Using the moon as a guide for self-care, setting intentions and personal growth

Using the moon as a guide for self-care, setting intentions and personal growth

By Ben Makeham – Studying BHSc (Naturopathy)

The recent full moon on the 21st of January brought with it a lot of talk about its power for setting intentions to manifest what you want from life. Intention setting and manifestation practices are akin to setting goals and working to achieve them. This is a valuable process proven to increase wellbeing and happiness[1] and it has even helped to improve the pass rate of the US Navy SEALs[2]. It’s not something to be dismissed as just wishful thinking- it can be a powerful force of change in your life.

The different phases of the moon can help to establish a regular practice of self-care, self-reflection and setting intentions that are in line with your values. This practice doesn’t have to be synced with the lunar cycle, but the moon can act as a great visual reminder for us to reflect upon the goals we have set and the progress we are making.

The new moon is where to begin when it is hidden, and the night is darkest. This darkness points us towards introspection and reflection on who we are and what we truly want. This is the time to think deeply and create intentions that are in line with our values.

As we are looking inward, it is time to nurture our bodies and take care of ourselves. Eat nutritious wholesome meals that deplete your body stores and provide you with the fuel you need to keep on going. Get plenty of rest. This is a great time to focus on improving your sleep. Establishing a bedtime ritual and seeking the guidance of a naturopath for some calming nervine herbs is a wonderful way to do this. Find time for gentle walks in nature. Listen to the birds, witness the peaceful trees, and draw inspiration from them- they are not trying to be anything more than what they truly are. Let this connect you with your most authentic self and what you want to achieve and let that guide the intentions that you set.

This powerful TED talk by Candy Chang talks about how she came to contemplate and reflect upon what is truly important to her and may help you reflect on what is important to you as well:

Write your goals down. Have a journal that you dedicate to setting your goals and reflecting on your values every new moon. This is an important part of the process, as writing it down is an active form of commitment that increases your chance of pursuing these goals and has been shown to improve your wellbeing[3].

Create an action plan or a list of things you can do to work towards achieving your goals. A great way to help make your intentions a reality is to change your environment so that it is easy to do what is right[4]. If you want to eat more nourishing foods, stock up on healthier options for the pantry and make a stack of ready-to-go nutritious meals to keep in the fridge. Get creative, find ways to include fun in your plan as much as you can.

It’s important to reassess your goals and values with every new moon in order to keep growing and moving forward. Your goals will progress and change as you achieve them, and your values may be altered as you change and evolve as a person.

Next is the full moon. Its bright light fills us with awe and reminds us of all that is good. This signals a time for celebration and gratefulness.  Reflect on the intentions you set under the new moon and track your progress. Celebrate your achievements, write about what you were able to do and how you were able to succeed. Be proud of yourself.

But always be kind to yourself too, especially if you faced disappointments or setbacks. Celebrate any small achievements or positive experiences. Focusing on what you have done right is crucial for motivating yourself and achieving success going forward [5]

Be grateful for anything you have learnt along the way. There are important lessons to be found in your mistakes and losses, just as much as there is in your success. Overcoming hardships and being able to practice gratefulness for the lessons they have taught you improves your resilience and your mental toughness[6]. This will serve you well going forward. Again, write this all down.

During the full moon, reflect upon what is stopping you from achieving your goals and what you might need to do in order to overcome these barriers. The full moon is said to shine a light on all of our emotions and heighten sensitivity, bringing everything to the surface. There is no hiding under the cover of darkness when there is a full moon. This is a great time to let go of any self-limiting beliefs or emotions that may be holding you back and preventing you from achieving your goals. Write about these and visualise them flowing from your mind, down along your arms and out of your body through your hands into the words on the page to help leave them behind. Naturopaths can support this process through their skilled use of flower essences, harnessing the energy stored within flowers to help clear emotional blockages and move you closer to a sense of fulfilment.

Reflect upon what else you could do to move closer to success as you enter the second half of the lunar cycle.

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