The Witch's Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit - Arin Murphy-Hiscock 2018
You probably already use music as part of your self-care routine. You might already have a playlist to listen to if you’re having a bad day, a playlist to help you “kick ass,” a relaxing playlist to listen to during a commute. You might enjoy falling asleep to relaxing music, playing an energetic album to get you into the active frame of mind to clean the house, or putting on some awesome tunes for a dance party (and if you don’t indulge in random dance parties, you are missing out on a ridiculously easy and fun self-care activity)—but you may not use music mindfully.
Mindfulness asks you to focus on your current task or activity, allowing yourself to be in the moment and release the hold the past or future has on you and your emotions, giving your mind and spirit a chance to rest from spinning all those plates. We often listen to music while doing other things, which puts it in the background. Listening to music mindfully offers the opportunity to explore it—and yourself—differently.
Mindful listening can offer you a greater appreciation of music you love. Actively listening to music also provides you with the opportunity to hear or notice things in the music that you missed before. You can discover so much about your favorite music by listening to it actively.
If you already rely on music for stress reduction, then listening mindfully to the music can boost its stress-reducing qualities. Listening mindfully to music that you enjoy can have a deeper impact on relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.
Playing an Instrument
Making music is another way to reduce stress. If you suffered through enforced music lessons as a child or had been upset and stressed because you couldn’t master a piece of music, you might want to argue with that idea. However, research has shown that playing an instrument can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, ease stress, and reduce anxiety and depression. It also reroutes your mind away from work, allowing you a mental break from using your brain for your daily job, and enforces the mindfulness action of being in the moment. As a bonus, you’re doing it for yourself, not for anyone else. That’s a very strong self-care statement.
If you don’t already play an instrument, why not learn to play one? Ukuleles are easy to find now, as are electric keyboards if you fancy piano. You’ll run into plenty of conflicting advice regarding the quality of instrument to purchase—a very poor instrument can actually impede your pursuit—so why not try renting to make sure that your chosen instrument is indeed the one for you. Look for a teacher in local online listings or posted on an old-fashioned physical bulletin board at the music store. You may be able to network with a local college or university to find a teacher for private lessons. Or try some online lessons; just read as many reviews of the set you’re considering buying access to before you jump in, to make sure it’s taught by an experienced teacher.
Learning a new instrument will both humble and frustrate you. But allowing yourself to be challenged, working through obstacles, and coming through the other side is a great way to bolster your self-confidence. Think of each new piece or technique as a mini project, and celebrate successfully completing each one.
Creative projects may make people insecure and doubt their own expression. Using affirmations to support creative self-care is an easy way to remind yourself that playing with markers and paint isn’t a waste of time! Try any or all of these affirmations.
♦ My work is flourishing. I am flourishing.
♦ I believe in my talents and skills.
♦ I have wonderful ideas and explore them creatively.
♦ I learn and grow from every project, and all projects are therefore successful.
Jar of Inspiration
If you’re feeling discouraged about your creative output or ability, this jar of encouraging affirmations can help. Draw one out when you feel down. Or you can draw one in the morning as part of your spiritual self-care morning routine and think about it as your day unfolds.
Choose an attractive jar for this project; there is pleasure in looking at aesthetically pleasing things. If you have a bowl or wide vase you would prefer to use, go ahead! Just make sure the opening is wide enough to reach in and grab a slip of paper, and the walls aren’t too tall to stop you from taking slips from the very bottom. A pretty box would also work.
What You Need:
♦ Slips of blank paper
♦ Small jar or other container
♦ Small clear quartz stone
♦ Small citrine stone
♦ Small rose quartz stone
What to Do:
1. On the slips of paper, write affirmations and supportive statements. The following are suggestions, but I encourage you to develop your own!
♦ I love the person I am becoming.
♦ I see joy everywhere I look.
♦ Every mistake is a learning experience.
♦ I continue to learn and grow daily.
♦ My work does not have to be perfect to be a success.
♦ I only have to be better than I was before.
♦ Small steps add up to progress.
♦ I am confident and able.
♦ Creative energy flows through me at all times.
♦ Every day I am more creative.
♦ I am resourceful and confident.
♦ I am creative in all areas of my life.
♦ My imagination inspires me daily.
2. Fold each slip in half. Place each one in the jar or container.
3. Hold the clear quartz, saying, “Quartz, I call upon your clarity and energy to energize my creative life.” Place it in the container.
4. Hold the citrine. Say, “Citrine, I call upon your powers of communication to help me express my creativity.” Place it in the container.
5. Hold the rose quartz, and say, “Rose quartz, I call upon your energy of transformation so that any negative energy around me is transformed to positive, supportive energy.” Place it in the container.
6. Draw out a slip of paper when you need a boost for your creative confidence. Replace it once you have read it aloud a few times. Keep the affirmation in your mind and repeat it throughout the day.