Self Care Sunday is a new feature I am going to incorporate here on my blog.
I am making quite the effort personally to care more for myself this year, and I want to share what I'm doing and learning during the week with you.
In Human Design, I carry Gate 27, Line 1 (exalted) in my Design North Node. This placement describes the lens I use to understand my reality.
It is the foundation energy of nourishment.
The line is "Selfishness: The ego-driven first law of caring for oneself which is not necessarily at the expense of others. The power to care for oneself first." Bunnell, L. and Ra Uru Hu. (2012). The Definitive Book of Human Design. Carlsbad, CA: HDC Pub., p.368.
This energy is all about nourishment. Self care is foundational to caring for others, and on Sundays I want to share what I am currently doing to care for myself. I hope that you find it useful and thought provoking!
One of Wayne Dyer's quotes that I loved was "You can't give away what you don't have."
This is such a powerful way to think about what it means to give to others. I can't give anything away if I don't possess it first, right?
Nourishment is the overflow that we have to give away. Mother's milk has to flow from the breast to the baby, but it has to BE there first. A mother that practices self care by attending to her own nutritional, physical and spiritual needs is able to share her overflow with her family.
Not just mothers, but anyone that cares for another should take stock of what it is that they are actually sharing or giving away. Is it truly nourishing or are they sharing their depletions instead? So many people understand that if someone is taking on the role of caregiver without self care, that the result is often depletion for the giver and the receiver.
So, with that said, what is this week's Self Care Experience that I want to share with you?
A couple of years ago, I had a hysterectomy, and this winter, I noticed that my skin has become super dry. I mean, crazy dry. I bought some body butter and slathered it on thick after my showers, but by the end of the day, I could run a fingernail over the bottom half of my legs and would encounter skin so dry it would actually bleed.
I started doing some research about how to improve the quality of my skin, and came across some information as simple as taking a cold shower. The cold water closes up the pores in our skin and helps prevent moisture from leaving the skin due to the hot water.
I decided to try it, and this has led me down a road that has been very surprising.
I've been taking cool to cold showers now for 10 days, and I feel wonderful in other ways than just my skin finally feeling smooth and back to normal. Taking just 3 cold showers made such an improvement on my legs, as well as the inside of my arms that I decided to do some more looking at the benefits of cold showers.
My Mother's Outdoor Shower Experience
My mother and step-father have an outdoor shower that I've used when I visit them in the hottest part of Arkansas' summers. The water is 55 degrees and is shockingly cold. I usually take a few when I am there because I love the way my body feels after I'm finished. My experience is horrible while showering, but the intense relaxation that I have for the rest of the evening is incredible.
The relaxation I've experienced at her home is similar to the relaxation I've felt after a massage or exercising my body for a long time. For 5 minutes of being uncomfortable, the payoff is huge for a few hours of bliss.
Cold showers relieve stress, and also improve your capillary strength and condition which is great for the cardiovascular system. My experience over the last 10 days has shown that they also improve my sleep. Around 10pm, I'm ready to go to bed, and I sleep hard until about 6am. My body is much more relaxed in the evenings, even though I seem to have more energy during the day.
Also, cold showers seem to help with your immunity against colds and flu. From what I understand, the cold water causes your lymph system to contract, helping to flush out toxins for a stronger immune response when you do get a bug. Many proponents of cold showering comment that they don't seem to get sick much, if at all.
Another benefit that I am enjoying is an added boost to my winter blues. I've battled on and off with the winter blahs all of my life, and since I've added cold showers to my self-care, I've noticed that I SING in the shower very loud as I get used to the cold shock. This really starts my day off, literally, on a higher note and it lasts all day. I am noticing the details of life more...I am experiencing more gratitude about my life and my mood is up.
Internally, I also feel like a bit of a superhero. I know that sounds nuts, but deciding to do something that is uncomfortable and COLD, yet biting through, makes me proud of myself. For about 5 minutes, I feel invincible. It's a small thing I can do daily to stimulate my love for life. It's wonderful to FEEL such an extreme change from my very comfortable life. I feel like I am exercising something within that hasn't been exercised in a very long time.
Something as simple as turning the temperature knob the opposite way I normally do in the mornings is proving to be a big deal in my life. It is affecting my life physically as well as mentally.
That's good self care.
Here are a few videos I thought you might find interesting. I've been watching a lot of Wim Hof's video's and find his experiences fascinating. The second video explains Wim's method.