and of taking stock. For me, January was very much that time.
Out of my reflecting came many, many things. I really took a good look at my life and where I want it to go from here. I am someone who can drift along at times without really thinking whether I am living the life I want. Over the last month I have begun to ask myself that question.
One of the things that came up was the new direction I want to bring into my life. Anyone who knew my Dad knows he was happiest when he was helping others. He lived a life of service. That is something I want to bring more of into my life in my own way.
I also decided that if I am providing therapies that I know can help everyone in their every day life, I need to be using them all myself regularly. At the minute, I do have a daily routine that includes oracle cards, breathwork, EFT, flower remedies, mindfulness, oils and crystals. However to really access the true power of all of these things it is better to work with someone else.
This year, I am going to document my journey through self healing and creating the life I want.
My starting point for this journey is how I feel now as we are almost at the end of January. This week I feel heavy, I feel dark and I feel quite stuck. i am still processing all that has happened. I read things and then feel guilty because I don't feel as the books say I should. I don't know how to feel most of the time!
This week, as I begin this journey, I’m going to talk about my daily breathwork. I have been using box breathing every morning for the last while. To begin with I have found guided sessions – I use Insight Timer and YouTube for these. They keep me focused on days when I struggle. Box breathing is very calming and brings me into the moment. I want to work with developing longer breath holds as I continue. I started with 10 minute sessions but moved to 15 minutes. Next week I am going to try 30 minute sessions. Staying awake was a struggle early in the week but as my focus improved I seemed to manage better. I really feel my day is more calm overall when I start with box breathing.
This week my external session was Reiki and sound healing. Reiki is always very relaxing and it was no different this time. It took me a wee while to let go of the chatter in my brain. I was very much in my head. However, in spite of myself, I did let go of the chatter and the relaxation crept up. I really could feel the energy moving in my body so the reiki was very effective.
However, the sound healing was on a different level. I was afraid it would be too intense and I would end up overwhelmed but it really wasn’t. I could feel the vibrations in my body. I could feel the sound through me. The tinkling bells were magical and took me to a different place. At one stage I felt I had let go and was floating.
I felt a lot of letting go in the whole session which I needed. I think to get the full benefit of the sound I need to have it regularly so I’m booked for the end of Feb again. I am really excited to see where it takes me.
After this week I feel lighter. I feel more motivated and focused. I certainly feel I did some letting go this week which I needed. I haven’t been motivated in a while and I’m relieved to feel it coming back. I can see a brighter time coming just like the spring is following the winter.
In my next post I will update you on my flower remedies this month and my next external session. If you want any more information about anything you've read here, message me.
It’s a word that seems to be appearing more and more but what exactly is breathwork and why would anyone want to take part in a breathwork session or a breathwork course?
Our breath is the most important thing we have. We can survive a few weeks without food and 3 days without water. Although the longest breathhold is 24 minutes, the reality is that after 4 minutes without oxygen we start doing real damage to our bodies and after another 4-6 minutes we will be dead.
Breathing is a bodily function that will happen whether we think about it or not but we can also control our breathing. Breathing is closely connected to our nervous system, both sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system carries signals that put our bodies’ systems on alert and the parasympathetic carries signals to relax those systems - the fight or flight response v the freeze response. Taking control of our breath is a way to take control of our lives.
Breathwork is a term that includes many many things. Becoming aware of the breath is a simple first step in any breathwork journey. Being aware of our breath can then allow us to regulate the breath, to use it to control our emotional responses, to change it if we need to for our health and to release things that hold us back.
When we become aware of our breath, we can identify what happens when we experience different emotions. We can use this information to change our responses.
Much research has been done on the connection between how we breathe and our overall general health. In James Nestor’s book he describes, in detail, the effects of mouth breathing on our health. How we breathe also affects our overall fitness. People have used this knowledge to improve their fitness and their overall achievement in sport.
Doing deep breathing practices can help us deal with deep seated emotions. Practices like conscious connected breathing move a lot of energy in our bodies and can help us deal with very strong emotions like grief, sadness or anger. It can also connect us with our deepest selves making things clearer on our paths.
Developing a short daily practice and a longer practice, sometimes in a group and sometimes one to one, once a week has made a huge difference to my own life. Using my breath, I can regulate my emotions. By just focusing on the breath I can respond to situations instead of reacting. Practicing different types of breathing has allowed me to take charge of how I feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Taking charge of my own mental and physical health allows me to control how I react to the events any given day. My days are no longer controlled by people I meet and events that happen during the day. I’m now living my life and not allowing life to just happen to me and it is all rooted in the breath.
My practice includes a 15 or 20 minute breathwork every morning when I practice all different breathing techniques. I choose one and spend a week or two working on it before I change to a new technique. My longer session is usually conscious connected breathing.
If you want more information about any of the techniques or if you want to experience any of the techniques, please message me.
Mindfulness meditation helps you be in the present moment. Instead of focusing on anxious or depressive thoughts, mindfulness erases these. Your focus can then be on the present moment. In the present, you have no anxiety or depression. Depressive thoughts come from thinking about the past. Anxious thoughts come from thinking about the future. Being in the present moment is where your mind can relax and only focus on what is in front of you now.
Benefits of Mindfulness on Depression and Anxiety
Mindfulness has many benefits. It helps you to stop the cycle of depressive or anxious thoughts your mind may be playing out. By focusing on the moment, you can overcome challenges easier. You can also deal with problems head-on from a relaxed state of being. By relaxing while addressing problems, you won't make rash or uneducated decisions. You can choose to take your time before making any decisions.
Two studies conducted show the benefits of mindfulness on depression and anxiety. In the first study, participants measured anxiety with a self-report instrument. It consisted of the severity of the fear. Participants would write down the number of times the participant felt anxious daily. Also, they would write down their thoughts about their nervousness. Participants received an intervention. It consisted of three-minute mindfulness twice a week.
In the second study, they used a standard measure of psychological well-being. It included the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). These measured participants' anxiety. Results indicated that participants who received mindfulness meditation benefited more. Those who participated in the intervention benefitted more than those who did not.
In the second study, score changes using the BDI calculated the effects of mindfulness meditation on anxiety. The study examined the effect of a three-week mindfulness meditation intervention. At the end of the intervention, showed improvement in BDI scores, as compared to the control group. Moreover, they also showed a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiousness.
Participants also reported changes in depressive symptoms. The mindfulness intervention showed a significant improvement in these symptoms.
One of the most useful mindfulness meditations is to notice how you are feeling. Also, what you are thinking, and awareness of your breathing. This meditation helps you slow down and focus on the here and now.
- Shut off any distractions (mobile phone, outside noises)
- Take a moment to breathe in and out for three breaths
- Notice the thoughts in your mind right now. What are you thinking about? What enters your mind without thinking about it? Write this down.
- Ask yourself: How am I feeling right now? Try to find a feeling. If you aren't sure, or can't identify the feeling, use the Feeling Wheel to identify your feeling.
- Notice your breath and how you are breathing. Is your breathing shallow? Are you breathing heavy? Try to slow down your breathing by taking three deep mindful breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale.
- Ask yourself again: How am I feeling right now?
- Notice the thoughts in your mind again now after you've relaxed your breathing.
You’re probably familiar with the smells of lavender, chamomile, and peppermint or maybe the scents of rose, jasmine, eucalyptus, and lemon. What you may not know is that these essential oils can have many valuable properties. Essential oils are all-natural and are derived directly from plants. They can be a great non-processed alternative to traditional medicine for alleviating headaches, anxiety, digestive issues, and even skin problems. This article explains each of the above oils, their effects, and their applications to give you an overview and introduction to the best essential oils for beginners.
Lavender oil can have many different applications and is, therefore, one of the most versatile essential oils on this list. It has calming, antiseptic, wound-healing, pain-relieving, and circulation-enhancing properties. It’s most commonly used for headaches but can also help with anxiety, menstrual cramps, allergies, or insomnia.
Ways to Use Lavender Oil
You can rub a few drops on your forehead and temples to help with migraines or apply it to other parts of your skin. Lavender oil is also said to help with insect bites and can be used to moisturise dry skin. These are just a few of the benefits of lavender.
Chamomile oil is another very popular essential oil with several different uses. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is said to promote wound healing. Chamomile oil is also antibacterial and may help with infections. Plus, it can help with muscle spasms or cramps.
Ways to Use Chamomile Oil
Inhaling chamomile oil through a steam bath may help with respiratory issues and colds. Just add five drops to a bowl of steaming water and inhale the calming steam while always being careful not to burn yourself.
Chamomile can also be applied as a warm or cold compress to help with muscle inflammation, cystitis, and even acne. Just soak a clean cloth or towel in a bowl of water with a few drops of chamomile oil and apply it to your skin.
Similar to chamomile oil, peppermint oil has a wide variety of uses. It can help with muscle pain and itching. Peppermint oil also produces a cooling effect which may relieve headaches as well as muscle cramps.
Ways to Use Peppermint Oil
Take one tablespoon of skin-safe oil (e.g., olive oil) as a base and mix it with two to three drops of peppermint oil. The oil mixture can then be spread on the forehead and temples or lightly massaged into the area of a cramp. After application, always make sure to wash your hands so that no residue can get into your eyes or other sensitive areas which might cause irritation.
Rose oil is commonly used in cosmetics but can also have other benefits. It has cell renewing as well as moisturising properties and is suitable for all skin types. Furthermore, rose oil promotes blood circulation and also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Ways to Use Rose Oil
You can massage the oil in small amounts (2-3 drops) directly into your skin without having to dilute it first. Always remember to patch-test before you attempt this. For gum inflammation or throat pain, you can mix two to three drops of rose oil with a glass of water and gargle the mixture. Don’t swallow it, though.
Like rose oil, jasmine oil is also widely used in cosmetics and has many benefits and uses. Jasmine oil is an antiseptic and antidepressant. In addition, it's an antispasmodic and even an aphrodisiac. The smell of jasmine oil is said to help with insomnia and sleep problems.
Ways to Use Jasmine Oil
You can apply a few drops to your skin or hair to moisturise and create a protective barrier. Jasmine oil can also be excellent as a massage oil, but make sure to dilute it first. For a better night's sleep, sprinkle a few drops of it on your pillow, or add the oil to a diffuser before you go to bed.
Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in medication used to alleviate cold symptoms. With its anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus essential oil can help with respiratory problems. Got a pesky cough and mucus build-up in the chest? Eucalyptus oil may help! It may also help with sinusitis and asthma symptoms. Plus, it's great for use outdoors to keep the bugs away!
Ways to Use Eucalyptus Oil
It's most effective when inhaled through a steam bath. Only three drops in a bowl of hot water are enough as the oil is highly concentrated. Another method is to put a few drops on a tissue, hold it in front of your nose and inhale deeply. Doing this can help with coughing or a blocked nose. At night rub a few drops on your chest for a more peaceful sleep.
Lemon oil is extracted from lemon peel and is another highly versatile essential oil. It strengthens the immune system and can kill bacteria and viruses. You can also use it in cleaning products or as a substitute for bug spray. In addition, lemon oil has mood-boosting properties that can help with stress and anxiety.
Ways to Use Lemon Oil
For bug problems, simply add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a candle to keep mosquitoes away during the summer. To help with stress, you can diffuse it or apply it directly to the skin. Just make sure to dilute it first with another skin-safe oil.
Essential Oil Diffusers
You can buy essential oil diffusers online or in larger department stores. There are very affordable options for around €10, although a high-quality diffuser may cost upwards of €50 or more. To use it, add 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to your diffuser and enjoy as calming scents fill your house. Don't forget to clean it every once in a while. Also look for a diffuser with an automatic shut-off feature if you plan on leaving it on overnight.
Which essential oil will you be trying first?
This overview of the top 7 essential oils for beginners briefly introduces the most commonly used essential oils. I hope you found it helpful! Remember, before applying oils to your skin or inhaling them, always do your research. Also, read the packaging insert carefully, as concentrations of the oils may vary between suppliers.
Not all oils are suitable for consumption, so only ingest essential oils if explicitly recommended by medical professionals. To avoid allergic reactions, you should consult your doctor before you begin using essential oils.
Buying oils from somewhere you trust is very important. I only use Young Living oils. With Young Living you can visit the farms and watch as the oils are extracted from the plants. For more information about Young Living or to get any of the oils, contact me.