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Most of us don't spend nearly enough time taking care of ourselves. Self care is all about keeping yourself healthy and sane. It can be anything that contributes to your well-being and helps you avoid health issues, unhappiness, stress (#1 killer!), and all the other unpleasantness everyday life can bring. Take time every day, week, hour, whatever works for you, to do something for you.

Here is a list of ten ways to help keep you being your best self:

1. Go to bed an hour early.
Too many people are not getting enough sleep. A whopping 40% of Americans report getting fewer than seven hours of sleep per night. There is not much that is more important for our health and well-being than getting enough sleep, so do yourself a favor and get to bed early.

2. Spend twenty minutes de-cluttering.
Clutter in the house causes clutter in the mind. It's hard to think clearly when you are surrounded by mess, so spend a twenty minute focus session getting rid of that pesky pile of clutter that always builds up.

3. Soak in a hot Epsom salt bath.
Epsom salts help to relieve muscle tension and the hot tub of water will melt your stresses from the day away. Throw in some lavender essential oil if you like and play some relaxing music. Dump about two pounds of the Epsom salts into the tub and give yourself a good twenty minute soak. You are worth it.

4. Keep yourself hydrated.
About 43% of U.S. adults drink less than four cups of water a day. If you fall into that category, you are suffering from chronic dehydration. The symptoms can include bad breath, dry skin, muscle cramps, cravings for sweets, fatigue, etc.. Every single process in your body down the the cellular level requires water to operate properly, and your body is composed of approximately 60% water, so consuming enough water is extremely important. Some ways to make it easier to stay hydrated are to keep a water bottle handy throughout the day, eat lots of fruits and veggies, sip more during meals, and try a variety of (caffeine-free) teas.

5. Go outside.
It is easy to end up cooped up indoors all day. Make a point to take a walk outside for half an hour and soak up some sun. Studies have shown that being outside benefits the brain and makes us feel more alive and less stressed.

6. Pay it forward.
Helping others is an amazing way to help ourselves in a way that connects us to the greater good of all that is around us. Volunteer, do someone you know a personal favor, or commit a random act of kindness when


 
 
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"Impermanence is the nature of the human condition."

There is a Zen notion I am rather fond of called wabi sabi. It can be described as a fleeting, imperfect, accidental beauty - unpretentious, simple, and intimate.

It is the weathering of a statue, the nicks of time on furniture, the scarring of old bronze, the crawling of moss on stone, and even the natural aging process of a human being.

It is that last bit, that applies so directly to the experience of being human, that I want to focus on today. Wabi sabi embraces the natural process of growth, decay, and death. It is about accepting the impermanence of everything in life, including life itself.

It may be silly, but when it comes to everyday life, remembering the beauty of wabi sabi can do wonders for relieving stress or disappointment. When your favorite shoes start showing signs of wear and don't look quite so pretty anymore. When you lose an earring. When you look in the mirror on the morning of your 30th birthday and see the first signs of crows feet around your eyes (funny how it seems to work that way, right?). You can fully mourn the loss of what was, while knowing ultimately that it doesn't matter in the big picture, and that nothing is meant to be forever. You can live your human experience to the fullest while knowing that your suffering is not because of impermanence, but because of your reaction to impermanence.

To forget the truth of impermanence is to forget the truth of life. Life is about embracing each moment as it happens, and being able to see the beauty in each of those fleeting, beautiful, perfectly imperfect moments as they are gifted to you.

From the studio of
Neelou Saleh
Licensed Massage Therapist
Kingwood, TX
www.spiritoflotus.com

 
 
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At the beginning of every year many people create a list of goals for the year we call "resolutions." So many start off eating healthy, hitting the gym, putting themselves on a budget, etc.. But, we all know how well that goes. Most don't last more than three months, IF they make it that far. New Year's Resolutions are by and large, a huge failure. So, why do we keep making them, only to end up frustrated? Hmm, I don't know. Maybe we don't know what else to try for self and life improvement?

I have found over the past few years there is a much better way. Every year, I skip the resolutions and instead focus on a theme for the next year. There is something about having a theme that keeps me focused and continuing to take action throughout the year that fits within that theme, and at the end of the year I can look back and see how much I was able to accomplish.

What exactly do I mean by theme? Well, I look at what it is I want to improve in my life and choose a theme accordingly. I like to keep it broad enough to not be too strict about specifically what I am to be doing, but narrow enough to give me a sense of direction and focus.

Themes have been words such as Expansion or Growth, Self Care, Free Time, Create, Health, Independence, etc.. It is best to choose one word (or two if necessary, i.e. "Free Time") with an overarching theme for what area of yourself or your life you want to improve. You can create a plan for yourself within that theme to break down the steps of how you will make it happen if you like.

The reason I find themes to be so effective is that, throughout the year, if I find myself getting off track, I 


 
 
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Empowerment.

Defined by the World English Dictionary as
1. to give or delegate power or authority to; authorize
2. to give ability to; enable or permit

Okay, sure.  But that sounds so lifeless for a word that is so full of passion and strength.

What does empowerment mean to you?

This is a question I have found myself being asked quite a bit lately.  So, I came up with an answer.

Empowerment has been an integral part of my life’s journey over the past few years.  For me, it has meant following the path I knew was right for me without the need for the approval of others.  To push through with courage no matter how frightening or impossible it seemed, because I knew in my core it was right.  It has allowed me to create a life that is built around who I am, instead of having to try and mold myself to a life that someone else has built for me.  It is about being able to be my true self in any situation, being confident in my abilities and passions, and about standing in my own power that I created for myself.  Forging my own path.  When a person is empowered, no one else can take away their power because no



 
 
We all have to deal with stress time to time.  Some more than others.  One of the most common causes of stress in our society is feeling downright overwhelmed.

And being overwhelmed can feel awfully, well, overwhelming!  When you get into that state of mind it is difficult to navigate your way back out to the other side.

I know how it feels.  I often (try always!) find myself juggling a million things at once.  Or perhaps it is just one mammoth task that has so many different steps it makes you crazy trying to figure it all out.  When there are so many different things calling your attention it is so difficult to decide what you should do first.  So, what usually happens?

You start one things, then another, then another, and don’t quite get any of them finished.

Or, you feel SO overwhelmed that you do absolutely nothing!  And then it all just piles up and gets out of


 
 
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In a busy world it can be difficult to keep oneself grounded and centered. With the many billboards, cars, shopping malls, airports, electronics, etc., people often find themselves bombarded with too much stimulation and surrounded by cement and noisy, polluting engines. Taking the time to connect with nature is among the most effective ways to stay centered, yet many of us are so used to being disconnected that it can actually take a bit of effort to do this. What’s worse, many have forgotten how to connect with nature – to truly let go of oneself and take it all in, become one with the natural abundance all around. You must set aside a little time, go outside, and let go of thinking. Relax, clear your mind, and just feel. Sit down on the grass or up against a tree, get down on the level of the smallest creatures of this world and become a part of their existence for a little while. Turn around and take a good, close look at that tree you are leaning on. You will find an entire little world on that one tree – snails, insects, moss, all making their homes there. Observe the crevices and colors of the trunk. Feel it gently with your fingers, and open your mind to the energy of the spirit within. All trees, plants, animals, stones, everything, have spirits within, guiding them and caring for them, the same as humans. And they love to be loved and appreciated, just like anyone else.

Most people think flowers are pretty, but have you ever really looked at one? Pick one flower, just one, and let yourself be mesmerized by the colorful characteristics and beauty of that flower. Notice the curve of each petal, the scent, the way the leaves grow on its stem. Connect with that flower, become one with it. Allow yourself to love that one beautiful, perfect flower. There is so much to be learned from a flower, or a tree, or a tiny, busy little insect. When a person takes the time to connect with the world on that level, they often gain inner peace and a greater appreciation for this beautiful planet that is our home and for life itself. Instead of killing the spider, let it out. It is a living creature in its own right, and intends no harm to you. When you happen upon a colony of snails, which you are much more likely to do if you are getting close to the earth and observing those tiny details, watch those beautiful creatures carefully and learn from them, love them. Become aware of how precious that little bird singing on the branch truly is. When you tune into what is around you, the awe at what Mother Nature is capable of is unbelievable. You will begin to see the miracle of it all, rather than taking our amazing world for granted. A person does not have to live in a rural area to connect with nature – even your houseplants are products of nature.

The perfect cure for feeling stressed and disconnected – a date with the great outdoors, even if it is your backyard or patio! There is nothing more inspiring and grounding than what Mother Nature has to offer.

Neelou Saleh
Licensed Massage Therapist
Kingwood, TX
www.spiritoflotus.com