The gift of self-love
We hope you enjoyed Saint Valentine’s Day – a sweet (or, maybe soppy!) occasion to celebrate love, romance and affection with that special someone. On this day, you can unabashedly wear your heart on your sleeve and shower your loved one with flowers, chocolates and gifts.
Human beings thrive on love and healthy, happy relationships. Without these, we become emotionally dysfunctional. Which is why I want you to consider this month as an opportunity to think not just about your love for others but also for yourself. Only by loving and caring for yourself are you fully equipped to love and care for others.
Self-love is about taking care of yourself, your emotions and your heart, which ultimately impact how you interact with and take care of your family. It’s about creating a loving balance between your personal needs and the needs of those that depend on you.
Let’s face it: on a daily basis, we are challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. As a partner and parent, we are constantly giving and, in the event that we feel tired, frustrated or short-tempered, we dismiss these emotions or label them as ‘bad’. Instead, we need to welcome, interpret and work with these emotions to allow us to grow and evolve as well-balanced human beings.
Emotional Wisdom with Bach Flower Remedies
Over-concern, lack of confidence, overwhelmedness and fear are common emotions felt when there is an imbalance in how we experience our world. We may even think that if others or events changed, then our lives would be perfect. The truth is that we have to be willing to look at ourselves, learn how to understand, connect to, and accept our feelings and memories in a way that is instrumental in thriving. Each experience is an opportunity to grow.
Bach Flower Remedy sessions allow for self-discovery and emotional awakening, which enable us to understand and pinpoint the underlying facts, inner experiences and emotions that directly impact our outer experience – the way we feel and ultimately behave.
Once deep emotions are identified and acknowledged, the Bach Flower Remedy healing system can support a range of emotional states. For example:
It’s normal to feel concern for loved ones but over-concern and fear, as a result, calls for Red Chestnut, a Bach Remedy renowned for restoring emotional peace. Coined the ‘Mother Remedy’, Red Chestnut is ideal for mothers who are usually very concerned for the welfare of all family members.
When we lose confidence and feel threatened we may become needy, clingy and very demanding for attention. These emotions are common in children who feel ‘dethroned’ when a new sibling arrives home and steals some of mum and dad’s attention. Chicory can be an excellent emotional support for parents and children alike to soothe and restore self-confidence.
So often, especially as parents, we push ourselves to extremes, ignoring our bodies’ cries to stop and replenish. Ultimately, we are draining our resources, impacting our confidence and health. Oak energy is called for when we need to be mindfully reminded of our own wellbeing and the merits of duty with discernment.
Learning how to understand, connect to, and accept our emotions and feelings in a way that is conducive to thriving is a conscious choice that can only be made when one is ready for a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.
If we all embark on this wonderful journey we become better human beings, friends, partners and parents. We are able to better understand ourselves and be more compassionate toward others too. May this month serve as a reminder to give yourself the most important gift of all: love.
Nurturing our heart
In January, we spoke about how emotions can affect our bodies and health. Matters of the heart usually bring us to strong emotional states, which can put extra stress on our hearts – the organ that is responsible for pumping oxygen and nutrients to all our cells. Keeping our hearts healthy and happy is preserving and nurturing our health.
Simple lifestyle tweaks can help us protect our hearts – morning, afternoon and night!
Reaching for our mobile phones and blackberries first thing in the morning is an unhealthy, unnecessary habit. Ditch the routine and replace with a short, empowering mindfulness practice instead.
Mindfulness meditation has been linked to lower emotional and chemical stress levels. It can help to ease depression and anxiety. It can result in reduced arthritis pain, asthma, the risk of Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease. Mobile phones and electronic devices, on the other hand….
Just being mindful may be enough to reap heart-healthy benefits.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found a significant association between ‘dispositional mindfulness’ and improved scores on four of the seven indicators of cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, those indicators relate to blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, height, weight, and waist circumference, plus eating and exercise habits. This is the first study to ever consider these factors in regard to heart health. (Source: Loucks E, Britton W, Howe C, Eaton C, Buka S. Positive Associations of Dispositional Mindfulness with Cardiovascular Health: the New England Family Study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 2014.)
One of our favorite books on Mindfulness is “Mindful Manifesto”, by Dr Jonty Heaversedge and Ed Halliwell. The book integrates the latest scientific research on mindfulness with its historical context and explores how practising meditation can help us physically, emotionally and mentally.
A study in Circulation revealed that adults engaged in strenuous activities 2-3 times a week are about 20 percent less likely to develop heart disease.
Moving the body also keeps the bowels moving; it lubricates joints; and promotes deep breathing that helps remove the toxins and clear the mind – pumping in endorphin, a natural mood enhancer.
I’m guessing I’m not the only parent who has counted steps with her child for fun. Try it out for yourself. Whether you want to use heart rate to take your fitness to the next level or just want to see how your steps add up each day, there are some great fitness tracker bracelets to help you monitor your progress: Fitbit, Jawbone, Gamin series, Microsoft band, Moov Now, Misfit and Apple Watch Sport to name a few.
So lunchtime is walking time – walking and moving is the new lunchtime motto!
Eat light and eat early.
We all know we should be getting more sleep hours than we do. Sacrificing our sleep not only makes us feel lethargic and lacking in energy, it can also increase the chances of heart disease, depression and high blood pressure.
Recent studies highlight that we would also benefit from turning the clock forward when it comes to dinner. Here are a just a handful of benefits to your health and heart:
• The longer lapse between meals allows the body to process the food more efficiently. Research shows that those who eat an early dinner and then fast for 16 hours are slimmer than those who eat the same amount of calories, but snack around the clock;
• Late-night meals can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep quality. Sleep quality is rest quality;
• Studies show that late-night noshing increases triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t use right away into triglycerides; and high levels may increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Living a more balanced and healthy life depends on the choices and changes you make. Success is the result of even the tiniest steps you take, and the more you put into it, the more you get out.
Recipe of the Month
Fish and shellfish are nutrient dense and salmon is no exception. It is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12) but it is their content of omega-3 fatty acids that receives the most attention.
The most beneficial omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). These contribute to healthy brain function, the heart, joints and general well being.
This healthy recipe uses salmon fish and dill. Apart from giving a strong, tangy, appetizing flavor and taste, dill (scientifically known as Anethum Graveolens) has many medicinal properties, which mainly come from certain compounds called Monoterpenes, as well as flavonoids, minerals and certain amino acids. Both the seeds and the leaves can be used.
An easy and light protein dish that can please children and adults alike and save time in the kitchen too!
SALMON WITH DILL
What you need:
1 pound salmon fillets cut into 4 pieces
For the marinade:
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons lime juice
1 bunch of fresh dill washed and chopped
3 crushed garlic cloves
sea salt to taste (herb salt can be fun too)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
white wine (optional)
Step 1 – In a small bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients
Step 2- In 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish, arrange salmon pieces skin side up in a single layer. Pour marinade over salmon and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes.
Step 3 – Remove from fridge, cover with foil and bake for 15min with foil. Remove foil and allow to bake for another 10min for the salmon skin to slightly roast. Check if salmon flakes easily with a fork, this is your serving point.
Step 4 – Serve salmon still warm with a light salad.
Enjoy, invite friends to join you, and here’s to your health!
29 February Kirtan at Alive Wellness
Monthly devotional Kirtan sessions where voices unite for powerful healing to take place. Together, we help our body soothe and release emotions through the powerful sounds produced by ancient sacred mantras.
Due to popular demand, we plan to hold more sessions each month. Watch this space!
Manipura in the Media
Namaskar January 2016
Once a month, in a tranquil haven in the heart of Central’s hustle and bustle, a group of chanters congregate to surrender to stillness through the healing powers of Kirtan. Cristina shares how her passion for this ancient healing practice created a devoted community in Hong Kong.
Playtimes May 2015
Balancing Act – When we are busy juggling the needs of our children, partners and work we often have limited time or energy left over for ourselves. Playtimes reaches out to Cristina Rodenbeck for expert tips to balance everyone’s needs – including our own.