Phoenix Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Doula, Childbirth Educator

Nurturing Joyous Life

Emily Carden: Private & Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula and Childbirth Educator in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, AZ

After Holidays...

This time of year has come to mean everything but self-care. It requires a huge output of time, money, energy, emotion, stress, physical exertion and, ultimately, self-sacrifice. It wears us down and then disappoints us when on Jan 1 or Jan 2 we feel nothing of that same excitement and aliveness. Ironically, it's those same holidays that encourage us to contemplate life, spend time with loved ones and extend greater gratitudes. So, that leaves a great opportunity, actually, for self-care and developing healthier habits. What if we could take all that love and excitement for living that is in the air without sacrificing our well being? This is self-care. This is the resolution and it's not just yours. Individual resolutions all seek the same goal: to do something better in this year of life than you did in the last. The message is the same: This year I want to live more and I want to live better! But how? Not with overly strict and un-maintainable fitness programs, dangerous dieting or expense services, but with the simple act of self-care. Taking care of yourself is living; it is the act of being alive. 

Taking care of ourselves in some ways is a perspective, but at the core there are some very basic, fundamental processes that the body requires in order to function properly. So, if we truly learn how to take care of ourselves (as a part of life, not just when we're feeling up for it), these twists and turns of the natural flow of life do not have such a great effect on us. Certainly, this can mean less excitement around things that were previously very exciting, but this also means less intensity around things that were previously very intense. Now, instead, we choose to live a more balanced life where we are feeling good all the time and don't require special periods for setting resolutions. We just feel good, live healthily and find ourselves then in harmony with the world. And sometimes this must first be learned. 

There are several easy-to-integrate lifestyle habits that can maintain your mental, physical and emotional well being, while keeping that same excitement you had just awhile ago for living and being! These practices help encourage the proper functioning of the body and mind. 

TONGUE SCRAPING: tongue scrapers can be purchased at any local pharmacy or online for a small cost. Each morning before brushing the teeth, the tongue scraper can be used to remove excess waste from the body formed on the tongue during sleep. This helps to stimulate the digestive system, which is connected to the nervous system.

MORNING LEMON WATER: warm water with lemon taken first thing in the morning, after tongue scraping, on an empty stomach can be taken every day. This too stimulates the digestive system in addition to all other body systems.

DRY BRUSHING: before showering, a dry shower brush of any kind may be used to brush the skin on the entire exterior of the body. This act, much like massage, stimulates the lymphatic systems, which are also connected to the nervous system.

JOURNALING: before technology, people spent much time reflecting and connecting with themselves and others. One of our requirements for life is other human beings. Time for reflection and connection is essential for all bodily functions, especially the brain.

FIVE MINUTE MEDITATION: the brain is the part of the body that gets the least rest. Even during sleep the brain is quite active. For some, it rarely ever slows down. But, it's the mothership. It governs activities in all parts of the body and so it actual requires the most amount of care, yet we give it the least. Meditation is the way. Sit quietly with your eyes closed in an upright position and letting your brain relax for a few minutes once, maybe twice, a day for the rest of your life. This is probably the absolute best thing you could do for yourself.