THE KDL GUIDE: HOW TO BE HEALTHY

Why Creating Space Is The Ultimate Act Of Self-Care (And How To Do It)

Each month, we at KDL are focusing on one subject, and how to REALLY master it. In January, we are exploring what it means (and takes) to be healthy in a manageable, realistic, start-from-basics way. Up this week: How to create space. Be purposeful. And find mindness.

Health is moving your body, drinking enough water and partaking in self-care, yes. But health is also about slowing down, letting go and trusting the journey of self-discovery. Health is a lifestyle, not a destination. How we become the healthiest versions of ourselves goes beyond what’s on our plates or the miles we run—it’s about creating space, and using that newfound space to be purposeful, to find mindfulness. Here’s how to do just that.

Create space. As humans, we have a tendency to hold onto things, things that take up space in our heads and in our homes. It’s a habit most of us aren’t even aware of, but all it takes is awareness and patience to let these things (and thoughts, and even people) go. It’s a matter of asking yourself, “Do these things serve me? Do they have a purpose?” Things, thoughts and people are only meaningful if they inspire you to take positive action in your life. Otherwise, they could be simply draining you—and your overall well-being.

Creating space in this way positively affects your mental and physical health. It allows space to just be, and space to introduce tools (like meditation) that can help change your brain chemistry. It allows you to release and to move on. What does creating space look like?

  • Clean out your fridge and pantry. Throw out old unused kitchen ingredients or donate food you no longer eat. Go buy the ingredients for that recipe you have been wanting to try, and make meal time an act of self-care.
  • Cancel weekend bar plans or that dinner date you didn’t want to go to, and take a night in for you. Make your favorite dreamy elixir, and draw yourself a lavender oil bath or maybe start that book you’ve been meaning to read.
  • Clean out your bedside table and bedroom clutter. Make room for things that make you feel good: Candles, essential oils, a journal, and pictures. Having these things beside your bed will improve the quality of your sleep and remind you of your purpose when you wake up in the morning.
  • Switch up your workout routine. Try a restorative yoga class; our bodies hold onto stress and store it just as our minds do. Creating space in the body can be done through yoga and stretching, where we are able to release stress, anxiety and fears.
  • Make meditation a non-negotiable. Start small, five minutes every morning or before bed. When we practice being more aware of our breath, we gain a sense of control and equanimity. This helps to channel our purpose and create space where we need it most.

Be purposeful. Do you relish in the idea of having a purpose? Be in the moment. Be aware of what you do have control over, as opposed to what you don’t. Find meaning in what you already have. This, friends, is how you find your purpose. We are not meant to fear our purpose or power, but to own it. Share your purpose, your ideas and thoughts; it’s more about expressing and less about accomplishing.

Pay attention to the thoughts and behaviors that weigh you down. There’s no need to feed into these negative thoughts, simply consider them to be a gentle warning sign. Use mantras and affirmations to break the negative momentum and to foster change: Say them out loud, write them down. It really comes down to making your purpose be something you want to express, rather then something you want to achieve.

Find mindfulness. Be present on purpose. This is going to look completely different for everyone. While we should all aspire to be more mindful in our movement, eating and simply being, it is important to know there is no “finish line.” This is every day work. Finding what works best for you, and accepting yourself where you are in this very moment, is the ultimate act of mindfulness.

Now, how does mindfulness impact our health? When we pause and take time throughout our day to observe the life in front of us, rather than the life head or behind, we can learn to let go, and find meaning and purpose in our life. Ambition and drive are essential, but without presence, true health and contentment will be difficult to find. Let go of what you aspire to be, have or do, and instead love who you are and where you are in this very moment. When thoughts of self doubt or invalidation come up, approach them with non-judgment and acceptance.

It is small mindful moments throughout the day that can lead to large, impactful shifts. There are simple and realistic ways to cultivate mindfulness in all areas of your life.

  • Make a conscious effort to set aside time for self-care. Read a book, prepare a healthy meal, practice a new breathing technique, book a massage, sleep an extra thirty minutes, make a tea.
  • Reflect and meditate. Take a walk, start a morning meditation practice, add breath work to your lunch break, go to bed early to write and reflect on your day.
  • Visualize. Create a vision board, write out mantras, or say your favorite affirmation. Starting or ending your day journaling helps to visualize your purpose and make room for the new and improved.

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