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Spring Renewal for the Self

  Most of us are well acquainted with the term “spring cleaning”.  It brings to mind an array of  chores. Although  I’m definitely a minimalist who likes a clean (fine, near sterile) living space,  I firmly believe  inanimate objects play second string to personal  care. In other words,  we as human beings, should come before the dirty dishes! We all know folks who take better care of their stuff, then they do of their most precious belonging, themselves!

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   Spring renewal for the self is essentially a yearly  detox of what doesn’t serve our well-being. Well be working from our innermost selves outward. I encourage you to approach  these challenges at your own pace. These are not easy, but  I think anyone who is able to look at themselves this honestly and intensely and make changes, is a total warrior  goddess (did you also just picture yourself dressed  in goddess attire?). We’ll, be working from the inside out. So when you’re ready, grab a journal and let’s go!

Thoughts and Feelings

   Our thoughts and feelings are the breeding ground for our speech and actions. Too often, I see trite quotes that advocate throwing every defense mechanism in the book at an upsetting feeling. This is the best way to ensure your wounds will not only  never heal, but continually  bleed out into your relationships with yourself and others. Isn’t that awful? Yet many live this way.  You’ve got to feel it to heal it!

Challenge:
When an upsetting or negative feeling comes up, observe it, sit with it, work with it!  All thoughts  feelings exist for a valid reason. This doesn’t mean the thought itself is true, only that it’s there to tell us something about our  experiences and beliefs, much of which are unconscious. At times these feelings are tough to navigate alone yet feel too personal to discuss with family and most of our friends. I believe this is why  many attempt to escape these feelings by  engaging in numbing behaviors (shopping, alcohol, pills, etc.).

   There still exists somewhat of a stigma in seeking help for matters of the heart. I can’t tell you how many times people in my life have told me in nervous and hushed tones, “I’m seeing a therapist.”  I was raised by a therapist so the idea of talking out one’s “stuff” with a neutral third party, be it a friend, coach, or therapist,  is very much second nature to me. Personally, I trade  life coaching sessions with a friend of mine who is also a coach. I also periodically check in with an analyst.

     Something I’ve learned in terms of finding the right support is seek out what works for your belief system and personality. Both life coaches and therapists vary greatly in their approaches and schools of thought.  Take time to thoroughly research and ask questions.

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Words

   Were moving on to speech, and I’m about to go Buddhist( Fun fact about me: I have taken my Buddhist Precepts). Are you engaging in  speech that is deceitful, abusive, or empty? How do you feel about abstaining from lying, gossiping, or meaningless chatter? If you’re like me, you don’t gossip, but you sure enjoy listening in! Well, folks, that is still participation.

Challenge:

The next time you’re about to speak check in with yourself:  What are my intentions? Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Does it improve the silence?

Actions

   Thoughts and speech give way to actions.  As you go through your day, do you have good intentions? Is your behavior that of a person you’d admire, a person you’d espect?

Challenge:

   Notice your habits and actions, are they reflective of self-love and respect? A great way to answer this question for yourself is to observe these habits and actions and ask yourself in the moment, “Would I (say, feed, do) this to someone I cared for? What can I do instead? There’s no need for an immediate overhaul. Choose one thing you’d like to add, subtract, or change.

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Dinner is Served

    How is your diet? Do you feel good about what you’re taking in?  Whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian, or paleo,  one thing we can all agree on is we need to consume more whole plant foods!Nourishing meals   can be  found here.

 

  Challenge: Feed yourself the way you would feed someone you love and cherish. Bring awareness to your intake of sugar and processed foods,  and add more colorful plants to your meals. An easy way to do this: when preparing a rice or pasta dish, cut back a bit on the grains and add more vegetables.

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Hear No Evil

   We have a responsibility to ourselves to be mindful of  the messages we’re welcoming. Take inventory of what you’re allowing into your mind, in the form of media, music, and other sources of entertainment, and make changes accordingly.  Much of today’s music and television carries detrimental  messages; this even spills over into children’s entertainment.

   I choose to avoid violent, hateful, and misogynistic media that encourages a degenerate lifestyle, or anything that advocates things in opposition to my values.

Challenge:My recommendation is to first  add in some good selections, and from there, phase out the tasteless entertainment. Begin with your interests and discover who inspires you. There are many artists, podcasts, films, and blogs to choose from. You’ll know what’s right for you based on your personal values.

That’s What Friends are For

  Connection is so important. With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, even for something simple like a walk in the park. To me, spring feels like a time to come out of hibernation and call, write, or commune with good friends.

  Challenge: Take inventory of your relationships. If there’s someone you love and miss, reach out! Conversely, if there’s someone in your life who drains  your energy, fails to respect your boundaries, uses you as a therapist  (story of my life!), is overly critical, or highly competitive with you,  this may be the time to back away gently and allow space for new beautiful relationships to blossom in place of those that  have become exhausting or unhealthy.

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Moving Along

   With bikini season right around the corner, many of us are realizing that we may have enjoyed too many nights on the couch with a pint of  peanut butter non dairy halo top. It seems we’re less active in the winter, hibernating in our own way. Even for those of us who have maintained an exercise regimen, something about the sun and the fresh air can motivate us to increase our activity level. Exercise benefits mind,body, and spirit.  While the options are vast, finding what suits us may be a process. My favorite forms of exercise are dance, walking in nature, and yoga. I usually open my day with various yoga asanas.

Challenge:

   Find a form of exercise you enjoy, and work it into your life most days of the week. You’re much more likely to maintain an exercise habit if it’s not punitive. Exercise should be challenging but also pleasurable.

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Spring Skin

  I don’t know about you, but when I thing of spring cleaning my complexion the first thing that comes to mind is exfoliation! Exfoliation involves the removal of dead skin cells by physical or chemical means. This helps bring fresh skin to the surface. This isn’t so much a challenge as it is a spa indulgence, but in the interest of uniformity…

   Challenge:     We’re going to exfoliate face and body. You’ll  need a few things: A body brush, a lemon, sugar,an exfoliating facial scrub or Eminence Sour Cherry Masque.   With the body brush you’re going to brush dry skin with  centripetal strokes  (towards the heart). Be gentle, avoiding delicate areas. Take the lemon, cut it in half and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over each half. Use the sugared lemon on knees,elbows, and, the bottoms of your feet. This is best done in the shower before turning on the water.   Shower, then seal in moisture by applying your favorite body cream to shower damp skin.

   For the face, we’re going to exfoliate clean skin. You may use a scrub or masque. Even though I’m a DIY beauty lover, I decided to indulge with my favorite exfoliating masque, Eminence Sour Cherry Masque. Be sure to moisturize after exfoliating.

  I hope my spring renewal challenge leaves you feeling like a new and enhanced version of yourself. Feel free to ask questions and share your experience.

                                            -Serene 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional;  my writing is based on my personal knowledge and experiences helping myself and others. Your choice to particpate,  is solely at your own discretion.

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