In the beginning of my spiritual journey, I leaned onto self-care to keep me in alignment on my toughest days. And during times like this, where most of us are faced with uncertainty about the state of the world during a pandemic, incorporating a spiritual practice can do wonders for your mental health. As we transition into a colder climate, these changes can trigger mood swings. If you’re like myself and many others, these times can be difficult if you don’t have a solid spiritual practice in place. It doesn’t have to be extensive or over the top but it has to be something that you can commit to consistently (I would recommend at least once a week to start). And as you advance throughout your journey, you can make the necessary adjustments to ensure it’s meeting your needs. In this blog post, I will share with you five practices I’ve personally used as a foundation for my spiritual practice. I specifically chose these five cost-effective methods so they are applicable to anyone at any price point.
Throughout my journey, I’ve found that writing in a journal has helped me gather and organize my thoughts. When I was going through a tough transition after my awakening, to make sense of emotions, I implemented journaling to clear my head. In the beginning, I started writing in my journal at least twice a week in a notebook. Now, I use an online application (I’ve used Penzu for about six years) to journal every Monday. Sometimes it can be difficult to express how you feel to other people or you’re not able to explain in a way that makes sense. Using a journal to document your good and bad moments can be very cathartic.
When my mind is clouded with dark thoughts, mediation is the best tool to manage my stress and anxiety. There are many programs and apps that provide simple meditations that last a couple of minutes. I personally use YouTube and search for five or ten-minute meditation. At the beginning of my spiritual journey, I practiced meditation twice a week. Now, it’s something I do at least once a week and more often if I experience heightened levels of anxiety. There are many forms of meditation that you can incorporate into your routine and there’s no such thing as doing it wrong. If you’re like me, I select a YouTube meditation video and lay down on my bed with headphones. Usually, my eyes are closed. Some people meditate with their eyes open and they prefer to not lay down. And some people prefer guided or unguided meditations. There’s no method that works the “best”. The great thing about this practice is that you can tailor it to your liking and you always have the choice of switching it up.
Yoga is a great way to relax the mind and body while getting a challenging and exhilarating workout. I don’t practice yoga as much as I should, but when I started incorporating this into my exercise routine, it helped my muscles relax after doing a HITT or cardio workout. With this method, YouTube is also a great resource and there are so many videos that cater to different sizes and levels. Or if you have a gym or studio membership that offers yoga classes and are comfortable with attending an in-person class, that works as well.
Using affirmations at the start of my journey helped me build my self-esteem. This is a simple but powerful tool that can lift your spirits during turbulent times. When I introduced affirmations into my spiritual practice, I had a list of affirmations I had on my notes and would recite it in the morning before starting my day. It’s not enough to just go through the motions, you have to believe what you’re saying to see the difference it makes in your life. You can either use affirmations created by other thought leaders or you can create your own affirmations based on the goals that you have. The types of affirmations I’ve used have changed over the years, but it’s something I still implement five years into my journey.
5) Gratitude rock
The Secret was one of many books I read after I had my spiritual awakening. There is also a documentary with the same title that is written by the author, Rhonda Byrne. In the film, Lee Brower talks about how having a gratitude rock changed his life. After reading the book and watching the documentary, I felt inspired to adopt the same practice. You can use any rock that you find outside and each time you hold the rock, choose one thing to be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be life-changing, it could be something as simple as waking up in the morning or having a cup of your favorite coffee. Once you shift your mind to focus on the things that bring you joy, slowly but surely, you’ll see your perspective change. When I began my journey, I found a rock that was in my apartment complex’s parking lot but since then I now use crystal quartz. If you don’t like rocks, you can use another small object while using the same philosophies.
Creating a self-care routine that aligns with my spiritual belief system has been life-changing for me. You will experience ups and downs throughout your journey and the ever-changing environment we live in can make it difficult to remain positive about the course of your life. Having healthy coping mechanisms like the ones I’ve listed above makes it a little easier to navigate troubled waters. I hope these methods serve you well and help others if you choose to share your experience.