I have never been one to celebrate Valentines Day, except maybe as a teenager when I received the odd card from an admirer or as a prank, who could tell back in those days anyhow. I also prefer to see flowers thriving in the earth, and have never been a fan of receiving flowers that are basically dying a slow death.
I could go on more about flowers (especially the flora industry), but, I don't wish to upset anyone. I personally, prefer to walk in nature and see them as they are meant to be.
In some ways I guess it is nice to have a day dedicated to love, if it was all about doing something extra special for your loved ones that yeah, go for it. But the amount of waste that is produced, the marketing, the pressure to buy, well that just ruins it for me.
Everyday should be dedicated to love in my eyes, showing your appreciation to those that mean the most to you. Showing love and kindness to those who enter your life. Even just taking the time to smile when you walk pass people, saying hello and acknowledging. Letting our inner love shine out through us. That is what we should be focusing on.
But in reality life is challenging and our light dwindles at times and that is okay. We first have to love ourselves before we let our love flow to others.
I have written a lot about self love, self acceptance, self care. I write it in the hope of inspiring others, but also I write it to inspire myself. I need those reminders just as much as anybody else.
To slow down and be gentle with myself, to give myself the time I need in order to heal. Everything I write is as much for me as it is for others.
I have been feeling run down a lot lately. Life has been challenging for me for a while now. So I have spend some time reflecting on my own self care, on the time and effort I put in for myself. I have been diligently caring for my sick dog and I have wondered why is it that so many of us, so readily jump to care for others and not ourselves. I am just as important, my needs, my well being is just as important.
Deep down I do know, we all do it is all those years of conditioning ourselves to always push forward no matter what. To put others first so that we are not seen as being selfish. <on top of that is this feeling that has followed me around for far too long now, that whisper in the back of my head that tells me that I am not worthy. Stemming from the neglect I experienced as a child. It all adds up and it is oh so difficult to shake off.
I have always struggled with putting myself first, in ever possible way. From always boarding a bus last so as not to take a sit from anyone else, to letting my own needs go unchecked until they slap me in the face.
But I have been working on it,having children has been my greatest motivation, as I don't want them to copy me, but along the way I have discovered how I am now doing it as much for me as I am for them. Finally!
So what does self care look like to me?
Well for one, I make myself a kick ass Green smoothie every morning. It is jammed packed with such wonderful goodness that it sets me up for most of the day. So what is in it?
organic apples - from the local market
organic banana's - from the local market
My seed mix - I blend hemp, linseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed
and sesame seeds.
I know that when my I am feeling stressed that my body needs something extra and I have been getting that from the Spirulina and Ashwagandha.
Spirulina is an dark blue-green alga and it is packed with nutrients. There have been claims that it is the single most nutritious food on the earth. As a vegan, it is important for me to know about nutrition, (actually hold on there it is important for everyone to know about nutrition). Spirulina is something that I have taken regularly over the last 11 years, because in those 11 years, I have been either pregnant or breast feeding,so the demand on my body has been huge.
I have struggled at times to keep up with that, but using Spirulina or wheatgrass has always supported me well.
But the last year it was not enough and that was when I turned to Adaptogens. I have written about the before, because I am convinced that the only reason I managed to hold it all together was because of them.
Adaptogens help to regulate lots of differnet kinds of stressors,on top of that, they adapt both to the stressor, and also to the person taking them. In the past I took a mushroom blend which I found extremely beneficial. It was one I had gotten in Ireland and since returning to Spain I have been unable to get it again. So I decided to try Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is unique among adaptogens in that it has a nerve tonic effect, helping to increase your tolerance to stress that goes beyond what other adaptogens do. So it not only helps minimize excessive cortisol output from stress, it helps you perceive events as less stressful!
I have certainly found it very helpful and it has also given me a lovely boost of energy first thing in the morning, which has helped me no end in planning the rest of my day. I am generally, not one who would let things overwhelm me, but over these last 2 years I have been feeling quite overwhelmed at times.
But since I started taking Ashwagandha, those feelings have started to subside and I have been managing my days a lot better, becoming far more productive. But not pushing myself either.
I have also been listening to my body and when I need to take some time out, I do. Not pressuring myself to get everything done. Self care is all about listening to yourself, respecting yourself and treating your whole self. So I start the day by feeding my whole being with the food and nutrients that it needs in order to thrive, whilst also creating the balance that I need, in order to nurture myself.
It is an never ending Journey, as my needs are always changing. But I have taken responsibility for my own well being, by continuing to educate myself and by tuning into what my body really needs.
This is my entry into the latest Naturalmedicne challenge.