I love change. I’ve always been that way my whole life – constantly learning and making new resolutions, being open to what life wants to teach me. Every year presents its own lessons and this year there were some big ones for me. Some of the best lessons are the hardest. I hope you find some insight from my biggest lessons of 2013:
1. Take care of yourself first before you take care of others. So maybe many of us were not taught this growing up. Perhaps we are stuck with the notion that taking care of one’s self is potentially even selfish. But in reality, taking care of yourself puts you in the best position to take care of other people.
Relationship expert, Iyanla says, “It’s self-full to be first, to be as good as possible to you. To take care of you, keep you whole and healthy. That doesn’t mean you disregard everything and everyone. But you want to come with your cup full. You know: ‘My cup runneth over.’ What comes out of the cup is for y’all. What’s in the cup is mine. But I’ve got to keep my cup full.”
I say right on. Don’t you feel better helping others and being there for loved ones when you’ve already assessed and fulfilled your needs? It allows you to give space to yourself and others to receive what you need. Since 2013, my everyday goal is “What self-care can I give myself today?” I am much happier person, a better friend, and a better practitioner to my clients for it.
2. Presence is key. This year, I fell deep into mindfulness practices. I explored and discovered many self care teachers, my favorite being Eckhart Tolle. Eckhart teaches us that the answer to many of life’s questions and stresses belong in our ability to be in the present moment. We’ve all had glimpses of what that means – to not think of future or past things. It has been my goal in the latter half of 2013 to practice presence as much as possible.
Many times, these past and future thoughts are serving to create anxiety and stress in our lives. What has happened, what could happen, what we imagine is going to happen – it could consume our whole day. Growing up with a concept of time and within a society that constantly thinks in past and future does not make it easier, but the first step is realizing when those old thought patterns come up. I have worked this year to create rituals to help bring me to the present moment – less interaction with technology, sitting in the park, walking meditations, breathing exercises. And I can say that nothing brings me more real joy than when I am being present and enjoying what is happening right now.
3. Diet is not the end all be all to wellness. Well, did you ever think a nutritionist would say that?! It’s true. Diet helped to clear my skin, but eating well is only the first step to nourishing the body. For me, nutrition was the gateway into a lifestyle of taking care of myself. It started with food and grew into care for my mental and physical wellbeing. I have seen the same in my clinic as well. Many clients see a dramatic improvement with just diet changes. But for some, even the healthiest diet cannot combat an unhealthy lifestyle that is void of sleep and full of stress. The whole body must be in balance.
4. The more you listen to your body, the easier it is to be healthy and let go of addictions. Here is an exercise to try: When you feel hungry, imagine a food and then imagine offering it to your body. Say “Do you want this, body?” Visualize it and listen to the answer. When you do this, you may be surprised to find the body’s true answer. Often times we may make dietary decisions based on our thoughts, not what the body actually wants or needs. The more you pay attention to the body’s desires, the easier it is to make healthier choices. All it takes is a little bit of effort.
5. Do what you love, act from a place of goodness, and everything will fall into place. Many years ago when I started on this path of becoming a holistic esthetician + nutritionist, I did it because I would have wanted the same for me back when I had acne. I wanted to create a space that provided the right resources and answers for those wellness seekers out there who weren’t buying into a creme fixing the problem. There is an old adage that says “First, do no harm.” I added on “Do only good.” My objective has always been to come to my clinic from a place of goodness, and it is a space that has truly flourished. Is there something in your life that does not come from a space of love? Life is to be enjoyed, perhaps it is worth the fight to find something else on the other side. I’m certainly glad I did.
This year, I have new resolutions. Become more active, maintain space for my wellbeing, avoid empty time with technology. I am sure I will make improvements here, but there will be more hidden lessons that 2014 has to offer me as well. And I’ll be here, waiting to welcome them with open arms.
-Elise May, CN + LE
”The Skin Nutritionist”