BY: SHANNON SCHILLING
It is the time of the year where the days are shorter and your feet are colder. But upon a rainbow of snow is one good thing, Valentine’s Day!
The formal celebrations of this Christian holiday go back centuries. In fact, St. Valentine was a real person and is the Patron Saint of Epilepsy.
Nonetheless, Wikipedia has let me know that it was in the 14th century that the date of February 14th gave rise to courtly, or chivalrous, love (think knights going on battles for their ladies’ honour) which has now flourished above any expectations.
Seven hundred years into it, Valentine’s Day is still here, in all its commercial manifestations. But at its root, the day is about love. It does not matter who you love, or what being brings an impression of collective guidance in world, but love is the answer. Even if only for a day.
There’s a growing trend to celebrate yourself on Valentine’s Day, so whether you’re focusing on romantic love with a partner, or are treating yourself to the self care and self love you so deserve, here are some tips to help you out on this most romantic day:
Add some scent to your life:
If scents are your thing, make it feel like a day of celebration and encase yourself in a lovely aroma. Scented candles such as the ones below can add a lot to your mood. According to scentsyblog.com:
- Cinnamon – adds spice to your day
- Jasmine – smoothes out tension with its rich and sultry aroma
- Orange blossom – calms the nerves and / or awakens the mind
- Rose – allows romance to flourish through your thoughts
- Sugar – a sweet tease making for a sensitive touch
- Vanilla – completely comforts the soul.
Now is a good time to accept the role of what we determine as essential for consumption. According to Herbazest.com these foods can give you a self love boost:
- Cacao – of course, chocolate on Valentine’s Day! This will be helpful to increase your energy level. If you want to stay away from eating chocolate, stores like Bathbodyworks.com (in my local mall, as well) sell the scent, body butter and bubble bath.
- Cherry: I love this one, I am very interested in picking up the Japanese Cherry Mist they have at Bathbodyworks.com. But, for consumption purposes, the cherry is chock full of Vitamins A + C, both of which will strengthen the immune system. While it’s not cherry season per-say, there’s always the more affordable frozen variety.
- Passion Fruit: I was quite delighted to see this! It has therapeutic properties believed to relieve anxiety and lower blood pressure! The smell is also great, it may psychologically boost my energy, but it could be that it removes my tension which frees up my mind!
After a brain injury it is so important to take care of the mind, as well as the body. Mindfulness can clear your thoughts of negativity and bring back the opportunity to calmly observe your surroundings. The following information comes from www.psycom.net:
The simple, automatic luxury of breathing is the fundamental presence of your mood and deserves your utmost attention. Using a slow, controlled effort, close your eyes and take a breath in through your nostrils, feeling your stomach rise (not your chest) and out through your mouth (or nose). I’m taking a time warp back to my Pilates classes! This calming acquisition has potential to soften any tension in your muscles and lighten the weight of your brain.
Listening is a great meditation tool, since when you’re in a peaceful state of mind, even disruptive noises can be calming. Even if you have conversation around you, or the television on, being in a peaceful state allows you to lightly contemplate meanings and suggestion, observing without anxiety or tension.
Finally, sense the world by using everything that is available to you. Not only are you able to look before you touch the heart-shaped chocolate, but listen to the crinkle as you open the foil, finally take a sniff before you taste that ultimate chomp!
If your brain injury allows it, two books I’d suggest are great for getting in the mood for love are: Jennifer E. Smith’s The Geography of You and Me, about people in a long distance relationship and (of course) Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, set in early 19th century England. You can find other suggestions here and here for your romantic reading pleasure.
Shannon lives with her fiance Christopher and baby girl Annabelle in Oakville, Ontario. Shannon and Christopher both have brain injuries and met each other after a BIST monthly meeting in Toronto in 2016. Thanks for the help and support!