I read an article today by Dr. Lissa Rankin and her list of ways to take care of yourself really hit home for me. Like her I work in the health field and spend all day giving my patients advice that I often forget to take myself.
Lately, I have been going through a huge shift in the way I take care of myself. I quit smoking almost 3 months ago, I am on day five of the Master Cleanse,I started attending spiritual gatherings a few months ago, and finally made it to the gym a few days ago. I started this blog which gives me focus and creative joy. I also allowed myself the luxury of going for a couple of fascials, pedicures and massages this year.( I have never pampered myself in the past). I never looked or acted my age and I certainly don't want to start now. I am also interested in taking better care of the planet and by taking better care of me, she will also benefit.
Here is Dr. Lissa Rankins list of ways to take better care of yourself. Find your inner strength and come join us on a mental, spiritual, physical overhaul. Your body and the planet will thank you for it and you will find that many of your aliments will just disappear. ( My personal comments appear in brackets in pink)
A 30 Day Program of Radical Self Care
1. Detox your diet. Eliminate all processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine (I know this may be no simple task for some of you, so go slowly, plan ahead, and be compassionate with yourself). If you can manage, go vegan, mostly raw, for two weeks. If you can, do a 5 day green juice fast. If not, stick to steamed veggies and salads for 2 weeks. ( I once ate only organic fruit and vegetables for 2 weeks, I got all kinds of compliments on how young I was looking, the wrinkles faded, my skin was vibrant and healthy)
2. Take your vitamins, superfoods, and supplements every day. I use the Usana My Health Pack, which contains multivitamins, fish oil, calcium, and other minerals. I also take Sun Chlorella and Vitamin D. ( I don't always think you need to take a ton of vitamins if you are eating a healthy, balanced organic diet so if you want to just cover your deficincies, read this list of symptoms of vitamin deficiency and their symptoms to see what you might be lacking in your diet)
3. Make a practice of daily writing. Just for yourself. Keep a Joy Journal. Or do morning pages, as suggested by Julia Cameron, author of the The Artist’s Way. Send your inner critic to time out and just WRITE. ( Years ago ,I did the morning pages for a month. I didn't read them till the month was over. I was surprised how the same themes kept coming up for me. Writing out how you feel about whats going on in your life is a great destressor and helps put things in perspective or lets you blow off steam)
4. Sleep 7-9 hours a night. No buts. Just do it. ( According to Dr. Oz " When your body doesn't get the 7 to 8 hours it needs every night, it doesn't get a full resupply of serotonin and dopamine, two feel-good brain chemicals it craves. So it looks for ways to replenish them, and guess what immediately releases both in the body: sugary foods. That's why when you're tired, you start craving sweets! So tuck yourself in early and stay slim.")
5. Detox your friendships. If someone isn’t good for you, take a 30 day break from them. This is YOUR 30 days to nurture you. All toxic relationships are off limits. ( Seriously, do this, toxic people sap your energy and your momentum in life, be all you can be ,without them dragging you down)
6. Move your body no less than 5 days a week, ideally, every day. Walk. Do yoga. Go to the gym. Whatever. Honor your body by letting it move. ( This is the one I need to work on most, I get glued to my computer)
7. Meditate. I know, I know. This is the hardest one for me. If you can’t handle the silence, buy guided meditations on CD or Itunes. I love Belleruth Naparstek. You don’t have to spend an hour. But take 10 minutes to close your eyes and get quiet. No excuses. ( Kill two birds with one stone, do a counting meditation while walking. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, repeat as long as you want,stop and smell some flowers :)
8. If you have a bath tub, take baths instead of showers. Use your yummiest bath gels, salts, and scrubs. Read an inspiring book while bathing. Finish it off by consciously loving each body part while rubbing on body lotion, coconut oil, or olive oil. ( 1 cup of epsom salts -20 min bath helps detox overworked muscles. Sea salt helps reminerilize the body. I always burn candles and have nice music to listen to. This could be a good time to do your meditation, this is you time, don't be sitting in the bath making chore lists or fretting about things)
9. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Drink herbal tea, water, green juice. Get those cells hydrated. If you’re peeing often and it’s clear, you’re doing it right. ( regular tea, coffee and alcohol don't count, they dehydrate the body, sugary pop is just toxic, stick to water, get alkaline water if possible for extra hydration. Being dehydrated causes muscle cramps and poor health)
10. Have orgasms no less than 5 times a week. If you don’t have a partner, don’t forget what you can do for yourself! ( guarenteed to make you smile and relax those muscles)
11. Practice forgiveness every day. Forgive yourself. Forgive that person you’ve been holding a grudge against. Be extra specially kind to yourself and others for 30 whole days in a row. Banish toxic thoughts altogether, if you can. ( Holding on to pain from the past,takes away your energy to live in the now, toxic thoughts make you ugly, let them go, when they arise, look for ways to reword them into something positive)
12. Skip the news and read inspirational books instead. I highly recommend the one I’m reading now- Gregg Levoy’s Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life. Or try Martha Becks’s Finding Your Own North Star. Or Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love.( My favorite is Mutant Message Down Under or any of the the Chicken Soup for the Soul series)
13. Pray. Reach out the Universe. Make your desires know. Set intentions. Give thanks. Feel the divine energy that runs within you. ( Don't forget to include others in your prayers,pray for those that need support)
14. Choose a mantra for your 30 day program and make this your affirmation. Mine will be “I am successful AND balanced, healthy, vital, and whole.” Write it by the toilet, post it on your computer, repeat it during your meditations. ( I am beautiful and everybody loves me. I deserve a healthy body and will have my dream home by the end of this year) (... just putting it out there to the universe!!)
This 30 day program will require that you give up some other things in your life for this 30 days. I suggest skipping arguing, excessive work, ego-driven ambition, the fourth bedtime story, time spent berating yourself in the mirror, and, if need be- a clean kitchen! Your life isn’t going to fall apart if you take 30 days to radically nurture yourself. I’ll bet you anything it will change your life for the better.
If you can’t manage an intensive 30 day program, don’t despair. You don’t have to beat yourself up if your to do list just won’t allow a program like this. While a program like this will jump start you, you can get your Mojo back with a less radical approach. Simply choose one or two of these activities, and scatter them throughout your life. Exercise Monday. Meditate Tuesday. Have orgasms on Wednesdays. Write on Thursday. No matter what, be compassionate yourself.
Join this group so we can support each other in the process.
Committed to radically nurturing ME and YOU,
Lissa Rankin is an OB/GYN physician, founder of Owning Pink, and author of the forthcoming What's Up Down There: Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St. Martin's Press, September 2010).
This was a timely article for me to read, I hope it inspires you as well,