‘the only way out is in and through’

So we’re well into 2012 now. I’ve spent the first few weeks of 2012 setting some things into place that will be the stabilising ‘poles’ of my tent this year… holding things together a little better when the winds blow.

A little background: I finished 2011 with my digestive, nervous and immune systems a bit messed up. I’m working with an amazing naturopath/holistic doctor who is like my own personal jesus (big shout out to Phoebe) who has helped me incredibly.

I’m on a multitude of herbs and roots and supplements to support and aid my systems in a number of areas. I’ve also been given specific foods I need to eat, and various other things I need to do. All very good.

Alongside all of this, I have a list of things that I am doing, which, while they are specific for me right now, will be helpful for anyone who is just ‘not feeling great’.

And I think that if we were doing these
healing, supportive and kind things for ourselves all the time,
maybe we wouldn’t be doing so much of the crashing and burning.

So, at the top end of the new year, here’s some helpful, restful, kind and healing things that hopefully some spark an interest for you, and help you care for yourself as well.

1. sleep

It’s crucial! 8 hours and all that jazz… but not just any old 8 hours, we need to sleep during specific hours for our body to rejuvenate correctly. Your organs catch up on themselves between 10pm – 2am, so make sure you’re in bed by 10, so that you give your organs maximum time to replenish. Your brain will then finish things off by rejuvenating itself between 2 – 6am.

And on this topic – get offline by 8/9pm – or if you’re really brave, get offline from sunset if possible. It’s hard, but it’s sooo good. Rather have a bath, or read a book, or chat to a friend on the couch over a cup of tea…

2. diaphragm breathing

All of the body’s vital functions (sleep, digestion, immunity, detoxification, metabolism) work better when the mind and body are relaxed, and stress is well managed. Diaphragm breathing is one of the most powerful ways to decrease stress and increase energy. By using the diaphragm to breathe, a person’s physiology can be dramatically changed, literally activating the relaxation centres in the brain.

Tips from Phoebe: Practice abdominal breathing when you go to bed – try to get up to 50 breaths, or more. Imagine letting go of your thoughts with each ‘out’ breath.

If you don’t know what diaphragm breathing is, here’s a little rundown:

  • find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down
  • place your feet slightly apart. Place one hand on your abdomen just below the navel, and the other hand on the chest
  • inhale and exhale through your nose if possible
  • concentrate on your breathing. Notice which hand is rising and falling with each breath
  • gently exhale most of the air in your lungs
  • inhale while slowly counting to four. As you inhale, slightly extend your abdomen, causing it to rise a little. Make sure that you are not moving you chest or your shoulders
  • as you breathe in, imagine the warmed air flowing in. Imagine this warmth flowing to all parts of your body
  • pause for one second, then slowly exhale, your abdomen should move in
  • as the air flows out, imagine all your tension and stress leaving your body.

3. journalling

I’ve journalled for years, but am just rediscovering how great it is as a way to emotionally detoxify – to rant, create, reflect… Making time for daily journalling can be a very healing ritual. With practice, journaling can be used in a stream-of-consciousness way, giving you access to your subconscious and providing you deep insights.

I recently found a very interesting journaling exercise:

  • ask a question writing with your dominant hand and changing to your less-used hand to write the answer.

4. meditation

I’ve blogged about meditation before. You can catch up here. My favourite way to meditate is to be out in nature, preferably near water, and meditate in the sun for twenty minutes or so. Fresh perspective changes everything.

Meditating calms me. It stills me. It makes me stop. Like really stop. And when I really stop, then I can start up again with my head in the right space for my day to flow. It ‘declutters’ me. Me-of-the-analytical-mind always has fifty thousand things running through my head, and meditating breaks that down and shuts everything out. THAT is a daily salvation for me.

5. bare feet on earth twice daily

This sounds so simple, but it’s pretty tricky in today’s world. For most of us, our surroundings are paved, concreted, marbled. The earth is all covered up…

The simple act of bare feet touching the earth almost becomes a ‘sacred’ act, as being in a natural environment is not only relaxing and pleasant, but also necessary for us to truly be healthy. Being in nature is also very healing.

Connecting with these subtle sensory experiences allows us to be in our body, to take pleasure in being alive, and to allow thoughts, worries and obligations to dissolve to the periphery of the present moment. Energetically, touching the earth with our feet instantly benefits us by dissolving positive ions and increases exposure to negative ions, providing emotionally uplifting and physical healing effects.

6. napping

Napping in the afternoons is a great habit for those with low energy. I am napping daily sometime between 3 – 5pm, as this is ‘kidney time’ (meaning kidneys and adrenals) so it is at this time that people with weakness in this area feel symptoms strongly. It is a habit that is greatly rejuvenative and can also help teach us to ‘let go’. Even just twenty minutes will make a difference.

7. steams or sauna

Heat therapies are a way to create an artificial fever – they simulate white cells and boost immune function. The one I go to is an infra-red sauna, specifically recommended, but any one will do!

And for more info on the amazingness of infra-red saunas, read Sarah Wilson’s recent post here.

8. oat and lavender bath

About once or twice a week, have a oat and lavender bath. Oats are a nervous system tonic – they are soothing and relaxing. Fill an old stocking with rolled oats and some lavender flowers.

Bring candles, a notepad, play music – bring anything into the bathroom that makes you feel cosy. Try to stay in the (hot) bath for an hour.

9. cultivate joy and optimism

Sometimes this is as simple as choosing it. I know, it sounds so cheesy, but it’s also true. A ‘gratitude diary’ is also really good. It helps to note down things that make me feel happy, joyful, blessed…

I’ve also written a list of what to do when things feel crappy – also known as the ‘what to do when everything sucks’ list. Writing this down when you are in a happy space is useful, then you can refer to it later when you are feeling stuck. The list could include: going outside, go for a swim, call a particular friend… things that make you happy rather than crappy.

10. releasing ceremony

You might think this is a little woo-woo, but the intention is fabulous regardless of how you outwork it. It’s all about releasing ‘stuff’ from your life in order to move forward into wholeness. Check it out.
You can also make your own releasing kit here.

Hopefully some of these help some of you. x

“Be brave and continue the journey – the only way out is in and through” 

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9 thoughts on “‘the only way out is in and through’

  1. Lovely post, Jo, with some inspiring and intriguing tips. I haven’t tried the oat and lavender bath, but it sounds heavenly. Here’s to a relaxing and rejuvenating 2012 🙂

  2. I LOVE this Jo – so many great tips in one post. My favourite is bare feet on the earth. Often after my morning run I take my shoes off & do short barefoot sprints on a grassy oval. It feels amazing – flying along & really feeling the ground underneath you. Helps me to really start the day with a spring in my step & a smile in my heart. Thanks for another great post xx

  3. meditation and journaling help me a lot. I get pretty stressed out sometimes, and just welling it all up inside just eats me. It’s so wonderful to be able to outlet my emotions and stressors in a productive fashion.

    Your goals seem great, good luck to you!

    -Alexandra

  4. This is a fantastic post, Jo, and a good kick up the proverbial butt to start looking after myself and focusing on myself a bit this year. I’m going to try to do at least 2 of these each day (baby steps) working up to daily practise of them all. thank you!

  5. Hi Jo I am very interested in the organs and sleep. What time does the bowel heal through sleep? Do you know?

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