Welcome back ladies and gentlemen,
We are way into week four of Music Monday Care & Love, and I hope it feels as positive for you as JoAnna put it in her comment at last weeks post: “I think checking in here about self-care is good for me. It brings self-care from the back corner of my mind into my conscious awareness.” I feel the same about writing the posts :-).
JoAnna enjoyed the sea and bird sound audio I put into the last post and she did a brave act of self-care: She visited the sea instead of a meeting she felt compelled to go to. Please be so kind and visit her blog where she is an ambassador for good news. Thanks, JoAnna for being on this journey with us.
The Bee’s Self-Care Journey
Last week was a tough one for me. It was my mothers anniversary of passing yesterday. Mostly I feel at peace with it because it happened such a long time ago, and I am grateful for the time I had with her. But it still makes me much more anxious in general. I bite the inside of my mouth again and I am grinding my teeth at night so badly, I wake up every morning with a bad headache and my jaws hurting. It’s a challenge.
So I’ve been drinking two mugs of St. Johnswort tea a day to keep the anxiety in check. I use essential oils and affirmations to make jaws relax which somehow doesn’t work at all, and I ponder what to learn from this situation. I just do not want to go down the road of pain and grieving again.
Of course, losing your mother so early is a difficult topic and will never fully go away. But what I am working on, is to shift my attention from the pain I suffered to celebrating her and our life. I wrote somehow out of nowhere that I wanted to celebrate her life when Carol Ann from Therapy Bits was very kind to me in a comment. Afterwards, I thought: “Well, that is exactly what I should do.” After all, I had some rather cool times with her and she gave me some support when it comes to being a redhead. So I did. I am not quite sure how it is working, but at least I got through Saturday.
My experience was, that the affirmation from last week “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong”, kept me on track both with finding a way of dealing with my grief, as well as, doing little acts of self-care here and there, no matter how bad I felt.
Not a self-care Guru
I am honest: It was a struggle at times. I find it very difficult to stay awake and in the moment when there is so much pain both physical and mental. I just want to fade away at those times. Nicole over at Nicoles Journey posted a courageous post last week called “ Right now my Recovery is management” in which she described that recovery isn’t always a success. Sometimes past lessons come back and it’s difficult. I found this post very refreshing because so often bloggers show mostly the successes but not the struggles with recovery and healing. And while the “success” posts are very motivating, they also frustrate me sometimes, because I think I am not as good as they. I stumble and fall and start from the beginning again and again. It’s good to know, there are others out there too, who have to “manage” their lessons as the only way of getting through a crisis. That is how I often deal with stuff. It is also frustrating because I would like to be on the journey to healing with them and see all the parts of the journey not only the sunny ones.
My mind comes back to the topic of “journey”
It is strange how that theme of “journey” is in my mind a lot lately. I hope that Music Monday Care & love is a journey for all of us. We might start at different points of self-care, some very proficient in it already, some start at the beginning, but it is nice to share experiences and learn from each other. There are so many self-help gurus out there, who know it all and promise the solution to all your problems. But I find they usually only help to take the next step in my journey.
Not a single one of those I tried have solved anything in my life. Their lessons help to add a step to my journey but they certainly do not make it all good. In the end, I found I have to do it my way anyway. I have created Music Monday Care & love with that in mind. That is why Music Monday Care & Love makes suggestions and offers the chance to gain your own insights and make your experiences and then share them if you feel like it. I am as much on a journey as you are.
A song that makes you feel precious
Last week I asked you to add a song that makes you feel precious to your self-care routine. I have to admit, I needed a long time to find one. And no, I am not interpreting why that is. I just share the song with you: What do you take me for by Pixie Lott.
And what does Music Monday Care & Love offer this week?
I suggest developing a journaling routine. For me, journaling is a way of living well. I got my first diary when I was 10 or 11 and have used them on and off for years. You might have figured it out by now, that I am a huge fan of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”. One of the tools, that works well for me, is her Morning pages. She suggests to write 3 A-4 pages in the morning but use Stream of Consciousness writing. That means just write and don’t think about grammar or anything. Just write down what comes to mind. In her opinion that opens up creative pathways in your mind but also healing of old wounds. While I agree with her in that respect, I always found it difficult to do the three pages in handwriting and first thing in the morning. I just can’t bring that into my morning routine. So, I developed my own way of journaling which happens before I start my blog or other writing. That works quite well.
Some benefits of journaling
Research has shown that there are benefits to writing a journal on a regular basis. And here are a couple:
It creates Mindfulness: Writing a journal brings you into the moment. You can leave whatever happens in the past and let go of anxieties about your future. I have often used my journal to just let my frustration out, and it always eases anxiety or depression. And while it does not solve everything, it definitely has led me to find solutions for problems
It helps you to achieve your goals: apparently writing down what you dream off and your goals help your brain to activate those areas that help you achieve them. See it like a blueprint for building anything: You can’t do it without one because you do not know what you do.
It improves healing: Studies have shown, that expressing your thoughts and experiences in words, lower anxiety, depression and promotes better sleep. Dr James Pennemaker, who wrote “Writing to Heal”, says that writing exercises even helped many to improve their immune system. There must be something in it then I suspect
It improves creativity: Many creatives follow Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages, which I described above. But according to Thai Nguyen from the UtopianLife, even one page of journaling can have that effect.
And last but not least, it boosts your self-confidence, because when you put positive experiences down in your journal, it makes it easier for your brain and consciousness to remember them when self-doubt raises its ugly head.
Have I made my point that journaling is a good thing? I think so.
I suggest starting your own journal this week
So this week, I encourage you to develop a daily journaling routine. If you feel like it, try Julia Cameron’s Morning pages, which are fully explained here. However, I believe it does not matter if you write in an actual book with a pen or if you create a file in google, where put down your thoughts and feelings and experiences. As long as you do it. I also believe it does not matter if you do it in the morning or in the evening. As long as you do it. In fact, I find it very helpful to add a couple of sentences in the evening to round up my day.
If it is rather hard for you to get into a journaling routine at all, start with one sentence at day one. Maybe you start with: I have decided to write a journal but I find it rather hard. You might find that just this one sentence releases a writing sprint which will be quite interesting. And if not, don’t worry. Write the same sentence the next day and add another. And on day three, you write those two sentences and then add another. And on day four… you get the gist.
I also suggest you pick up our previous tools of a moment of just being which could happen just before you start writing. And I suggest, to keep your breathing in mind. And to top it all up, give yourself a minute with your favourite beverage and celebrate what you have achieved so far. That might also be a hint what to write about in your journal. A lot to take in this week isn’t it? Well, don’t worry leave out what doesn’t suit your self-care routine. The point I want to make is: it’s important to do something for yourself every day, even if it is just to sit down with a cup of tea and think of something positive about yourself.
This week’s music and self-care
And I invite you to add a song or piece of music that you think sums up your life.
Music Monday Care & Love Suggestions to take part
Ok, to remind ourselves of how we could take part, here are the suggestions:
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE
~ I invite you to appreciate yourself!
~ Preferably do this at the beginning of the week but if that does not fit, feel free to choose another time.
~ I invite you to do this with music and to explore a self-care activity
~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences but it is perfectly fine if you just do it for yourself or if you share in the comments
~ Also, feel free to incorporate self-care into your everyday life.
~ If you write a post please leave your link here in the comments that we all have the chance to cheer you on!
~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs
~ I’ll share a round-up & invitation post with a self-care activity & suggestion on what sort of music to share on Sunday afternoons.
NOW MY DEAR READERS,
GO, EXPLORE SELF-CARE AND CREATE LOTS OF LOVE
FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS!
Huffington Post: Benefits of Journaling
Julia Cameron Morning Pages:
I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice by a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.
I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help.
To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.