Ten Ways to find ‘Me’ Time

Image from YouQueen

Image from YouQueen

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” 
Sarah DessenJust Listen

 

No matter how committed we are the love and care of others, no matter how much is on our plate, no matter if we are Kings or Queens of Leisure or have every last minute scheduled, we need to make sure we get some little windows of time completely for ourselves.

Time for ourselves is not some airy-fairy feel good concept. Time for ourselves is as necessary as breathing. It helps us to stay tuned into to who we are and what’s important to us. Time for ourselves recharges our batteries. It fills us with nurture and new ideas. It helps soothe and heal us.

Often it isn’t that we don’t have time, it’s that we’ve become a very low priority in our own lives.

Here are ten simple ways to claim some of your precious time just for you:

1. Take fifteen minutes at the beginning or end of a grocery shopping trip to have a cup of coffee and flick through a magazine at a cafe. I have girlfriends who have become speed shoppers, racing through their chores to get lovely long cafe time as their reward.

2. Sign up for a class one night a week. Not to give yourself yet one more thing to do, but to escape for a while and spend time on something you’d enjoy learning such as dancing, mosaic making, chainsaw ice-sculpture or Italian cooking.

3. Get up half an hour earlier. Spend that time journalling, meditating, or planning your day. Enjoy a cuppa, take a big breath and then let the day begin AFTER you’ve had some precious time to yourself.

4. Turn off the TV tonight. Sit down and write a story. Or a poem. Or a song. Stories fire up our imagination, help us heal the past, and let us dream the future. If you enjoy the process, come back and write some more one night each week.

5. Go for a walk. On your own. You could ramble around the neighbourhood, drive to a park or beach, or wander through the city. You can walk in the morning, evening or even in your lunch break. Breathe. Look. Listen. And feel how your whole soul begins to unwind…

6. Plan a weekend date with yourself. Give yourself a few hours alone to see that movie no-one else wants to see, to go to the Gallery, or to wander through the Farmers’ Markets or the Artisan shops you love.

7. Go to bed early with a book. Books are like magical carpets that take you to other places and times.

8. Clear a day in your diary and choose your own adventure. Let the chores go for one day, get someone to mind the kids, do a little extra study each night so that one entire day stretches before you like some precious empty beach. Now, do whatever you want. Sleep all day? Fine. Catch up with old friends? Perfect. Sort out your record collection and then visit a craft show? Superb. A morning surf, good breakfast with the weekend papers and then the rest of the day working on your current restoration project? Soul Magic!

9. Start or recommence a craft or project. Maybe you loved embroidery as a child. Or scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve been thinking about putting a vegetable garden in the back yard, or researching the family tree. Take some time to put your materials together, and then spend a little time each week devoted to this craft or project. Let it become a kind of good medicine in your life.

10. Say NO to something you don’t want to do, and then let the time you would have spent with others be yours alone. How often have you found yourself out with work colleagues or friends, wishing instead that you were home on the couch, watching your favourite show and eating soup and toast in your pyjamas? Your time really is precious. Start saying NO when it feels like duty or hard work, and use that time on something you’d prefer to do!

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Heal-All Chicken Soup Recipe

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“If you’re blue, have the flu, or can’t seem to … then Chicken Soup is for you.” ~ Anon

Looking for a quick meal to throw together? This is not it!  My Heal-All Chicken Soup recipe takes time – 8 to 12 hours minimum. I make this soup as medicine in a bowl…

Home-made chicken soup is filled with nutrients, is easy to digest, and has proven anti-inflammatory ability as well as boosting your immune system (read more about that here).

The beauty of this soup is that it’s a bone broth, and over time all of the fat and water soluble minerals and good bits dissolve into this magical elixir.  One of the things this soup is chock full of is glycine. The amino acid glycine is great for liver detoxification and regeneration.  Chicken soup is rich in collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), one of which you’ve probably heard of – glucosamine – stunning for artery, bone and joint health.  The gelatin produced from dissolving bones and cartilage in the making of this soup helps heal leaky gut, and also reduces your need for meat and protein.

In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are considered to support the kidneys and kidney meridians, and as such are also useful for healthy teeth, bones and adrenal gland function. So if you have adrenal fatigue this is a super recipe for you!

Note: Where possible choose organic and fresh local produce. 🙂

You’ll need the following equipment and ingredients:

A large saucepan or crockpot and a colander

Ingredients – First Step

1 whole chicken – best if organic and free range, one onion chopped into quarters (I use a brown onion and leave the skin on), a tablespoon of peppercorns or cracked black pepper, three bay leaves, two large celery stalks, two carrots, a bunch of parsley, a large twist of lemon rind, up to 8 cloves of garlic (don’t be afraid of garlic – garlic is your body’s friend), two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Note – The vinegar is important for helping extract the calcium and other minerals from the bones.

Method:

Place chicken in your large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add in your peppercorns, vinegar and bay leaves. Leave this sit while you prepare the rest of your vegetables.

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Lightly crush the garlic under a heavy bladed knife, peel off the skins and toss the whole cloves into the pot.  Then roughly chop your celery and carrots and add that in with the parsley and onion. Take a large slice of skin off a lemon and throw that in too.

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Bring the water slowly to the boil, and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer.  Cover and let cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Turn off heat, and let stand for ten minutes, then carefully remove chicken from pot, placing on a large dish until it cools enough to handle.

Strip as much flesh as you can from the bones, setting the skin to one side. Reserve the cooked chicken meat, cover and place in the refrigerator. Then add the skin and bones back into the pot.

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Bring the broth back to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer on very low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

Cool, and strain the broth into a large container. Pick over the bones if you want to retain any more chicken flesh, and then discard the strained contents.  I often leave my stock to cool in the saucepan overnight and finish it the next day. This is a sensible idea if you want to complete the second step and make a full bodied meat and vegetable soup.

The soup is now ready to serve as a simple broth, or to use in other recipes as a stock base. It also freezes well.

Ingredients – Second Step

6 to 8 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, fleshy part of half a leek, one onion, one to two parsnips, up to one cup of diced pumpkin or sweet potato, some of the reserved chicken meat, another bunch of parsley, the remaining lemon, 1/2 cup of pearl barley, brown rice or pasta/small noodles of your choice (optional).

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Method:

Pour the broth back into the saucepan. Finely chop your garlic and onion and add that into the pot.Cut the lemon in half and drop that in too.

Then chop your chicken meat and other vegetables into small pieces and place in pot. Finely chop the parsley, and reserve some to sprinkle over your cooked soup.  Add the rest into your soup.

If you want, you can add in some pearl barley, rice or pasta for extra body.  This turns the soup into a filling meal, but it is also fine to leave out so that the soup is more of a broth consistency.

Bring the pot up to a simmer and then cover and cook for one hour. If you’ve added barley or rice etc, give the soup a good stir a few times during the cooking process to move things up off the bottom of the pot. Top up with a little water if needed, but if the heat is low and the lid is on you probably won’t need to do this.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the lemon halves and discard. Serve soup with some of the reserved fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. The soup can be refrigerated for two to three days – just remove individual portions to heat up, and it also freezes well. Eat and enjoy. Wishing you the best of health! ♥ Nicole xx

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Day 15 – Gratitude Challenge

Image by mideastyouth.com

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~ Johannes A. Gaertner (1912-1996)

Our bodies have an innate wisdom.  They know how to move, they know how to heal, they know how to create balance and how to communicate with us.

For bodies to heal effectively they need a number of things – good nutrition, rest, emotional peace, and sometimes the hands of a skilled healer or medical practitioner to ease or correct what we cannot do for ourselves. (Some other good ideas for better health here)

For us to truly facilitate that state of healing, we need to do our best to step out of resistance and into flow.

You’ll know that feeling of resistance – resistance is filled with doubt, complaint, fear, and ‘lack of ‘…

You will hopefully also recognise flow – flow is a space of ease, grace, acceptance, peace and emotional well-being.

Image from yoga-weight-loss.info

When we are in flow our physical, emotional and spiritual healing capacity is greatly magnified.  Our body, mind and soul can more easily recover and repair. (You can read more about that here)

One of the fastest ways to get back into flow is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Counting Our Blessings and Using our Gratitude Rock

If you need a detailed reminder of the process, you can review it here in Day 1 of the Gratitude Challenge.

  1. List five Blessings in your journal, explaining why you are grateful for each one.
  2. Count your Blessings off on your fingers, summoning positive emotion and saying Thank You from your heart for each one.
  3. Remove the image or name of the person to whom you intended health, well-being and positive physical energy.  Hold the photo or name in your hands and say Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Really feel that positive energy in your heart.  Know that as you have affirmed this for others, you are also allowing for similar energies to come into your own life.
  4. Tonight before you go to sleep, hold your Gratitude Rock and affirm I am richly Blessed. I have an Abundance of Good in my life. Visualise one thing you have been grateful for today. Swell that positive energy up in your heart like a beautiful golden light, and give a heart-felt Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to the Universe, then imagine a tiny shower of golden light travelling from your heart into your Gratitude Rock.
  5. Still holding your Gratitude Rock, bless your fellow travellers on this Gratitude Journey by sending them golden light, and saying Thank you.  I Bless You.  I intend for you Love, Miracles and Abundance. Know that as you are saying this for them, they are also saying this for you. Feel that connection and gratitude and know that there is real love and support for you here. Place your rock back beside your bed, and go to sleep, cocooned in this good energy.

If all you do today is these five steps, know that is enough.

Image from googleimages.com

 

For this who want to explore some additional opportunities to practice gratitude, read on…

Hold a Picture Of Wellness in Your Mind

No matter what your current state of health, you need to make peace with that. There is no point in fighting the reality of your current situation. If you’re fat, you’re fat.  If you’re in pain, if you can’t get pregnant, if your legs ache or your blood pressure is too high, well it is what it is.  Stop fighting it, making excuses for it, or pretending it isn’t happening. Accept what is.

Accepting what is, without judgement, is the first step in making positive change in your life.

The second step is letting go of your attachment to what is.  Where you are today is the result of yesterday’s thinking, yesterday’s actions, yesterday’s focus or lack of focus.

The third step is to hold a clear picture in your mind of what you DO want in your life, and find a way to summon positive emotion around that.  Be grateful for the small things already present in your life that relate to health and well-being.  Celebrate health and well-being in others.  Visualise health and wellness coming to you.  See yourself as healthy, active, energised, healed, whole.

Today spend five minutes visualising yourself in a place of wellbeing, however that looks to you.  Feel gratitude for the positive improvement in your health as if it has already happened. Swell that feeling of gratitude and love in your heart, and say Thank You to the Universe for this gift of healing and health.

My intention for you today is that you allow yourself to be in flow with health and wellbeing. I wish for you an abundance of feel-good energy and vitality.  Bless ♥ xx

Image from thewellnesswarrior.com.au

Soul Messages – The Gifts of Colour

Scroll down through the images and pick the one that speaks to you – the one you find the most vibrant or attractive.  Then go back and select the one you are least drawn to.

When you’ve made your choice, go further down the page and find out what messages your Soul has chosen for you.

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Your Soul Message for today – find the message that corresponds to your flower. Trust that within that message is something useful for you.

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Take a stand for the things that you believe in.  Offer up your opinion and don’t be shy about speaking your truth.  You have so many good ideas and valid points of view, and the world is poorer if you never share them. Self-belief is strengthened through action! Whether it’s speaking, writing, having that conversation, applying for that job or course of study or seizing that opportunity – be bold and begin.

A good crystal for you today is Citrine.

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Trust in your dreams.  The idea you have is worth nurturing. In time it has the possibility to grow in to the thing that you hope for it to be.  Spend a little time each day with your idea. Tend it, work with it, and help it to grow. The Universe is saying Yes to you, and offering validation and encouragement for you to continue – taking your idea from mere thought into the beginnings of reality. Make a plan, put energy into it and you WILL be rewarded.

A good crystal for you today is Fluorite.

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Time to focus on your health. Embrace new forms of exercise that encourage flow and suppleness. Make changes to the way you eat so that you include more food with real life force, such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Drink more water. Reduce the stresses in your life.  Find a support team to help you – whether it’s a personal trainer, yoga teacher, acupuncturist, psychologist, doctor, accountant or meditation teacher. Book in for a check-up, go see the dentist, attend to the things that have been quiet worries in the back of your mind.  It’s time for an overhaul, and by working on the physical body, your emotional and spiritual body will come back into balance too.

A good crystal for you today is Carnelian.

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Embrace your sensitivity. You have a heightened ability to tune into energy and the spiritual realms right now. Make healthy choices with your diet, cut down on sugar and caffeine and the things that clutter your energetic body.  Meditate and spend quiet time in spiritual reflection.  Try journalling and meditation. It’s time to learn how to use your gifts. Be open to messages, guidance and new possibilities.  Trust that the right information, books, courses and people will come your way.

A good crystal for you today is Amethyst.

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Open your heart. Love is right here on your doorstep, or in the taxi and on it’s way to you.  You are deserving of all that is good in life, and you have so much love to share. Trust that now is the time for entering or strengthening and renewing beautiful love relationships.  There’s no need to be stressed or needy around relationships. The Universe wants you to know that you are Loved, and that now is your time. Trust.  Be ready. If you are in a relationship already, look at it with new eyes. If you are currently alone, know that you will not remain so. Have fun with it.  Trust in good outcomes. Let yourself shine. Begin by falling in love with yourself a little. Do all that you can to look and feel your best.

A good stone for you today is Rose Quartz.

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Guides, Angels and Spiritual Messengers are all around you. Loved Ones are reaching out to you.  There is incredible love, support and help for you right now.  You will find your answers, you will get the help you need, you are being supported to stay strong and to keep going. This is such a powerful confirmation for you of one clear message – “Don’t give up!”  Expect signs and messages,  Expect breakthroughs. Know that you are stronger than you think, and deeply Loved.

A good crystal for you today is Clear Quartz.

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Time to schedule some relaxation. Whether it’s a massage, a trip to the movies or something bigger like a holiday, you need some time out! Find time in your life for the things that bring you happiness.  Music is good. Travel is good. Food and friendship are good. Time to yourself, and time doing things that fill you back up again is what is most needed for you right now.  Commit to pampering yourself, to slowing down, and remember to stop and smell the roses.

A good crystal for you today is Tiger Eye.

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You are experiencing Divine Grace.  Divine Grace is the benevolence of the Universe, an energy filled with Wisdom and Love. It heralds great change and great awakening.  You are moving from struggle back into flow. Better times are coming; new opportunities and possibilities. You will not long remain where you are.  Be ready to let go. Be ready to  say yes to what’s coming, and don’t worry if you can’t see too far ahead.  There is all manner of Synchronicity and Right Timing coming into your life. You’ll end up far from here, and be so glad of the journey, and the growth it afforded you. You are Guided and Protected. You are well Loved.

A good crystal for you today is Moonstone.

Your Life is YOURS to Live!

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  ― Oscar Wilde

Life is a precious gift, and one that can be all too brief. Before you came to this life, you had a deliberate intent to be here.  You chose your parents.  You packed your bag.  You came forth into this world with a plan, or at the very least a sense of adventure and possibility, and a rough checklist of things you thought sounded interesting.

So here you are. This is it – your moment!

How’s that working out for you?

Life really IS for living.  Not for existing. Not for pleasing others. Not for mere surviving.

It doesn’t have to be about riches, winning, and being super-productive. Life is not measured only in achievements or possessions.

Life is about experiences, relationships, following your heart, finding pleasure in the small moments, being satisfied with who you are, where you are, and who you’re with. Or being excited about where life is taking you, and allowing your life to be a glorious work in progress.

I had a client come to me recently where I got a very strong glimpse of a past life – the one immediately before this one.  This man had been a soldier in World War One.  Before that he’d been a teacher.  He hadn’t wanted to go to war, but he went ‘to do the right thing’.  He left his new wife behind to fight in the trenches and absolute misery and hell of the Western Front and then Passchendaele. He survived, only to come home and find his wife and mother dead. He later died from influenza; cold, lonely and miserable.

The Second Battle of Passchendaele – Image from jamesmay.blogspot.com

Why was that relevant to his next lifetime? All he’d thought about, during the war, and in between lives, was about what he wanted for this next life. He wanted a simple life. No great responsibilities; a gentle life of suburban ordinariness with his wife and family.  The chance to grow old. To live in a warm climate, in a dry house, with plenty to eat, and enough to do to keep him busy. That was his dream, and now he’s living it.  He’ll never be famous.  He’ll never be rich.  But already he knows contentment. And contentment for him is enough.

Of course that’s not everyone’s path.  Some people have a flame blazing brightly within them. They have a driving passion to be or do something.

We all walk different paths and have different dreams. All we ever need to do is what’s right for us. We each come to this life for the experience – to learn and grow by making our own choices. And ultimately each of us seeks happiness, fulfillment, love. That is going to look different for every single person because we come from diversity and we exist in diversity.

Are you following your dreams?

Did you put them aside to live someone else’s dream for you? Do you say to yourself, ‘one day I’ll get to it…’  Did you sacrifice your dreams to let someone else achieve theirs? Or are you doing something you don’t want to do because you’re told that ‘this’ is what’s expected of you.  Are you down the bottom of the pile, letting other people stand on top of you to reach theirs through your unrewarded efforts?

Or did you just give up?

You are not here in your skin to live this precious life for others, or to let them live through you. And you’re not here to fix things, or make things right for ‘them’. This is not a duty call.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  This is your one shot to make this life work for YOU.

Life too short to waste it on doing things you don’t want to do, being places you don’t want to be, or being in relationships with people who don’t love you or make you happy.

If you want to explore this further you might find these posts useful:

What makes you come alive?

Using your Internal Compass to navigate life

The Green-Eyed Envy Monster

Telling yourself a better story

Listen with your eyes

Are you too NICE?

Image by andokadesbois.deviantart.com

Kindness is a loving balm, understanding is a mental tonic, compassion grows our hearts, love is food for the soul, but niceness? Far too often niceness is a poison administered to ourselves by our own hand.

There is a trend (and I recognise it because I once was in that same place!) where people beginning to become spiritually aware try to live from a place of unconditional love. That’s a beautiful thing, but too often what gets practised is not actually unconditional love but ‘niceness’.

Many people consider niceness to be a virtue; a sign of living from heart, and acting from love. I’m not referring to kindness, or good manners, or amiability. I’m talking here about pleasing others, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings, and being agreeable and amenable, even if it comes at a high cost to yourself.

Speaking our truth honours us, and it teaches us honest and direct communication that honours and respects others. Can we come from a place of unconditional love and still speak our truth? Absolutely! Because the premise of unconditional love is that we also love ourselves.

Authenticity requires us to live with honesty – not with silencing ourselves or suppressing our true thoughts and emotions.

Niceness is not about unconditional love – it is about giving up honesty in order to avoid disapproval, confrontation, rejection, ridicule or embarrassment. It elevates the happiness and well-being of others above your own.  It is based on falseness, and by its nature, niceness prevents honesty and authenticity. When you come from niceness you teach others to devalue you, and disrespect you. You do not set clear boundaries.

Niceness does not come from a heart-centred life.  It grows out of fear and a lack of self worth. It is a behaviour that goes counter to our intuitive wisdom, and to those gut-based mechanisms that keep us safe.  We tell people what they want to hear, we do and say things to keep others happy, or to keep the peace. We act in a way that pleases others but that robs us of a little (or a big bit!) of ourselves.

We can always tell the difference between being nice and being kind.  Kindness comes from a place of being centred, and it empowers us.  It strengthens us, as it strengthens others. We can act with generosity or compassion and there is no cost to us, or it is a cost we willingly bear.  We give without expecting anything in return, for the sake of uplifting others.

Niceness always leaves you with an aftertaste – you know you have’t spoken truthfully; you feel that twang of inauthentic energy, that twinge of discomfort, or you even get that sense of being taken for granted or taken for a ride. Niceness diminishes us, even when it strengthens others. We bite our tongue in order to say the flattering thing, we do the act with a little flame of resentment in our heart. And sometimes it starts out as kindness – but our kindness becomes expected, or disrepected – we are taken advantage of but we are unable to speak up about that and voice our own feelings. So we act nice instead.

When we choose niceness it poisons us.  It leads to depression, anxiety, shame, emotional distress, guilt, anger and despair.   Life-long patterns of niceness leave us open to exploitation, and invite difficult, damaging and dangerous relationships into our lives.

We end up doing things we don’t want to do – we can become an entirely different person to who we are on the inside. We can lose ourselves so completely that we have no idea any more what makes us happy, what our preferences are, what we want in life…

Taken to extremes, through living a life of niceness we can cease to exist.  Instead we become the support role in someone else’s life.

Cinderella, at home scrubbing the floors while her stepsisters are out having fun!

Are you too nice? Maybe it’s time to start honouring your own truth. Love starts with the self, and a healthy self-esteem can only be built by standing up for yourself, giving your feelings a voice, and attending to your own needs.  You can do that and still be polite.  You can do that and still be kind.  You can do that and still be likeable, lovable and accepted.  Don’t keep drinking that from that poisonous niceness bottle!

And if your acts of self-respect and kindness aren’t taken well by others? Maybe it’s time to  get some space, maybe it’s time to stop giving, maybe it’s time to move on… If you have to be ‘nice’ in order for your life to work, the price will always be too high. You might be surprised.  In voicing your honest thoughts, you give others permission to do the same. Being authentic can create great change.  It invites miracles…

Choose love. Choose kindness. And above all, be true to yourself. It’s worth it! ❤

Eight Ingredients for Better Health

Image from healthycare-tutorials.blogspot.com

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.  Buddha

Our bodies are the vehicle for our Souls. By honouring and looking after our physical vehicle we are then much better able to access and work with our mental and spiritual gifts.

There are eight practical, proven and simple things that we can do or include in our lives each day in order to help build up energy within our bodies, and to maintain our physical health and vitality.  This is not rocket science – it is fundamental and basic information.  Yes, what I am about to share sounds like what your Nana might have told you (in fact, my Nana told me).  Yes, it works!!!

These ‘miracle’ ingredients for a long and healthy life are:

  1. Water
  2. Sleep
  3. Fresh Air
  4. Clean and Nourishing Food
  5. Movement
  6. Spiritual Health
  7. Love
  8. Self Control

Let’s explore each of these eight vital ingredients in more detail.


1.  Water

Drink plenty of fresh, clean water.

Image by ecowoman.net

Suggestions:  For best results take your water at room temperature to minimise pressure on your internal organs which would otherwise have to heat the water up before using it.  Keep a bottle of water with you at all times, even beside your bed.  Often residual low level fatigue is the result of chronic dehydration.  For even better results, write positive words and affirmations on your water bottle.  If you suffer from dizziness or low blood pressure, add a small pinch of celtic salt to your water bottle.  This will help restore the electrolyte balance within your body and assist with the uptake of water and oxygen by your body’s cells.

2.  Sleep

Get adequate (what your body really needs, not what you let it have!) sleep.

Image by ALAMY

Suggestions:  Most of us need a minimum of eight hours, and sometimes more if we are fighting off an infection, healing, growing or changing.   Did you know that most of the western world’s adult population is sleep deprived?  Since the introduction of the electric light bulb, and then television, adults have been slowly eroding their hours of quiet time and sleep during the evening hours.  Where we once had a few hours of quiet talk, or reading, or other gentle and relaxing activities to wind down before sleep, we now have over-stimulation from television.  We sleep from one to four hours less per night on average than our physical body requires.  The artificial light we are exposed to during the day in offices and shopping centres, and at night in our own homes reduces chemical and hormonal input from our bodies that would ordinarily prepare us for sleep.  We lose our natural sleep rhythms.  This sort of prolonged sleep deprivation, where you get substandard sleep or inadequate sleep takes some months to recover from, and prevents the body from healing, solving problems and spiritual connection during the sleeping hours.

To improve sleep, get some exposure to natural full-spectrum sunlight every day.  (Don’t wear sunglasses as this changes the spectrum of the sun’s rays.) Twenty minutes would be a minimum.  Don’t go to bed immediately after a big meal.  Let the digestion process have around two hours first to get started so that your sleep is not compromised.  If this is hard to do, eat earlier, or make your main meal lunch so that you are only digesting light food at night time.  Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and well ventilated.  Take at least half an hour before sleep to wind down.  Don’t do this in front of the television!  Take a shower, read a book, listen to music, meditate, make love.  You may also want to remove electro-magnetic radiation from the bedroom, or at least get rid of electrical appliances beside, behind or under the bed.  Lavender essential oil aids relaxation and sleep.  In winter keep your feet warm, or have a warm shower just before going to be so that you don’t get into bed cold.

3.  Fresh Air

Oxygen and clean air is vital to our well being on every level.

Image by shutterstock – naldzgraphics.net

Suggestions:  Get out into the fresh air and sunshine each day.  Oxygen is vital for our well being.  Sunshine is important for providing vitamin D. Use good posture to enable you to breathe deeply and to avoid shallow breathing.  Take several slow, deliberate deep breaths a few times a day to recharge and re-oxygenate your blood.  Make sure that your home, office and bedroom are well ventilated, with a good flow of natural air.  Don’t spend all of your time in air-conditioning, and if you do use an air-conditioner keep it well maintained.  Minimise dust and mould in your environment.  Avoid exposure to chemicals, especially within your home.  Don’t exercise on busy roads.

4.  Clean and Nourishing Food

Food is both fuel and medicine for our bodies.  Our bodies are the direct result of the quality of nutrition that we put into them.  Eat regularly to maintain a good supply of fuel to your brain and body.

Image from toptenzlists.com

Suggestions:  Food is best when it is freshly prepared, chemical free, and made with love.  Blessing your food, and eating in a relaxed environment really does make a difference.  Favour a plant-based diet, with the inclusion of good quality fats and proteins. Choose organic meats and free range chickens, and wild caught seafoods.  Grass fed beef has the same essential fatty acid ratio as fish – grain fed beef does not, and is not nearly as good for you.  Make sure you get a good range of fresh vegetables each day – these can also be eaten as juice.  Fruit is better taken as a whole food than as a juice so that you can minimise your concentrated sugar intake.  Eat fruit and vegetables in season.  Out of season food has often had to travel a long way to get to you, and will have lost a lot of its vital energy and goodness.  Nuts and seeds are good, and so are whole grains.  Naturally fermented foods such as yoghurt, keffir and so on are also good for your gut health.  If a food has a prolonged shelf life, it will also have little life force.

Reduce and avoid food that is mass produced, fast food, or high in sugars, salts, stimulants (such as caffeine) fats and flour.  Avoid artificial colours and additives.  Eat when you’re hungry, and pay attention to when and why you eat so that you can identify and manage emotional eating – where we eat for comfort or entertainment rather than because our body needs fuel.  Sharing a meal with a friend or family member is always a good way to reduce stress.  Don’t eat in front of television, and don’t eat when you are upset.  Always calm down before eating.  Different bodies prefer different diet variations – if necessary find a good natural therapist or dietician to help you with your food choices.  Listen to your body – it will soon tell you what it does and doesn’t like.  In times of stress or illness, it may be necessary to take additional supplements of vitamins, minerals and/or herbs.  Seek help if you need it.

5.  Movement

Our bodies were designed to move.  They must be moved, nurtured and stretched on a daily basis.  Movement allows the internal organs to function well, it keeps joints lubricated, circulates blood, oxygen and lymph within our bodies, and helps us to stay supple, strong and mobile.

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Suggestion:  Movement helps decrease obesity, depression and a host of other ills.  The longer we go without movement, the more difficult movement becomes.  Find some exercises that you enjoy, and try to become active at work and home.  Learn some basic stretching, and if you want to understand and nourish the physical body on an even higher level, learn yoga, tai chi or qi gong.  Movement was never just about going to a gym, although you might enjoy this.  Movement is also about walking, surfing, lawn bowls, stretching, swimming on a hot day, skiing in winter, dancing anytime, gardening, housework, fencing, playing with children or animals, chasing your lover around the bedroom, building, creating, self expression and pure joy.  It can also be about the discipline of a martial art or practice such as yoga, or about the fun of teamwork playing footie, cricket, tennis doubles, or tug-of-war.  Not so bad after all, is it?

6.  Spiritual Health

Those people who have an active faith, and who practice regular connection with that faith have better physical health and longevity, lower stress levels, faster healing, greater rates of ‘unusual and unexpected’ recoveries and greater levels of personal acceptance and satisfaction.

Painting by Goro Fujita

Suggestion:  Spirituality isn’t about going to church, although for some people that can be an important focus of their faith.  It means taking time to talk with God and your Guides, Angels and Loved Ones who’ve passed over.  It’s about having a connection to the earth and all living things.  Some people do this through listening to music, some people do this through creating art, and some people do this through going for a walk in nature.  How you find your Soul, and talk with your God is up to you.  Spiritual Health is about making time to go within, through prayer, meditation and self reflection.  And doing these things as a normal part of your daily routine.  Take time to learn about your spirituality, to read and share and grow your faith.  Take time to practice your connection.  Use spiritual tools, and give and receive spiritual energy.  Pray for yourself and others on a regular basis.  It is also powerful to meet with like-minded people to share the experience.  This can be through worship, group meditations, sharing healings and readings, attending festivals and workshops, or even just holding hands together before a meal.

7.  Love

Love is fundamental to the human spirit.  We need to learn to give and to receive love, and to do this daily!  Love is the most powerful energy in the Universe.

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Suggestion:  Self love and self care top this list.  This includes treating ourselves well, and surrounding ourselves with energies that uplift and support us.  We all need someone to love.  Family, friends, partners, even animals.  We need to be able to actively demonstrate love through our thoughts, actions and intentions.  It is also important that we open ourselves up to receive love as well.  This is often much harder to do, than to love others.  Become involved in helping others.  Use your spiritual faith to help you find ways to express Love in the World.

8.  Self Control

Self control is a conscious development of our will.  It is the voice of our wise self, and it becomes stronger and easier to identify the more we use it.  Self control allows us to stay true to who we are, and to what we know is good for us.

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Suggestions:  Self control requires self trust, and self love.  If we come home from work feeling tired, it is easy to eat junk food and forgo exercise.  Self control is the wise and caring voice within us that urges us to eat something healthy, to take the dog for a walk, or to say ‘no’ to a second helping of dessert.  It is often difficult to exert any self control if we have not worked with this part of us for a long time.  When self control is not exercised, our inner critic – the ego, can make us feel very unhappy and inadequate.  This fuels low self esteem and can make the lack of self control even worse.  Our wise self whispers, “eat a salad and some fish” and we then need to exercise our self control to enable this to happen.  If instead we eat toast with jam, and a bowl of ice-cream, the ego will chastise us.  Your self talk might then sound like this: “Oh, you are so fat and weak.  You might as well eat another bowl of ice-cream.”  And so you do, and end up feeling worse about yourself, and believing that you have no will power.  If your self control is weak, start with small promises that you make and then keep with yourself.  As you fulfil each promise, this will strengthen your self control by building your sense of worth and self confidence.  If you slip back, be kind with yourself and just start again.

Journal Activity: Revisit each of the eight ingredients of good health.  For each ingredient, write down one small step that you could take in the next few days to strengthen that area within your own life.  Make sure the actions you want to take are small, measurable and achievable so that you can continue to strengthen your wellbeing, self belief and self control!