Tuesday, November 20, 2012

6 Soothing Self-Care Holiday Gifts ...

Hello, everyone! I'm glad to be back with you after a busier-than- usual month of teaching, writing and caring for an elderly friend who's had a number of TIA's and falls.

As many of you will know, I love Christmas and everything that leads up to it. But like you, I suspect, all the preparations and festivities can leave me feeling tired and frazzled unless I pay some particular attention to my self-care plan.

This year, I've found some wonderful self-care gifts that you might want to wrap up for yourself or to share with someone you love:

1. A Therapeutic Touch session: Therapeutic touch is a "hands-off" energetic process that promotes relaxation, decreases anxiety, alleviates or reduces pain, accelerates healing, and creates feelings of calmness, peace, well-being and balance in anyone seeking health maintenance and balance. There is an abundance of good research showing the benefits of TT and, oh my goodness, does it work!
Years ago, while I was writing my Master's thesis and stressed out of my mind, my husband (an advanced TT practitioner) decided to gift me with a TT session during his early morning meditation time. I was still in bed but later, when I got up for breakfast, it was all I could do to keep my head off the kitchen table, so relaxed was I!
2.  The Crazy Sexy Kitchen Cookbook: Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author, wellness advocate, cancer thriver and subject of the documentary, Crazy, Sexy Cancer.  In her great wellness cookbook, she says that our futures are being written with every meal - both a sobering and a hopeful thought.
This cookbook is an encyclopedia of delicious-ness with beautiful photography and mouthwatering vegetarian recipes. A great gift for cooks and eaters alike!
3. A new "colouring book": Colouring Mandalas: For Insight, Healing and Self Expression was created by Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Art Therapist, Suzanne Fincher.
The word mandala comes from the classical Indian Sandskrit language. Loosely translated, it means "circle". A mandala is more than a pleasing circle, though. It symbolizes wholeness and is an integrated structure organized around a unifying center. 
In Buddhist and Hindu traditions, sacred art often takes the form of a mandala and Christian churches' rose windows are of mandala design. Tibetan Buddhist sand mandalas are some of the most exquisitely beautiful art forms I've seen.
Colouring a mandala is known to induce a relaxation response, bring order to chaos, draw attention away from the stimulation of the outer world, and offer opportunities for insight, balance and harmony. And it's a great activity to share with children and grandkids. This particular mandala book is available through your favourite on-line bookstore, or in Vancouver, through Banyen Books.
4. A typing interview with an Enneagram professional: Learning your Enneagram (ennea = nine and gram = picture) personality type is a gift that lasts a lifetime. It begins an adventure of self-discovery and personal growth that can help you to understand and be more compassionate with yourself and with others. It will also offer a lifelong path to becoming your best and most authentic self.
While it is possible to learn your type through books and on-line resources, an Enneagram workshop or an individual typing interview with an Enneagram professional can help you to make a more accurate determination of your type. (The Enneagram shows us both our strengths and shadow side and we all have a tendency to sidle away from acknowledging our shadow side.) A good Enneagram teacher or counsellor will gently hold up a mirror so you can see your reflection more accurately. 
There are several "schools" and training programs of Enneagram theory. Try to find someone who is certified in a school that resonates for you. You can start looking for a local practitioner through the Enneagram Worldwide or The Enneagram Institute websites.
5. Daily Joy: 365 Days of InspirationThe National Geographic Society has published a lovely new daily reader just in time for the holidays. Daily Joy is a beautiful collection of 365 National Geographic photographs, each with a short inspirational quotation and I have to admit that I'm dipping into my copy already. 
This book is ideal for early morning contemplation or for a calming thought at the end of the day. Divided into 12 monthly sections, it covers topics such as renewal, love, authenticity, growth, courage, perspective, adventure, purpose, freedom, fulfillment, wisdom and faith.
6.  Peggy Cappy Yoga DVD: I've never been particularly drawn to the notion of yoga but, during a recent PBS donation campaign, I was introduced to Peggy Cappy's Yoga For the Rest of Us DVD's. Now, I'm hooked. I use her DVD's three times a week between my aquafit classes and I love them.
The Back Care Basics  DVD is a particularly good gift for those of us whose caring work involves lifting, carrying or steadying those who are unsteady on their feet.   
 I hope these few ideas will help to make the holidays less stressful for you all. If you have any other ideas to add to the self-care gift list, we would all be glad to hear them!


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