By Aubrey Winkler
We are lucky to live in a city with a thriving Holistic and Wellness community. A variety of Eastern and Western style massage is available, as is acupuncture, reiki energy healing, nutritional evaluation, yoga, and more. Trained and compassionate professionals are at our fingertips.
But holistic wellness can perhaps best be approached as a personal practice, rather than something we only send out for.
The goals of holistic care are to help us reach a level of peace, wellness, and ease in life that eludes many of us, and there are simple practices that we can learn to incorporate into our at-home routines to bring holistic wellness to our own fingertips as well.
I often hear three reasons why we don’t do this.
1. “I don’t know how.”
At-home holistic wellness practices can be incredibly simple. Here are some ideas to get you started:
– Meditate. Meditation doesn’t have to occur in a temple, and it doesn’t have to be a complex event. The idea of meditation is to slow yourself down so that the constant stream of thoughts, fears, and stresses in your head takes a time-out. It’s called “mindfulness.” Sit somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes if you want to. Begin by counting your breaths – focus only on breathing slowly, deeply, and with control, and count your exhalations. Or, choose an image or a mantra on which to focus – a candle flame, a motivational phrase. The goal is to fill up your thoughts with a single, simple entity, and let everything else fall away.
– Do at-home yoga. Or stretching. Or take a walk. Do something that focuses your attention on your body and how your body feels within its environment. Again, the goal is to get out of your head.
– Journal. Or paint. Or cook a beautiful meal. Journaling can be wonderfully cathartic, helping you to find answers to solutions you didn’t know you knew. No matter what you choose to do, pick something you enjoy and do it with passion.
The idea is simple – stress is so often caused by anxiety over all those complex thoughts and feelings rushing around in our heads. Practicing mindfulness involves slowing it all down, focusing on something you enjoy, something singular and external to that babbling stream of consciousness.
2. “I don’t have time.”
I understand. Work, school, family, life – there are hardly enough hours in the day. If you can’t become an at-home yogi, that’s fine. Start small. Carry a journal in your purse or pocket so you can jot down epiphanies at red lights. Take a 90 second break at the office to stretch, breathe, and look at something green. Before reacting to a situation, take and count ten slow breaths. Think how you can practice mindfulness on a small, daily basis.
3. “I’m embarrassed.”
I’m not the first person to feel that my holistic practices might be judged by my loved ones. Reiki, meditation, ritual – it’s not for everyone, and yes, many people doubt the efficacy of such practices to the point if thinking it “hoohaa.” It’s difficult to feel content practicing something that you may feel makes you judged at home.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Sit down and have a talk. Let someone know that what works for you has value whether or not it’s “real.” Put it in words your loved one can understand. And worse comes to worse, practice in whatever way makes you comfortable – for the ten minute walk to the grocery store, in bed at night, in the office bathroom: wherever you can find the space and time to breathe, count, stretch, feel, and be mindful is good enough.
That’s the most beautiful thing about mindfulness being the start to wellness – mindfulness is wonderfully and entirely yours.