Wearing a bra (anytime!) constricts the flow of lymph (your body's natural detox system).
You've probably heard that you have an abundance of lymph nodes under your arms and around your breasts - that's a big part of what you're checking out during a self-exam. Wearing a tight band around that part of your body prevents your body from doing its daily detox. That means excess toxins and hormones are floating around your body, which can effect everything from your mood to your menstrual cycle and PMS symptoms to the clarity of your skin to your metabolism!
Take it off!
I know it's not comfortable for some. Did you know that breast soreness is a symptom that your lymph is not properly detoxing? It might be a little physically uncomfortable at first, but trust that soreness will largely pass!
It can also be socially uncomfortable, I know. This is where it becomes a practice of self-acceptance - and also selectivity. I don't recommend just burning all your bras. I like to keep a few handy.
A little secret: I only wear a bra if my outfit absolutely requires it. I'm fortunate to be on the small side, but seriously, make a game of seeing how often you can get away without one. Start with while you're sleeping! Or lounging at home with just your partner. Or when bundled under layers of clothes.
Also: Studies show that women who don't wear bras retain stronger muscle tissue around their breasts, meaning they have perkier breasts later in life. Win!
So... Take it off! Don't approve, world? Well, this is me. I'm not going to contain myself for you anymore.
Is Self-Care Selfish? Huffington Post (blog) In my mind, I knew what self-care was and I was already doing a good job of it. Weekly massage? Check. Reading for pleasure every day? Check. What more do you need, right?
Alex Mart's insight:
How many times have you heard, "Don't be selfish"? Many of us carry layers of inner shame, believing we are selfish when we prioritize ourselves and our self-care, and that we need to suppress or hide it.
Question for you, especially if you're a care-taker or in service of any kind (parent, teacher, medical professional, coach, therapist, leader): If you don't fill your own physical-mental-emotional-spiritual cup, how can you really show up and give your best?
Because, really, what's the motivation for ignoring our bodies and selves? So often, it's work, it's proving ourselves and our "worth" to others. How much more productive, focused, motivated and energized would you be if you took the time and prioritized your self-care?
A while ago I had a heartening discussion with a client who was finally able to keep her self-care consistent and was amazed at the difference it made in her eating and her life. Here are a few ideas we...
Alex Mart's insight:
As a long-time emotional eater, I find this speaks directly to the core of what I've discovered drives my own mindless eating.
Eating is just one strategy for dealing with feeling drained, or stressed and stretched thin - both usually stem from a deep need for self-care (taking time to ground, relax, find your center, rest, prepare healthy foods, etc.). The worst part is that mindless over-eating stresses your body and taxes your energy even more. We become weighed down with extra physical weight, as well as guilt and other suppressed heavy emotions.
Self-care IS being a master of your own energy. For Karen's client this meant setting emotional boundaries as well as taking time for herself to calm down and unwind. Being a master means taking responsibility, it means being a student, a disciple of yourself. It means learning to listen to your body and mind's cues about what you truly need.
I still am an emotional eater to a certain degree. I've learned to stop judging myself though (a huge energetic weight off my shoulders!), and to instead be curious, to use the urges or eating as a cue to pay attention, to explore where I still have room to grow into fully nourishing myself with more self-care and self-love.
The magic sauce? When you are fully paying attention to and honoring your energy (both physically and mentally), you don't need food to fill the voids or stuff down the unpleasant feelings. You tap your inner unlimited power and your full potential for endless energy.
Redefining Self-Care Huffington Post And then when I challenge them with a self-care assignment, their first instinct is to indulge in a pedicure or a new scented body lotion from the high-end cosmetic counter at the mall.
Alex Mart's insight:
Self-care is personal. And it's a deep kind of loving soul-care. Some of my personal self-care practices:
Mind: Every morning, when I first wake up, I start listing things I'm grateful for in my head. I stretch my body and I'm grateful for it, I get grateful for running water, heat, electricity, the country I live in. Go big and bask in it. Imagine starting every day in those thoughts... try it. I also take time to write each day, in the morning, before I get to work - to free-style dump all of my thoughts onto paper so I can release the heavy stuff that's weighing on me and cluttering my mindspace. I also write myself into more positive thoughts... I ask myself, so what do I actually want to feel?
Body: I walk 2 miles every morning. It wakes me up to the world and gets my blood flowing. I do movement that moves me. I dance. I hula hoop. I run occasionally. I go to yoga classes. I build shopping at farmers' markets into my weekly routine, so I can buy the freshest, seasonal, organic, affordable, clean food possible. I cook in batches so that I have healthy leftovers for lunches and busy nights. I keep fruit and nuts out for snacking.
Entourage: I am very selective about the people I invite into my life. It's got to be a big inner "YES PLEASE!" and feel good through and through. I seek out people who expand and stretch me in ways I want to go, people who are living the life I envision for myself. I pay attention to people's words and thoughts and ask if they feel supportive. I say no to events and projects that don't ignite and excite me. I respect my time and my boundaries. I show up on time. I come as I am. I am committed to being honest and speaking my truth. I gravitate towards others who do the same. I find that people who don't resonate, often drift away naturally. No need for drama.
Spirit: I meditate. I visualize. I write my intentions down every day and every week. I ground myself in my desires and passions. When my coaching starts to feel like work, I take a break and write, call a high-vibe friend, or get outside and walk so that I can reconnect to my inner drive, my calling, my sense of purpose. I make inspirational signs and put them up all over my house, my computer, my phone. I set daily reminders for myself. I completely unplug from technology and go camping or to hot springs - somewhere in the heart of nature, - on a regular basis, so that I may reconnect to my own true nature.
In case you're considering deepening the role massage plays in your self care routine or if you're on the fence about scheduling that first appointment, here are five of the many reasons why massage should be a positive, ...
Alex Mart's insight:
Getting weekly massages was how I learned to feel and love my body. To really feel the energy of it, the sensuality of it, the pleasures of my physical form. Massage woke me up to my desire to truly FEEL good from the inside out.
Before you write weekly massages off as an indulgence - think about what it would be worth to you, what it would me to you, to deeply drop into your body, to realize that your body IS you, to accept your body as it is, to feel beautiful in all your imperfections, to awaken a sense of aliveness you never knew you had, to pay attention to your body, to listen to it, to honor your need to relax in order to fully experience life...
Seriously, that is what massage does for me. Schedule yourself one now. I find it's imperative to find a therapist and an environment where you feel safe and relaxed. Spas don't work for me. I like to know my massage therapist. I like to go to people's homes or for them to come to mine. To me, that full experience is SO worth the extra dollars. You do get what you pay for in massage. You, your body, and your energy are worth it.
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