Friday, 1 April 2016

Self Care: Mindful Preparation

For many years taking care of myself was never high on my list of priorities, but learning Reiki brought me to the understanding that self care is worth spending time on.  At first I resisted this idea, being more interested in helping other people.  However Reiki would not let me persist in this! 

Eventually I surrendered to this simple practice of daily self care and it has had ripples that have affected the rest of my life.  Recently I saw that in fact the self care I had resisted is important for preparing myself to serve others.

Beginning most days with a self Reiki treatment I remain as present as possible as I hold my hands in each of the positions  – a mindfulness practice that helps me to begin the day centred and calm.  This has led me to be more aware of other aspects of self care as I go through life.

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes made me look more carefully at my diet and I now know that eating regularly and with protein at every meal helps me balance my blood glucose.  To achieve this requires mindfulness, however as it’s easy to get distracted and forget to eat.  It also requires preparation and planning to ensure I have the right kind of food to hand at the time I need to eat.  I know this can seem fussy and cranky to some people, but I’ve found that through balancing my blood glucose I have more energy and vitality (not to mention loosing 2 stone!).  What this means is that I can do more to serve others and do it better (more efficiently, more joyfully). 

I was recently selected by the British Lung Foundation to run one of their singing for lung health groups, which involved training in London.  In my previous state of health I think I would have struggled to achieve this and would have worried about whether I had the stamina to run the group every week.  Now I feel positive and excited about the prospect!  So improving my health and well being was good preparation to take on this new project.

Another aspect of my self care has been to improve my sleep.  I have Reiki to help me drift off
once I am in bed, but you won’t find me answering emails late at night unless I’m breaking my self care rules!  When I was less good at self care I’ve experienced poor sleep with all the predicted outcomes: irritability, higher stress levels, lack of co-ordination, reduced immunity, increased frequency of making mistakes etc.  Now I take more care to do and not do the things that will encourage good sleep – such as being in bed by 11pm when possible, not eating or drinking anything after 9pm and limiting carbohydrates in the evening.  As a result I sleep well most nights and have more energy to give my attention to planning and balancing my life, rather than struggling through the day, just longing for my bed!

So Reiki has taught me that self care requires mindfulness and is not something that comes last on the list of priorities, but is good preparation for living my life to the full, able to answer whatever Reiki asks of me each day!