February is the month of love. While we are thinking about the people we cherish, it’s important that we take a glimpse in the mirror. It is amazing how much more compassionate we can be with others when we first show a little compassion toward ourselves.
The best way to show ourselves some daily love is with what I like to call ‘little slices of heaven.’ Giving ourselves a well-deserved reward on a routine basis wires us to expect good things.
Ayurveda teaches that routines help us balance and reduce stress by regulating the nervous system. When the body knows what to expect when, it naturally relaxes. And the positive effects are doubled when we work in alignment with the daily doshic cycles or circadian rhythms. Reducing stress is particularly important for Vata types who often struggle with following routines and for anyone during Fall or Early Winter, the Vata times of year. Let’s face it–the human brain flows better with some consistency, especially when what we are expecting is fun and positive.
Adding small rewards to our day is essential when we are setting tough goals for ourselves or during times when great discipline is required. Think about it. What could you add to each day to help you smile when you are giving up your favorite pie to lose weight? How can you treat yourself when you are focused on saving money and increasing your bank balance? During the current lockdowns, when taking a trip abroad might not be in the cards, how can you give yourself a little slice of heaven to look forward to this weekend…or even on a daily basis?
Your slice of heaven can be anything you look forward to each day and should be designed to support, rather than detract, from the goals you are striving to achieve. They should also help balance your body’s energetic type, season of the year, time of day and possibly time of life. For example, giving yourself a warm treat when it’s cold outside or a physical activity you enjoy to get you off the couch or away from your desk.
This winter one of my slices of heaven has been my daily cup of green tea. I have this after breakfast or when I arrive at work. The bitter flavor complements my diet plan. The hot mug warms me like a fire. And the slight boost of energy I get from it helps jumpstart my day.
My new blanket from Costco is another slice of heaven right now. Its bunny-like softness soothes and caresses me, and its warmth relaxes me when my husband has the temperature in the house set at 65 degrees. Brrrrr!
Consider all of the little things you could integrate into your day–nice music; a daily self-massage with warm, aromatic oil; burning candles; diffusing pleasant essential oils; a relaxing bath; planning a trip to a wide open park; daily hikes in nature; spending time with your grandkids, time for a relaxing hobby. The lists goes on and on. And from time to time, even when dieting, a literal slice of whole grain bread might be just the ticket to heaven. Complex carbohydrates help fuel serotonin levels, which makes us feel oh so good.
What are some of the things you look forward to or would like to look forward to each day? Think about adding two or three of your favorite healthy comforts to your day…or your week. You deserve to be loved and cherished by yourself, as well as others. So start with the one person that you can change the easiest–yourself. You might be surprised how much better people treat you when you first acknowledge your worthiness to Numero Uno.
Share with us below what makes you grateful and happy each day. If you don’t have anything like this now, make sure you add two or three immediately. They can be small, but they should be consistent.
Practicing happy routines makes us happier people, so be sure to work a little slice of heaven into your life each day. And who knows…by becoming a happier person, you might just end up being someone else’s ‘little slice of heaven.’
Karen Callahan is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist with a digital practice based in Las Vegas. Prior to 2020, she had an office in Pasadena, California, where she was practicing Ayurveda since 2014.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.