The High Cost of Not Practicing Good Self-Care

Low self esteemUp to now we’ve been talking about the different ways that hidden low-self worth programs may be sabotaging your life. Today I want to talk about really taking good care of yourself and what that looks like.

If you have hidden self-worth programs impacting you, you might be struggling with feelings of worthiness, not deserving good things, or believing that for whatever reason you should just settle for what life brings you, we need to talk! You may be unconsciously setting yourself up for burn out, exhaustion, unhappiness, feeling unsatisfied and disconnected, and even significant health problems.

Those little nuggets of self-defeating energy in your brain and body may be interfering with how well you practice good self-care. It was so apparent to me during my recent women’s retreat in Hawaii, that I have had a very significant – and very hidden – self-worth program running that had been preventing me from relaxing and enjoying my life! I would like to share a little bit of my new personal awareness about self-care (or my lack thereof!) with you to help illustrate how important self-care is to your full well-being and happiness.

Let me preface this realization with how I believed that I had been practicing pretty good self-care. Sure, I knew that there were times that I didn’t get quite enough sleep or exercise. That I hadn’t had a real vacation in over 15 years! That I put others’ needs before my own. But I could rationalize that I was busy, people needed me, I had things to accomplish. And then I’d take some time for myself. I’d take time off and get extra rest, connect with Nature, see friends, take in a movie, and relax with a good book. I felt virtuous that I eat well and have a good daily spiritual routine. And so I believed I was taking good care of myself.

I arrived a day early for my retreat at Lumeria Maui so that I could rest and be fully present for the week of transformation that I was coming to experience. After unpacking and hanging my belongings and getting something to eat, I made my way to the lovely deck that was just outside my room. I decided that I would spend some time meditating and centering before I went for the massage I had booked so that I would be pre-relaxed and able to absorb the healing energy of the massage.

The beautiful grove of pine trees, gently whispering in the slight breeze just off the deck area, immediately brought me to a state of soothed peacefulness. I could feel years of un-acknowledged tension beginning to unwind from my muscles and tissues, as I closed my eyes and began connecting to my Highest Self within. The sensation was absolutely delicious! The stillness of the grounds, the smells, shapes and colors of the different plant varieties, and the view of the ocean peeking through the trees brought me to a place of internal quietude that I had not been able to match at home.

As I sat there I could feel the individual cells in my body give a sigh of relief as they gave up their tension and their perceived need to be doing anything at all. I could literally feel something deep within me begin a long, slow, unwind, and I contemplated the real meaning of “vacation unwind” and how important it is.

20131025_180331As I continued to feel my body, mind and soul more fully unwinding and relaxing deeper and deeper into the feeling of Oneness, I began reflecting on how long it had actually been since I had experienced that particular level of deep inner peacefulness. I realized that it had been many, many years since I felt that level of contentment. Suddenly, I realized that I had only been giving lip-service to taking good care of myself. I realized in that moment just how depleted I’d allowed myself to become. And then the tears came.

Because I was under the illusion that I was taking just good care of myself, I was shocked to realized that it wasn’t really true! The level of self-care that I thought I’d been practicing was not nearly enough! I vowed, right then and there, to become more mindful of how I was actually treating myself and how much time I allowed myself to simply BE at different times of the day.

Of course, being away at a specific event that is designed to take you out of the everyday hustle and bustle is one thing – and being back in that everyday energy is quite another. But my experiences there gave me a deeper understanding of how precious the time we take for ourselves really is. And just how imperative it is to take exceptional care of ourselves!

Please, take a long, deep, hard look at how well you are really treating yourself. I don’t want you to beat yourself up if you find that your level of self-care isn’t stellar. I want this to be a very gentle nudge to see how you might have unconscious programming that might be interfering with your ultimate well-being. If there’s room for improvement, then take steps to make a few changes. If you are doing well in this area, please give yourself a huge hug acknowledgement acknowledge that accomplishment.

Let’s look at just a few of the areas where most of us tend to cut corners.

Do you REALLY get enough sleep? Are you getting the required eight hours of sleep that will allow you all the sleep cycles to fully run? If not, you are cheating your body of the ability to repair and balance itself. Also, did you know that if you are not getting into bed by 10 p.m. that you are working against your body’s natural rhythms and disrupting your hormone balances? This is a BIG one! Studies have proven that the two hours before midnight are worth more than four hours after midnight in quality of sleep and their impact on the physiology!

bigstock-Stressed-248446Are you eating the right foods? How much of your diet is dedicated to keeping you unnaturally stimulated? Do you depend on that cup (or more) of coffee in the morning to get you going? Do you binge on carbohydrates so that your blood sugar is revved up and then crashes, so that you start the cycle all over again throughout the day? Are you getting enough protein so that your cells can replicate properly and repair your body’s systems? Are you getting several servings of dark leafy greens throughout the day to alkalize and recharge your body? Have you gotten rid of soft drinks yet? (They are not really a food form, you know. And they are extremely dangerous to your bones, heart and brain.)

If you are eating the right foods that are designed to nourish your body, are you actually in the right frame of mind while you are eating, that will allow your body to relax and absorb the nutrition? This is so crucial to a fully nourished body! If you are not relaxed and focused on what you are eating, your body is more than likely to be in fight, flight or freeze, which means that you physically cannot digest your food and absorb the nutrition! Not only that, your adrenal glands are pumping out cortisol that is causing massive inflammation throughout your body, creating weight around the belly, and setting you up for an adrenal crash – not something you want to ever experience!

That means that if you are eating on the run, or very quickly, your body cannot utilize the food you just inhaled. Additionally, if you are not thoroughly chewing your food into miniscule particles, you are not preparing your entire gastric system to handle the food you’ve eaten. Your stomach and intestines have to work extremely hard to absorb the little nutrition it can.

If you have undigested food in your poop (please do check!) you are probably only receiving 10 -15% of the nutrition you think you are getting. That means you are sabotaging your metabolism a second time (adrenals spewing out cortisol is the first way). Because the body cannot absorb nutrients from undigested food and if it is in stress mode (aka “fight, flight or freeze”), it is going to hold onto every single calorie it can and store it for future use. And you are more likely to binge eat, because your body is actually starving for nutrition! (As a note, by purposefully relaxing and consciously focusing on my food, I’ve lost 8 pounds in two weeks, feel for satiated and have better energy! And I have not changed one thing in my diet, nor added any additional exercise.)

Additionally, undigested food is stored in the intestinal tract far longer than well-digested food because it is harder to move through the bowels. That means it is putrefying and causing unhealthy fungal and bacterial over-growth issues – also adding to weight problems. It can also cause intestinal permeability issues which can cause auto-immune disorders. So please slow down, be conscious of what you are actually eating, and chew your food thoroughly.

bigstock-Meditation-1931400 Are you taking time out to meditate, pray, or have some type of spiritual practice and/or alone time? This is critical to your health and well-being. And tough to do sometimes! However, this time out helps you re-center, find balance, find your connection to yourself and to the Divine. It is a time that allows you to slow down your mind, rest your nervous system and get out of chronic stress, allowing your entire body to relax, recharge, restart and unwind. This is most critical for brain health.

If you don’t have a specific spiritual practice, you can reconnect by taking a walk in nature, taking a 15-20 minute nap during the middle of the day, taking a long hot bath, or simply finding a quiet space with no one in it and closing your eyes while you allow your body to relax. Follow your breathing. Just allow yourself to BE with yourself. Notice your body’s physical sensations. If there is discomfort, ask it what it is trying to tell you. Hear it without any judgment or trying to control the discomfort. Just allow it all to be what it is. Make the discomfort your friend. Then allow the discomfort to release. If there’s peace, allow peace and well-being to expand.

Are you treating yourself like your very best friend or a lover would? Sounds like a funny question, but often we are our own worst critics! Treat yourself to fresh flowers, a walk in the park, a special treat of some kind. Take yourself to the movies, to dinner, to lunch. Buy yourself a small treat or present – even if it’s not completely in the “budget.” Talk nicely to yourself. Say things like, “You look beautiful today.” “You have such gorgeous skin!” “Honey you are looking HOT!” “You are so smart!” And make it sincere.

In fact, if you want to feel better about yourself, keep a journal and find a minimum of three things every single day that you really like about yourself. Here’s the challenge: Every day you must find something new to say – no repeats! Allow yourself to appreciate and glory in the unique, beautiful, delicious, fabulousness of who you really are! Learn to fall in love with yourself. You’ll feel better and others will be attracted to you like magic!

Let yourself off the hook. I don’t know a woman out there that doesn’t hold themselves to a very high standard. An impossible standard. You are beautiful just the way you are. You are intelligent, talented, good enough, thin enough, capable enough and strong enough for anything and anyone. Allow yourself to laugh at your mistakes (or learning opportunities), forgive yourself and move on.

facialsRelax and allow yourself to simply feel your feelings. There is no such thing as a wrong feeling! All of us feel helpless, hopeless, broken, depressed, unlovable, unhappy, etc., at times during our lives. It’s an illusion! I can’t say this long enough or loud enough: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!!! You don’t need to be fixed, healed or saved. God/Goddess/Source loves you more than you know. If you don’t like the feelings, identify what you DO want to feel. Use the Quantum Soul Clearing process to move the energy and help you create the life you really want to live. You are in control. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You are a Master Creator! And you are MAGNIFICENT!

These are just a few of the many ways that we can practice self-care. I’m sure you can think of hundreds of ways that you can love, support and enjoy yourself more fully. Please take the time to implement those things. Life is short. It is meant to be experienced and lived. And if you are depleted because you are lacking in self-care, it makes it impossible to live fully and achieve what you’ve come here to do. Please don’t rob us of your magnificence. The world needs you, your gifts and your talents!

And if you need help uncovering that magnificence or finding balance, I am always here for you.

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