Tagged with "health"
Why We Put Ourselves Last & Why Self-Care Should Be a Priority
Category: Consciousness
Tags: Consciousness Empowerment Health

'Take care of yourself' motivational message written in modern script calligraphy on a watercolor background texture stain, scalable vector graphic

 

“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind.” ~Dodinsky 

Sometimes, when we’re feeling stressed and running around taking care of everybody else, the healthiest thing we can do is to stop and consider how we can take care of ourselves.

While this seems obvious to some people, many of us struggle with the idea of putting ourselves first. We were raised to think we should always put others before ourselves and ignore our own needs—that it is somehow arrogant or self-centered, and not a nice thing to do.

So, why is self-care not held in high regard as the essential practice that it is for our well-being?

Here, I take a look at some misconceptions that hold us back from looking after the most important person in our lives, explore why self-care is better for others around us, and share my own list of self-care commitments, as somebody who has struggled with this in the past.

1. We think self-care means being selfish. 

Taking care of ourselves is the opposite of being selfish, as it strengthens us and enables us to support our loved ones better. We are no use to anyone if our energy is depleted because we have given every last bit of it away. Self-care is an antidote to stress, as it builds resilience so we can better cope with challenges.

Just think how they tell us to put on our oxygen mask first on an airplane before we help others. Yes, absolutely support others, but nurture yourself first.

2. We confuse “rescuing” with caring.

 

We often sacrifice self-care because we’re too busy trying to save everyone else. But people have to learn their own lessons in life, however painful that is. Who are you to decide that you know what is right for them? Now that is selfish, as it’s based on your own desires for them, which may not truly be in their best interests.

The way we can really help is to focus on ourselves and stop trying to run others’ lives. While we think we’re caring by “rescuing” them from unpleasant experiences in their lives, we are denying them the opportunity to face their own challenges, and grow stronger or learn a lesson from doing so.

This has been a hard truth for me to face, as I always thought I was being nice and caring. It’s even tougher to accept now that a close family member of mine is very ill, mostly caused by their own actions. I have an overwhelming desire to help, and have tried on numerous occasions, but I now realize that they have to want to change.

By rescuing them every time, out of what we believe is love, the rest of the family are enabling this person to stay feeling helpless, and we are burning ourselves out with stress.

I don’t mean we should never help people, but there is a difference between providing support for somebody who asks and taking it upon ourselves to save somebody and make their life turn out in a way that we think it should.

3. We are accustomed to relationships based on neediness, not real love.

We often fall in love with the idea of being in love, because we watch Hollywood films that portray love as dramatic and needing to be with somebody 24/7.

When we give from this place, we give too much, because we believe we have to die for that person and other such dramatic statements. As Ernest Hemmingway wrote in Men Without Women, “The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much and forgetting that you are special too.”

Instead of spending our every waking hour thinking about that other person and forgetting ourselves, we (and our partners!) would be better served by focusing on ourselves. This way, we’ll be able to give from a place of wholeness, without expecting anything in return or feeling resentful.

As Rollo May said, “Love is generally confused with dependence; but in point of fact, you can only love in proportion to your capacity for independence.” If we take care of ourselves, we are more independent, less needy of getting attention or affection, and more capable of truly connecting with another human being.

4. We don’t realize we teach people how to treat us.

We teach people how to treat us by our own actions and attitude toward ourselves. By putting signs out there that you are a rescuer and will sacrifice yourself to help others, you attract the sort of people who want to be rescued and for whom it has to be all about them—not a balanced relationship.

Then, you have made it a self-fulfilling prophecy, by effectively bringing about what you always complain that you attract: people who take advantage of your good nature.

Here, it is useful to question whether they have really taken everything we have or if we have voluntarily given it all to them. Yes, they have played a part, but we can’t change them. We only have control over our own actions, so what part did we play?

Also, although this can be hard to hear, there is always a pay-off for us. Is it that you always get to be the “nice guy” or the “victim”? Take a long hard look now…

5. We expect others to take care of us.

While we might believe that our actions are purely altruistic and caring, are we actually expecting something in return?

I have previously been guilty of giving everything and believing I was being nice, but then feeling resentful when they inevitably didn’t give back in equal measure.

I complained to my friends that this or that person didn’t give me enough (and, in some cases, I wouldn’t have been wrong!) It’s easy to complain about what others aren’t doing. It’s hard to accept that we have chosen to give all our love to them and keep none for ourselves, expecting them to fill a gap they couldn’t fill, because it was our own self-esteem that was missing.

Yes, somebody may take advantage of your caring nature, but if you lie down to be walked on, you can’t be surprised when people treat you like a doormat. Your self-care is your responsibility, nobody else’s.

6. We don’t realize our worth.

Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that we think others are worth more than us. If we are confident in our love for ourselves and treat ourselves as if we are worthy, then that is what we will attract back.

Yes, I’m afraid it comes down to that whole self-love thing again! There is a reason why this is a cliché, though, because the key to meaningful relationships really is to love ourselves first.

So, What Does Self-Care Look Like?

Self-care is essential for us all, but looks different from person to person. We are all individuals with different preferences. Listen to your inner voice to find out what makes you content. Sometimes we can’t even hear our own inner voice because we are so busy anticipating the needs of those we care about, so you might have to listen carefully at first.

Below is my own personal list of self-care practices. I hope it gives you some inspiration for ways to take care of yourself.

I commit to:

1. Being fully in and embracing the present moment—mindful living

2. Preparing and eating three healthy meals a day, avoiding sugar fixes

3. Getting outside every day

4. Exercising every day

5. Doing something I enjoy every day—being creative

6. Spending time with positive people

7. Setting healthy boundaries—saying no more often

8. Identifying negative self-talk and changing it to positive

9. Pausing before reacting—do I really want to do this?

10. Getting one thing done every day, and celebrating this achievement

11. Looking after my health, body, skin, hair, teeth—regular appointments

12. Being grateful—starting each day with at least three things I am thankful for

13. Regular yoga and meditation

14. Laughing more and starting the day with a smile

15. Singing or dancing whenever possible

16. Having more fun and taking life less seriously

17. Treating myself with love and compassion—being my own best friend

18. Focusing on myself and prioritizing my needs—not focusing on the lives of others

19. Spending time alone and being still every day

20. Being my authentic self, not what others want me to be

21. Listening to my inner voice/intuition and doing what feels right for me

22. Avoiding over-analyzing a situation

23. Limiting my time on Facebook

24. Not worrying about what other people think about me

25. Getting a good sleep every night

26. Being patient with myself

27. My self-development, no matter how challenging

What’s your most important self-care practice?

Profile photo of Jo Ritchie

About Jo Ritchie

After seventeen years in the corporate world, Jo Ritchie redesigned her life to follow her bliss. Now she travels the world running workshops and retreats, coaching individuals, blogging, and speaking about her experiences. Jo uses her background in martial arts, with her training in yoga teaching, coaching and NLP, to empower others and encourage them to find their own power within.

 

How to Improve Your Eyesight Naturally Tags: Health Natural Health Empowerment

By KALEE BROWN

As the dirty secrets behind Westernized medicine continue to be revealed (12, and 3), more people are turning towards naturopathic and traditional Eastern medicine. Personally, I put high importance on my diet and use essential oils and other natural remedies regularly.

However, I wear eyeglasses and have never given any thought to alternative treatments for my near-sightedness. Glasses have the same Band-Aid effect that pharmaceuticals do; they’re a quick fix and don’t solve the underlying problem.

We get our eyes tested on a biennial basis and trust our optometrists to administer these tests and our corrective lenses. But I don’t extend the same trust to conventional medicine doctors that I used to, so why shouldn’t I go above and beyond what my optometrist suggests and do a little research of my own?

Many people claim to have naturally healed their eyesight through a combination of mental and physical exercises. Greg Marsh, a certified natural vision coach, maintains that perfect vision can be achieved by anyone, even those who wear prescription glasses. Marsh corrected his own eyesight using a technique called the Bates Method.

What is the Bates Method?

Dr. William H. Bates, a certified ophthalmologist, designed his method to naturally correct eyesight over 100 years ago. Norman Doidge, M.D. explains in his book The Brain’s Way of Healing that it was so effective that Bates was forced out of his position at the New York Post-Graduate Medical School and his teachings were banned in New York after optometrists lobbied politicians, stating that it threatened their business model. This isn’t surprising, since we have seen this happen numerous times in the healthcare industry (source).

How the Bates Method actually works:

You have 6 muscles on the outside of your eye and if they strain too much, your vision becomes impaired. A common misconception is that when you squint, your eyesight improves, but this actually increases strain and therefore worsens it. The backbone of the Bates Method rests on faith and meditation; if you’re confident your eyesight will improve and you relax your eyes enough to remove the strain, you can correct your vision.

The most popular exercise used in the Bates Method is referred to as “palming,” the act of placing your palms on your eyelids while they’re closed shut. Beforehand, you observe your surroundings, being mindful of the clarity of your vision.

Then, you apply your palms to your eyes and allow your entire body to enter into a state of relaxation (you can lay your forehead down if this helps). You use the free flow of energy between your hands and eyelids to send love and relaxation to your eyes. You may also envision your eyes forming a natural, round shape. When you’re ready to open your eyes, you will likely experience clearer vision than you had before the exercise, even if it’s only for a brief moment.

Another common exercise is called the Bates Long Swing, whereby you simply sway your body back and forth. This helps to relax the brain and affects your thought patterns, thus having an effect on your eyes as well. This encourages movement and reduces the tendency to stare, ultimately minimizing the strain on your eyes. (source)

How To Correct Your Vision According to Tibetan Monks

Another way to naturally correct your vision is by using the Tibetan eye chart. The philosophy behind Tibetan medicine is that all beings are connected to their surrounding environment. It is believed that ailments are caused by a combination of diet and physical health, personal relationships, and climate. The Tibetan eye chart was created by Tibetan Lama monks to strengthen the optic nerves and muscles to correct vision.

New Vision Manual

How To Use The Tibetan Eye Chart

  1. Hang the chart on a wall or place it in front of you with the centre of the chart aligned with your nose. Then, touch the centre spot of the image with your nose.
  2. Without moving your head, allow your eyes to follow along the outer edges of each arm of the figure, including the dots, in a clockwise motion.
  3. Once finished, blink and relax your eyes.
  4. Repeat the exercise counterclockwise.
  5. Blink and relax eyes.
  6. Repeat as many times as desired.
  7. Once finished, completely relax the body and slow the breath. To aid in relaxing your eyes, engage in palming. Keep palms cupped around your eyes for at least 30 seconds (the longer, the better).
  8. Recommended to practice for a few minutes every morning and night.

How Vitamin A Can Improve Your Eyesight

Over the course of my childhood, my mother would constantly tell me to eat carrots to improve my eyesight. This is a common phrase heard in many households which actually has some truth to it. The body utilizes beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which helps our eyes convert light into a signal that’s transmitted to the brain, enabling us to see during poor lighting conditions.

Numerous studies have proven the correlation between increasing your intake of vitamin A and reducing your likelihood of poor vision. One study performed on pregnant women proved that by increasing your consumption of carrots, you could improve your night vision. If you have poor night vision or have difficulty seeing in general, try increasing your intake of vitamin A!

Eyesight is arguably the most important of the 5 senses because it represents the visual connection to our surrounding environment. Eyes have also been referred to as the gateway to the soul, which means they can be used as a tool to look beyond the physical world and into the spiritual. Perhaps if we have poor eyesight, this is merely the universe encouraging us to look within. Regardless of the cause of your visual impairment, I encourage you to set aside your glasses (and your reservations) and try one or more of these methods!

 

 

Oil of Cloves – the Aromatic, Anti-Cancer Essential Oil Tags: Health Natural Health

By Marnie Clark
The Truth About Cancer

Clove, the aromatic and exotic spice, has a long history of medicinal use going back many centuries into early human history. Clove was highly regarded by the German abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) for its medicinal properties. Clove is also well known in the traditional medicine of India and China.

Clove comes from clove trees (Syzygium aromaticum) which grow in tropical regions. Oil of Cloves (also known as clove oil or clove essential oil) is steam distilled from flower buds and stems. Clove has several interesting properties, due mainly to its high content of a phytochemical known as eugenol. Clove oil consists of about 75-85% eugenol.

Eugenol is creating interest in both conventional and alternative medicine because of its ability to effectively stop cancer cells.

Clove Oil’s Interesting History

Clove has been used for centuries for numbing pain, repelling internal parasites, arthritis and rheumatism, and for treating throat, sinus, and lung infections. Clove is a natural anti-coagulant (see warning at end of article), with anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-tumoral, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. All the important anti’s!

An excellent illustration of clove’s anti-viral capabilities occurred in Indonesia in the mid-17th century. The people of Indonesia’s islands of Ternate and Tidore (historically called the Spice Islands) used clove extensively throughout their history for wellness. During the mid-1600’s the Dutch East India Company controlled the spice trade in the Spice Islands and gained complete control of the clove trees in this area. Any clove trees discovered that didn’t belong to the Dutch East India Company were destroyed, thus allowing them to have a complete monopoly of this and other spices.

As a consequence, the islanders who relied on those clove trees died from the epidemics that raged through the region, brought to them courtesy of the same Dutch colonists. Such is the power of clove to protect us.

Oil of Cloves, Eugenol, and Cancer

The most exciting and promising research on clove essential oil relates to its anti-cancer benefits. Most of the researchers who study clove essential oil for any length of time agree it has great promise ? not only for its ability to kill cancer cells, but as a natural chemopreventive (cancer prevention) agent.

Clove essential oil has been found to have cytotoxic (cancer cell killing) properties against a line of breast cancer cells known as MCF-7. These cells are invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) with both estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER+/PR+). A 2014 study investigated different clove extracts, including water, ethanol, and essential oil and found that the essential oil provided the most cytotoxic activity against the MCF-7 cells. Researchers stated, “Cloves are natural products with excellent cytotoxicity toward MCF-7 cells; thus, they are promising sources for the development of anticancer agents.”

An earlier 2013 study investigating the anti-cancer potential of eugenol found the phytochemical in highest quantity in clove. Researchers tested eugenol against different breast cancer cell lines including the aforementioned MCF-7 breast cancer cells. They also tested eugenol against MDA-MB-231 cells, which are triple negative breast cancer cells and invasive ductal carcinoma.

Researchers discovered that eugenol increased apoptosis (planned cell death, lacking in cancer cells). It also decreased the protein coding gene E2F1 (also known as survivin). Eugenol also inhibited the rapid growth of these cells. It inhibited onco-proteins known to be highly expressed in breast cancer cells and tissues, both in vitro (test tubes) and in vivo (inside the body). Eugenol was found not to be toxic to normal, healthy cells.

For women with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer looking for natural anti-estrogen products, clove essential oil provides one other exciting benefit. A 2012 study revealed that eugenol not only exhibited growth inhibition and promoted apoptosis (as described in the previous study) but also exhibited an ability to act as an antagonist to estrogen. Researchers found eugenol “to have compounds that have similar or even better affinities to ER than tamoxifen and its metabolites.”

Clove essential oil is not only useful for breast cancer. There are plenty of studies showing its benefits for liver cirrhosis, for colon cancer, and esophageal cancer.

Indeed, because of clove’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as its ability to effectively stop the growth and spread of many cancer cell lines, oil of cloves shows great promise. Its natural healing properties and anti-cancer benefits will no doubt continue to be studied extensively in years to come.

Oil-of-Cloves

8 Great Other Ways to Enjoy Clove Essential Oil

Not only is oil of cloves beneficial for cancer, you can use it in these ways too:

1. As an Anti-bacterial – Clove is powerful against many strains of bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori (the one associated with stomach ulcers), Staphylococcus Aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and many others. Clove oil works just as well as ampicillin against bacteria – without the side effects. If you choose a pure, medicine grade oil you can take it internally in an empty gel capsule (see caution #3 below). Oil of cloves can also be applied topically.

2. As an Anti-fungal – Clove oil is a potent anti-fungal, especially against Candida albicans. Clove can kill 99.9% of C. albicans within seven minutes of exposure. As with item 1, above, you can take clove oil internally by placing a few drops in an empty gel capsule (see caution #3 below).

3. Helps Toothache & Abscesses – Apply oil of cloves to a cotton swab and hold it onto the affected tooth or gums. Clove oil has great pain relieving properties and has been used by the dental industry for decades. Clove oil is often included in dental rinses and mouthwashes.

4. For Cold Sores – Clove is quite effective against herpes simplex, the virus that causes cold sores. Put a drop or two on a cold sore to decrease pain and duration. You can also put a few drops into an empty capsule and take it internally to rid yourself of viral infections.

5. Flatulence, Indigestion, and Diarrhea – Dilute oil of cloves in a base oil such as almond oil, coconut oil, or olive oil and massage over the abdomen. It has a warming and antiseptic action which makes it especially soothing for these maladies.

6. Arthritis Pain – Clove oil’s pain relieving properties make it beneficial in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis. As in step 5, dilute it and rub it into the affected painful area.

7. Head Lice – Using 1 tablespoon of your favorite natural hair conditioner, mix in several drops of clove oil. Wash your hair, then massage in the clove-enhanced conditioner. Don’t rinse yet, instead comb it through carefully with a head lice comb, removing any lice you see (they will be dead), then rinse the conditioner out. Reapply daily until the infestation is gone. This treatment is nice and natural, with no nasty chemicals.

8. Natural Insect Repellent – Clove is an excellent insect repellent, especially when combined with cedarwood, cinnamon, and lemon in a carrier oil and applied to the skin. It also relieves the sting and itch of various sorts of insect bites.

3 Points of Caution When Using Oil of Cloves

1. Oil of cloves has natural anti-coagulant properties which can be enhanced when combined with drugs like Warfarin and aspirin. Be very cautious about using clove oil if you are on these blood thinners.

2. Clove oil may irritate the skin. Don’t apply it to your face, it will sting. If preferred, dilute clove oil before using topically, although it is not terribly hot or unpleasant if you do not.

3. Because of its strength, clove oil can be potentially dangerous when ingested in high amounts. Use it in moderation and consult with a qualified aromatherapist and/or healthcare practitioner familiar with essential oils. Make sure your clove essential oil comes from a reliable source and is a therapeutic grade (medicine grade) oil.

 

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