How can you be unapologetically you?
This was the question my Wild Sister asked a group of us this spring, along with “What is your vision for the future of your career?”
I left the zoom meet feeling a little lost as to how to answer these homework questions at first.
I have an amazing life, a wonderful family, a career that I am passionate about and I thrive in, hobbies that I am passionate about, friends who I love to spend time with.
What could I possibly desire to change?
As I lay in bed that night, still mulling over these questions, it dawned on me that what I need to do is to stop apologizing when I tell people about the things I hold as important or am passionate about.
I needed to stop saying things like “this might not be your cup of tea, but …”
In essence I was pre-apologizing in case I offended someone with my idea; pre-apologizing for sharing something I am passionate about with people in my life.
Being unapologetically me is about having the courage to stand up and proudly share that I am a crystal wearing, meditating, essential oil using, intuitive, empathic, moon lover, stargazing, photographer, artist, science geek ... who gets dressed in the morning based on colour numerology; who lives in tune with the phases of the moon; who uses chakra energy to empower an amazing life; who heads to the forest to recharge; who smudges to clear away negative energies; who honours the universe and the gifts it gives; who loves a good romance novel (and even a mediocre one); who can create a flourishing garden outdoors but has killed A LOT of indoor plants lol; who gets excited to read about new advancements in science and medicine; and who loves to share the knowledge I have been collecting in my cranium my whole life.
Being unapologetically me meant freely telling people something when I feel it might help … be it an exercise or stretch, a stone recommendation, an essential oil to use, or a meditation to practice.
So then my thoughts went to ... “How can I blend this into my business?”
“How can I share things I am passionate about with more people?”
This little seed of an idea unfurled and blossomed into Essentials by BAC.
Essentials by BAC gave me a way to pull together all of the things that I love into one place so that I can share with you … and it even grew along the way from a collection of 3 to more (and there may be even more added in the future).
Everything in my collection is created and curated from my passions.
Meditations that resonate with my heart and soul … (many thanks to my husband for wandering with me searching for nature sounds to record & Miss S one of my Wild Sisters for inspiring the idea to make phone wallpapers for each theme) ... recorded by me.
Stones that were pulled from the dirt by my hands … or the hands of my helpers ... that hold amazing vibrational energy and the power to positively influence your life.
Photography and Art, created by me, that I have always been a little afraid to share and sell ... a little afraid that it wasn't good enough.
A planner that pulls together the pieces of a holistic life into one beautiful plan; taking the focus off of obligations while still recognizing that some appointments need to be written down so they aren’t forgotten.
And lastly my essential oil blends, which have thrown me on a side adventure ... making the choice to take this through the proper channels and to register them as natural health products with health Canada so that I can tell you how they can benefit your health and wellness. I am just at the beginning of this crazy process, but I think I have a handle on it now. There is a bit more to do before I can submit my applications, so I hope to get this all completed and be able to share my blends with you soon.
This is how Essentials by BAC came to be, so my question to you is ….
What could you do if you were more unapologetically you?
"and suddenly you just know ... it's time to start something new, something unapologetically you ... it's time to trust in the magic of beginnings"
First, let me start by saying that I am in no way an expert on boundaries and I have not actual training in this area. Most of my experience with boundaries is from personal experience, observation, continued learning, and what I see in the clinic; I can however recommend a professional or two if you are in need of some support with this.
Although I am not an expert, boundaries are something that I have come to feel strongly about personally and professionally.
So even though this is a topic that can quite frankly be intimidating to ponder, it is also a topic that has the power to help you live your most amazing holistic life.
Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You get to teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won't accept. ~Anna Taylor
What are some signs you need healthy boundaries?
Most of my personal work on boundaries has happened without even realizing that was what I was establishing.
All I knew was that there was something in my life that I did not feel was acceptable and I had to figure out what I felt was acceptable moving forward.
Often establishing boundaries results from feeling resentment, frustration, angry, and burnout ... spoiler alert, these are all indicators of poor or weak boundaries.
Feeling bad or guilty when you say NO ... not feeling able to say NO ... feeling you need to explain your decisions or rationalize your choices and decisions to others ... not speaking up when you are treated poorly ... letting others define you ... giving as much as you can without thought for your self or your well being.
What are healthy boundaries?
To start creating healthy boundaries, we must first look at what boundaries actually are.
Healthy boundaries are the physical, emotional, and mental limits we establish in order to protect ourselves, our time, our energy, our relationships, and our well being.
They are a way of communicating to others that we have self respect and self worth; and are a means to take control of your life, preserve your integrity, to take responsibility for who you really are and create your best life.
Ultimately boundaries act like filters on your life, letting in what is acceptable and keeping out what isn't.
Healthy boundaries are critical to your self care.
What do healthy boundaries look like?
Here are some of my personal boundaries as well as some that I have found through my learning ...
Some boundary setting guidance
Love yourself enough to set boundaries!
Aches & Pains
You are doing all the right things … eating to nourish your body, getting enough rest, moving your body every day, taking care of you. You even have your next massage (or 2 or 3) booked.
So what do you do when aches & pains pop up in between treatments?
Well first of all you can always call and try to get in earlier for you next massage treatment, nothing is ever set-in stone even if the appointment has been booked for months.
If this is not an option, here are some things to try once you determine what type of pain you are dealing with.
First … if the pain is related to an acute injury (sprains, strains, fall, contusion) pull the ice pack out of the freezer and RICE (rest ice compression elevate), particularly in the first couple of days after injury … this will help to minimize swelling, bruising, and inflammation.
If you don’t have an injury ice pack that lives in your freezer like I do, try a bag of frozen peas ... they work amazing because they easily contour around the injured area, just make sure you don’t accidentally cook them for dinner later lol.
Second … if the pain is related to muscle tension, then here are some options for you to try …
These all become your tools to manage aches and pains at home between regular massage treatments.
As you try each of these tools, you will probably find a couple that work well for you and some that don’t. Make sure to keep the ones that work handy so that they are available right when you need help.
Keep in mind that what works for the “knot” in your back may not work for your tight hamstrings … and what works for me might not work for you.
But more often than not when we are in pain, anything that helps is better than nothing.
Do you have a favourite way to manage aches and pains between regular massage treatments?
Share your favourites in the comments below.
the right yoga for you
This week I decided to look at something that has been a part of my life for about 25 years now.
And although I may not have practiced faithfully for 25 years, I have always been able to go back to it and draw on my experiences with it.
I have had times when I was forced to step away from practice ... I suffered from lingering hyper-mobility and joint instability after giving birth to my daughter, and although yoga felt good after she was born, it was actually making my back issues worse.
Over time I learned to listen more closely to what my body needs and the value of an amazing teacher (not just a video online). The power of having someone help me make accommodations for my back, knee, and ankle so that I am still able to embrace yoga and have it a part of my life despite all of my bodies challenges.
A note on the topic of Live Instruction vs Pre-recorded ... pre-recorded videos provide an amazing opportunity to access a wide range of classes not available in your area or timezone; however if you are a beginner or have challenges due to injuries or physical limitations, I highly recommend finding an instructor who does either in person classes or live online classes so that they can assist you and help to ensure that you do not hurt yourself getting into a posture that your body shouldn't go into. There are tons of accommodations that can be made, you just have to know what they are.
Before we explore the different types of yoga out there, I think we need to start by looking at what exactly Yoga is.
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOGA?
Yoga is a spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which includes breathing control, simple meditation and the adoption of specific bodily postures; it is widely practiced for health and relaxation. The yoga widely known in the West is based on hatha yoga, which forms one aspect of the ancient Hindu system of religious and ascetic observance and meditation, the highest form of which is raja yoga and the ultimate aim of which is spiritual purification and self-understanding leading to samadhi or union with the divine. www.oxforddictionaries.com
Your options ...
Hatha Yoga - has been around since the 15th century in India, and became popular here in the west in the mid 20th century. Hatha is a holistic yoga path, it attempts to balance the mind and body via physical postures (asanas), purification practices, controlled breathing, and calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. It is great for beginners or to wind down in the evening.
Restorative Yoga - Is focused on relaxing your mind and body. It involves a handful of poses that are help for extended periods of time, poses to open your chest for breath work, and more lying down than is typical yoga practice. Restorative yoga will leave you feeling nourished and well rested.
Vinyasa Yoga - Is commonly called Vinyasa flow because you move or flow from one pose to the next. These classes typically start with a sun salutation then move to more postures or poses.
Bikram Yoga - More commonly known as Hot Yoga, is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercise performed during a 90 minute class. Bikram is practiced in 105 degree heat and 40% humidity to allow loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating (thought to be cleansing). It was founded in 1970’s in LA and the postures are based on the postures or poses in traditional Hatha yoga.
Prenatal Yoga - This type of yoga practice is great not only while you are pregnant, but after your baby is born while you recover and regain your body. It helps to keep the core strong, helps with posture, and helps aid with pregnancy aches and pains. Prenatal yoga also focuses on breathing and can help you to develop good breathing habits before going into labour.
Kundalini Yoga - Kundalini refers to the energy of the root chakra, which surrounds the area around the lower spine. Kundalini yoga uses breath in conjunction with physical movements to free the energy in the lower body and allowing it to move upwards.
Ashtanga Yoga - Also known as Power Yoga, is a physically demanding practice of yoga that requires constant movement. If you are wanting to sculpt and define your muscles while getting cardio, give Ashtanga Yoga a try.
Lyengar Yoga - Lyengar is a methodical yoga practice using lots of props like blocks, straps and cushions. It focuses on body alignment and can be great for those in need of physical therapy because of this.
Anusara Yoga - Anusara may be the most spiritual type of yoga as it focuses on looking inwards, and seeing the light within yourself and others. Because it is a “celebration of the heart”, the classes have an upbeat, uplifting community type vibe that can be welcoming.
Jivamukti Yoga - Jivamukti means liberation while living, and is a mix of Vinyasa flow sequencing infused with chanting and a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.
I hope that this information on the different types of yoga inspires you to give one a try, or better yet try a number of them.
So grab a mat and allow yourself the time to balance you mind, body and spirit through regular yoga practice . . . you will love it, I am certain!
Definition of Namaste - a respectful greeting or salutation said when giving a namaskar (palms together in front of your chest like in the picture).
Origin: Hindi from Sanskrit namas ‘bowing’ + te ‘to you’
A powerful ritual
I have spent a lot of time recently chatting with clients about their stress level & wellbeing.
Pretty consistently we talk about how out of control stress is right now, and how they just don’t know what to do about it.
Since the stressors aren’t going away anytime soon, it’s time to create a healing ritual of mindfulness, meditation and gratitude to allow you to feel calm and to interrupt the chronic stress cycle.
Often, I hear that people don’t find breathing exercises helpful in moments of stress crisis (whenever the fight or flight part of your nervous system is triggered for whatever reason).
But I think that all it takes is creating a ritual around your breathing exercise and consistent practice to condition your mind and body to relax and breathing to calm.
Eventually your ritual will be successful at breaking the stress cycle in those critical moments of stress & crisis.
Rituals allow you to quickly and more easily shift and engage in a specific mindset.
Basically you are giving your brain the cues that tell it what is coming so it can say “oh, we like the serenity we feel after this, let’s get right to that”.
Think about when you get on the massage table for your appointment, once you are settled you probably have a big sigh exhale and immediately start to let go and relax. Same exact thing.
So if your goal is to calm and sooth your nervous system, having a ritual around your breathing exercise can help you more quickly achieve that serenity and calm.
Creating Your Own Ritual
Your ritual should have a couple of key components when your goal is reducing your stress response. Basically the more cues you can give your brain the better, but keep it simple enough that you don’t get bogged down in the process and end up more stressed or frustrated than when you started.
Some other things that can add power to your ritual ... crystals like amethyst (has a calming vibration that is wonderful in times of anxiety and stress) or rose quartz (has a strong vibration of unconditional love, joy, warmth and connection to the heart); a mala to mark of your breaths; a mantra, my favourite one recently is Shima (pronounced she-ma) which means Love; a dedicated space to practice; aura spray (I love these from Alypsis); a mediation cushion (comfort is key).
What is the best time of day to practice?
Well this depends entirely on you.
If your quiet moment is when the kids are down for a nap, do it then.
When your stress is waking you up during the night, try preforming your ritual just prior to bed.
Alternately, you could try first thing in the morning for a positive and calm start to your day.
The key is to pick a time that you can consistently commit to practicing your ritual.
Rituals don’t have to take an incredible amount of time, but they do need to be practiced regularly in order for you to experience the quick and easy slip into your desired mindset.
Real Life Inspiration
One of my clients was struggling to calm her mind and get good restful sleep at night, so the ritual below is what we pulled together for her to try.
She practiced this ritual every night, just before turning off the lights, and by her next massage appointment 4 weeks later was already experiencing improved sleep which in turn made the days easier to handle. It was still a work in progress for her, but she was beginning to feel less overwhelmed and stressed; and the plan was to continue with regularly incorporating her ritual into her bedtime routine.
I hope this inspires you and helps guide you in creating your own ritual to calm your stressed nervous system.
If you are needing some further help pulling your ritual together please let me know and we can chat.
Remember that this is an extremely personal ritual and what works for me might actually stress you out.
So do what works for you!
I am passionate not only about Massage Therapy, but also living a holistic lifestyle and empowering others to do the same!