Saturday, November 16, 2019

Self-Care Saturdays: The Autumn Roundup

keywords: self-care, practitioner resilience, wellness, mindfulness practices

The Autumn 2019 Self-Care Roundup

Some inspiration from the Self-Care Saturdays theme over at our public Facebook Page

"Training your brain to learn resilience", an article by Linda Graham in Mindful.
“Resilience—the capacity to bend with the wind, go with the flow, bounce back from adversity—has been pondered, studied, and taught in tribes and societies, in philosophical and spiritual traditions, and through literature for eons. It is essential to the survival and thriving of human beings and human societies.“We now also know that resilience is one behavioral outcome of a mature, well-functioning prefrontal cortex in the brain. Importantly, whether we’re facing a series of small annoyances or an utter disaster, resilience is teachable, learnable, and recoverable. It takes practice, and it takes awareness, but that power always lies within us."

For more on the self-care themes of movement, reflective reading, spending time outdoors, breathwork, nutrition, recreation time, and connecting to your community, see this HH Project blog article. 

A mindful meditation for dealing with the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.

Community Health & Public Health
As an integrative health professional, East Asian medicine specialty, I know public health and community health are intrinsic to our paradigm of patient care.

  • The Blue Zones community certification is taking the basic tenets of what makes a healthy environment and community more accessible. Learn about how they are implementing this work in "Good Health is a Community Effort".
  • “Huge Study Confirms Purpose and Meaning Add Years to Life” from BlueZones
  • Blue Zones published books are available at your local library or on Amazon. If you follow the link on this post to Amazon and buy with a few hours, a few pennies of your purchase go toward the HH Project.
  • And, you can support your local library by checking out a physical item at your local branch. Or use your library card to access Overdrive and the Libby app for e-books and audiobook versions on your phone or other portable e-device.
  • More about Blue Zones in our “Practicing Philanthropy: Positives for You and Your Community”

Blue Zones Books

If you are interested in community health and nutrition, you may be interested in Teaching Kitchens. or Nutrition Learning with Your Family.

Review on "What is Self-care?"

Taking time for self-care in your day and week, from a few minutes here to 30 minutes to several hours at a time, are drops of water into your resilience bucket.  A full resilience bucket makes it easier to weather the storms of life and work.  A half-full or empty bucket provides little defense or support when the storms hit and make it easy to get swept away or feel like you are drowning.  Fill your bucket, minutes or seconds at a time. Make regular drops or cups of self-care into your bucket part of your daily and weekly routine (habits) to keep it closer to full.  Consider the following categories of self-care when you are filling your bucket:

  • Movement:  any movement from walking, hiking, dancing, tai chi, bicycling, swimming, or other forms of active movement and exercise
  • Mindset/inspiration and reflective reading:  any activity that encourages you to slow down and self-reflect.  Forms this may take include journaling, qi gong/nei gong (inner-work qi gong), several types of mindfulness practice, reading poetry, some forms of prayer.  
  • Spending time outdoors in nature:  going outside into fresh air and "green space" whether it is your backyard lawn, working in the garden, the local town park, pond, or creek, time at the beach, the botanic garden/arboretum/conservatory, doing chores at your friend's farm, or a trip to a state park or national park/federal lands.
  • Breathwork:  practice basic diaphragmatic breathing.  It can be a simple breathing exercise, like the one below. Or maybe your breathwork self-care practice takes the form of any of the following:  yoga, mindfulness meditation, qi gong, or tai chi
  • Nutrition/Food as fuel:  everything in moderation.  talk with your health care provider before making any major changes to your food intake (diet), especially if you have a chronic health care condition.
  • Time "having fun", socializing, connecting to your community.

    Breathwork exercise, "belly breathing"
      • Breathwork is the conscious control of your breath.  "Belly breathing" is practicing diaphragmatic breathing.  This type of breathing induces the "rest and digest" phases of our nervous system, the parasympathetic response.  This is an important practice because, in our modern world, we are often going about our day rushing, in a full or partial sympathetic (fight or flight) state.
      • Practice (self-care):
        • Take a few moments to check in our breathing.  One hand over your heart, one over your belly.  Practice belly breathing (where your belly hand moves more with each breath than your heart hand does). 
        • Breathe in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 7.  Repeat 20 times.
      • If you want, you can watch one of these videos while you practice:

    May you have some peace in your day.  Remember you can come back to this breath-centering practice at any time.

    Related blog posts
    More self-care resources at 

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