Are you ignoring your emotional self-care?

hands-over-heart1

Last night I attended a small women’s circle where we took turns sharing where we are in our lives and where we’re headed next. Afterwards, we did a short meditation and then created beautiful 2015 vision boards together, taking time at the end for show and tell.

This morning I woke up feeling fabulously nourished and complete. What happened? I got to partake in “belly time” (face-to-face connection) and practice emotional self-care.

All the travel I did in 2014 took a toll on my sweet body so focusing on my physical fitness and strength is one of my primary intentions for 2015. But last night reminded me that a key part of enhancing true well-being is making our emotional self-care a priority, too. Whether that’s taking time for heart-felt communication with friends who care about us, asking for support from a counselor/coach or allowing ourselves to feel what we’re experiencing, the care and feeding of our hearts is essential to feeling whole and alive.

Over the holiday break, I noticed with some concern how we’re all communicating these days. Friends that used to regularly call me around the dinner hour to visit about our day, now only text. My son says he won’t use our land line to call his friends to plan a date because, “They just don’t do that, Mom.”  Our college communications interns are typically uncomfortable at the thought of returning phone calls to our customers or team members, they much prefer texting. When we rely so heavily on electronic communication, our exchanges become short, shallow and one-dimensional. We’re missing nuance, tone and this type of empty communication does little to feed our hearts, establish and build relationships and cultivate social and emotional intelligence.

And in a time when rates of depression and anxiety are skyrocketing, this is not a good thing.

One of mentors, psychologist Dr. Richard Miller (creator of iRest Yoga Nidra) says we all need four things: to be seen, to be heard, to connect and to belong. Ahhh, yes.

We need each other (read my blog post on this theme) fully and completely: hearts, minds, bodies and souls. Not just through rapid fire texts or Facebook Likes. I challenge you this week to look at ways you can nourish your heart through direct, authentic, heartfelt connection with others. Try picking up the phone to call a friend you haven’t spoken to in months, setting up a girl’s or guy’s night out, taking a few minutes to really see and hear someone you encounter or signing up for a monthly book group.

Gathering for belly time is great, but there are also many things you can on your own to nurture your emotional well-being. One of my favorite exercises for reconnecting with myself is the Quickie Journaling Exercise (from my new award-winning book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family).  It involves asking three simple questions and recording your answers in a notebook or journal. It often helps to write stream of consciousness–let whatever wants to emerge–and place a hand over the center of your chest while reflecting on each question. How do I feel?  What do I need (at this moment, at this life stage)? What do I want (what is my heart’s greatest desire)?  Often in just five minutes, you’re able to feel some shifts while enhancing your emotional well-being. Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear from you.

TAKE ACTION~If you’re feeling called to focus on your emotional self-care, make this a priority NOW! Consider joining me for a 2015 retreat (I’ll be at the beautiful, healing Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Jan. 23-25–just a few spots left), learn more about my new Austin women’s group launching Jan. 30th Embracing the Wild Unknown: Nurturing Yourself in the Second Half of Life or join or become trained to facilitate a Personal Renewal Group for moms. This powerful 12 year-old program now includes Facilitators in more than ten countries worldwide. I’ve had the joy of creating/facilitating transformational events and experiences for women for more than 25 years.

Women's self-renewal retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Summer 2014.

Women’s self-renewal retreat, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Summer 2014.

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum.  She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here.