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The Power of Music

On Day 6 of our Summer of Self Care series,  we talked about the value of Dance on our feeling of well being. Hopefully you took a Dance break that day and maybe a few days since.

Today, music takes the center of the stage in our mind as we learn about the value of incorporating music into your self care plan.

According to Jill Suttle, music is that medicine we need for so many things. Her blog post linked here give you five ways neuroscientists have discovered that music can improve your health. But the basic research shows this:

“Neuroscientists have discovered that listening to music heightens positive emotion through the reward centers of our brain, stimulating hits of dopamine that can make us feel good or even elated. Listening to music also lights up other areas of the brain — in fact, almost no brain center is left untouched — suggesting more widespread effects and potential uses for music.”

This article suggests that music is much more effective than medication or even exercise, though you can see that it improves your stamina in that regard as well.

Babies can be soothed instantly when hearing someone close to them sing or when music is played.

Music and Memory is a project I have long been excited about – here’s a glimpse of Henry and how music changed him in just a few moments. (To see more clips or watch the entire movie, search for Music and Memory: Alive Inside.) Music calmed my mother as she became aware of the dementia setting in and felt powerless to overcome it. We could instantly change her mood by playing her favorite CDs.

When I am feeling anxious, disconnected, stressed or unfocused, memory is the fastest and most effective way to practice self care and reconnect to what I need to concentrate or get calm. I play music almost all day while I work. Music can be accessed so easily these days on smart phones, tablets, and still on the good old fashioned radios in our cars, homes and offices. Anywhere you have access to the Internet, AM, FM or even on your television, you can find Music.

Today, add music to your self care plan. Create a Self Care Playlist for yourself or search Self Care Stations on Spotify. Yes! There are a lot of them!

Here’s another one of my favorites – you’re welcome!

Can’t Stop the Feeling

When we are sick, stressed or in the middle of a great change, the need for self care often intensifies. Yet this is the very time we are seemingly unable to put our needs in front of the ever changing landscape unfolding in front of our eyes.

In particular, self care often changes greatly when we are sick, especially if we are also trying to juggle child care, work, other caregiving for family and more.

What makes asking for help so difficult? Why does it take people so long to ask for help?

We’ll get to that in a moment but let me just say this.

Asking for help is Self Care – plain and simple.

Over the years, I have discovered the value of creating Retreat.

When I use this work with clients, sometimes they think creating retreat is impossible because it involves going away and planning a bunch of activities. But retreat is just about stepping back and creating some nurturing space and time for yourself. Retreat might be a couple of hours, a half-day or an entire week. 

I do believe that the words we hear often are the words we believe or that keep rattling around in our brain long enough that we take them in.

Words matter. Sometimes we speak to or about ourselves in ways that we would never speak to others.

Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s kindness and been immediately uplifted? How about being the one delivering the RAK to someone else?

Kindness is something we all appreciate and sometimes we crave ways in which we can get out of our own heads and do something nice for others.

The act of delivering a kindness to someone spontaneously or anonymously – especially when we don’t know who will receive it – can be amazing.

My family sometimes laughs at me because I put together a bag of things whenever I am leaving home for the day, weekend or longer. I often over pack and take more things than I really need. When arriving to spend the day with my granddaughters, my son often teases me and asks, “how many bags did you bring today?” I often have a lunch bag, a work bag and a bag of things I wanted to have with me – a bag I call My Comfort Bag. 

We all have that unfinished project that needles at our thoughts whenever we think about it. Or that cluttered closet or bookcase we want to purge. These things that we have discussed in previous posts about tolerations or decluttering – maybe you couldn’t get to them yet and you need to schedule…

Accountability Day!!!

When was the last time you went to a museum? Or bought fresh flowers for your office or bedroom?

Today, we’re going to stimulate the senses by incorporating aesthetic pleasures. You can pick one of the easier prompts from the list and schedule another for the weekend.

Self care is health care, plain and simple. For those who are caregiving, basic personal health care is often ignored when facing all the things that need to be done for someone else. In fact, having a yearly check-up often gets put off during years of caregiving.

Or we just get busy and forget to refill a prescription, incorporate exercise or check blood sugar.

Knowing these numbers are in the normal range is important. If they are out of range, it’s important to incorporate changes in diet, exercise and medication as prescribed.