Blog 3 – The importance of kindness to yourself

I have just had four days with no kids. They went to their Dad. I intended to embark on a head-relieving, bliss-filled, wine-fuelled, Netflix gorging, Liz pleasing long weekend of pleasure and calm in the face of a KFZ (Kid-Free Zone).

That was the intention. The reality was somewhat different. I did have some wine and had interruption-free zooms with my friends. I had the craic. It always amazes me how a conversation can begin with ‘Well we’re in lockdown, I have absolutely no news’ and two hours later we are still roaring laughing. The joys of old friends. Then the next day hit. Now being a single Mum to two teens means I tend not to indulge in much of the boozing and beering, not for moral reasons, simply because my aging old carcass can’t do what it used to do.

I have a tendency to forget that I am currently 51 and three quarters, and not 25. My capacity for ethanol consumption has declined in direct proportion to my increasing age. Who’s hasn’t?

So giving myself a day off, guilt-free, I decided to relax. I tried some gentle yoga and found myself regressing to my toddler years where counting to ten goes 1,2, 9, 10. Down dogs attempted and put firmly back in their kennel, I lay on my mat to meditate. Half an hour later, and with much drool (must have been from the dog), I threw my hat at it and proceeded to go from bed to couch and back again.

Day three found me happily and quite smugly in my office. I sent one email, did five minutes research on my second novel and gave up.

More wine and zooming this time with different friends, one must keep up the contact, not as much wine as the lip had been cut off me the day before, and an earlier bed.

Day four found me banjaxed. Not hungover as I had been moderate with the drinking but exhaustion levels hitting the roof. What was wrong with me? I mused. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t get motivated. I felt I should be able to power through my ‘to do’ list. It wasn’t happening. After walk number three for the day, I finally reached out to one of my mentors, a teacher I have had for a long time. He reminded me that it was ok to rest and that was what I needed.

My point ladies and gentlemen is, we so often forget to be kind to ourselves. My brain and objectives for the weekend were on one page and my body was on another. It’s similar to carrying two large and very heavy shopping bags for a long time and when you put them down the tiredness rushes into the marrow of your bones and you are exhausted.

I think this is what happened to me this weekend. It was a lesson well learned. Once I gave myself permission to go back to bed guilt free then my body began to recuperate. I had three naps and a massive nights sleep. I’m not saying the next day was full of unicorns dancing in my kitchen but I felt rested, and able to cope with whatever was on my plate for that day.

And that’s all we ever need to be able to do.

So mindfulness technique for this blog:

Mindlessness not mindfulness:

Go for a walk, it doesn’t have to be far, around the block. Look at your shoes and feel your feet in your shoes. Work your attention up your body and feel how you are in your skin. Then breathe. Smell whatever is in the air. Begin to observe what’s around you, non-judgementally. Just see. What do you hear? Hopefully not sirens coming for you as this may pull you out of the non-judgement part of the process!!

It’s an exercise in getting into your body and out of your mind: being present in the moment, objectively and observationally. I found its very like sitting and doing a traditional meditation, as my thoughts would come in, what’s for dinner/the shopping/the last cat video I saw, and they do come in and take you away, then come back to the view, the noise of the birds, am I hot or cold and I am back in the present moment, connecting with my body again. And on and on. Until it’s time to go and do the dinner/shopping/check out that all important cat video. And continue it then, be in that moment, be doing the dinner when you are doing the dinner etc.


Quartz Crystal: These can be programmed to amplify all other crystals and can add serious oomph to your day. They can help you focus and provide vim and vigour to your energy reserves.

Amethyst: These guys can really clear your energy fields and add a protective layer to you if you are feeling low. Placing a piece on your third eye can (Brow chakra) can relieve symptoms of fatigue and lethargy.

Amber: This crystal can harness the power of the sun and give you a boost. It helps develop a positive and energetic attitude.

Yoga Tips:

Ahimsa: Non-violence

TheYama’sand Niyama’sare the yogic moral ethical codes for all our relationships, to ourselves, to others and the world around us.  The first of the Yama’sis Ahimsa– non-violence. If we are to practice Ahimsa, it is not just in a state of non-aggression or attacking another, it is in how we treat ourselves, in our thoughts, words and deeds.

Recognising the ‘should’ mentality is vital to changing how we treat ourselves. In our busy Western lives we are constantly bombarded with messages to achieve, to be productive, to be a winner. There is little value placed on ‘being’ and much more kudos given to ‘doing’. So to ‘not-do’ feels like a failure. We are hot wired to constantly strive for success and are measured by society accordingly. However this success often comes with levels of stress that we are unaware of. It can lead us into a state of permanent ‘Fight or flight’ with no method/practice/knowledge to switch it off. If left unchecked this mentality can lead to some serious health issues.

Cultivating kindness to ourselves takes time and attention. But if we begin to notice how we speak to ourselves, and begin to catch the criticisms and turn them into kindness, then we begin practicing Ahimsa. Write down some positive affirmations: ‘Today I choose to have a positive body image. I actively compliment myself. I am doing a great job. Its ok to chill.’

Being mindful of our thoughts and our self speak is vital to practicing Ahimsa. Monitor your inner dialogue. Notice your negative beliefs, conditionings, and inner dialogue. Create positive thoughts and dialogue instead.

Also learn to say no. Again, something else that is not valued, especially among women who historically are conditioned to be self sacrificing and giving. This is an old construct that needs to be put firmly to bed. Putting yourself first is ok. In fact it is imperative to health and happiness. Instead of saying no to others, say yes to yourself.

“When we work from a place, I believe, that says ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.” Brene Brow

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