The summer is a time for both outdoor activity and leisurely pastimes. During these months, there is an influx in programs centered around self care. Whether it be an escape to the woods, a local boot camp, or a yoga retreat – we seem to make the time for ourselves more between the months of June and August. But what about after the retreat, or later when the cooler air rolls in and our busy schedules resume? How do we prioritize our well being and integrate some form of self care into our day to day?
One of our resident Acupuncturists, Zoe, just returned from a yoga retreat last weekend, and wants to share some tips and insight on how to make every day a retreat.
Maintain a Realistic Self-Care Practice
Take a time out for reflection. Make your self-care practice goals personalized and tailored to what YOU need. What part of the retreat or activity resonated the most for you? Keep in mind that it may not be the obvious. Some people may want to work towards improving a certain pose or skill, such as a handstand, or perhaps opening up the hips. Zoe found that an evolving intention throughout the retreat wasn’t to limber up the body, but rather to keep the mind open and flexible. And that’s what she wants to carry with her into her day to day. So she focused on building a regular meditation practice.
Self Care Practice:
- Arguably the MOST important thing is to make a realistic, feasible commitment. Be honest about your time and energy reserves, as well as other demands or commitments
- Even if you would love to meditate for 30+ min a day, don’t attempt it all at once. Work towards that, and maybe start with 5 minute sessions. Make it enjoyable, rather than a chore or obligation
- Make use of technology – whether that be the alarm feature on your phone, notification/reminder/schedule, youtube videos or guided meditations, podcasts or an app, or even old-fashioned books (see list below)
- Seek support from your community: although this is a practice you are developing for yourself and something you will likely be doing mostly on your own, you may find it helpful to talk about it with friends or family. Connect with a group of people who are also involved in a similar practice, visit an occasional class or workshop, or discuss issues online. I recently had a friend make a commitment to not complain everyday for a month and he discussed his obstacles on his Facebook feed
- Continue to check in with yourself about how your practice is evolving and what your needs are so that you can adjust, and grow it accordingly
Zoe’s Meditation Picks:
A Path with Heart –Jack Kornfield
Wherever you go, there you are –Jon Kabat-Zinn
The Buddha’s Playbook: Strategies for Enlightened Living –Josh Summers
Breath by Breath–Larry Rosenberg
Meditation podcasts and YouTube guided meditations: Tara Brach, Pema Chodron, Open Heart Project Podcast, Heart Wisdom Podcast
Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace
You can also find many free recorded Dharma talks about meditation at www.dharmaseed.org
Zoe uses some meditation in most of her treatments here at WholeBody Solutions so you can always ask her more about it in person. Interested in making an acupuncture appointment with Zoe? Contact our office at 617-328-6300.