Feeling burnt out and overwhelmed? With the pandemic going on for more than a year now and with only a slight prospect of going back to "normal" this year, it's probably time for you to indulge in some self-care activities to lift some of the weight off your shoulders. In a series of posts every Sunday we'll explore the different elements of self-care: physical, spiritual, mental, emotional and spatial.
Spiritual self-care is the journey to the deeper meaning in life, usually by interacting with a form of higher power or energy greater than our own. While many people recognize spirituality as an aspect of their lives, few understand that the relationship with the Devine needs tending, just as relationships between people do.
Your spiritual life is a source of self-care. Communicating with the universe at large can be a very comforting feeling. It can soothe, energize, inspire and uplift you. It will give you not what you need, but what the universe knows you need.
If you participate in an organized religion, you likely already have the spiritual support. However, if you follow a personal spiritual path where your spirituality evolves around your own experiences with the Divine, then you are responsible for where that will take you. This kind of path depends on persistent reflection and listening to your inner voice and intuition in order to keep it functioning.
Spirituality should be joyful, fulfilling and celebratory. Whenever you are feeling like something is lacking or not quite right, or if you are miserable in your spiritual practice, you have to reevaluate your practice in order to make it as rewarding as possible.
Discovering your spiritual Beliefs
Creating a spiritual vision board will help you plan out and remain inspired by quotations, images, and other sources that can inform your spiritual self-care. Visualization is a very powerful tool to reach your goals. By creating a vision board and placing it somewhere you can see it often you end up doing short visualization exercises throughout your day.
When designing your vision board, the focus should be on how you want your spiritual self-care to reflect. Your vision board should motivate and inspire you to work towards the quality of spiritual life you aspire to live.
Some concepts you might want to consider for your board are:
- Your engagement with the earth and the elements
- Power animals and spirit animals
- Representations of the Divine
- Representations of abstract ideals that inspire you to be the best you can be
What you'll need
- A foundation for your board. You can use a corkboard, repurpose a frame you already have or put some pieces of paper directly on your wall.
- Pens, pencils or markers
- Photos, souvenirs, trinkets and personal items that support or evoke your spiritual goals
- Glue, tape or pins
- Washi tape, stickers, other items you want to decorate your board with
What to do:
- Start your ritual by lighting a candle or incense. Create a pleasant ambience to work in.
- Start by doing a bit of journaling to center your thoughts.
- Design your board. Do you want space between the objects on your board, or do you want them to overlap? Also decide if you want to fill the board completely or leave space for new things as they come into importance in your spiritual life.
- Write an affirmation or a short list of spiritual self-care statements or goals on the piece of card stock and position it on the board.
- Arrange the photos and/or other items around the affirmation or list as you like without attaching them. When you have decided on your layout, fasten your items to the board with glue, tape, or pushpins. Use the washi tape, stickers, and so forth to further decorate the vision board.
- Display the Spiritual Vision Board in your chosen location
Meditation to review your spiritual beliefs
Hanging on to outdated spiritual beliefs is a waste of energy. Doing something just because you've always done it means you're performing actions mindlessly. It's healthy to examine tour spiritual beliefs, values and practices every once in a while. This will keep you focused on what is meaningful to you and direct your energy to the right places for the most productive ways in your self-care pursuit.
What you need:
- Matches or lighter
- Meditation incense
- Self-care journal and pen
What do to:
- Sit comfortably, center and ground
- Light the incense.
- Meditate on the following questions : "What are your current values? How do you currently feel drawn to expressing your spirituality? Are you drawn to explore new areas of spiritual expression? Does the practice of certain elements of your spirituality feel perfunctory? What elements of your practice are your favorites and still bring you comfort or joy in performing?”
- Make notes in your journal as you think through these questions. Note anything else that arises in your mind
- If this is your first time reviewing your spirituality, look at your answers and meditate on them. Is there something you need to stop doing? Is there anything new you need to incorporate. Note down your plan. If this is a follow-up evaluation, look at your plan and your previous answers and plan and ask yourself how the changes have gone. What has been a success? What has been difficult but ultimately a benefit? What has been chaotic and really not helpful at all?”
- When you're done, thank the universe for its guidance and allow the candle and incense to burn out.
End of day ritual
This ritual allows you to recap the day, let go of anything you don't want to carry forward and prepare yourself for rest.
What you'll need:
- Matches or lighter
- Self-care journal and pen
What do to:
- Sit comfortably, center and ground.
- Light the candle, saying or thinking: "I welcome the end of my day. May blessings illuminate my spirit"
- Reflect on your day. What were the best parts? What do you wish had gone differently? Where did you react well and where not so well? What are you grateful for?
- Inhale slowly and deeply. As you exhale, release all the negativity from the passed day. Do this as many times as feels necessary.
- Say or think "I thank the universe for my many opportunities and the lessons i encounter"
- Extinguish the candle.
People often glibly say “You should meditate” when you mention that you’re stressed. It’s frustrating to have it prescribed. It’s like being told that drinking water will make things better. Of course it will, at a basic level. But how do you approach meditation to make it valuable as self-care? And who has time to do all that anyway? Meditation can be daunting to begin because your new highlighted awareness makes you notice everything that derails you. (Hint: That’s okay. No one’s grading you. There’s a reason people practice meditation: it’s an ongoing thing; you don’t master it then stop.) Some formal types of meditation call for specific positions and mantras, which can be hard work.