Welcome to Mindful Music Monday Mug. We are informal here. No perfect presentation of ourselves but loving the way we are with all the frizzy hair, laughing lines around our eyes and the messy home too!
Welcome back self-care ninja’s how has your week been? Have you enjoyed the mindfulness video and the cocoa recipe? I hope so.
My week off the blogging world was relaxing. I spent much time in the garden doing some maintenance ;-) well, mainly weeding and enjoying the spring flowers that have started to grow in December actually. No Buds yet though just the green leaves peeking out of the ground which I always find encouraging.
As promised last week we are going to start following Rachel Kelly’s book “Singing in the Rain ~ 52 Practical Steps to Happiness”. It says in the blurb to the book: “... Rachel Kelly has based her exercises on numerous psychological studies as well as feedback from hundreds of people in the world of mental health. Her motto is small things lead to big change. Follow her practical steps for finding your vice and expanding your range, and you’ll soon find yourself hitting the higher notes of life. “
I encountered her for the first time last year when I did a course about mental health on Future Learn called “Literature and Mental Health: Reading for Wellbeing” by the University of Warwick in which she described her experiences with severe depression. What caught my attention was one of her “tools” of getting through the dark times: She cited poems and quotes one of which was “This too shall pass” with her mother. It hit a chord with me and these few words have brought me through troubled times since.
video source: ReLit via YouTube
This was the reason why I signed up for her newsletter and when she asked for beta readers for her new book “Singing in the Rain” I signed up again and had the honour of reading it early and giving feedback. I have been using many of her tips myself but there were many new ideas that are very helpful too. But her self-care exercises and tips are not only for readers who suffer from a mental health problem. These tips and ideas are good for anyone who wants to make sure their wellbeing increases and that is what we are here for.
I need to mention here that I am not affiliated with Rachel Kelly other than having beta read her book and have signed up for her newsletter. I do not receive any payments for encouraging you to buy her book and work with it. I just believe this is a great tool on your exploration of self-care so please check it out here.
What’s in our mugs this week?
But before we get into the self-care exploration for this week we’ll get something delicious into our mugs. What would you like this week? More tea, vicar? More coffee or cocoa? Well, I think we’ll go with something refreshing as some readers might come from the other side of the planet where it is late summer. I have found an interesting Egyptian recipe for lemonade that I am going to try out this summer. Never heard of lemonade with a little milk in it but I think that might be really nice. So find Nathalie Maree’s recipe here.
But now let’s start exploring the first parts of Rachel's book.
Centering Yourself ~ Part 1 of Singing in the Rain by Rachel Kelly
Singing in the Rain is like a workbook for a positive life. Rachel explains her ideas one per week just in a couple of pages and then offers different exercises for you to do. What makes the book so joyful are Jonathan Pugh’s illustrations which are just so cute.
So what is the first chapter about? Putting yourself first? Really? That sounds rather egotistic!
Was that the first thought you have? Well, that shows how much we are brainwashed into thinking that others always come first. However, you might have heard that you can’t give anything when you’ve given everything. If you are exhausted and unhappy you are no help to anyone else, therefore, it is so important to take good care of yourself and it is by no means egotistic.
Anyone who is relaxed and happy has more to give than those who are stressed and have no time to care for themselves. That is why Rachel Kelly encourages us to take ourselves first. It always helps more to get the gist of something if you make it visible. That is why she put the illustration of a cartwheel in her book and the middle of the wheel says “You”. She encourages us to write down all the parts of our lives that are important in between the spokes of the wheel.
Her idea is that a wheel doesn’t work if one spoke is missing. So if you are neglecting any part of your life like friends, exercise or even doing the housework the wheel of your life can’t work properly because one spoke is missing. The trick is to find your personal balance of all the parts that make out your life. I highly encourage you to draw such a wheel for yourself and figure out which part needs more attention from you.
The next exercise shows you three talents that you have or more three strengths that you have. We are always fast in giving out compliments but it seems so hard for us to take them.That is why it is so important to remember that we have some superpowers that get us through the day. Rachel encourages you to write down three strengths that you like about yourself.
And last but not least she suggests to build your own coat of arms that shows four compliments you have received. When things get stressful remember your coat of arms and the compliments you already know. I love that part. I believe that you can literally use it as defence against the dark arts thoughts, times, experiences in your life.
So, I encourage you for this week to try out Rachel’s ideas and even better to check out her book and if you like it buy it!
Singing in the Rain ~ An Inspirational Workbook by Rachel Kelly on Amazon
Mindfulness in February
Mindfulness seems to be a little at odds with the above exercises of taking ourselves into the centre of attention but in a way, it does too. Mindfulness encourages us to calm our constant mind chatter and all those worrying thoughts that fly around in our minds towards an attitude of experiencing the thoughts and then letting them go concentrating on breathing for example.
This attitude in a way does put you in the centre too but it puts you in the centre of your attention so you can become conscious of what is going on in your mind. Does that make sense? It is a little like stepping outside of ourselves and then looking at ourselves and seeing what is going on without letting the drama catch us and make us react in automated ways.
That is why I introduce you to a guided meditation by Jason Stephenson who shows you how to be in the present moment and letting go of thoughts, goals and other things that might distract us.
video source: Paradigm Meditations via YouTube
This Week's Music
Last week I encouraged you to start your own mindfulness/self-care music list on whichever service you use. This week as it suggests itself somehow ;-) we are joining in with Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain. maybe it encourages you to dance or sing or maybe you just want to let this joyful tune wash over to let the darkness go.
Whichever you chose I hope you enjoy it!
video source: Turner Classic Movies via YouTube
Mindful Music Monday Mug Chat
Self-care is especially important when times are rough and too much is going on everywhere. So I believe it is good to meet up and have a cuppa together and share your story. However, we cannot always do that physically and so I have started the "Mindful Music Monday Mug Chat". You can join in with this link every Tuesday unless differently stated at 1 pm GMT (that is London time ~ please find your time here)
The link will ask you if you want to open it in the Skype app but you can open it online too. You can either join as a guest or sign in with your Microsoft account. For now, we are going to have a written conversation but we’ll keep an open mind and see where it will lead us.
What else do you need? A cup of tea, coffee or any other of your favourite beverage, a song to share and a polite manner. If you join in on the web you can only share files from your laptop or computer but if you join with an account you can also share YouTube videos, searches and other files to make our conversation more interesting.
I am looking forward to meeting you there!
And to remind ourselves how to take part:
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN THE MINDFUL MUSIC MONDAY MUG CHAT
~ I invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage or the recipe I introduce in this post
~Additionally I offer you questions, exercises and ideas to explore self-care, self-love and self-improvement.
~ I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comments or write a blog post about it and leave the link in the comments.
~ Also feel free to visit the blogs of our fellow self-care explorer ninjas.
Now dear self-care explorer ninja’s
Come, chat about self-care
Share some great music
And have lots of fun!
image source: Places of Serenity
I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice by a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.
I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.
Please look here if you need further guidance:
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