If you have been to one of my recent talks or sat with me in a consultation, you'll know that I love to talk about BLISS. After diving a little deeper into the study of Auryveda, I wanted to learn more and more about the concept of balance, a state that is different for every single individual, and something that can be difficult to measure - particularly in a fast-paced, schedule-run world.
The concept of balance, or BLISS is where we are supposed to be. It's the default. In our everyday lives, feeling good should be the status quo. Every time we compromise sleep, push things a little too hard, make poor food decisions or down another double espresso, we tilt ourselves a little more out of balance. As you can imagine, many of us do this day in and day out. Every decision we make can take us further from our default state of happiness and optimal health.
In Auryvedic medicine, symptoms and sickness are the body’s signal that we need to restore balance, eliminate whatever is causing the blockages, and re-establish the healthy flow of energy and information. But how? As we commit ourselves to more responsibilities, appointments and deadlines, it becomes harder to swing things back into balance quickly and the further we stray from our blissful state, the harder it can be to identify that we've left at all.
Ayurveda self care is the process by which one expresses love for one’s self. The way you go about your day, the foods you eat, the company you keep; the exercise you practice are components of how much value you place on you.
IT'S UP TO YOU:
The signs and symptoms that many of us have accepted as "everyday life" are often little indicators that you may have shifted from true North. Fatigue, frequent illness, skin problems, inflammatory conditions, irritability, weight gain, bloating, PMS, sugar cravings....the list goes on. The important step to make is to acknowledge that you may need to re-assess your schedule and bring things back in to balance within the mind and body. Ayurveda teaches that the mind has the greatest influence in directing the body toward sickness and health.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
As relevant today as they were thousands of years ago, the Ayurvedic principles for restoring and maintaining mind-body balance are listed below. The good news? They aren't fancy, expensive or invasive. Have a look at each point and assess yourself - this will help you to identify what kind of self lovin' you might need.
- Take time each day to quiet your mind.
- Eat a colorful, flavorful diet.
- Engage in daily exercise that enhances flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.
- Sleep soundly at night.
- Eliminate what is not serving you.
- Cultivate loving, nurturing relationships.
- Perform work that awakens your passion.
ACTIVITY: WRITE YOUR BLISS LIST
Homework for many of my clients, writing a list of the most blissful activities that you can think of might be the first step for you to start identifying how you can bring things back into a more balanced state. I keep this list accessible and on "switch-off Sundays" try to tick a few things off. If I'm feeling particularly flat, these are go-to activities that I know will recharge me. I've shared my list-of-the-moment with you below, but remember, I might find something totally relaxing and you might find it irritating.
Note: be aware of the high-stress activity trap. For example, you might find it relaxing to head out for an easy one hour jog, or to master the latest video game or scroll aimlessly through Instagram. Although you might feel distracted, many of these types of activities will still illicit a stress response (both physiologically and mentally) and do more harm than good. Try to go for options that not only bliss you out, but also give the body and mind a chance to relax and recover too.
In no particular order, you'll find me blissing out while:
- Lying on the floor on my belly, reading from my cookbook collection
- Walking in nature (device-free)
- Getting a massage
- Going to a Yin or restorative yoga class
- Cooking dinner to cranking music with a delicious glass of vino
- Meal-prepping while listening to a favourite podcast
- Reading on the couch with incense burning
- Taking an Epsom salt bath with candles
- Hanging with my man (device-free)
- Heading out of the city on a random road trip
- Swimming in the ocean (especially in Winter)
- Paddling out behind the break (especially in Summer)
- Decluttering and organising
- Making a pot of loose-leaf tea in my glass teapot
I encourage you to have a go! What do you love doing? You'll notice these are all pretty achievable things. I'd also love to kick back while sailing through the Fijian Islands on a Yacht, but it's unrealistic for me to squeeze that in as a regular bliss-habit. Many of the activities can fill just a 5 or 10 minute block of time too.
Feel free to add your faves to the comments below. It's awesome when we can borrow from (and even share blissful experiences with) each other.
Sources: The Chopra Centre: http://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda