self-care

Self-Compassion Reminder #soul #mind

Today I attended an art therapy training with the knowledgeable and wonderful Dr. Patricia Isis.

She told a little parable at the beginning of the training that I’ve been thinking about all day.

A mom is at the grocery store with a rambunctious four-year-old child in her shopping cart.  The child is antsy and bouncing, sometimes rising to the level of yelling and causing a ruckus.  The grocery store manager notices the mother and her daughter from a distance.

As the mother winds up and down the aisles, she keeps her voice calm and even.  “Just a few things we need to get, Monica, we’ll be done soon,” she says.  

The child continues to bounce and fidget.  As they continue their shopping, up and down the aisles, up and down, the mother again speaks in a calm and gentle voice.  “Just five more things to get, Monica, we’re almost done,” she says kindly.

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As they approach the checkout, the child is contained, but antsy and wiggling.  “We’re at the checkout, Monica,” the mother says, patient and compassionate.  “We’ll be on our way home soon.”

As they walk to their car, the grocery store manager follows them.  “Excuse me,” he says, “but I just wanted to tell you how much I admire how compassionate and kind and gentle you we’re with young Monica here.”

The young mother laughs.  “She’s not Monica,” she explains.  “I am!”

Wow. I love this. SO MUCH. What an amazing expression of the need to take care of ourselves FIRST.

I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all day. When I heard Dr. Kristen Neff speak, several years ago, she told a personal version of this story; she talked about being on an airplane with her son, who’s diagnosed with autism, while he screamed and tantrummed, and how she held him and took deep  breaths and just SHOWERED herself with compassion and love. Because, when someone we love really needs us – WE NEED  COMPASSION AND LOVE. We can’t take care of anyone else without it.

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self-care

Be Aggressive: A Self-Care Plan #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

Today was a really good day – a day of rest, rejuvenation, and grounding.

Lately, my self-care has been lacking. I feel like I run around all day and offer very little help to anyone. I feel like I am overworked and slacking off simultaneously. I feel overwhelmed, and when I am overwhelmed, I fall victim to my vices – coffee, soda, and candy.

I spent a lot of my time today reflecting and planning – reflecting on the kind of self-care I need, and planning how to rearrange my days so that I can take some action steps.

Tee has been teasing me all day because I’ve been proselytizing about my “Aggressive Self-Care” plan. I guess she thinks it’s funny to use such a feisty word for something as loving and gentle as taking care of yourself.

HOWEVER – I do feel like I need some energy, some fight, some spirit for these plans to have any hope of actually working! The stressors I am dealing with are not going to disappear anytime soon. Hence the need for AGGRESSIVE SELF-CARE.

The biggest task I accomplished today was this: writing out everything I want to do at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day to take care of myself. I got REAL specific – things like “get dressed” and “brush teeth” and “snuggle with Teddy” are on the list. I also added tiny things like “put on perfume” and “use lotion” – tiny self-care acts that I almost never do. These two lists are neatly written in my bullet journal for my reference; I think of them as my morning ritual and my evening ritual.

Next – in the midst of my crazy day yesterday, I started thinking about all the self-care tricks I’ve previously used, like drinking Yogi tea and sniffing essential oils. These items are in my house, but I nevereverever think to utilize them. Today, I emptied out one of the pockets of my purse and filled it up with essential oils, hand lotion, a tiny worry box, and a few tea bags. I’m calling it my self-care pocket. I also set a beautiful mini bread pan (an item we never use) on my desk and filled it with the same items – I’m calling it my self-cafe miniature bread pan, because why not?

I messed around with my phone, trying to find an app to use for mindfulness reminders. Part of my Aggressive Self-Care plan is AGGRESSIVE MINDFULNESS. When I get stressed, my ability to be present in the moment suuucks. So I’ve been trying to find a way to check in with myself throughout the day, to remind myself to be mindful, but I haven’t found an effective one yet. I’m going to ponder this for a while: how can I remind myself throughout the day to be mindful? Could I pick an object – when I see a dog, I remember to be mindful? A time of day? I really don’t know. That will be part of Aggressive Self-Care 2.0.

I took a few steps to simplify my day-to-day, to clear away some clutter – deleted a bunch of apps from my phone, cleared my Safari history on my phone, cleared out my bathroom cabinet so all my self-care items are visible and accessible. I’m going to keep pondering this, as well: how else can I simplify my life so that my mind and my soul are as clear and uncluttered as can be?

I tried my best to embrace healthy eating today. When I get overwhelmed, I either a) eat junk, or b) eat nothing and drink lots of coffee. NEITHER OF THESE PLANS IS GOOD FOR ME.

Lastly – this might be the best intention I’ve set today – I decided that I’m going to spend a few minutes every morning and every evening having a date with my planner and my bullet journal. This will be my time to check in with myself about the day(s) ahead – to BE INTENTIONAL, which was one of my new year’s resolutions, and is something I always struggle to do. I keep all of my notes and appointments for work in my planner, but I’m going to set aside a page in my bullet journal each week to think ahead about the week, to think about things like: What plans do we have this week? When I am going to do basic things, like shower? And – MOST IMPORTANT – when, on each day of the coming week, am I going to be able to accomplish the big three daily priorities I have set for myself? (The big three daily priorities are meditation, running, and writing. These are the three main things that I have committed to doing every single day. NO MATTER WHAT.)

 

I feel really good tonight – not over-the-moon fantastic, but strong and whole and refreshed. Ready to be AGGRESSIVELY MINDFUL and to practice AGGRESSIVE SELF-CARE. Starting with a delightful cup of bedtime tea.

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self-care

What Gets In The Way #mind

A few months ago, I wrote a post about feeling like my creativity, my writing, was bubbling up inside of me.

Today, I’m feeling frustrated, because I haven’t been very successful at maintaining this ‘bubbling’ and gettings my thoughts and words down on paper.

Today I am thinking about the things that get in the way of the bubbling – the things that crowd my mind and my heart and my soul so that the ideas don’t have the space or energy to congeal.

There’s a LOT that gets in the way.  There’s TV, for one thing. When I’Image result for do one thing that centers you every daym really hooked into a TV show, I don’t typically feel like I have a lot of ideas for things to write about.

There’s job stress and job seeking. When I am hunting for a new job, or obsessing over being unhappy with my day job, I don’t feel very “bubbly,”

There’s unhealthy eating. When I’m not taking care of myself physically, with healthy food and exercise, my head gets really cloudy and I don’t feel centered. I think I need to feel centered in order for creativity to flow.

Today I feel fairly centered and clear – not completely crystal-clear, but in the neighborhood. I’m praying that this stays with me so that the creativity can start to flow yet again!

 

 

 

self-care

Ugh Ugh Ugh #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

When life gets busy and stressful, I have trouble maintaining my daily routines and rituals.

Life has been pretty busy and stressful lately.

It’s kind of frustrating. I’m finding it difficult to make time for writing, for meditation, for self-care – difficult, because life is busy and stressful.  And then, as a result, I am less equipped to deal with the chaos and stress, because I’m not doing the things I need to do daily to keep myself well.

UGH. UGH. TRIPLE UGH.

This weekend is a good time for me to recharge and to reset my intentions. I’ve been daydreaming about strategies I can use to maintain my necessary routines.

First of all, I decided to clarify this: there are really three things I need to make time for every day.  (I don’t count things like reading or family time, because I’m actually good at making time for those things.) My three daily needs are writing, running, and meditating. I’ve zeroed in on three times of day that are available for these things – early morning, Teddy’s naptime, and late evening.  TOTALLY DOABLE.

I actually just read about something that I think is going to help me to a) be more intentional, and b) feel less overwhelmed – BULLET JOURNALING.  I’m really excited to try it! I don’t know if I’ll utilize every feature, but I like the ideas of an index; page numbers; a spot for long-term goals; a spot for “events of the year”; a spot for a gratitude list; a spot for a things to do list (with bullets that I cross out instead of crossing out the whole item on the list, which always looks messy); ideas for the blog; ideas for short stories; a list of short story contest submissions and deadlines; space for thought bubbles and stream-of-consciousness; goals for the house; quotes…  SO MUCH.

I POSSIBLY am intrigued by the idea of using a key (different symbols signifying ‘thing to do’ or ‘already done’ or ‘event’); having daily/weekly/monthly goals (maybe could use that for chores/errands?); and, weekly logs for tasks that haven’t been assigned a day yet.  I like the idea of having space to write a lot of random things I am trying to track, such as diet, exercise, medicine, etc.

I’ll close with this – a very important thing that I need to remember: WRITING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CLEANING YOUR HOUSE. I get very distracted when I sit down to write and the house is messy. So I start cleaning, and getting angry and resentful because I’m cleaning instead of writing.

This is a mess.

Sometimes housecleaning is functional procrastinating.  WHO CARES ABOUT THE DISHES?  Deathbed Test: will I care more if I never write a book, or if I never did the dishes?

Not even a question.

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self-care

Everyday #body

Sometimes it feels like there are too many things I have to do every day to stay grounded, whole, and strong.keep it simple wallpaper

Exercise. Write. Meditate. Read. Spend time outside. Talk to family and friends. Connect with my community.

If I were to make a list of all the things I *need* to do every day to feel like my best self, the list would have between ten and twenty items on it, and it would require all the time and effort of a full-time job.

Now, if I could quit my job and spend each and every day devoted to self-care and self-love, I would do it.  I would LOVE it.

But I can’t.  And so, it gets overwhelming to think of everything I need to do to preserve my mental health.

The item most prevalent in my mind today is exercise.  I’ve been feeling really up and down recently – some days just kinda out of it, some days pretty depressed – and my exercise routine has been suffering.

Today, while Teddy was napping and Tee was getting some work done, I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. It felt so good. I came home rejuvenated – got some writing done, read a few chapters in Buddhism Is Not What You Think (one of the seven books on my “Currently Reading” Goodreads shelf), and just felt like I was in an altogether better headspace.

I’m going to try to get myself to the gym early tomorrow morning, and I am contemplating running a race with Tee in June. (JUST CONTEMPLATING. Sometimes I get really stoked to run a race and then lose interest halfway through my training period. So I’m going to ponder the idea of running a race for a bit before I actually pay to register.) Cheers to a week of exercise, healthy food, and all-around wellness!

self-care

Day Two #heart

It’s January 2nd, and halfway through today I realized I was being a slacker.

I started to feel badly about it, and when I got home I told Tee about it and asked her if I was a bad person for slacking off.  “That wasn’t one of your resolutions,” she said.

BEST RESPONSE EVER.

Making resolutions is always tricky territory for me, because it triggers my perfectionism.  I start to think that 2018 is the year when I’ll be absolutely perfect in every way.  It bummed me out to think that I was failing on day two.

BUT I WASN’T FAILING.  Because my intention for 2018 was not to be perfect, or to stop occasionally slacking off.  It was about self-care, writing, being intentional, and meditating.  THAT’S IT.

A radical act of self-care for me at this moment would be accepting that in 2018, I will be a little bit of a slacker, because there is a long list of things that need to get done and a limited amount of space on that list for high-priority tasks.  When I set priorities, I inevitably decide that some things in my life are going to get less attention than others.

So, cheers to being kind of a slacker.  Here’s hoping I can do so WITHOUT guilt and WITH some healthy self-acceptance.

balance · mindfulness

Mindful Check-In #How’sMyBalance?

It feels good to be writing today.

I’ve had a little break from the blog.  It wasn’t on purpose;  I think what happened was, my June 28th post emptied me out (read it here!), and I’ve been feeling inspired to do more creative writing.

I haven’t done a check-in for a long time.  I’m not really in love with my format for doing check-ins, honestly – but I do find it helpful to take a moment to evaluate where I’m at and how things are going.  Hopefully I’ll eventually find a way to check in that’s more fun.  But, for now:

My last check-in was on February 20th.  (See?  If my check-ins were more fun, I’d do them more often!)

💖  I’ve written twelve posts about nourishing my #heart by spending time with family, friends, and other kindred spirits.  This has been flowing pretty naturally for me.  Anytime with Teddy and Tee is amazing #heart food.  And we’ve been doing a pretty good job of making plans to spend time with family and friends, which is always a challenge for my little family of introverts.

☯️  I’ve written thirteen posts about nourishing my #soul by engaging in activities that bring me peace and contentment.  Solid.

💭 I’ve written seventeen posts about nourishing my #mind with podcasts, books, and other brain food.  Consistently my best category.    

🏃 I’ve written seven posts about nourishing my #body food with exercise, activity, and healthy food and sleep.  Ugh.  It’s hard to be a full-time working mom with a one-year-old and still find time to work out.  I try to take walks with Teddy; I’ll try to take more.  We shall see.

🌱 I’ve written four posts about nourishing my #spirit by doing things that are new, different, and/or challenging.  Not bad.  I think I forget about this category frequently.

Coming soon – (hopefully) a more fun way to check in, and a snapshot because my head is full of thoughts about all the things.

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