I originally posted this on Huffington Post. I felt called to share this today, the eve of Mothers Day.
It’s the first day of 2016, and I am absolutely filled with love, confidence, joy and serenity. Is my life “perfect”? I’m sure to some outside observers it may appear that way. However, as I write this I am currently eliminating the second concussion I have had in the last three years, and I am slightly overwhelmed with scheduling issues. Here’s the difference between me last year and me this year. Last year, I would have spent time beating myself up with unhelpful thoughts such as, “Who falls in their own office and lets their 200 pound office chair give them a concussion” or “It’s just scheduling! It shouldn’t be that hard.” In the past, I was prone to be unnecessarily harsh on myself. But I made a substantial change in my life yesterday and it feels amazing!
I rang in most of New Years Eve by de-cluttering my house and eliminating things that I no longer need. Once that task was completed, I spent time releasing and forgiving anyone and everyone who had every upset, offended or hurt me in any way. Every…single…person! And it felt amazing! Which leads me to the most crucial question of this blog: What are you doing to feed your soul?
I have cleared a space of my own in my home. A space just for me! That no one else will be able to put stuff on or things in. A place that is my very own sacred place of healing, working, manifesting and appreciating. Many men have what is affectionately known as a “man cave.” I have even heard of certain mom’s having a “mom-cave,” but I am not going to get caught up in the title or the name of a space. My question to you is this: Do you have a sacred space in your home? In our current home, space is somewhat limited. Therefore my space is in the upstairs living room. I’m not at all bothered by this, because we have two living rooms. In our next home, I will have my own office there. You may be asking yourself why having a space is relevant or important. The answer is somewhat complex. On the surface it’s because it gives you ownership in the structure you reside in. On a deeper level, it attributes to you having a sacred place in which you can rejuvenate, relax and repair yourself. It allows you to have a space that encourages times to decompress, time to meditate, time to reflect and time to plan.
I am very invested in nurturing my soul, because it’s the most vital part of me. I would no more neglect this part of me than many people would neglect their child or pet. Therefore, I want to present you with a list of ways to feed your soul. Because you are worth it and you deserve it!
- Music: For as long as I can remember I have had a very eclectic taste in music. There was only one requirement for it: I had to be able to sing along. Sometimes, when I close my eyes and I am signing, I feel as though I am the only one left on the planet. It’s a beautiful and wonderful thing. I have said for as long as I can remember that music is the language of my soul.
- Nature: Have you ever just gone out in the middle of a forest, or in the middle of the woods, or even in the center of the beach and just felt as if nothing else in the world mattered? Or perhaps it feels as if nothing else exists. For me, I can achieve this simply by going outside and standing in the middle of the sunlight or the moonlight. It’s equally as freeing and soothing.
- Laugh…a lot: I’m not concerned with if you are watching a comedy or watching a talking squirrel on Youtube. Laughter is not only healthy and healing for your physical body, but also for you soul. Have you ever heard of laughter therapy? It’s an actual movement. Allow yourself to laugh and find the humor in things.
- Kindness: When is the last time that you picked some fresh flowers for yourself? When is the last time that you bought fresh flowers for yourself? Are you waiting for someone else to buy them for you? I am a huge lover of fresh flowers. Therefore, I have no issue buying them for myself.
- Write a love letter: Have you ever gotten a letter from someone you loved more than words could describe? Hopefully you love yourself so much that you fit into this category! Many years ago, I ran a women’s support group and it was a very powerful group. Periodically, I would have the women write letters to them self. This doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable, let me give you some direction. When I’m writing love letters to myself I do it in the form of an outside observer. As if I’m an invisible part of my daily life, only I have the added benefit of seeing my thoughts, actions, beliefs and feelings.
- Gratitude: I literally use gratitude in my life all day, every day. I am grateful for the wonderful and happy things as well as the less than amazingly stellar things. My experience with gratitude is it halves feelings and situations that are not amazingly wonderful and it multiplies situations that are. I use gratitude on every experience I encounter throughout the day.
- Imagination: I am very color oriented (I’m not fond of pale colors) and as such I play with what I see and what I feel. If my soul is feeling “off” or “a little down” I just pick a couple of colors and imagine my entire being filled to the brim with it and then overflowing. My favorite colors to do this with are pink and green because they are loving and healing colors.
- Meditation: Meditation, in it’s strictest definition is the ability to clear your mind of all thought. I do this regularly. I have found that just like forgiveness and releasing things, clearing my mind of all thoughts allows more room for positive and uplifting thoughts to occur. Let’s look at our minds like a garbage bin just for a moment. How many times is your bin over flowing? If we don’t ever empty it, where does all of it go? In my experience, our minds are not much different.
If you have other ways that you nurture and feed your soul, I’m so excited for you. If you have never entertained this concept, practice with some of these and shoot me an email. I would love to hear what changed for you as a result of doing some of this!
JennBoveeLCSW is a Spiritual Life Coach and Hypnotherapist. She offers in person and distance sessions to people all across the world. Learn more about Jenn here:www.JennBoveeLCSW.com
I recently saw a Facebook post in which a woman talked about how she’s making her marriage work now. In this post, she talked about how her spouse is now her number one priority. Because this person didn’t ask for my opinion, I did not give it. I want to state for the record, that neither my husband nor my children are my number one priority! Nor will they ever be. Does this mean that I don’t love them? Absolutely not. Does this mean that I don’t value them? Of course not. Does this mean that I don’t support them? Clearly not.What exactly does this mean then?It means that I will always be the highest priority in my own life. I can already hear some of the outrage, as people are reading this. So let me answer a few questions now. No, this is not me being selfish or self-centered. This is me, taking care of me. Which is healthy and necessary! Here’s how I explain it to the clients in my office: When you are on the airplane, who does the flight attendant tell you to put the oxygen mask on first and why? The correct answer to this question is, “The flight attendant tells you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first because if something happens to you, what good are you to your child?” When I first moved in with my husband and kids, I knew all of this information. And yet….. Somehow….. I had made them a higher priority than myself. This wasn’t an intentional progression, but it still happened none the less. As a result of this, I had lost a piece of myself. I no longer was working out that the gym, I hadn’t gone to pain pottery in months, I hadn’t gone to a movie by myself in years, and getting a massage was absolutely unthinkable. Maybe you have some negative connotations with the word priority. How would this be different if I asked who the biggest cheerleader in your life was? It should be a concern that most of us are easily able to identify ourselves as our own worst enemy. That’s not the way it needs to be. If you put yourself first, you have more of yourself to give to others. If you are constantly drained from taking care of everyone else, there are no left overs. The other issue with that problem is that it doesn’t allow for time to refill your own cup. Even if you don’t want to use the words, “number one priority”, let’s agree that it’s a crucial move to go from your own worst enemy to your biggest cheerleader. Allow me to give you the steps to make this happen: 1. Gratitude: This more than likely seems like a “catch all” but it’s really not. Gratitude is a complete game changer. Trust me, when I began expressing gratitude about every flaw, every mistake and every imperfection…things changed massively. 2. Don’t sweat anything: I typically use the framework of “How important is this compared to my health or my sanity.” When compared on this type of a scale, very few things actually register as relevant. I literally apply this filter to every area of my life. Before I allow myself to get upset about a situation, I ask myself that question. If the answer is no, I made the decision to let it go.
3. Act as if: Whether you ascribe to the Fake it until you make it or the Law of Attraction, there’s a substantial amount of merit in the acting as if philosophy. It doesn’t really matter if you intellectually are ready to be the number one priority in your own life, or if you even emotionally understand it. What matters is that you are willing to act as if, because there is where the magic will happen. 4. Self-hypnosis: Let’s be honest, most of us have a lot of subconscious mind programming that includes messages like “If you are the number one priority that means you are selfish and you will end up a lone.” Not only is this absolutely inaccurate, but it’s not a healthy mindset. Therefore, I encourage all my clients to use hypnosis to create the behaviors and habits that they want to have. 5. Don’t instantly commit: Over twenty years ago, I watch an Oprah episode and they had a person on their talking about how to not overcommit. She suggested that before you commit to anything you use this phrase, “I need to check my calendar.” The person explained that this gives you the emotional distance to figure out if this is actually something you want to do or not. I have fully adapted this in my life. I no longer over commit myself and don’t instantly commit to anything or anyone. By using this process, it’s allowed me the distance to evaluate it I actually want to engage in the suggested activity. 6. Boundaries: I mean this in a very literal way. Boundaries have saved and changed my life! If I don’t want to do something I simply tell someone no… I don’t apologize and I don’t offer an excuse. Many of my clients struggle with the concept of no being a complete sentence. 7. Jenn’s golden rule: I encourage everyone I work with to treat themselves like they treat other people. So many people are unnecessarily hard on themselves, and treat other people with so much grace and love. How would your life be different if you treated yourself as well as you treat other people? If it would be substantial, please start that now. Do not wait. I believe that once you see your own worth and value, it becomes easier to make yourself the number one priority. My experience is that once I made myself the number one priority in my own life, everything else fell into place.
Jenn Bovee LCSW is a spiritual life coach and hypnotherapist. Jenn offers a variety of services to clients locally as well as globally. Learn more about here here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com
I have never been a good sleeper. Even as a child, after my sister fell asleep I would take my pillow and blanket and lay on the hallway floor and watch television. On my best nights I would lay there for two and a half hours before I fell asleep. On my worst nights it was substantially worse. As I grew older my poor sleep continued to grow more and more out of control. At one point, in my adult life, my sleep was so poor that if you pieced together all the ten-minute sections of sleep I got, it would equate to just about three hours. To say this impacted every area of my life is the greatest understatement of all time. Are you aware of how your body and mind are impacted by sleep loss? Many people are aware that sleep loss causes depression and even accident proneness, but what about the other areas impacted by sleep loss? Here’s a short run down of the impact of sleep loss: Weakened immune response, weight gain, impaired brain function, cognitive dysfunction, high blood pressure, heart disease, destroys sex drive, and is responsible for accidental deaths. The impact of sleeplessness is wide ranging, but I wanted to give you a taste for it.
For those of you who have struggled with getting deep, healing, rejuvenating sleep I would recommend the following immediately: do not use the bed for anything other than sleep and sex. Any other activities done in bed create confusion in your subconscious mind. Remember that 96-98% of habits and behaviors are stored in your subconscious mind. As such if the habit is that when you lay down you are doing anything other than sleep it creates confusion for your subconscious mind. At the end of the day sleep is a habit. My goal is to empower you to change your habit so that you can live the life you have always wanted to.
Here are my sleep suggestions:
- Disconnect: Inside of the television there is a blue tube that is designed to stimulate your brain. The IPAD is capable of depleting all of the melatonin in your brain. I recommend disconnecting all electronics at least a half hour to 45 minutes prior to bed time. Read a book, take a bath, clean the kitchen sink; whatever else we do we must stop stimulating our brains.
- Routine: All sleep experts agree on the validity of a sleep routine. My personal sleep routine is before bed I take my vitamins and supplements, drink a bottle of water, and brush my teeth. My experience is that once you being using a sleep routine the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep will diminish.
- Self-hypnosis: Once I learned how to use self-hypnosis my sleep substantially improved! If you are not using self-hypnosis I would strongly encourage you to begin. It’s hugely healing and it’s been a game changer for me. While engaging in self hypnosis I typically affirm that I am able to quickly and easily get to a deep level of sleep.
- Gratitude Game: Occasionally I will struggle with achieving sleep quickly. On those occasions when I am struggling with sleep, I play the gratitude game. The way I play it is I think of something to be grateful for that begins with the letters of the alphabet. If by some chance I am still awake by the time I reach the letter Z, then I just do it backwards coming up with different things to be grateful for.
- Deep Breathing: This is such a valid and helpful component; I just couldn’t leave it out. Engaging in deep breathing relaxes the brain and body. Just for a moment do 5 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. I would encourage you to do this several times a day.
- Letting go: Many people have developed the habit of reviewing their day once they are in bed. Find a way to release the stress, anxiety, and worry before you ever climb into bed. Methods of letting go of these issues include: journaling, exercising, bathing, walking. Find a way that works for you.
Jenn Bovee, LCSW is a spiritual life coach and psychotherapist. Jenn offers in person therapy as well as distance life coaching. If you would like to learn more about Jenn or her services please check her out here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com