Everywhere you turn there is someone with the answer for you. How to work out, eat, meditate, think, breathe, create, LIVE. There are so many viewpoints and options, so many ways to try and "fix" what is "wrong" with you - see what I did there? I don't think there is anything wrong, I do however think that we can get separated from that inner voice that tells us what the answers for ourselves are. It becomes easier to listen to all those outside voices, try every thing they suggest, pay for all the tricks instead of realizing that you hold all the answers already, you just need to take your own power back and start trusting yourself.
Breathing and listening to our inner voices are two things that as far as I know, most people are not taught how to do. It seems like they should be instinct and on the one hand yes - your body breathes for you pretty much without you thinking about it or having to do anything. But if you stop for just a second and observe your breathing pattern without changing it, are you breathing fully into your belly and taking in enough air? Or are you breathing shallowly, into your chest and you might even feel your neck and shoulder muscles tense with your inhalation. For the most part I find women also breathe shallowly into their chest because we are taught from a young age to disconnect from our bellies, to "suck it in" which can then lead to not even realizing you are a chest breather. If you are searching for ways to practice breath work, there are some great exercises HERE from Live Strong to practice relaxation breathing and how to use your full lung capacity - and the many benefits like endorphins, increased blood flow, decreased pain, coming into your "rest and digest" nervous system as opposed to your fight or flight, as well as your internal organs get a lovely little massage from your diaphragm when it's fully engaged.
So now that we have talked about breathing, let's talk about listening. Do you push through all day without even hearing your body say when it's tired, hungry, overused? Do you know when you need to get up and stretch? I work and have a toddler and am fully aware of all the reasons we can use - too busy, not enough time, there are too many plates spinning in the air and it seems as though the world will fall apart if we schedule even 15 minutes in for ourselves. Can I tell you a secret though? It won't. It doesn't. The only thing that happens is you realize not only are you worth those extra minutes, but you deserve and need them. And the only way to start rebuilding that ability to hear your body and what it is (sometimes) screaming at you - is to create a space for some quiet.
Another way to start listening is to get a little quiet and just look without judgment at our bodies - we cover up with clothes and makeup, rush around and sometimes don't even See ourselves. The skin is the largest organ of our body so chances are if you are having some issues with diet, sleep, stress - it shows up on your skin and give you some clues. Aside from that, digestive issues, muscle aches an pain, limited range of motion, headaches, food cravings can all be signs that you need to start listening to. Once you start trusting yourself to hear what your body is telling you, then you can go even deeper and start to hear your spirit. Do you need rest, creativity, love, comfort, play? All of those answers are there, as soon as you start to look for them.
You know I'm going to tie it back to massage right? ;) Because I always do. It IS a QUIET place though, for you to really tune in and realize there are places you are sore or overdrawn you weren't even aware of, for you to feel how long or loose you are when you are comfortable and just how different that is than the stressed out race pace most of the world lives in. It's a way to recharge and show yourself some love. You relax and take in as much as YOU are ready for, and the session is about what YOU need, as opposed to what I think you need. The only person that can live in and know your body is you, so the only person that can take care of it and take ownership of it, is still you.
Other good ways to de-stress and care for yourself if you need a few easy suggestions are deep breathing for a few minutes, meditation, food prep or cooking a healthy fresh meal and skipping quick or unhealthy food. No one can take care of you except for you, so this week just practice some deep breaths and listen to see if there is anything you need to hear.
Have a beautiful day!