How to find balance as a Highly Sensitive Person

Being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) can present many challenges. Moving from one over stimulating experience to another can be overwhelming and exhausting on the best of days. It is important to learn tools to help you navigate through life with more ease, feeling empowered and confidence with your ability to cope no matter what the situation presents.

Since I can remember I also struggled with loud noises, crowds of people, smells and an over abundance of stimulation often overwhelmed me. As a child I knew no different and thought everyone experienced life in such a loud and intense manner. It was in my 30’s I discovered how different I am from others. I notice the smallest shifts in energy and experience everything at high frequency. This awareness has helped me to work towards finding ways to release my anxiety and find balance. Instead of losing myself in these experiences I learned to empower myself into embracing this unique and beauty gifts of sensitivity. There are many tools I have utalized to help me in this journey. I hope in sharing this it may help someone else change their perception from seeing these sensitivities as gifts instead of a burden.

1: Self care practices. Practicing some form of self care every single day, is so important to help you stay balanced so that you can handle the world around you more easily. “We can’t pour from an empty cup.” -as the saying goes. Finding those self care practices are important in preventing anxiety as well as helping you ground back down when feeling drained from the outside world. Find something that you enjoy that feels comforting and grounding. Whether that is physical activity like biking, hiking or yoga, reading, journaling, creative art, or meditation, find what you love do it as often as you need.

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2: Pick your circle of friends carefully. Surround yourself with supportive people. People that understand your needs and will not take offence to you bowing out of an event because you are feeling overwhelmed. These are the people that will lift you up and encourage you to embrace your unique gift instead of criticizing it as a weakness.

3: Do things that make you happy. Go on an adventure hiking, or travelling. Try something new and exciting. It can be exhausting living in a world that wasn’t made for sensitive souls so taking time to find the joy in the chaos is a great way to see the silver lining on those more difficult days.

4: Time alone. This is an important way for a HSPs to rebalance. If you are feeling overwhelmed and the world is closing in on you, the best things to do is to sneak away somewhere quiet. Close the door, bury yourself in your covers and block out any stimulation. Take as long as you need to breath and calm the nervous system by shutting out the outside world. This isn’t running away from life, but a way of pressing the pause  to refocus your energy.

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5: Cleansing your space. Keeping you energetic space cleansed is very important. Unlike empaths a HSP do not tend to take on energies from others but if you are like me and you are both a HSP and an empath this is a must to staying healthy. You can cleanse your space by burning sacred smoke like sage, palo santo or sweet grass. You can cleanse your space with selenite or rock salt. Finding what works best for you, and do it as much as you need to.

6: Setting energetic boundaries. This can be done in many different ways. Before you go out into the world, you can visualize that you have roots growing deep into the earth that helps ground you. Or imagine that you are in a bubble and you have created this safe space that is calming that no amount of stimulation can break through. Taking some of these visualizations with you as means to create a space of control and safety to help you better navigate through all the stimuli.

7: Holistic tools. You can use grounding crystals to carry with you, or practice breathing techniques and mini meditations if you find yourself in overwhelming situations. Make sure that you not only utilize these tools when you are out in the world but also as a way of grounding back down when you come home. Having a salt bath, burning sage or listening to calming music are just a few ideas that can help bring you back into balance after a long and overwhelming day.

8: Boundaries. This is the most important things to understand and set straight especially as a HSP. Saying “no” is not only o.k it is NECESSARY for a healthy mind, and emotional state. Learning where you need to draw the line will depend on what you are  comfortable with. Best advice is to listen to your intuition, if you feel resistance in any way it most likely is a sign that you need to set up a boundary.

9: Connect to your needs regularly and honour them. Spending time throughout the day to connect to yourself and your needs. Honour what ever comes to the surface as your intuition guiding you back to equilibrium. Make sure to follow through taking the necessary actions to treat and prevent feelings of anxiety and exhaustion.

10: Spending time in nature. Fill your soul up by spending time in nature. When we escape the busyness of the city and get away from the noise, the electronics, and the pollutants we can rebalance ourselves faster then doing anything else. Nature is the only place free of all of that buzzing that can effortlessly put you into the parasympathetic nervous system. Slowing everything down and allowing a safe space to just be and breathe.

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These practices are not only beneficial for HSPs but anyone looking to find more balance in life. Pick the things that speak to your needs and adjust them accordingly. We are all different so take time find what works best for you so you can begin to embrace your unique gifts and beautiful sensitivities.

Pre/Post Yoga Snack Ideas

I am a Plant-based yoga teacher which simply means I don’t eat any animal products. One thing I have noticed is I can’t eat huge meals before practicing or teaching yoga, so I have found some yummy snacks for pre/post yoga practices that I really enjoy. These snacks give me energy to teach but are light and do not cause stomach upset. These are snacks that ANYONE can enjoy no matter what your lifestyle is.

Pre yoga practice:

I like to eat at least 1 hour before class to allow the food to settle.

-Having a green smoothie or smoothie bowls packed with lots of plant protein like hemp, chai seeds, nut butters, and LOTS of green is enough keep you going but not over burden the digestive system.

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-Salads and lettuce wraps with protein like organic tofu can be great before and after yoga practice.

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-Veggie soups filled with nutrition are light enough to allow you to move easily throughout your practice.

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-Celery with cashew cheese is SOOOOO good!! Add olives for healthy fats and you have a filling but light snack.

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Post yoga practice:

I work late when I teach so I make sure eat as soon as I get home so I don’t go to bed with a full stomach, to avoid any discomfort and stomach upset. Depending on the size of my pre yoga meal I will chose something to fulfill my nutritional and caloric needs for the day.

-Green juice is packed with minerals and helps to rehydrate the body after practice. Fresh fruit juices like watermelon can help to bring up your electrolytes after a hot class.

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-Fruit is BEST consumed AFTER practice since it digests so quickly it can give you gas and bloating before practice, but after practice it is very hydrating to the body adding in some healthy vitamins and carbs to rebalance the body. Tip: you can add some nut butter or granola to give it more some protein. Note: Adding proteins to fruit can sometimes cause bloating so try it out and see how it works for you.

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-Vegan Bliss balls. You can make these amazing little balls of goodness packed with nutrition, great for after class to get a boast of energy!

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-Loaded oatmeal or protein pancakes. Have this with all the fixings like fruit, coconut milk, nuts and seeds, cacao nibs, coconut flakes whatever you desire to make it extra special.IMG_6022

These are just a few ideas that has helped me in my recovery. It has been a slow and steady process of finding a healthy balance and fuelling my body so I can do all the things I truly love, like teaching yoga.

Cleansing, charging and dedicating your crystals

When purchasing crystals it essential to understand the importance of cleansing, dedicating and charging them before and in between uses. Picking your crystal can be done intuitively honouring which ones you are naturally drawn to. You can also search for ones that may helps with the specific situation or condition you are experiencing. Once you come home with your crystals it’s important to cleansing them of any energies that may have attached itself to it from others who have come into contact with it.

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My favourite method of cleansing stones is done with burning sage and holding the crystal in the smoke. Other methods included placing it under running water or soaking in salt water just be mindful that water does damage some crystals so do your research. You can also cleanse the stones using other stones such as selenite. This can be done by placing them in the same bowl or waving a selenite wand over the crystals as a way to clear the energies.

Charging your crystals can be done by burying them in the earth and allowing the frequency of the earth to tune them. You can also charge them in the full moon or sunlight just be mindful the the sun can damage some precious stones.

Dedicating your stones can be done by using them in meditation, saying a mantra or prayer over them or placing reiki energy in them. The act of taking the time to do this set the intention forth that these healing tools will be used in a way the is for the highest good for yourself and others you may choose to use them on.

Hope that gives some simple and basic ideas for how to cleanse, charge and dedicate your crystals. Remember to cleanse in between uses especially when using it during meditation or a healing session. This allows the stones to release any heavy energy and return to its high vibrational state clear of any interference.

Building a healthy relationship with food

I think it safe to say many people struggle with having a healthy relationship with food. We carry guilt when we eat too much cake at dinner time by beating ourselves up, adding extra hours to our exercise routine the next day. We may find ourselves jumping from diet to diet as we try to reach an unrealistic standard of perfection. We may restrict as punishment or binge as a reward. Maybe, we find ourselves fearing never having enough so we turn to food for comfort and a sense of security. Whether you are someone who finds themselves reaching for food when stressed, or maybe you drink a little too much wine on the weekends, or you are dealing with a more seriously form of disordered eating it seems that more and more people are struggling to find a healthy balance when it comes to food.

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So how do you go about healing this relationship with food? How do you find balance between pizza/movie nights and salads and green smoothies? What is true balance, anyways? Balance can look very different on each person and what works for one person is not always the answer for another person. Throughout my own recovery journey I have found some healthy ways to find more balance. These are a few things that helped me begin to heal my relationship with food.

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  1. Avoid eating when feeling emotional. This is a hard one but it’s an important one. Finding a health way to help calm your emotions when stressed out such as yoga, or going for a walk. Doing these activities can help you to avoid overeating. Eating when your stressed also upset to your digestive system, so it best to find a time when you feel calm to sit down and enjoy your food.
  2. Give  yourself permission to enjoy your food. Don’t beat yourself up for those two pieces of cake. It’s ok to have something you love. Feeling guilty will do nothing for you but throw you back into extremes and unhealthy relationship with food.
  3. Take time and intention when preparing your food. Being mindful with everything you do from the spices you use to how you plate your food. Take time to let it simmer, and soak up all the colours and flavours and make it look beautiful and appetizing. Bringing this awareness to the preparing your food brings a whole nother level of appreciation to this experience.
  4. Take time show gratitude for the food you are about to consume. Appreciate the colours and textures. Notice the different levels of flavours in your meal. Slow down and fully experience every bite.
  5. Bless your food. You can bless it by praying over it or placing reiki energy into it. Taking time to infuse it with love and healing energy is such a great practice to get into .
  6. Sit down to eat your meal. In this society we are always on the go, running from one thing to next never taking time to slow down and allow our bodies time to process the food we just consumed. So give yourself safe to do just that. Rest and DIGEST.
  7. Rest after your meal. give yourself time to digest and relax so your body can use all the nutrients to it’s highest potential.
  8. Eat intuitively. Eating when your hungry, stop when your full. This sounds like a very simple concept but in our society we have the pressures of set times to eat. We also have been consuming so many foods with high amounts of salts and sugars confusing our bodies into eat more when really we are full and satisfied.
  9. Eat foods that make you feel your best. Fill your plate with yummy fruits, and salads and have on the sides the more savoury foods that will satisfy not only your health but give you a balance into things that bring you enjoyment both physically and mentally.
  10. Always find love and compassion for yourself. Life is a journey and we all have times where we feel in control and balanced and other times we are very unsteady and that’s ok. Shame and guilty for working through this journey has never done anyone any good, so be proud of the little steps you take to healing this relationship with food.

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Self-Care Rituals

We have all heard it before: “Make sure to take care of yourself.” But the reality is most of us are running on empty with nothing left in our tanks. We pack our schedules so full we have no time to just relax and enjoy the littlest things such as a cup of tea. How can we give to others if we are always worn out? The world around us begins to feel the effects. Our jobs suffers. Our relationship become rocky. And we begin to feel agitated with everything and everyone. By giving ourselves permission to enjoy those moments of stillness we can begin to release any feelings of guilt. The guilt we sometimes feel when we desire to do something that fills our souls and feeds us with new energy. Building these self-care rituals are essential for balancing all aspects of ourselves.

I see this all the time from other moms. Every one of us is running our children from one thing to the next, trying so desperately to keep up with this ridiculous chaos we choose buy into. We all would claim that we didn’t have time for ourselves. For so long I felt guilty for wanting quiet time in the afternoon. A time for just me where I could enjoy my tea tonics, read up on healing touch and spend a good hour practicing my yoga and sitting in mediation. I felt I couldn’t have it all. Either I would have to be that amazing stay-at-home mom that did crafts all day with my children and made everything from scratch and spend my days cleaning, cooking and attending to my children and husbands every need. Or I would be “that” mother. The mother that never has enough time to sit and play with her children because she was too busy fulfilling her own needs. But why couldn’t there be a balance? Why couldn’t I have both? I wanted time to myself AND I wanted to be an amazing mother. Over time, I started to give myself the permission to fulfill my personal needs. The more I let go of the guilt the more I began to find a balance. By taking care of myself I became a better mother, wife, and friend. Allowing myself time to reenergize means I am more patient and loving with everyone around me.

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Sitting in the afternoon sun, enjoying my tea tonic and reading a good book. 

It’s okay to take time for yourself. By doing this we become these beautiful examples of balance for our children and the future generations. Allow yourself permission to let go and fill your bucket with whatever makes your soul sing. There is always time for those important practices that help us find balance in our lives. Allow yourself the freedom to spend time enjoying a long bike ride, or reading a good book. Take the time to do an activity that bring you happiness and joy each and every day because we are all worth it. We all deserve balance.

Healing comes in unexpected ways

Healing doesn’t always come in the form we sometimes wish it would. Healing from traumas, or even physical chronic pain can be a difficult process. It can sometimes leave scars that will always remain, forever changing the way we see our world. Accepting our new state of being can bring about a bumpy road. Our pain and experiences are unique to ourselves. They have built us into who we are today. They are there to help us inspire others to find their own level of healing.  By sharing these scars and putting ourselves out into the world we can offer healing light for someone else that is trapped in their own darkness.

Many nights I would lay trapped in my own body, unable to move the pain was so unbearable. I spent much of my life trying to be normal. Maybe that was the problem. My body wasn’t normal. Growing up I was always sick. I was the one that couldn’t eat most things without ending up bed bound afterwards. Chronic stomach disorders had paved the path for me developing two eating disorders over the last seventeen years. As a teenager I could never keep anything down with out feeling excruciating pain. My unhealthy answer at the time was to stop eating. My fight with Bulima started two years ago. I started binging on food to cope with emotional pain, pushing the feelings down with food. However, my stomach couldn’t handle the type and the amount of foods I was eating. I had to purge to feel relief. This grew into a series of destructive behaviours. I felt lost in darkness, with no hope in the horizon. I gave up on my body, and myself. I couldn’t find my strength.

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I spent the last year learning to find balance again and move away from these destructive behaviours. I started a journey to finding a plant based, whole foods, vegan diet consisting of mostly raw, unprocessed foods. This changed my life. I began to heal my stomach and experience what it felt like not to be ill everyday. After almost twenty years of doctor visits and procedures I had a few diagnoses which still managed to leave me in the dark on what to do. But I finally found relief in this simple lifestyle. I realized for me being “healed” doesn’t mean having a perfectly functioning stomach the way others do. Being “healed” for me means taking care of myself emotionally, and monitoring my diet precisely.

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Sometimes we have to accept that our path doesn’t always look the way we want it to. But even though we carry those scars we can learn to rise above them, and show them off proudly. We can choose to not let our challenges define who we are. Through the lessons we learn we can offer guidance to others in need. We can show our strength in how we survived and overcame these struggles and found hope again. Healing is feeling freedom from the pain. Pains that can keep us trapped. By fully accepting our limitations it allows us to experience freedom and healing on a deeper level.

Love each day

Not long ago my uncle passed away from terminal cancer. His diagnoses was only a few months prior to his death. It happened so fast. It still feels so surreal. The last doodle he drew for his wife was one of a smiley face that had the caption, “Love each day” written on it. While my family was back home preparing for the funeral my mother sent me this picture in a text message. It immediately brought me to tears. “Love each day.” Those words are so powerful yet so simple, and sometimes hard to achieve.

Love the days that you are frustrated because those are the days that are growing patience within you.

Love the days that are challenging because those days are growing strength in you.

Love the days that are joyful and full of happiness. Those are the days that fill your soul with love and beauty.

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And then there are the sad days…these are the hardest for me. For two weeks I held back tears and tried to go about my day ignoring that my heart was heavy. I couldn’t stop thinking of his passing and all the other loved ones I have lost over last few years. I was in the kitchen holding back what tears I could as I told my husband all I was feeling. I told him that I hated feeling this way, trapped in sadness. He said, ” Your struggling because your holding back the sadness. Let yourself cry and work through it. That is what will bring the healing you need to move forward.” I knew he was right.

So as hard as it is make sure to love the sad days. Love the days that are filled with tears and pain because those are the days that are healing your heart.

Love each day for all these moments are what make up who we are. These are the moments that shape our lives. Live in abundance of love and joy each and every day. This is what my uncle knew well.