This week I said good bye to Eddie, my beloved little dog, my faithful friend for the last 7 years. He was with us for every step of our Oliver Farm years and flew across the Atlantic to join us for our Scottish adventure. Sadly we had to say good bye.

Eddie self-care puppy cuddlesIf you’ve ever lost a pet, you’ll know how broken hearted I feel. My heart is heavy, there’s a hole on the sofa and echoes of him in every room and as we take our daily walks. The wise woman in me knows that this is a time to hold myself tenderly with love and understanding. It’s not a time for racing around with new projects and high drama. It’s a time for peaceful, quiet acceptance and release as I come to terms with not having my cuddly pal around. No rushing or pressure, just peaceful acceptance of what is. So here are my favourite self-care tips for times like these, self-care for a broken heart or times of loss, disappointment and general funk. There are so many here, pick a few that resonate with you.

  1. Write a Journal – with loads of colourful jolly pens. For me, the page is a place to reminisce, release, forgive, dream, envision and create a new story.
  2. Connect with a plant ally or spirit guide – There’s no need to carry our burdens all alone, be open to reaching out to angels, spirit helpers and plants for support and love. Flower Essences are wonderful for emotional upset and support and are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. I also like to use smudging herbs like White Sage or botanical room sprays to cleanse my home and person of stagnant or negative energy.
  3. Draw and doodle Mandalas – This might seem very trivial but reserve judgement until you’ve tried it. I’ve been doing this for the last 6 months or so because I find it hugely relaxing and cathartic and if you’ve never tried it then give it a go. Drawing a mandala is a circle in its most simple form and can then be filled with much more complex signs, symbols, circles, shapes and general doodles. I find it really soothing, safe and satisfying. Highly recommended and a great excuse to get out the colouring pens (again!). For how to draw a mandala there are some great tips here. mandala for self-care
  4. Care for your body with gentle exercise and stretching – enjoying walks outside in the sunshine whenever I can. I’m not a real fan of yoga or things like that so I just make up my own thing that feels good for my body. You might love yoga, running or just dancing around your front room. Do anything – just move!
  5. Nourish your body with wholesome food that you love. I’m not a huge meat eater, I love veggies, humus, nuts, avocados and the like so I’m trying to stock up as much as possible on all this that my body loves, rather than head for the carbs which I always think I love but actually make me feel like a stodge ball. I also love coconut water, this feels like a treat so it’s top of my shopping list at the moment and heightens my feelings of self-care and nourishment. As for chocolate, my preference is dark or maybe even raw. I like the good stuff so as part of my self-care regime I know I am worth it.
  6. Drink Nettle Infusion – Nettle is one of my key plant allies, such a nourishing and strengthening plant for mind, body and spirit. Packed with essential minerals I make a large pot in the morning and then use it over 2 days and keep it in the fridge overnight since it is also great to drink when cold. Try it if you haven’t already. It’s definitely at the top of my Wise Woman Herbal essentials.
  7. Take a hot soak in an aromatherapy or herbal bath. I prioritize a peaceful warm bath once a week above all things! My favourite at the moment is a cup of Epsom salts, with a splash of almond oil and 10 drops of lavender and 5 drops of clary sage essential oils. Or for complete indulgence and love to myself I may add rose petals, rose essential oil, chamomile flowers or lavender. And don’t forget to complete the experience with soft music or a guided meditation and candles.
  8. Treat your body and skin with a rich moisturizer. – I currently use a homemade lavender and lemongrass whipped shea butter for pure indulgence and hydration for my skin. Be sure to apply it with love and devotion, rather than simply slap it on. I find a mantra like “I love you, you are beautiful” to say over and over to myself as I am applying body lotion is a really kind way to look after yourself and help with your body image and appreciation. Don’t rush it, take your time, to truly enjoy the experience.
  9. Receive from others – As part of honouring your broken heart, it’s important to still be receptive, so that means be open to receiving from others. This might be in the form of enjoying a spa treatment for example or accepting an invite from a friend for dinner or just simply hearing and receiving friend’s love and care for you in your suffering. I had a delicious facial this week and it provided a loving and nurturing space for me to simply rest while also treating my skin to feel and look amazing.
  10. Practice Reiki – The fantastic thing about my Reiki practice is that I can self treat but can also use Reiki for pretty much any situation, so this is a really useful self-care tool that I use daily on myself, my family and any challenges I am faced with (like heart break and sadness!)
  11. Meditation and quiet time – For me this is essential for remaining centred and balanced with the right priorities and perspective on life. I make sure I change up my practice so it’s not something that I can become complacent about or bored with.
  12. Quality time with your family and friends. – How would we get through life without the support, love and encouragement from our inner circle? It’s often at those times when I just want to run away from the world that my friends pull me up and hold me in the light, pulling me away from my demons and shining light into all those shadowy places. Then the magic happens and life doesn’t seem so dark after all. Make sure you surround yourself with friends who hold you in the light with love even when you can’t seem to do the same for yourself.
  13. Give yourself the space to cry and express yourself or to simply be – This is all part of honouring your feelings, not being afraid to let them in and giving them space to be and going with the flow.
  14. Talk and Remember – Letting it out, saying it like it is, not getting caught up in the story or staying in the past just letting it flow.
  15. Be grateful and loving all that you do have: people, things, opportunities, experiences, memories!
  16. Spend time in the garden – fortunately it’s spring so it’s the most perfect time of year for me to don my gardening gloves and potter around the garden tidying up plants, dividing big perennials and sowing new seeds. Make time to get outside in nature and connect to the vital essence and live that grows around you.
  17. Buy flowers – or better still pick you own!  Flowers are so filled with joy, it’s their job – they are among the best medicine ever.
  18. Forgiveness – such a great practice for soothing a broken heart and helping to keep your heart open and receptive not closed and shut down. I find it’s mostly important for me to forgive myself and be really patient with myself, no pressure just understanding and holding space for myself with compassion.

There are many more ideas and practices for self-care. We are all different and it takes different routes to mend our broken hearts and readjust to life the way it is now. You will know what resonates with you and what you need to do. The most important aspects for me in this healing of my broken heart are to remember patience, and kindness towards myself!

Let me know in the comments below if any of this helps and please share with people you know who too have suffered a recent loss or may be need self-care for a broken heart.

Fay Johnstone and Eddie

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