SILVER LINING SELF-CARE CARDS
I am beyond happy to introduce my ‘Silver Lining Self-Care Cards’!
These cards have been in my mind and heart for over two years and now they are a reality! (A massive thanks to Ann-Marie @paperandlacedesign for helping that to happen!) They have been available since November but I felt it important to share them on my blog now too, with the hard times that the world is facing during this Covid 19 Pandemic. There is certainly a need for upping our self-care at present.
I have created these cards to help you to maintain your self-care practice. These visual prompts can be used at any time, but I really feel that it is important to have reminders around us when things aren’t going so well. It’s easy to keep up with self-care when life is good. But when we are going through a tough time, sometimes the smallest task that might help in minding ourselves can seem overwhelming. And usually that’s the time we need to be kinder to ourselves more so than ever.
The gentle questions on the front of the cards encourage you to reflect on one aspect of your wellbeing; the focus varies from physical, mental/emotional and spiritual. The back of the card then offers a little more detail around the benefits of carrying out the task. And I just love the silver-lined cloud at the bottom of each card!
You can use these cards randomly, daily or weekly, however you feel is best. You might display your message in your eye line at your desk, by your bed or wherever it will catch your attention. I really hope that these cards help you to find the Silver Lining in your day when a black-cloud day might hit, or simply keep you on track with self-care in general.
The cards are available through my etsy link
Wishing you all well and Stay Safe,
A Staycation For The Soul!
Over the bank holiday weekend, Brian and I took a trip to Mayo for a little ‘staycation’. A few months ago we decided to have a quieter summer break away together this year… lots of other social events over the summer and saving for our wedding mostly dictated the decision! I am so glad that we booked in Ireland, as the spot that we landed on on Air BnB was a haven. Located in County Mayo, and run by a such a kind and welcoming couple, Katie and Richard, we could not have asked for a nicer space than this beautiful wooden lodge. I feel drawn to sharing this as it was such an ideal place to enjoy a pause. It might be a potential spot for someone else to enjoy a ‘reset break’ too in the future. (I’m not being paid to share this, I just loved this place!!)
Katie and Richard’s lodge is a gorgeous wooden structure located in the heart of the countryside. It’s clear from this image above that the weather wasn’t too kind to us during our stay, but in many ways this added to the relaxed nature of our time there. We were forced by the rain, as well as the lack of distraction around us to well and truly stop, and it was such a welcome break!
On our arrival, we were greeted with the warmest of welcomes from Katie, who filled us in on the lodge and the area. Right away, we felt at home and at ease there. Once we stepped inside, I just walked around for the first few minutes to take it all in- I immediately loved it! The cosy and tasteful interiors made it so easy to switch off and down tools. Katie and Richard are both artists, and their creative flair was evident throughout the lodge, from the beautiful Foxford throws and cushions that were dotted around the living space, to the stunning pieces of their own art work that were hung around the space.
The carpeted floor and snug throws and blankets in the living space, along with the overall feeling of being cocooned cosily in the wooden structure while listening to the rain did wonders for my headspace and relaxation levels.
Also on the ground floor, the kitchen was kitted out with everything we needed for cooking during our stay. We stocked up with all the food we needed in the nearby SuperValu in Claremorris on the day that we arrived, so Brian was in his element in the role of head chef! We really appreciated the little touches that had been left for us- a little welcome note accompanying homemade bread, jam and butter, as well as some tea and coffee to get us started on our stay. There were other thoughtful little offerings that were sprinkled throughout our stay also, we were so grateful for those Random Acts Of Kindness!
The cabin had enough space to sleep three people. Upstairs, a beautiful, bright and airy double room with a stunning view of the surrounding countryside. It was such a restful space. Then, a single bed positioned in a cleverly- converted landing space. The main bathroom with shower was downstairs, with a smaller bathroom upstairs.
While these pictures above were taken on the morning that we were leaving, which was clear, the rest of our stay was pretty much a wash out! Brian cooked, I wrote, we both read and we also took advantage of the amazing DVD collection in the lodge! Serious classics- we ended up getting lost in a few episodes of ‘Love/Hate’ over the time. We also slept A LOT! We clearly needed it! I definitely feel the wood surfaces and structure all around us helped us to relax further, it created such a soothing environment.
More than anything, I really loved the creative and kind elements that were spread around the interior of the cabin and around the grounds also. Paintings of a tuxedo cat like Milo, a little ceramic garden angel and a reminder sign to ‘Look up at the stars’ – I was home!!
Katie and Richard’s own house is situated nearby and during our stay we had the pleasure of meeting their gorgeous pets – cats, dogs and beautiful horse.
We were genuinely so sad to leave at check out time. Katie and Richard both met us to say goodbye and kindly gifted us some prints of their beautiful artwork. We were completely bowled over by their kindness and thoughtfulness while we were there. I already cannot wait to go back to stay there again in the future!
If you fancy a little reset for your soul at any stage, I would highly recommend staying at this beautiful lodge. If the weather was brighter, you could enjoy trails and walks in the countryside, with Claremorris being the nearest town and Westport just a little over a half hour drive away. For us it was 100% worth the drive from Kilkenny to allow us to completely switch off.
Here is the Air BnB link below if you would like to check it out:
I Won’t Hold My Breath!
We hear this one-word reminder so regularly in the fast-paced society we live in. It is certainly a useful to trigger to help us to remember to slow down. But just because you register the word, and take in- breaths and out-breaths, does not necessarily mean that you are feeding your body with the full, nourishing breath that it needs and deserves.
I have made a realisation about my breathing patterns over the past year or two. I know that when I am taking time out to do some meditation or yoga, and the facilitator prompts the class to breathe, I really do breathe genuinely and deeply. The time, but more importantly for me, the safe space is there for me to allow my body to really release and let go.
In my day to day life, however, I am a holder. I naturally hold my breath. Not obviously, in a cheeks- puffed-out, face-turning-red kind of way like a kid might. But a subtle, prolonged pausing. And then shallow breathing. And why? Because I’m sensitive to energy and the surroundings around me. I become easily overwhelmed by the intense conversations, happenings and energies. I need a safe space to be able to breathe deeply.
I more often than not fall in to the ‘Freeze’ category with the ‘Fight/flight/freeze’ response to stressors. For example, at the height of an intense conversation that I perceive to be negative, I sometimes can become overwhelmed, freeze, stop talking and just pause my breath altogether. It is as if my body just becomes shell-shocked and forgets completely about its natural autopilot function of inhaling and exhaling. It is not dramatic or obvious, so sometimes I’m considered as being rude when I just trail off at the height of a conversation that up to that point had been full of vigour.
People who know me well might remind me at this stage to breathe, but even hearing the word sometimes isn’t enough. It’s as if I have to ‘remember’ how to consciously breathe, and very purposely decide to inhale and exhale slowly and gently. After the first few intentional rhythms, my body tends to register the action again, and takes over instinctively to resume normality again.
If I’m worried or anxious about something in my life, or am generally stressed or burnt out, I tend to hold my breath more too. The worrying thing is, it is only in the past year or two that I’ve realized how much I have ‘held’ in my daily life. I’ve been functioning for 30 years on suspended and intermittent breaths without even knowing it. It was never to the extent that it would cause any serious harm to myself, but it was as if my breath was never firing on all cylinders either. Holding because of a constant niggling anxiety, about nothing and everything, an inherent characteristic. That held breath, and holding of the emotion that coincides with it in the body can lead to toxicity building up in the system, and definitely needs to be counteracted.
Luckily, half the battle is becoming aware of the issue. If you are a holder, the blessing is that once you become aware of the holding, there are ways to address it and encourage a more relaxed and deeper breathing rhythm in your day to day life. It still doesn’t come naturally to me, it is something that I consciously need to work on. I am a firm believer in purposefully using the breath to help to release tension that has built up in the body whether through physical or emotional stress. It works for people in different ways; some people like to use body scan meditations or specific breathing approaches. Other people like to release through movement and breath together such as somatic movement, yoga, dance and other types of physical exercise . The more attention and acknowledgment you give to conscious practice, the more positive breathing patterns will gradually start to creep in to your day by default.
You will also notice yourself ‘catching yourself’ in heightened situations before you get to the stage of your body being shell-shocked and essentially shutting down a little in self-preservation mode. Once the awareness of your pattern is there, you can choose to consciously breathe, or disengage in a polite way before it gets to that overly-intense stage for you. Once you are aware of your breathing, it is almost as if your clever body is giving you a warning sign for your emotions – ‘I’m not breathing well- what is my body trying to tell me about how I feel in this situation?’ When we can connect in this holistic way, using the physical to inform the mental/emotional and vice versa, with a nice sprinkle of spirituality on top for good measure, we are fairly guaranteed to be on to a winner!
So today, my wish for you is to breathe. Without it being forced or contrived. But rather to listen to your body and use the pattern that it genuinely needs today to help it to feel nourished, relaxed and revived.
Summer Solstice – A Time for Radiance
Regarded as ‘the high point’ of our year, in terms of daylight hours, and energetically, the Summer Solstice (21st June in the Northern Hemisphere) is a celebration of all that is radiant, and blooming to its fullest potential.
This can be clearly seen in nature with greenery, florals and freshness abundantly springing up all around us. Similarly, our own inner energies mirror these signs of growth and expansion. On a practical level, increased hours of daylight mean extra exposure to Vitamin D, helping to boost our mood and our physical energy.
The spiritual energetic body also thrives at this time. The sun, at its most influential point of the year brings strength and warrior-like energy, instilling confidence and courage. It helps to eradicate fear and to create space to allow us to step in to the power of our true selves. The Summer Solstice marks a time for openness and action, reinforced by an innate belief and trust in this true self.
The seeds of intention that were planted during the depths of Winter are given life and are brought in to being with this light-based energy.
The sun, and its link to fire energy allows us to release to the Solstice flame all that is heavy, and sees us rise a-new from the ashes.
My wish for you is that you may embrace your own radiance this Summer Solstice and embody all that you know that you are destined to be!
Simple Ritual Ideas For The Summer Solstice
1. Ground in the Sunlight
I always feel the best way to settle my energy is through ‘whole-body grounding’ – literally stretching out in the grass. I can literally feel the unnecessary ‘buzzy’ energy being soaked away, and this cleansing sensation is heightened when there is gentle sunlight beaming down on your face and body.
The energy that stirs up in your body when dancing vigorously is akin to that of the rising energy in nature around us at the time of the Summer Solstice. And it’s so much fun!
3. Create Nature Art
Using the blooms and foliage around you, create your own personal mandala or image to honour the Solstice.
4. Light Visualisation
Similar to the sunshine bathing mentioned above, visualise yourself being surrounded by a bubble of protective and supportive light. This is often useful to visualise in the shower, using the intention of light to cleanse also.
5. Solstice Fire
This is a traditional way to honour the sun energy at Solstice time. The fire could be used as a focal point for meditation and intention for what you wish to release, and also renew in your life. Some people prefer the physical act of writing these aspects out, and releasing them to the flames.
6. Meditate With Intention
Many people feel an affiliation to Ra, the Egyptian Sun God, and Isis, the Goddess when meditating around the idea of sun energy. Using crystals such as citrine can help to strengthen the connection, as can focusing on the yellow, solar plexus chakra in the upper stomach area.
Wishing you lots of happiness and abundance for this Summer and beyond,
Monday Present Moment
Mondays- fresh starts, full of potential. But they can also seem overwhelming at times when you think about everything that needs to get covered in the week ahead.
This morning I’m working on staying in the present moment to counteract that.
I can hear the birds chirping outside my window and I see beautiful sunshine pouring in my window. I know I feel tired after a busy weekend, but I choose to focus on gratitude instead, and consciously name some simple things that I’m grateful for. I plant my two feet as I get out of bed, and I ground my energy down through my legs and feet, feeling thankful to have another chance at a new day ahead.
It might sound a bit fluffy to you, but rather than it being forced or fake positivity, it is simply helping to reframe my mindset to a healthier focus. When I get distracted and my thoughts focus on being hard on myself (which I inevitably will return to), I’ll try my best to bring it back again to those present moment thoughts and zone in on the things in my surroundings to initially distract my brain from that loop, and then to allow myself to enjoy being truly present. It is especially helpful to do this if I find myself in an anxious spin, and I’m finding it hard to slow my breathing and thoughts down. That present moment focus and noticing and naming things in my space stops that circuit in the brain in its tracks. It reminds the brain that there are other route options available. Continually returning back to the breath, back to the now.
After all, all we have guaranteed and real to us is now. The past is done, and future is unknown to us. We deserve to allow ourselves to be able to enjoy the gift of present moment that is right here before us.
And it’s ok if you find it difficult. Your brain is hard-wired to focus on the negative and to get distracted. Just softly return to the ‘being’ and breath, and noticing your surroundings again once you find yourself in a unpleasant loop. You might only achieve that for a few seconds, but that’s ok. I’m constantly resetting. But little by little, you can build on it. In doing so, you will begin to rewire your brain by consciously choosing and returning to a more beneficial thought pattern for yourself.
Hope this helps you to start your week with a healthier reframe if you need it,
Prioritise Pacing Yourself
It feels good to be back writing a blogpost for the first time in months! Hope it finds you well.
Over the past number of months, I’ve gone completely against all the recommendations that are usually offered on how to build a following online. No scheduled weekly posts and no consistent online presence; M.I.A by name and nature, a rebel at large here!
And why? Because, I realised ahead of time (for a change!) that I needed to set a more even pace for this particular period of my life before I could agree to be pulled in countless different directions. It has truly worked to my benefit.
I often talk about self-care and I do so to remind myself just as much as anyone else not to take on too much at any given time. As a recovering people-pleaser, I am constantly working on learning to say ‘No’ when necessary. Oftentimes, it’s knowing when to say it to myself. I have a recurring tendency of thinking I can somehow wedge an extra task or event in to an already jam-packed line up that is usually my life!
I returned to work full time in September after a year of job sharing. Before I began, I was honest with myself, and was uncharacteristically realistic about what a fair estimation of my energy output would be in the upcoming months. (To use another of my Dad’s gems, what’s seldom is wonderful!) I knew that there would be an initial readjustment period returning to work, on both an energetic and time level. So I promised myself that I would afford myself a number of months of a ‘settling back’ phase. That way I could focus on my work day, and my own self-care and personal life, rather than cramming the facilitation of meditation classes and workshops, and the writing of blogposts into evenings and weekends.
And why? Because I knew that trying to juggle it all would probably push me past the point of healthy balance. What would be the point in me sitting down to write a blogpost on self-care when the pressure of trying to produce it was putting my own self-care in jeopardy?! Anyone who knows me well knows that authenticity is hugely important to me, so there was no way I was going down that road.
Also, as I am a teacher, I was conscious of balancing the amount of energy that I give out on a daily basis. My pupils absolutely deserve the best of my energy reserves, as do I, my personal life and the people close to me, so I felt it important to make those areas my priority. So I eased back in to work, and it has been a truly gorgeous year.
Happily in the mix of it all, I also got engaged! So wedding planning kicked off, as did more of the ‘pace myself’ approach! At present, all of the major aspects of the wedding that need to be in place are booked, so we are now in the midst of a lovely calm period of waiting.
Fast forward to now, I feel I have successfully reacclimatised myself in school at this stage, in fact, the finish line for this year is now in sight. So for that reason, along with the quiet pre-wedding phase, and my desire to write reigniting, I feel ready to pop up every now and again with some words and ramblings to offer! (At present, continuing not to commit to a predictable posting schedule though for now, still a rebel without a cause!!)
So why am I bothering to share all this with you? Hopefully reading this might prompt you to think about some of your regular activities in life, and realise that the only person that you are accountable to or that you have to prove yourself to in the long run is you. It’s ok to take a break, whether from your online presence or social situations. Your energy and time is precious, as is your wellbeing. Those who matter won’t forget you in your absence, and will welcome you back with love whenever you have the right amount of energy to do so.
Free Gift – Are You A HSP? (Highly Sensitive Person)
Hi everyone, hope you’ve all been enjoying the sunshine!
I’ve been talking a lot lately about being a Highly Sensitive Person on social media, and I figure that some of you might like to find out some more about it all.
Sensitivity can be considered a disadvantage to have as a character trait when there is a lack of understanding about what being a Highly Sensitive Person actually means! The stereotype is someone who curls up in an emotional ball and overreacts when tensions are heightened, but let me tell you there is much more to it than that, with many positive benefits to be enjoyed when sensitivity is properly understood!
First things first though! To be able to embrace the positives of being a HSP, you have to know that you are one to begin with! So I’ve developed a little freebie info page for you to access to learn about the characteristics of Highly Sensitive People, and identify whether or not you are one!
Maybe you might like to take a look at this with this with your child or a family member in mind also, to better understand why their behaviours and actions might be a certain way in particular situations?
Here comes the techy bit!!
In case you have previously given me your email before, I have started afresh with mailing lists to keep in line with to GDPR standards, so if you want to access this info about HSPs, please just submit your email address again. You will be added to the updated data base for future mailing from now on, but don’t worry! Your email will be kept super safe, and I won’t spam you!!
Speaking of spam, in case your email account doesn’t recognise me when you are waiting for your email, check your spam box, and please mark me as safe so it will pop in to your inbox next time 🙂
Now that you’ve heard all the techy business, click here to access your free gift about HSPs!
Easing all your fears about Chakradance!
So when you hear the name ‘Chakradance’ do you think …
‘I can’t dance!’
‘I don’t even know what Chakras are!’
‘I’d feel too self-conscious to do that!’
I want to fill you in a little on the process to put your mind at ease …
Chakradance is for EVERYONE 😊 Continue reading “Easing all your fears about Chakradance!”
Keeping it Real- My Honest Truth!
I have always loved helping others. It seems to have been innate in me from an early age. When I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, so I could help people. It’s interesting to see now in my life how the teaching and caring facets have manifested in other ways that I could not have previously imagined! I am in my element facilitating wellbeing workshops, whether Chakradance, meditations or working with children for wellbeing. Continue reading “Keeping it Real- My Honest Truth!”