healing

that’s the thing about healing.

it takes more precious time

than you’re willing to give.

but when you surrender

all that you are

to the power of Love,

all your fears sink to the bottom

and you are left to float

on the waves of liquid grace.

 

healing ~ rachel leigh moreland

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3 myths about self-care

Dear beautiful souls,

Self-care feels like the buzz word of the moment. Here on my blog, I try to write helpful articles all about self-care, self-love and and personal growth. Ultimately, I want to keep it real with you. So friends, let me start off by saying that I do not have this whole self-care thing figured out (shocker, I know!).

Sure, I enjoy sharing with you my own self-care routine, but I have not mastered the art of ‘being kind’ to myself. I am still on a journey. We all are. So before you read on, please know that any hints and tips I share with you are meant to inspire creating healthy routines in your own life, not to make you feel down or judged about not having nailed this stuff. At the end of the day, this is all coming from someone who doesn’t have all the answers but from someone who is simply trying to live her best life.

So let’s talk through some of the most popular myths about self-care. The sooner we talk through these popular misconceptions, the sooner we’ll be on the road to discovering a self-care routine that’s right for us.

Myth number one. All self-care routines are the same.

Self-care is not all about lounging around in your comfies, lighting your favourite candle and drinking hot cocoa. What self-care is for one person may be completely different to another. While I personally find creating a peaceful atmosphere key to helping me feel more relaxed, this might not do it for you. Self-care is all about doing what’s good for your and your soul. It may not look like unwinding with a glass of wine in a bubble bath. It actually might be putting on your gym clothes and going for a run. Whatever your thing is, guard that time with your life. It’s precious.

Myth number two. Self-care is saying no to everything. 

Self-care is often viewed as a very ‘millennial’ trend, practised mostly by privileged people in their 20s and 30s who are craving more downtime. But self-care is not selfish. Self-care isn’t saying no to everything, it’s saying yes to the right things. When I set healthy boundaries in my life, I am making the effort to be intentional about what commitments I know I can take on and saying no to the ones that will leave me drained physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Self-care isn’t being non-committal; it’s committing to a practice of self-love.

Myth number three. Self-care isn’t a priority, it’s a luxury.

Prioritising the things that nurture your soul is never a waste of time. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for pencilling in a little me-time. We all need to set aside time amidst our busy weeks to look after minds, bodies and souls. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity in order for you to be the best version of yourself each and every day.

 

What does self-care mean to you? What boundaries have you had to set in your own life to make sure that you’re prioritising you? Some people describe self-care as hard work but, with a little intention, self-compassion and perseverance; cultivating a self-care routine that works for you is one way to grow more peace and joy in your life.

Love,

Rachel

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Reset your life this summer by trying these 5 things

Summer is a great time to reflect on how the first half of my year has gone. As I’ve been thinking about my lifestyle and pace of life over the last few months, it quickly became apparent to me how much I needed to hit that ‘reset’ button; to take a moment to pause and re-prioritise my life. So at the start of this summer, I made space to think about forming new rhythms that were best suited to me and my lifestyle. And FRIENDS, I can already see the results from following it the last couple of months!

If you’re looking to hit ‘reset’ on your life too, and are craving a rhythm of self-care this summer, then check out these 5 helpful tips to add to your own routine.

Organise + declutter

Now I don’t mean to jump on the Marie Kondo bandwagon here, but I cannot tell you enough how much lighter I feel after a good summer sweep through my closet. Whether it’s re-organising my wardrobe (I like to remove all of my winter pieces like sweaters and scarves and store them away in our guest room dresser to make room for flowy maxi dresses and sandals) or decluttering my vanity of old makeup and expired body lotions; one thing is certain – cleaning and clearing out gives me more mental clarity. In fact, one of the ways I manage my anxiety is by decluttering my flat once every 3 months. I just less stressed with less stuff kicking around! Ridding your home from clutter might feel like a monumental task that you don’t know where to begin. So for starters, why not focus your attention on just one room per month? Before you know it, you’ll have a simpler space.

Nail your workout

Strangely January is the most popular month of the year to join a gym, but I can’t imagine a worse month to challenge my body! Especially in Scotland, when the sky is dark and weather is wintry, I would much rather done my sweats and hide under the cover with a new episode of Gossip Girl than walk 10 minutes outside in the cold to the gym. Call me lazy but I’m just keeping it real with you. Instead, I feel that summer is the right time of year to set healthy goals. After injuring my back last winter, it took me a long time to get back into a workout routine that was sustainable and convenient for my already busy schedule. My biggest excuse was that I didn’t have the time to workout regularly but I know that I was just full of it. I spent some time figuring out what was both enjoyable and safe for my body (plie squats instead of dead lifts and cross-trainer instead of the bike) and built a routine around that. I realised that exercise could not be just another trendy fad for me but an actual lifestyle choice. Just like washing your face or cooking dinner – it had to become a part of my daily routine if it was going to stick. And guys, I discovered Joe Wicks’ HIIT workouts and they are golden. You feel like you’re going to die after the 20 minutes but you must give them a go!

I know I sound like a broken record but finally nailing my workout routine where I’ve committed to exercising several times a week (for me this is 4 but it may be something different for you!) has noticeably improved my sleep and stress levels. Plus, I’m feeling a lot healthier in my sense of self and stronger in my body, so I think that’s a win-win.

Fuel your body with the right things

You know the phrase ‘You are what you eat’? This really hit home for me last year when I was suffering with IBS-related symptoms. A lot of the foods I was eating – chocolate, caffeine, bread, cheese – was causing me a lot of uncomfortable symptoms (I’ll spare you the details!) I started to keep a food diary (although I found this really difficult because I often forgot to log snacks or would miss out days completely!) and tried my best to record everything I was putting into my body. Slowly, I started to decrease my intake of my ‘trigger’ foods like bread, for example, and quickly noticed a change. I still struggle with regulating my caffeine intake (mainly because I love coffee so much!) but these days I’m trying to experiment more with decaf. In the end, it’s all about balance. It’s not as if I will never dig into a cheese board ever again (I’m not savage); its more that I try to eat these things less frequently and enjoy them on an occasional basis.

Lately, I have also been delving into the world of herbal remedies. Hello, elderberry syrup! I used to be such a sceptic of these sorts of products (queue the eye-roll). But once I discovered a regiment of natural remedies that worked for me and my body, it didn’t take me long until I became a firm believer in homeopathic medicine. The first few months of 2019 had me feeling tired all the time and susceptible to picking up viruses here and there (I blame air plane travel); but nonetheless, I was advised to look to herbal supplements as a first port of call to address my weak immune system. After just a couple of months, I noticed a huge difference: increased energy levels, better sleep and almost zero tummy troubles. For me, my go-to’s were a wholefood multivitamin, elderberry syrup, vitamin D tablets (for those darker winter months) probiotics and a course of echinacea (for when you’re feeling a cold coming on).

Wear less

… Makeup that is! So this one is more for the guys, I’ll hand it to you, but summer is the time to take your beauty routine a bit more casually. Less makeup, less hair product, less clothing dare I say. This summer, I’ve tried to embrace my natural skin more and wear less foundation. As someone who struggles with adult acne, this was a big step for me. Instead of choosing maximum coverage, I’m opting for a more sheer tinted moisturiser (the Clinique CC cream is my fave right now!). The same goes for hair-care. I’ve been putting my hairdryer down and letting my locks dry naturally. If you’re not into the whole au natural look, I get it. I wasn’t at first, either. But lately I’ve been personally challenged about the amount of time I spent covering my face out of insecurity and am steadily choosing to love my bare skin and all its imperfect flaws. I don’t want to make generalisations here, but I think embracing our natural beauty is difficult for us American girls in a culture that strives for flawless faces and perfectly toned bodies; but I’m determined to not let myself fall into the mindset that says, “Your value as a human being is defined by your appearance”.

Sometimes, for these truths to sink deep down into our hearts, we have to take very practical and physical steps in our lives. For me, this simply looks like scaling back on the make-up and speaking life over myself when I look in the mirror. Repeat after me: “You are beautiful, with or without makeup on”.

Look up

When we get sucked into the monotony of our daily routine, it’s easy to lose perspective. As someone who is not a ‘big picture person’, take it from me. If you ask me about how my week is going, my answers could go a number of different ways depending upon what day of the week you asked me. More recently, I’ve been challenged to ‘look up’ amidst my daily hustle and bustle. Whether it was the advert serendipitously sprawled across the side of the bus I took to work last week or the theme of yesterday’s devotional, as someone who is largely guided by their faith; I figured it was God’s way of telling me to stop, pause and remember the picture bigger. To keep my eyes focused on God’s plan. After all, his ways are higher than mine.

So this summer, pause. Take a deep breath. Look up. Notice the ornate architecture of the tall buildings you walk by every day on your morning commute. Or the pastel blue sky. Look out on the horizon. That is your future; not all of the little things in your life that would keep you bogged down. Look up and remember that there is more to this life than what you give of yourself each day at work. That you are magic. That you are valuable and worth knowing. That it’s okay to stop every once and a while to appreciate the small things. That it’s okay to prioritise your self-care. Look up and soak up the glorious promise of another day.

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free from busyness: how one simple question helped me manage my schedule

What happens when you can no longer give the best version of yourself to people?

This was the question I asked myself one Tuesday night as I lay in bed, utterly exhausted at the end of day. I was wiped. My arms and legs were limp. My brain was complete mush. But I only had myself to blame.

Slowly scrolling through my calendar on my iPhone revealed to me the source of my anxieties that week. Back to back appointments. Post-work drinks awkwardly squished into a 1 hour gap. Church meetings sandwiched in between rushed dinner times (I have a theory that only robots can eat an entire meal in 15 minutes or less) and reluctantly hanging the laundry at 10pm.

It dawned on me that I was turning up to social engagements and other commitments one after the other, but I wasn’t giving others the best version of myself.

I was turning up, but not showing me.

Dear friends, I don’t wan’t to seem like I am demeaning your beautiful, full life.

But there is a big difference between a full life and a busy life. The first is a beautiful melody, rich with increasing bravados, decreasing crescendos and mellifluous lyrics. While the second is more of a botched harmony overwhelmed by an abundance of vocals and varying pitches.

In other words, more does not always equal better. A busy life does not lend to a fulfilling life. Instead, our overwhelming schedules often leave our hearts feeling underwhelmed.

I love what best-selling author and speaker Lysa Terkeurst says in her book, The Best Yes:

“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.”

Our schedules determine the life we live. And our schedules are created by the choices we make. However, insignificant they are; our daily choices make us who we are.

That evening, as I curled up on my bed, feeling the weight of my present demands and future anxieties, I knew I had to let some things go. Some things would have to give. And I was okay with that.

Now hear me, I didn’t’ say ‘no’ to my day job, nor am I suggesting that you drop the ball on every last commitment you’ve signed up for. That’s not setting boundaries, that’s just being plain irresponsible. What I mean is that my mini-burnout was the catalyst for me to re-evaluate my priorities and to redefine my schedule based upon two criteria: the things I had to do vs. the things I wanted to do.

Most importantly, I needed to discover how I would strike a balance between the two without depleting myself physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

For example, when making a decision about how I will spend my time, I would ask myself the following question: Is X commitment going to deplete me physical, emotionally, spiritually or mentally? If the answer was yes, I would assess whether that particular commitment was worth my time and whether the pros of following through with that decision outweighed the cons. And what I’ve discovered since then is that sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it’s not.

Here’s some questions I find helpful when I’m making a decision about how to spend my time:

  • What things in my life do I need to do today? i.e. work, church, eat dinner
  • What things in my life would I like to do today? write, see friends, workout
  • Will this decision leave me feeling physically, emotionally, spiritually or mentally depleted?
  • If the answer is yes to the question above, why is that? And if I choose to follow through with this decision, what is it going to cost me? Sometimes it’s worth the cost!

The reality is, there will always be a cost associated with everything we do. When I choose to cook a healthy dinner at home from scratch, this will cost me time I could be using to tick another chore off my to-do list. When I choose to see a friend for a drink after work, this will cost me time I could be using to do a HIIT at the gym. When I choose to stay up late to watch another episode on Netflix, this will cost me time I could be spending asleep.

There is always a cost. Sometimes that cost is 100% worth it. Choosing to be there for a friend is worth the cost of having time to myself one evening. Choosing to forego eating out during the week is worth the cost to put more money aside for your travel fund.

I know it sounds really simple but when I learned to start filtering my decision-making process in this way, I began to feel more in control of my own schedule; instead of my schedule controlling me! No longer did I feel pressured to turn up to every single social occasion. FOMO is alive and well, my friends. And sometimes the temptation is still there knocking on my front door, begging me to come outside and play. But I have learned to shut the door on the need to be everywhere and to do everything, and I’m slowly learning the art of being present here and doing things one at a time.

We are not hard-wired to be everywhere all at once. Busy does not make us popular; overtime, it just makes us stressed out, tired out and unfulfilled as humans. Culture encourages us to say yes to everything and to everyone, much to the expense of our own spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

So next time you are faced with what seems like an impossibly busy schedule, try asking yourself these questions above and slowly begin to strip back.

You might be surprised at how much lighter you begin to feel.

Let’s keep it simple and learn to say no so that we can give others the best versions of us.

relax