Ask Mother Moon
Q: “I know you’re always encouraging me to slow down but my life is really busy and it’s hard for me. What do you do for self-care?”
A: First of all, it’s really important to acknowledge we live in an incredibly fast paced society that values achievement over everything else including health and well-being. It can be really hard to slow down and relax. When you do take the time to rest, that critical little voice in your head can start to tell you that you’re being lazy or non-productive.
Today I want to personally give you permission to slow down. I know that sounds silly but hey, someone needs to do it! Even as an acupuncturist and a person who teaches others how to live a healthier more balanced life, life gets real. Sometimes it can be hard to find the right balance between work and rest. Keep in mind none of us are perfect and acknowledge that your needs will change based on your circumstances. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to slow down and take good care of myself.
One of the most important skills I’ve learned (and am still working on) is the willingness to say “no." I’m a people pleaser by nature, a healer, and a woman, So it’s no surprise I like to make others happy. As women we naturally tend to be caretakers but it has also been drilled into us from a very young age to “be a nice girl.” There’s nothing wrong with making other people happy as long as you aren’t sacrificing your own happiness in the process. If you’re stressed out, overworked or just not in the mood to do something, give yourself permission to say, "no." It feels good. When you’re true to yourself instead of trying to please others, you'll have more to give when it feels right.
I’ve been practicing yoga for about 20 years now. In the past I used to think that I really needed to have a daily practice in order to get the full benefits of the practice and I considered restorative classes a waste of time. I tried again and again to meet the goal of having a daily practice but always failed as my cycle started. I used to beat myself up for being lazy or not being able to keep my commitment to a daily practice but over the years I have become much more in-tune with my menstrual cycle and the natural ebbs and flows of my energy levels each month. Now I take a much more relaxed approach to my yoga practice and keep my focus on listening to what my body needs each day rather than setting strict goals for myself.
I currently practice yoga 1-3 times a week depending on what my energy level is and where I am in my cycle. On my high energy days (usually after my period has ended through a few days before my period starts) I choose more intense vinyasa style classes. On low energy days I choose restorative or yin style classes. If I feel really tired or I have my period I allow myself to rest instead of pushing myself to go to class. When my appetite increases around the beginning of my period I eat lots of yummy nourishing foods and never count calories.
Meditation & Breathwork-
I love meditation and breathing techniques because anyone can use these practices, they’re free and you can do them anywhere. If you’re new to meditation and breathwork I recommend starting with a guided practice. A great local resource is Common Ground Meditation Center or a local yoga studio that offers guided meditation and breathwork classes. I’m always amazed at how transforming a few minutes of intentional breathing or meditation can be. This is a practice I will use for the rest of my life.
Let me just say, I take my self-care seriously! Haha! It’s really important to me because it helps me be the best partner, mom, friend and acupuncturist I can be. When I let my self-care slip everyone suffers the consequences! I’m less present in my day, my stress level goes up, my sleep gets out of wack and my mood gets worse. After years of putting others needs before my own I am now a proud self-care junkie and I hold absolutely no guilt about taking good care of myself! Here’s my monthly routine:
I get a monthly Mayan Abdominal Massage, which helps keep my menstrual cycle and digestion healthy. I absolutely love this therapy and highly recommend checking it out. It’s great for menstrual irregularities, fertility, pregnancy, postpartum recovery, digestion and getting in touch with the awesome power of your magical uterus! I go to Sarah Wilkinson at Take Time For Yourself Massage on 48th & Chicago and I love her.
I LOVE this concept! Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Nordic word that means “a feeling of coziness.” The Nordic region experiences the same kind of weather patterns we experience here in MN. Long, cold, dark winters call for warmth, joy and light. Hygge is about laughing and eating with family and friends, connecting with nature year-round, and intentionally enjoying the little pleasures in life. We’ve been intentionally bringing more hygge into our lives and it’s been really uplifting. Here are a few ways to bring more hygge into your life:
I hope these self-care tips inspire you to slow down, listen to the wise voice within, and honor what your body needs each and every day.
Meghan E. Berg