Are You Looking After Yourself?

One of the fundamental principles of self-care is that by first attending to your own wellbeing, you are in a better position to support others.

This principle is at the heart of Reiki.  However, it is just as true in life as it is when practicing Reiki.

Life Without Self-Care

Take a moment to reflect on what it looks like when you don’t take care of yourself.  Often this might include things like:

  • Depleted energy and tiredness
  • Easily moved to stress or angerSelf Care Infographic
  • Reduced immunity and susceptibility to illness
  • Lacking in clarity and perspective

Life With Self-Care

Compare this to what life can look like when you are taking good care of yourself:

  • Energised, resilient and well-rested
  • Clear thinking and calm under pressure
  • Strengthened immunity and overall wellbeing
  • More energy to support and engage with others

Which person would you rather be?

While the answer might be obvious, it isn’t always easy to back it up with action.

Self-Care = Self Respect

Taking care of yourself can sometimes mean putting yourself first or saying no to someone, which might feel a bit selfish.  However, there’s a difference between self-respect and selfishness.

 

Self-Care Quote

 

When you prioritise other people’s needs at the expense of your own wellbeing this can create an imbalance.

Over time this imbalance might start to produce some of the outcomes associated with not looking after yourself which isn’t great for you or for anyone else.

Balancing Self-Care

While you probably don’t want to tip the scales in the other direction and make it ALL about you, working to find that point of balance should ensure everyone gets taken care of appropriately.

If prioritising your wellbeing ever feels like a challenge, remind yourself of the airline safety demonstration.  There’s a good reason they advise you to fit your own oxygen mask before assisting infants or small children.

What does self-care look like?

Self-care strategies will look different for everyone.  It will come down to what feels nurturing and supportive for you and what best fits in with your life.

It can be as simple as:

  • Choosing foods that nourish your body
  • Making time to get outside for a short walk
  • Including technology-free-time in your week
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Burning some essential oils
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Listening to a short guided meditation (jump on the mailing list to get a free one if you’d like)
  • Taking a yoga class
  • Completing a Reiki self-treatment

Sometimes it might also include extra support such as:

  • Booking in for a massage
  • Seeing an acupuncturist
  • Visiting a naturopath
  • Arranging a kinesiology appointment
  • Booking a Reiki treatment

Self-awareness and self-compassion also play a part in self-care.

It can help to cultivate a sense of awareness so you know what it looks like when your resilience starts to slip.  That awareness can enable you to dip into your self-care toolkit and proactively manage your wellbeing when this happens, which just might mean less downtime in the long run.

Also try to be compassionate and forgiving towards yourself when things don’t go according to plan.  If your self-care routine falls by the wayside, don’t waste time beating yourself up.  Just do your best and incorporate whatever self-care strategies you’re able to at the time.


Do you have regular self-care practices?  What are your favourite self-care strategies?  Please share your perspective in the comments below.

With self-treatment at the core of the practice, Reiki can be a simple but effective self-care strategy for anyone.  A Level 1 Reiki course is all you need if you’d like to learn this practice for yourself.

Problems Meditating? Try Reiki!

Does an active mind make it difficult for you to relax or meditate?

Then you’re probably familiar with the following drill.  You:

  • Feel a bit restless;
  • Find it hard to focus your attention;  and
  • Notice random thoughts that keep popping up and interfering with your attempt to relax.

 

During my very first experience with Reiki I was amazed by just how quiet my mind became during the treatment – having encountered all of the above challenges over the years.

Since then, I’ve often felt that the practice of Reiki might be better described as a form of facilitated meditation to those who don’t know much about it.  Based on my experience:

  • A Reiki treatment helps to facilitate a relaxed, meditative state; and
  • The treatment process helps you to achieve this state more easily and quickly than meditation alone.

I believe that it’s this relaxed, meditative state that allows you to connect with your body’s innate capacity to self-heal and re-establish the balance and equilibrium it needs.

I recently read an article by Judith Pennington that supports those feelings.  Judith has conducted work that measures the brainwave frequencies of both practitioner and recipient during Reiki treatments.  In doing so she discovered that both parties consistently recorded meditative brain wave patterns that are generally only seen in experienced meditators!

 

So if you find meditation hard work,  why not try a Reiki treatment!

And for the times when it’s not possible to make it along for a treatment, practice meditating on your own (the more you practice the easier it will get!).

To help you on your way I’ve put together a FREE guided meditation recording called ‘Peaceful Garden’ (it goes for around 8 minutes).

Join the mailing list to get access to the meditation recording.




Note:  Not everyone’s first experience with Reiki will be like mine.  If you have a particularly busy mind and have never tried any kind of meditation or relaxation techniques before, it might take several sessions before you start to experience what I’ve talked about here.  So please make sure you enter the process with realistic expectations.

 

 

 

 

Reiki for Athletes

Athletes, coaches and trainers are always on the lookout for new ways to manage injuries effectively and gain an advantage on competitors.

In the video below, Charles Way – former professional football player with the New York Giants – discusses his experience with Reiki treatments.

In it he recommends Reiki treatments for athletes as a way to support:

  • Physical recovery
  • Relaxation & mental rejuvenation
  • Gaining a winning edge in competition

After several unsuccessful knee operations Charles decided to try Reiki.  He was sceptical at first – it took three sessions for him to really open up to the process (there’s a reason I recommend blocks of three sessions!).

But he got results.

Over time his injury improved, allowing him to exercise and play with his kids again.  He even reached the point where he was capable of playing at a professional level again.

But what I love most about his experience is this:  even though he reached his physical goal, he realised that playing professional football again didn’t mean as much to him as when he first started the process.

His priorities had shifted and he had gained a greater sense of awareness and clarity about what mattered most to him.

That’s just solid gold to me!

Reiki in Hospitals

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years you’ll have heard of Dr Oz – he’s the guy from Oprah.

Dr Oz has used Reiki healing in operating theatres on heart transplant and bypass patients with some positive results.  There was NOT ONE instance of:

  • Post-operative depression;
  • Post-operative pain or leg weakness in bypass patients; or
  • Organ rejection in transplant patients.

Dr Oz also suggests that the use of energy in healing will be the biggest frontier in medicine over the next 10 years!

Check out the CNN report for yourself.

It also talks about the implementation of cutting-edge therapies at UCLA Medical Centre, where they’re using Reiki healing techniques at their Paediatric Pain Clinic.

Believe it or Not

Believe.  The second of the Two Words I’ve chosen to work with this year.

As an accountant, taking the conservative approach that mitigates any risks has been drummed into me over many years.  The unfortunate side-effect of this is that I’ve been guilty of ‘risk managing’ ideas to death over the years.  Seeing all the reasons something can’t work rather than the possibility or potential in those ideas.

But no more!

I commit to shaking off the shackles of pessimism and doubt that have been part of my makeup for so long.  I’m replacing them with optimism and confidence.

So what does it mean to Believe?

The dictionary says it’s about having confidence or faith in the truth or existence of something without absolute proof that you’re right.

Here’s what the word Believe means to me:

  • Trust in Possibility

Firstly, it means being open to new ideas and possibilities.  Then it becomes about trusting in those ideas and believing them into existence instead of worrying them into oblivion.  If what you think is what you bring to life, I’ll take belief in new and exciting possibilities over fear and doubt from now on thanks.

  • Self-Confidence

This is about belief in myself.  That who I am and what I do right now is enough.  I don’t need to seek validation from external parties – only from myself.  It’s about being prepared to back myself and use positive, rather than negative, self-talk about what’s possible for me.

  • Persistence

This is the practical part of Believe – requiring action and commitment. I’m sure there are self-help gurus out there that would have you believe otherwise, but let’s be realistic.  Sometimes trusting in possibility and believing in myself might not get the job done first time.  It’s entirely possible that I might need to try again and in several different ways before those new ideas fall into place and find their groove.

Thanks to Nadine Fawell for the inspiration to distil the essence of these much broader ideas down to two succinct words!

“Whether you believe you can or not, you’re right.”  Henry Ford

Let’s Get Real

Thanks to some inspiration from the Two Words Project, I’ve been contemplating the two words that represent how I want to be this year.

The first one is Real.

But what does it mean to be real?  (more on the second word next time)

According to the dictionary it’s about being genuine and authentic and free of pretence or falsehood.

But it’s also more than that.  I think it includes being flawed, forgiving and honest.

Flawed

I found myself pontificating on this very subject the other weekend.  Espousing the generally accepted wisdom that by being less than perfect, my friend was being more relatable and accessible to others.  To real people.  She wasn’t setting some ridiculously unattainable standard of highly contrived Hollywood success or perfection.

As someone who’s spent most of my life over-achieving and simply not ‘doing’ failure, this has been a challenge for me as well.

When failure or imperfection aren’t acceptable to us we live in a place of fear.  New opportunities are vetted based on whether or not we think we can be successful.  New projects never get off the ground because we’re too worried that they’re not perfect enough or ‘ready’ yet.

But what would happen if we were less than perfect or if we failed?  Would the sky really fall?  Or would we simply pick ourselves up and try again?  Wouldn’t the people that matter still love and support us?

I think that accepting our flaws allows us to be more brave.  In accepting the possibility of failure and being OK with it, we make ourselves more open to giving things a go.

Forgiving

Of ourselves!

Do you:

  • Easily accept and forgive other people’s imperfections but not your own?
  • Hold yourself to a higher standard, thinking their imperfections are OK but mine aren’t?

Guilty!

Aren’t we equally as deserving of that forgiveness though?  What if we could:

  • Stop being so hard on ourselves and criticising our imperfections
  • Be at least as kind and forgiving to ourselves as we are to others
  • Focus on the positives instead of the negatives

When we do or say something that’s less than perfect let’s try to accept it and just move on.  You can’t go back in time and change it so there’s really not much point in continuing to worry about it!

Honest

Being flawed and forgiving is one thing.  But what about honesty?

Are we able to stop glossing over the flaws, imperfections, hardships or failures with a smile when someone asks how we’re going?  Are we comfortable enough to tell it how it is when things are less than OK?

The power of honesty can be to:

  • Show others that it’s OK for them to be real too
  • Allow people to support us –  that can be hard if they don’t know that something’s up
  • Strengthen our relationships and allow us to connect with others in a more meaningful way

 

There’s a lot more real-ness in my life these days but there’s still room for more.  Because it’s a process.  One that should be approached in the spirit of the word itself – with imperfection, forgiveness and honesty.

Do you allow yourself to be real?

“Be Yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”  Oscar Wilde

 

 

How to Keep a Dream Journal

I’ve found myself suggesting the idea of a dream journal to several clients lately.  It’s really something that most people would find beneficial though – particularly during times of significant change and upheaval.

Based on my experience, here are some tips for keeping your dream journal:

1. Set the intention to remember your dreams before going to sleep

If you tell yourself that you never remember your dreams then you probably won’t remember them.

Intention is a powerful tool though.  Tell yourself that youWILL remember your dreams and that you’ll write them down.   Then watch what happens over time.

2. Keep a notebook and pen close to your bed

Have a dedicated dream journal so you can record everything in the same place.  Your dreams will be recorded in chronological order and you should find it easier to identify any patterns when you read them again later.

Keeping your dream journal close to your bed not only reinforces your intention to remember your dreams but it also signifies that you intend to take action when you do recall them.  It also makes it easier for you to record your dreams.

3. As soon as you wake up in the morning write down everything that you can remember from your dream.

The sooner you write your dream down the less likely you are to forget important details.

By writing it down while it’s still fresh in your mind you’ll capture more details.

Try to include how you felt as well as what happened during your dream.  If there are any images that seem important try to draw them as well (to the best of your ability).

4. Make sure you record the date of your dream

This will help provide some context for what was happening for you at the time of the dream.  You may even find it helpful to note any significant events or experiences that occurred around a particular date.

5. Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything from your dream

You might find that you don’t remember very much to begin with and that’s perfectly normal.  Just write down what you do remember.  And most importantly, keep going!  The more you persist with the exercise the more you’ll start to recall from your dreams.

In my experience, it can also be useful to note down any thoughts, images or other experiences that occur during a Reiki treatment as these can provide similar insights to dreams.

What might your dreams show you if you kept a dream journal?  Why not give it a try and find out!

The Energy of Commitment

There’s a certain energy that comes from making a commitment to your health and wellbeing.

Some people come along for a single session of Reiki which they find peaceful, relaxing and occasionally insightful which is great.

Working with Reiki is like peeling away the layers of an onion though.  Early on, you can just be chipping away at the superficial layers on the outside.  It’s not until you work your way through some of those outer layers that you start to strike gold.

That’s where committing to a series of regular treatments can make a difference.

Committing to regular treatments:

  • Sets aside dedicated time for you to spend on your wellbeing;
  • Signals to the Universe that you’re ready to peel away those outer layers; and
  • Allows the energy to work with you at a much deeper level.

Booking a series of treatments can even allow that energy to start working before you arrive at your appointments!

So when you book your next appointment, consider booking a series of appointments instead.

Paying for your sessions in advance can be a great way to save money too.  Check out the website or email me to find out more about package discounts.

The Importance of Grounding

One of the most important lessons I remember from when I was learning Reiki was to make sure you’re grounded before working with someone.

A good analogy for grounding is anchoring.  Think of a boat anchored just off shore or connected to a mooring.  You make sure the boat is anchored so it doesn’t go drifting off with the tides and you know where to find it.

And our own energy is the same.  It needs to be anchored or grounded so we don’t lose ourselves in what we’re doing.  Whether that’s working with energy or just living our busy everyday lives.

Life just seems to keep getting busier and more demanding of us too.  So the need for us to ground and refocus only becomes more important.

So how do you know if you’ve become ungrounded?   A few examples of what you might notice include:

  • Feeling stressed, anxious or worried
  • Unable to think clearly – mentally unfocused
  • Pain or coldness in lower back, legs or feet

If you do notice that you’re feeling ungrounded, what can you do about it?    Here are just a few ideas:

1.  Things that connect you to nature -

  • Outdoor exercise (walking, running, bike riding etc)
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • A picnic in your local park

2.  Things that help you to relax and centre -

  • A nice hot bath
  • Creative pursuits
  • Mindful breathing or meditation
  • Relaxation treatments like massage or Reiki

3.  Visualisations -

  • Imagine you have roots sprouting out of your feet into the earth and spreading out around you.
  • Visualise a silver chord extending down from the base of your spine and ‘plugging’ you in to the earth.
  • See yourself standing at the edge of the ocean.  As the waves wash in and out over your feet, you feel them sink into the sand.
  • It’s not an exhaustive list so improvise a little and figure out what works best for you.  As a Piscean, anything to do with water works well for me – things like walking by the beach and a hot bath.

If you’d like to share any of your own tried and tested grounding techniques, I’d love to hear from you.

My First Reiki Experience

My first experience of Reiki was acting as a guinea pig for a good friend who had just completed her training.

Like many people, I had been a bit sceptical about the practice and didn’t really see how it could work – wasn’t it just someone waving their hands about a bit?

But I knew I couldn’t really judge until I’d tried it for myself.

Working with someone I knew and trusted and who showed a lot of faith in the process was what helped get me over the line and decide to give it a go.  I didn’t really know what to expect from the session so I just figured it would be an opportunity to relax for a while.

I got a lot more than I bargained for though and there were three key experiences that led me to conclude there was much more to Reiki than I had originally thought.

1.  Hot Hands

My friend is prone to feeling the cold, particularly in her hands and feet.  So when I noticed that her hands were incredibly   warm – almost hot – I couldn’t help but smirk to myself in amusement at the irony!

2.  Quiet Mind

For anyone who’s ever done any kind of meditation, you’ll appreciate the difficulty of switching off an overly active mind, and I’m no exception to this.  You know how it goes – you get a bit restless, find it hard to concentrate or you get random thoughts popping up and interfering with your attempts to reach that elusive state of inner peace and calmness.  So what surprised me most about that first Reiki treatment was how quiet and still my mind was.  It felt like there was some kind of energy field around my mind that was absorbing those distracting thoughts.

3.  Best Sleep Ever

That night after our Reiki session I had the most amazing night’s sleep I’ve ever had.  I drifted off to sleep relatively quickly (quite unusual for me at the time) and slept incredibly deeply and soundly for the whole night.  When I woke up the next day I felt like I’d slept for 12+ hours, even though in reality it was probably more like 7 or 8 hours.

To anyone who has a degree of scepticism like the one I described above, I’d say just jump in and try it.  It’s something that needs to be experienced, not rationalised, in order to be understood.  If you’re ready to give it a try, why not book in for your first treatment now.