Create More Happiness in Your Life with Self-Hugging This Spring

Hey Groovy People!

Can you believe the Spring season begins on March 20th and the first quarter of the this year ends on March 31st?

How are you planning to welcome the new season and second quarter into your life, career, and/or business?

My Spring Self-Care Commitment & Personal Retreat

For me, Spring is about fresh starts, new beginnings, new ideas, and new possibilities. It is a time of rebirth and renewal. I welcome Spring into my life as my second new year. For the past several years, I have used the astrological calendar and moon cycles to create personal retreats during the Spring Equinox, New Moon, and Full Moon. My personal retreats help me rest, restore, and recharge my spirit, heart, mind, and body. They allow me to slow down, become still, breathe deeply, and practice mindful self-care. They also help me recommit to myself by reflecting on how I started the year, exploring the lessons learned, releasing what no longer serves my highest good, setting new intentions, identifying goals, and mapping out action steps for the rest of the year.

One of the things that has been coming up for me in my Spring personal retreat reflections is the need to to invest more time and energy on maintaining a healthy well-being with better boundaries around my sleep and news and social media consumption. Right after the domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, I started staying up later and later in the evenings to read articles and social media, and watch videos, movies, and live discussions about racial injustice, politics, and the COVID-19 pandemic. That choice was a disaster recipe for my well-being. It increased stress and anxiety levels in my body. It made it harder to sleep peacefully. It chipped away at my happiness.

Recently, I decided to recommit to my well-being with one daily mindful self-care practice this Spring: self-hugging. Why? Because I need more physical touch in my life due to COVID-19 social distancing and quarantining. Going without it for long periods can impact our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Also, hugging helps boost serotonin, the happiness hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. Feeling more happiness strengthens our well-being.

Self-Hugging: Why Does It Support Well-Being and Create Happiness?

Hugging yourself is FREE and takes less than five minutes. It offers you an opportunity to practice loving kindness and strengthen your resiliency. A self-hug is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. All you have to do is decide and set an intention to give yourself a hug or hugs on a daily basis. Once you set your intention, take action and watch how your self-hugs turn into acts of self-love and self-empowerment.

When you hug yourself, your body releases the hormone, oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Oxytocin helps reduce stress and tension by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. It also lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and improves moods.

Hugging yourself for 20 seconds or more is a serotonin booster. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone that is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. It helps you feel happy, calm, and confident.

Consider following the advice of family therapist Virginia Satir who is famous for saying, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

 

Let’s Welcome Spring with More Happiness Through Self-Hugging on March 20th, Spring Equinox and International Day of Happiness

Let’s use the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Happiness Moment Self-Hug Challenge that is rooted in the HUG3 self-care practice. HUG3 is an acronym that stands for:

H: Hold space for yourself with

U: Unconditional Love

G3: Grace, Growth, and Gratitude

6 Self-Hugging Tips

There are many ways to hug yourself. Check out the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s tips below.

  1. Fold your arms around your body. You can fold your arms across your stomach or just below your chest. Do what feels most comfortable.
  2. Take a moment to consider the type of hug you need in the moment. How do you want the hug to feel? Strong, intense, soft or soothing?
  3. Give yourself a nice squeeze with just enough pressure to create the hug experience you need.
  4. Feel free to gently rock back and forth while hugging yourself.
  5. If hugging isn’t your cup of tea, try giving yourself a gentle massage in the areas of your body you feel most comfortable with. You can start with your face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest or belly. If it feels good, try the entire body!
  6. Use the Thriving Mindfully YoutTube playlist to keep you company as you hug yourself. Warning: The music may inspire you to dance and hug yourself at the same time! Watch out for the Thriving Mindfully theme song, “Be the REAL YOU” by Garnet Jay of Footprint Productions.

Get Started with the Happiness Moment Self-Challenge Today!

Pick one of the challenges below and dive deep into your self-hugging today.

30-Day Self-Hugs: Try 1 hug for 20 seconds per day. Consider giving yourself a hug in the morning before you get out of bed. If the morning doesn’t work, take a mid-day hug break or end your day with a hug before you go to sleep.

60-Day Self-Hugs: Try 4 or more hugs that last 1 minute or more per day. Notice how the increase in hugs makes you feel. If it feels good, add more hugs to your day.

90-Day Self-Hugs: Make hugging a self-care maintenance practice with 8 or more hugs per day.

120-Day Self-Hugs: Take your hug life to the next level of growth with 12 or more hugs per day.

Need More Support?

Join me for the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s Spring Virtual Retreat on March 21st at 2-4:30 PM ET OR March 27th at 7-9:30 PM ET via Zoom.

During the virtual retreat, you will:

  • Practice mindful self-care with deep breathing exercises, a mindfulness meditation with self-touch, and gentle chair yoga
  • Learn how to align and manage your energy with the wisdom of the Spring Equinox, New Moon, Full Moon, and crystal therapy
  • Participate in an intuitive movement exercise and a sound bath meditation that will help you open your heart to release and forgive
  • Reflect on and journal about what’s working and not working in your life and career, and what’s getting in your way
  • Set intentions and identify the resources, action steps, and accountability support you need to manifest who you want to be and what you want to manifest in your life and career
  • Create a self-celebration plan to appreciate your small, medium, and big wins

Click on the links below to buy your tickets today! Give a retreat ticket to a loved one, friend or colleague.

Welcome Spring with A Digital Wellness Plan that Helps You &Your Loved Ones Navigate COVID-19

SpringFlowersforBlogandEBlast

Happy Spring Groovy People!

What does Spring mean to you?

How do you welcome Spring into your life?

For me, Spring is about fresh starts, new beginnings, new ideas, and new possibilities. It is a time of rebirth and renewal.

I welcome Spring into my  life as my second new year. I use the Spring Equinox to slow down, become still, breathe, and check in with myself while I practice mindful self-care. My Spring check-in gives me time and space to review what’s been happening during the first quarter of the year. During this time, I recommit to myself by setting intentions and planting seeds for the second, third, and fourth quarters of the year.

MindfulTechnology

This year, my Spring season looks and feels different due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Instead of taking a mini Spring break, I find myself spending most of my days at home with limited physical interaction with others (social distancing is the new phrase). I also find myself spending more and more time online connecting with family and friends, using yoga and barre videos to workout, listening to music and podcasts, operating my business, working with and communicating with clients, and watching TV shows, movies, and videos.

At some point, I know I am going to overdose on technology. That’s why I am spending this weekend reviewing and updating my digital wellness plan. I am using the digital wellness plan I created in my book, Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online (available on Amazon) and my Thriving Mindfully Podcast’ Mindful Technology Playlist  as resources for mindful reflection and journaling.

PeopleUsingTechnology1

Now that we are in the midst of COVID-19, what does your digital life look and feel like?

How much time are you and your loved ones spending online?

Do you feel overwhelmed by technology?

How are you taking care of yourself while you are working and communicating online?

Need mindful technology tips and resources including tips on how to create digital a wellness plan, set time boundaries on email and texting, unplug daily or weekly from your digital devices, and/or start a digital detox?

Check out the Thriving Mindfully Digital Wellness resources below.

TMAcademy-DigitalWellnessPlan-USE

My Mindful Technology Journey & Burnout

Learning how to use technology mindfully started when I began my career in digital communications as a knowledge manager for Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. in 1996. My struggles with overdosing on technology increased dramatically when I started using social media, a smartphone, a tablet, and a lap top in my home life, digital communications career in the nonprofit sector, and wellness company. I didn’t have a healthy plan for communicating with family and friends; working with clients; managing my websites and social media; creating and curating blog and video content; hosting and producing podcasts; leading and participating in online communities; listening to music and podcasts; and watching TV shows, movies, and videos.

When I experienced burnout and enlisted the support of my life coach, Yael Flusberg, I started to make changes in the way I use technology. The lessons I learned and the mindful tech self-care practices I discovered laid the foundation for the Thriving Mindfully Podcast’s Mindful Technology playlist below. Check out each episode and see what tips and resources work best for you. Use what you find to create your own digital wellness plan.

Resources for You: Mindful Technology Playlist 

The Mindful Technology playlist includes nine podcast episodes that offer meditations and mindful tips on how to create a digital wellness plan, practice self-care with a digital detox and unplugging, and have a healthy relationship with email, social media, and technology. Click on the links below.

Here’s a bonus gift for you. A video of me sharing the Thriving Mindfully Academy’s recipe of weekly themes to inspire and help you practice mindful self-care Sunday through Saturday.

Upcoming Events

Copy of TMSpringEquinoxFlyer-Online

Get your tickets here.

TMAcademy-WWMeditationClass

Join me for the Wellness Wednesday Meditation class on March 25th from 7-7:15 AM ET (held every Wednesday until April 29th) via Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/anandaleeke64.

Spring Books for You

ALBOOKS-all3bookscollageCheck out my three mindfulness books (available on Amazon): Love’s Troubadours, a yoga-inspired novel; That Which Awakens Me, a mindful creativity memoir; and Digital Sisterhood, a mindful technology memoir. My books make great gifts for yourself and others.

Coaching Support for You

2020

Have you thought about how you want to live your life in 2020 and beyond?

Do you need support in planning out your year?

Looking for accountability?

I’d love to work with you! I love coaching and supporting people just like you who are committed to exploring mindfulness, meditation, and mindful self-care in their lives, careers, and business. My coaching areas include:

  • Mindfulness 101
  • Mindful Self-Care
  • Mindful Creativity
  • Mindful at Work
  • Mindful Communication
  • Mindful Leadership
  • Mindful Technology

Interested in exploring how we might work together to manifest your heart’s desires for your life, career, and/or business this year?

Fill out my client intake survey and then let’s set up a free 20-minute consultation call.

Click here to complete the survey. I will follow up with an email once you complete it.
I offer an hourly rate and three-month and six-month packages

Celebrate Spring & International Day of Happiness with Mindfulness & Mouth Yoga (Smiling)

Are you ready for Spring? Start it by celebrating International Day of Happiness on Tuesday, March 20, with a mindful practice of mouth yoga a/k/a smiling. Smiling is one of the best ways to create positive energy inside of yourself. When you smile mindfully, your positive energy can help open your heart to more gratitude. Also, your smile also has the power to brighten another’s person’s day!

InternationalDayofHappiness (1)

Check out my #ThrivingMindfully Podcast resources.

How are you planning to celebrate Spring and/or International Day of Happiness? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Enjoy Spring & International Day of Happiness!

Spring is in the air … The Obamas, my favorite fabulous Spring couple in DC

Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama laugh during a taping for the television show “American Idol” in Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House , April 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


Greetings All,

I thought it would be great to share a photo that expresses the fabulous Spring energy in Washington, DC.  What do you think?

What are some of your favorite Spring images?

Enjoy your day!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Springtime and the Obamas,

Ananda, an Obama fan

How Ananda is preparing for Spring… Yoga with Tazima Davis of Compassionate Renegade

Photo ©National Cherry Blossom Festival

Happy Tuesday!

Spring is coming. So are the cherry blossoms in DC.  March 20 marks the beginning of  Spring. For me, Spring is a season of rebirth.  How are you preparing for it?

Tazima Davis

Yesterday, I started my pre-Spring preparation with an intense one-on-one yoga class taught by yoga teacher and life purpose coach Tazima Davis in my home. I love one-on-one yoga sessions.  That’s how I learn best!

Tazima is founder of Compassionate Renegade (http://compassionaterenegade.wordpress.com).  She is helping me strenghten my core and upper body, open up my hips, and create more flexibility in my legs and hips.  She is also helping me release several yoga fears I have been holding onto.  Yes I have some yoga fears as a yoga teacher of four years and yogini of 15 years. Tazima’s teaching style pushes me past my comfort zone. Her grace, humor, ease, and yoga expertise makes her a fabulous teacher.  WOW is all I can say! To learn more about my yoga class with Tazima, listen to my audio blog below. Enjoy!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for yoga and teachers like Tazima,

Ananda