3 Simple Steps to Basic Self Care
Our bodies are intelligent mechanisms made up of systems that are in constant communication with one another. When something is out of place or in discordance with the Whole, the body sends signals. Treat these as cues, for example, a sudden shooting pain or flash of overheating. In that moment, stop what you are doing and assess what you can do for yourself. (If you like to use word games to remember: PAIN = Pain Attention Inside Now)
Here are some things to try:
1) Lie Down. Allow your spine to stretch out.
Most of us start to feel a shooting pain due to some form of misalignment in the spine. Make yourself a comfortable place to lie – firm but soft – and support your neck lightly when necessary. Keep your knees bent and feet on the ground, making a 90 degree triangle with your legs to the floor. Allow your bones to drop. You can do it one by one or however you want. Your breath is the bridge to finding and replenishing your bones.
Focus in on the sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of the spine. Wait for it to find ease, get heavier, and settle into the ground. Be patient. When the sacrum is relaxed, nerves can travel freely, circulation in the legs increases and the lower back can adjust. This is great for alleviating shooting pains that cross the lower back and hips or travel down the legs, also for neuropathy of the feet, stomach aches, etc. (With more practice you can start to prevent these pains from becoming so sharp.)
If you need additional support, envision and feel yourself being held by the Earth. Make the connection and cultivate the feeling of trust, allowing yourself to feel safe and cared for, that everything is going to be okay. Physical symptoms are undoubtedly connected to mental and emotional states of being. You can be your own nurturer of good thoughts.
2) Open Your Arms Upward and Wide. (Do this 3 or 9 times.)
This is great for when you’re on the go, while walking or standing, or at work sitting.
As if you're doing a butterfly backstroke, lift your arms up and as they come down try to watch your hands in your peripheral vision; your left eye focuses on your left hand and your right eye on your right hand, like a horse looking forward while also staying alert to its surrounding within its 200 degree field of view.
When we do this, our neck automatically extends and lengthens.
Do this exercise following the natural movement and limit of your body's reach, don't overextend or exaggerate the motion. It should feel comfortable and pleasant. Bring in the rhythm of your breath to encourage the expansion in the spaces between each cervical vertebrae, your sternum and collar bones and even the bones of your cranium. Especially when you feel a headache coming on or a twinge in your neck, notice what you’re thinking about. Give yourself a break from it, if for only seconds. This exercise can help bring you mental ease and clarity.
If it's hard for you to stop thinking, connect to your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel? Find a way to be in the here-and-now for just a moment. If you want to take it further, you can use the moment to empower yourself with positive affirmations. Express to yourself how you want to feel. "I feel free. I feel good in my body. I can do anything!" Don't underestimate how the vibrations of your words impact your body and the power you hold to manifest good things for yourself.
Nourish the relationship between your mind and body. Become aware of how your thoughts affect how you feel in your body. A mind at ease is a body at rest.
Modern day scientific research continues to discover the unquestionable benefits of meditation on the physical state of the body. We are made up of measurable wave frequencies. Innate health is strongest when all of the body's systems, rhythms and vibrations are in harmony. Meditation promotes and reinforces the natural resonance of these frequencies in our body.
Many people think that meditation is about sitting and trying to think about nothing, which is vague and difficult. There are so many different ways in which one can meditate. You have to find what's right for you and it can change and will continuously evolve the more you practice.
Keep it simple. Find a way to feel good in your body. Feeling good changes the chemistry in your body and promotes healing. Think of your most recent happy memory or what gives you passion to be alive. Or if you want something different, connect to your heart and feel it radiate love in all directions. The vibration of love is actually one of the strongest medicines we have for ourselves.
Allow yourself to fully feel the physical sensation of feeling good in your body (whatever that means for you: warm, tingly, free, floating, sinking, etc). Amplify it and enjoy it. Let this become a resource for you. The more you cultivate this feeling and become familiar with it, the easier it is to access during a time of need. Healing happens when you feel good. You can be your own strongest medicine. Actually, you can find in yourself the exact Medicine that you need. Be creative. Dance. Sing. Do the things that make you laugh and bring you joy!
Paola Divito, CMT