We’re in the middle of summer where things typically slow down a bit with warmer days, kids are out of school, and daylight lasts until past 9 p.m. I think it’s a perfect time to talk about mindfulness and self-care.
That’s why I’m excited to introduce this week’s guest, Chonteau. As a modern-day medicine woman, Chonteau supports women by helping them unlock their greatest potential and discovering who they really are. She does this through life coaching, herbalism, sacred plant medicine, intuitive insight, and more. Her goal is to help women find their best self so they can live their lives to the fullest.
1. Being mindful helps you work through stressful moments
“Mindfulness is about being aware and about being in connection with myself and my surroundings and knowing what is going on around me,” Chonteau told me.
To Chonteau, practicing mindfulness needs to be very practical for everyday life. She says that mindfulness is really about slowing down and paying attention to what happens both on the inside of the body and outside influences.
This includes trying to pinpoint what emotions you’re feeling, understanding what emotions you are having, and what might be affecting them. This means you need to get out of autopilot mode and really pay attention to both your emotions and environment to help make sense of things.
A helpful tool to use when you are stressed or anxious but need to focus on mindfulness is to think of the acronym S.T.O.P.
- Take a breath
- Proceed with wisdom
The next time you are stressed, use S.T.O.P. as a way to stay connected to yourself through a mindfulness practice. It will help you center yourself.
2. Nature will help feed your soul
Chonteau believes that being outside in nature helps you reset. When we spend time in nature we get direction, understanding, and comfort in how to move and find more harmony in our life. “Nature is our blueprint. It is our structure of what to build upon,” Chonteau told me.
Everyone needs to connect to nature. Chonteau suggests going to different types of places to find a connection. Try places like the park, a lake, the beach, or whatever other landscape calls to you. She encourages others to sit in nature and connect with it. Notice the small things around you and consider how you are feeling. She pointed out that different terrains can invoke different emotions.
Even those of us who say they hate the outdoors can connect with nature. Park a bit further in the parking lot, and spend an extra moment walking into the store or work and notice the trees and the sky around you. Take advantage of those moments when you are outside to notice your surroundings and how they change over time.
You don’t have to make an epic trek across a mountain to connect with nature; it’s more about spending time in your normal, everyday life noticing your surroundings and how they make you feel. These moments can help you connect with a bigger picture.
3. Meet everything in life with curiosity
Chonteau says that meeting everything with curiosity helps open you up to the world. Curiosity gives you the opportunity to see the same thing you might see every day because you might see something new to see.” Chonteau told me, “Meet everything as if you’re meeting it for the first time.”
Be curious about everything you connect with in order to expand your knowledge of the connection. This can include how you connect with family, your spouse, and even everyday tasks. We can easily enter autopilot mode, going through the motions but not really connecting with anything in particular. Instead, Chonteau encourages others to approach each moment curiously, which in turn keeps you mindful.
Think about how this moment is different, what details you are experiencing, and how you feel. When you get out of autopilot mode, you might find really interesting aspects of your life or yourself that are worth exploring.
Chonteau also encourages women to just “be” sometimes instead of “do.” You are important enough to take care of. Make time for yourself to just be, and learn that we shouldn’t put all our energy into taking care of others if we aren’t taking care and valuing ourselves first.
4. Self-care is more about soul care than zoning out with mindless activities
“We all have our inner girls that live inside of us, and we’re always working on trying to support our inner little girl,” Chonteau told me.
That little girl needs support too, and the way you are able to do this is to practice self-care, or as Chonteau likes to call it – soul care.
To Chonteau, self-care isn’t about taking off work to get your nails or hair done or sitting around watching Netflix. Instead, self-care is about doing more work towards nourishing your soul. That means taking a deeper look at what is going on inside of you and around you.
Taking care of that inner little girl is important. What is it that she wants, or how does she want to express herself, and are you allowing her to do that? “Soul care is about trusting you have what you need inside, and you can love yourself deeply and learn to love yourself deeply,” Chonteau said.
Create soul care plans that help you through the times when you need it the most. Chonteau suggests that you make a list of the top three things you can implement immediately to start soul care.
“Self-care is about understanding yourself,” Chonteau told me.
She pointed out that self-care isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes, it’s about sitting with your feelings and working through your emotions. “Soul care can look really, really messy,” Chonteau said, “because you’re getting into those emotions that you might not have faced in a long time.”
When you practice soul care, you have to slow down and find out what truly feeds your soul. Chonteau encourages exploration to find out what feeds your soul. “What feeds [your soul] might not be what people have told us will feed it,” Chonteau said.
She encourages others to try a lot of different things to find out what feels right to you. Think about what might help you work through something hard you’re going through. Find ways to creatively express yourself. If you don’t know what those things are, try a lot of new and different activities to find ones that work for you.
The only way to get through the emotion is to actually go through it, and self-care or soul care helps you do just that in a healthy and productive way.
5. Spirituality connects you to parts of yourself that are mysterious
“Spirituality is about connecting in with the part of myself that is a mystery. I don’t have to understand. I don’t have to figure it out. I can allow something greater to be in me and outside of me at the same time,” Chonteau told me.
To her, spirituality is a way to explore other dimensions of ourselves and our lives. Chonteau told a story about how ants live in a world that is basically one dimensional, but humans know there is more out there in life than an ant experiences. To her, humans live the same way. While we know about some dimensions, there are many others that exist that we can’t tap into. When we explore spirituality, we’re trying to explore those places beyond ourselves. “Spirituality is the exploration of this great mystery,” Chonteau said.
Chonteau told me that you need to be willing to understand that you aren’t in control of everything so you don’t try to be in control of it all.
Chonteau is often referred to as a Modern-Day Medicine Woman. She creates sacred spaces for women to tap into their personal power and free themselves from the limiting behavioral patterns that keep them out of balance. As a former Social Worker of 20 years, Chonteau has seen many of her colleagues burn out from lack of self, soul care and much of her intuitive coaching practice focuses on teaching and guiding women to embrace more self-love. Chonteau utilizes a variety of natural therapies, from mindfulness to nature therapy, to support their personal development.
Chonteau is the founder of Soul Care U, an online healing and empowerment center for women. She offers a variety of meditation, herbal and spiritually aligned e-courses to support one’s emotional, mental and spiritual development. She also offers numerous workshops and classes in the Central Florida area.
Chonteau is also deeply committed to supporting teenage girls. She is always looking for opportunities to support projects and initiatives that help our girls develop all levels of their being.