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.

Balancing the Heart Charka

The heart charka is all about giving and receiving love. It’s about opening up to forgiveness and freeing yourself from guilt and shame. This charka focuses on kindness, acceptance and compassion for yourself and those around you. The heart charka is incredibly expansive.The energy it carries pushes through to the ends of the universe. If you are struggling with finding forgiveness for yourself or someone who has hurt you or if you are finding it challenging to find compassion for others this charka is the one to focus on. Sit or lay in savasana for meditation and start by placing your left hand on heart centre and right hand on top. Repeat this mantra to yourself and imagine your whole heart centre filling with green light and expanding across your chest and down your arms into the palms of your hands and out to the corners of the universe. Send this light to anyone in need or to anywhere in the world that is experiencing suffering. This energy is so powerful and can surpass time and space. This is pure loving energy, that can be sent to all areas of your life here and beyond.

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Colour: Green.

Element: Air.

Purpose: All about giving and receiving love. Finding forgiveness and a way to release shame.

Location: Chest.

Sound: YAM.

Crystals: Malachite, Rose Quartz, Rhodonite.

Foods: Green foods such as leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chlorella, spirulina, peas etc.

Essential oils: Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang.

Yoga: Supported Fish pose, Cat/Cow pose, Sphinx Pose. Yoga poses that focus on opening up the heart- centre.

Understanding the differences between HSP and Empath

There is so much confusion about the differences between a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and an Empath. I am an empath as well as a HSP which makes my life experience quite interesting. Though empaths and HSPs both possess sensitivities, they are different in many ways. Being both an Empath and a HSP myself I get asked a lot what is the difference, so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain how being one or the other or both changes your experience of the world around you.

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An empath is someone who picks up on emotions in others without them saying a word. They have an ability to feel and experience pain from others as if it were their own, thus making them some of the most giving and loving people in the world. Because of this ability to experience other’s suffering they are at a higher risk of sliding into depression if they don’t protect and cleanse themselves regularly from other energies. Empaths can connect not only to other people’s energy but also energy from animals, the earth and even spirits. Empaths have great intuition and can read people incredibly well. Empaths tend to be the “healers” of the world because of a deep desire to help others. They experience both love and pain deeply which is why it is SO important to take action in keeping their energetic space clear and healthy boundaries set.

A HSP is someone who notices ALL energy. They are the ones who get easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation. They struggle at times to process all the noises, smells and movements around them which can create anxiety and stress. These types of people tend to avoid crowds because of over abundance of incoming stimuli. HSPs have a deep appreciation for the little things as they pick up and notice EVERYTHING. They have an strong ability to sense incoming danger and can not only notice subtle energy shifts but can transform the energy when they step into their full ability as a HSP.

I hope in sharing this it helps someone understand their unique gifts and abilities more clearly so they can find ways to feel empowered by these abilities seeing them as gifts instead of burdens.

Green Goddess Smoothie Recipe

I absolutely love my green smoothies. I go through fazes of loving a specific combination but this is one I tend to fall back on and is my go to for all occasions. If you are new to green smoothies it’s a good idea to start with greens such as spinach or romaine lettuce that have very little taste, and then move yourself up to kale, swiss chard and mixed leafy greens. Start with two cups of greens and move your way up to three as your taste buds adjust. For this recipe I used greens from my garden which consisted of two types of kale and some swiss chard. Make sure when you are using kale you take the leafy part off of the spine which will make the taste far less bitter. And of course adjusting the amount of spirulina and chlorella if it is too strong. I have been drinking my greens in juices and smoothies for many years and I enjoy the more savoury flavour of the greens but if your starting off take it slow and find your happy medium.

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Green Goddess Smoothie :

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/2 of a ripe banana sliced

1 scoop of vanilla plant-based protein powder

1 tsp of spirulina

1 tsp of chlorella

2-3 packed cups of greens of your choice.

Blend it all up in blender really well adding water as you go to get the consistency of your liking. Start with 1/3 cup of water and add more as you need it. Enjoy!

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.

Ukrainian inspired beet salad

This is a vegan Ukrainian inspired beet salad I created for my family. It has all the comforts of my heritage with a healthy spin, lots of garlic and dill. I serves this as a meal but you can also have it as a side dish. This recipes feed a family of five people (two adults, three children) with a little left overs.

Start by washing, peeling and cutting up three large beets into bite size pieces placing it on a baking sheet and drizzle a few tablespoons of maple syrup over the top of it. Next wash, and cut up three cups of mixed baby potatoes and place on another baking sheet massaging a little coconut oil, fresh chopped dill, salt and pepper on it. Bake at 350 until cooked (about 20mins depending on how big the pieces are).

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Dressing:

2TBSP of olive oil

2TBSP of balsamic vinegar

Juice of half a lemon

2TBSP of maple syrup

1/2 tsp of garlic salt

1tsp of Italian seasoning

1tsp of garlic powder

 

To make salad dressing, combine all ingredients into a small bowl and them massage into the mixed greens.

 

Vegan seed cheese

1/2 cup of soaked (soaked in water for 1-2 hours) sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of hemp seeds

1/2TBSP of dijon mustard

1TBSP of Italian seasoning

1TBSP of red wine vinegar

Juice of the other half of the lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4tsp of onion salt

1/2tsp of garlic salt

1 chopped garlic clove (optional)

2 TBSP of chopped fresh dill

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In a high speed blender combine all ingredients for vegan cheese EXCEPT the dill. Add water slowly starting with 1/4 cup and increasing until you have the a think smooth cheesy texture. Once mixed, pour in bowl and add the fresh chopped dill.

Place the mixed greens on the bottom, then add in the roasted beets and potatoes. Top the salad with 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion, and 2TBSP of pumpkin seeds. When ready to serve add in as much vegan cheese as you would like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Green Goddess Juice

Green juice recipe!

With spring and summer coming I always feel a pull to drink more juices and smoothies. This is my favourite recipe. You can juice this with a juicer or blend in a vitamix blender and strain out with a nut bag.

Green Goddess Juice🌸

2 bunches of kale
1 head of celery
1 medium apple
1 cucumber
1.5 cups of snap peas
The juice of half of a lemon
A piece of ginger
A piece of fresh turmeric(optional)

Notes: Add a pinch of pepper if you decided to add turmeric so you can absorb the benefits of turmeric.

Trick and tips: If your getting used to the strong flavour of kale, make sure to lower the amount of kale you are using and work your way up to 2 bunches. Also take the kale of the spine, the steamy part is the most bitter.

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This is one of my absolute favourite go-to green juice recipes. Hope you enjoy 💗