In an age of social pressures to be better, go bigger, and taking a little time off or practicing self-care can be looked at as weak, wasting time, or not doing enough. All of those practices listed will give you more time, more ideas, more income, more passion, and more purpose.
For years I fell victim to the assumption that I had to keep going, that not going fast and hard was a sign of weakness, and even though I taught self-care, it was hard for me to practice it myself. I was burning the midnight oil 24/7, and it came at a cost. I was burnt out and disconnected from the very people that mean the most to me- my kids.
As an addict in recovery, I know first hand the need to practice self-care and put your health first. But owning your own business is not easy. It’s in my DNA to never settle, and since I was young, I knew that I am meant for more than what was served to me in school. It feels a bit uncomfortable to say, but I knew where I was going; I just had no idea how I would get there. And in the last several years, it has become apparent that no dream will be achieved without you.
It’s an exchange; when you give yourself time, you get more time.
When you practice self-care, you can better care for your business and the people in it.
When you take a time out, the time you step back in will be fresh, full of energy, and ready to achieve greatness.
I believe that it is about the little things, the small moments throughout the day that add up to your sanity by day’s end. Big empty promises will drive you nuts. And (at least for me) the idea of a 2 hour Morning Routine is crazy talk when I sleep, my kids getting off to school, and coffee are among my morning must-haves. I may not have 2 hours, wait, let me rephrase that, I‘m not willing to give up 2 hours of sleep to spend two hours doing something that takes me 5 minutes to do each morning. I”m practical, real, and motivated to do what it takes. I’m not as willing to spend more time on things than is necessary to get the same results.
Self-care is essential, but it shouldn’t take you hours a day, and it can be as simple as 1 minute here, three minutes there, five minutes over here throughout the day, every day. Because when your self-care routine starts stressing you out, it needs to go out.
Here are ten things I do every day to practice self-care, keep my body and mind healthy and my business blossom.
- Drink a full glass of water each morning. Before you even think about it, chug it down. Each morning I wake up and reach over for a big 10-20 ounce glass of water and down it before I can even think about what my day will be like. I wake up, sit up and put my feet on the ground and drink it all down. Starting your day hydrated will only lead you to more hydration. Did you know that dehydration is a symptom of depression? Doing this every morning helps me in that no matter what happens, I at least drank 20 ounces of water. And that’s a good thing.
- Hug a real human every day. This global situation has got us all social-distancing like the plague, and the trade-off is real human connection. Did you know that just 10 seconds of hugging someone can boost serotonin in the brain? When is the last time you hugged someone? Like full squeeze mode? I make it a point to hug each of my kids every day and hug my husband. That connection has been vital to our health on all levels. Who can you hug today?
- Massage your feet. Every day I use my acupressure ball and roll out the bottoms of my feet. It May sound a bit odd, but our feet our connection to the earth. And we all wear shoes way too much, disconnecting us from what grounds us, and well, when your feet hurt, it can just about ruin your day. I keep my mini acupressure ball underarm my desk, and I travel with it wherever I go. A quick rub on my feet, and it’s incredible how much better I feel. And then after don’t forget to use some natural pain relief to leave you feeling great!
- Take a deep breath. I’ve had a panic attack more than once and know how scary that can be. Many people in todays world are walking around stressed out, in a panic, and having an out of body experience, but not in the way you think. Breathing can help bring us back into our bodies and help us get out of our head and into the moment. Deep breathing is simple. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest and take a deep breath in and feel your belly expand, and your chest rise. Briefly pause after your inhale and then exhale and feel your stomach deflate and chest collapse down. Work to get all the air out and repeat this at least two more times. Breathing not only brings more oxygen to your body and brain but also shifts your mind off whatever is stressing you out and gives you space to regroup and refocus.
- Get outside every day. It’s winter and currently -1 outside. But I make it a point to step out for a few minutes to feel the fresh air and sun (or clouds, rain, or snow). There is a feeling of being alive that happens when I do this and has become a real game-changer when I begin to feel the heaviness of the midwest winters weighing on me. That timeout outside also helps me shift my focus when I’m having a stressful day back to nature and back to feeling alive.
- Get up and get moving. I’m not going to tell you to exercise, but you do need to carry every day. Can you find one, two, or three pockets of time to get up and stretch, walk up and down your stairs a few extra times, squat in the bathroom, twist in your driver’s seat or chair? This all adds up. Instead of empty exercise promises, how about you focus on adding more moving into your everyday life. Then if you happen to make it to the treadmill, gym, or yoga mat (join our online mindfulness and yoga studio for just $9.99 a month!)- it’s a bonus!
- Tell yourself something positive about your efforts. Every day I self-talk (Read 12 Nuggets of Advice That Have Changed My Life Blog). For years a negative internal dialogue took me down a path I wish on no one. And I discovered that your biggest enemy and critic is often sitting right between your two ears. Talk positively to yourself; what are you doing well? What has gone right? Look how far you have come. For some, this dialogue may not come naturally, but it’s one conversation you might want to have anyways. I recognized a few years back that I’d get so far, and then I was the one sabotaging my efforts because I didn’t believe I deserved success. Kicking that habit was the best thing I ever did.
- Visualize your success before you go to bed. Your subconscious replays the last things you think about, read about, and watch while you sleep. Every night before I go to bed, I visualize my success. If I can’t get thoughts out of my head that is negative or stressful or tells me that I”m not successful, I pop on my headphones and listen to meditation to shift my thoughts and mind and drift off to sleep. This has been a game-changer for me and one that has borne much fruit. Plus, it requires little to no effort on your part but can be the cherry on top.
- Eat good food. You’re foggy, and you’re tired, you’re irritable. Did you ever consider how you feel might be because you aren’t feeding your body good food? Food is fuel, and if you’d ever even considered putting questionable, cheap fuel into your car because you know the consequences would be expensive and could leave you carless, why do that to your body. If you are still reaching for quick fixes to change your body, may I suggest an apple? A salad. A something that didn’t come out of a box. I”m not trying to be rude, but somewhat real. You are a living being, so you need to eat living food. Start small, how about that apple? Your body craves junk food because it is searching for real nutrition, and you aren’t feeding it any. An apple a day really can do more than just keep the doctor away.
- Offer gratitude. Every day I find ways to show appreciation. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your stuff, and I believe you get what you give. You don’t have to give money if money is tight. You can give your time, your love, your compassion, your support. I try to remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and has their stuff going on and if I can spread a little hope, a little cheer. Then I’ll do it. Because one day I may need that too.
I use to tell myself that it needed to be the perfect time to do X. And it was a way for me to stay where I was. Safe, but stuck. Happy in my unhappiness. All the empty promises I gave myself only left me more defeated. All the programs that promised me better health, more happiness, and a profitable business were a bust because it was too much. I wasn’t ready. And what I discovered is I needed to start even smaller, and that so-called self-care was not mean to be this big hill or crazy routine I was to add to my day (which, mind you, only gave me more anxiety when I thought about it). It was about the little things that kept nudging me forward towards the next right decision.
The results… It’s working. My suggestion for you today, start small, pick one of the ten I listed above, and do it until it’s like brushing your teeth ( and if you don’t brush your teeth, maybe start there). You will be amazed at what comes from a simple small action like this!
Check out My Meditations Custom Crafted just for YOU with music by Dennis Hawk >> HERE Click on MEDITATIONS to grab yours!
Yoga is an opportunity for self-reflection. Self-reflection means purposefully paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviors. It enables us to make meaning of all of the great and not so great experiences we’ve had in our lives.
Just like a yoga pose, self-reflection is challenging and requires us to be open and honest with ourselves.
When we, as yogis, are unwilling to self-reflect, we project. We project those things that we are reluctant to turn inward, sit with, and change.
Change Is Hard
Change is hard but change is a necessary and pivotal part of life. When I think about all the different ways to discuss or even label change, several ideas come to mind: growth, transformation, letting go, and acceptance. All of these things require us to go within ourselves and do some sort of work–some kind of self-reflection. You can’t grow from your experiences if you don’t understand them. Once you understand the why behind your decision-making, you can make changes based on what you’ve learned.
I spent a big part of my life projecting so that I wouldn’t have to deal with my core issues. Everything was everyone else’s fault. Everything that was happening to me, around me, and within me, was always the result of someone else–at least in my mind. It was a defense mechanism to protect and preserve the only thing I knew and the only thought process and outlook that I was comfortable with accepting.
How Yoga Forced Me to Dig Deep
When yoga came into my life, it was both liberating and frustrating. Yoga gave me the freedom to feel but it also forced me to see myself for who I was. I had to look at what I was doing instead of pushing the blame onto others. I had to take a real look at myself and the real reasons behind my actions.
I say to my students each day that yoga is a mirror reflection for our everyday life and that reflection is available for us to see when we finally decide to see it. I will be the first to attest that the reflection will not always be quaint and pretty. It will most likely be uncomfortable and even sad at times. However, that is how growth happens.
Growth happens when we let go of our expectations on people, situations, and life. Letting go of our expectations does not mean that we no longer hope or desire anything from life anymore. Rather, it means that we come at our life (our mat) in a way that opens the doors rather than lingering in the doorway, just waiting for it to close or prove others are wrong.
Merriam-Webster defines compost as “a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter.” Compost is used for fertilizing and conditioning land. Your compost is a mixture of your stuff, your baggage, your mindsets, your hang-ups, your habits, and your ego. When you practice self-reflection, you take your compost and use it to fertilize your life and the conditions of others. You take the mixture of your life, your actions, and your situation, and you compost it.
My yoga practice has taught me a lot about my compost and digging dip into my own “mixture.” It has allowed me to get real with myself. Moreover, once you are genuinely able to see the mess you are in, only then can you begin to transform.
When things don’t go my way or are not to my liking, I first ask–Why? I then take a step back to reflect so that I can see how much of my compost is altering my experience. Coming from a place where I took everything personal in my life, once I realized how my compost was affecting what I was doing, I was better equipped to let others off the hook for my shortcomings. Seldom is it ever really about others but rather how we received those experiences and how they reflect upon us.
Don’t Give Up
I urge you to keep coming to your mat, keep getting uncomfortable, and keep taking classes and stepping into poses that ruffle your feathers. Resist the urge to roll up your mat those five minutes early in the hopes of avoiding discomfort. Instead, sit in those poses as your mind stews–allowing your mind to sift through your thoughts, emotions, and reactions to truly get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do.
From my heart to yours, from my soul to yours, from my compost to yours, and from my mat to yours, Namaste.
We have all heard this before: “An attitude of gratitude”. But in the midst of what can feel like uncertainty, it is vital. Let me say that again… it is VITAL that we keep our minds right. Drenching our minds in the news and social media is not going to make things better. But making sure we practice self-care, keep our minds clear and continue to stay calm is something I urge everyone to do.
I went to bed last night thinking a lot about our countries current situation, my life, and what I can do for my family right now and all of you.
Each night my family (my husband and our three kids) and I all pray together and after we all go around and say who or what we want to pray for tonight.
And as we went around I was reminded to not forget the little things. It made me think about how we all can still be grateful for the little things, and remember how we can impact our communities despite such circumstances.
My prayer is for you all to consider a local business to pick up food to go, or inquire about delivery, shipping gifts to that friend or family member or just letting the world know what they are doing as they struggle to remain open, or if they have already made the decision to close.
During this time, I urge you to continue to practice gratitude. To continue to go beyond and help another, even if it means having to take an extra step or two to do that.
Yesterday I made an egg and book delivery (yes I have chickens) to our amazing local cafe Perc Place and I usually just drop and go when delivering eggs or books. But I decided to grab a drink to go and support them.
Perc Place is my office away from my home office and I can’t imagine not having them in my backyard to go to for inspiration. As I stood there in the cafe all I felt was gratitude for the owner and all her staff during this time. So many unknowns, and it’s easy to think “one small act WON’T make a difference”. But, when 10, 25, 100 people all do the same thing. It all adds up. Gratitude adds up!
In order to stay mentally and physically strong in the midst of this unprecedented time. I urge you all to continue to engage in things, activities and with people who lift you up. Help you feel good. And keep you in the right frame of mind. This is VITAL!
What can you do to stay in gratitude each day?
- Go for a walk with your family and talk about positive things
- Get enough sleep
- Drink plenty of water
- Dance in the sunlight
- Write down what you are grateful for each morning
- Listen to meditations or positive recordings/books
Let’s maintain that positive attitude that helps others when we come into contact with them…even if it’s virtually.
I always ask myself “am I a part of the problem or a part of the solution?”
Let’s write out our ideas to make us and our businesses better.
Write out plans and goals that you will do during this pause in life, and what you’re doing afterward.
Then get out any anxiety that may be clouding our heads and hearts out and into the daylight by writing it down. When we write it down, it isn’t as scary.
Then once you write it down… Take action! Get on your yoga mat! Go for a walk! Read, meditate.
You know what?
These can be scary times, but we are so resilient. I’m encouraged by all of the good I see in the world, and how many people are working to help others.
Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) said in times of crisis, look for the helpers.
I say WE are the helpers.
Let’s keep getting up and taking that time for ourselves each day to better help where we are able.
And to HELP…. I am giving all of my meditations away for $1.
Why a dollar?
Well, I believe that everything is an exchange.
And my heart and soul are in those offerings and I ask that you simply be a part of the exchange back. 🙂 [And these were all professionally recorded just for you.]
>>>>> MEDITATION BUNDLE OF 6 FOR JUST A $1 <<<<<
I believe that we are the ones most responsible for our own health and well-being. It is our privilege that we practice self-care and engage in the right things. And the results will always be better than if we did not.
So remember what you do have control over. Remember how you can impact those around you, by first you being calm, centered, and full of gratitude.
5 Ways to boost self-confidence.
On April 6th I get to celebrate 35 years of life, love and walking down this path we call life!
Why be shy about it?
Why hide it?
Why down play this celebration of life?
Why not shine like the bright star you are?
This was not always my style of thinking. I use to be uncomfortable with the thought of shining too bright. I use to worry others would notice me and because I would be noticed, others would judge me.
That people would criticize me, and because they didn’t know my whole story…get the wrong idea that yes, I am a recovering addict. But I am successfully in recovery (well always working on myself). Except, even though I clawed my way into recovery, I still lacked the self-confidence to let my light shine bright.
In 35 years I have learned a lot.
In 35 years I have slowly come to a place were I am OK with who I am.
And more importantly, I am less concerned with what others think.
Let me explain.
My entire life I have been WAY TO FOCUSED on what others think of me, my choices and life, and as a result my self-confidence was zilch.
I would run myself into the ground trying to please others and often time end up depleted, frustrated, and rundown.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I truly began to understand this is no way to live and no way to get ahead in life and as only killing my self-confidence at every pass. And it was around that time which I realized this entire approach to life was a learned behavior that I could in fact… unlearn.
To say that the process of breaking such a habit would be as easy, would be a lie.
Slowly, taking one situation at a time I have grown to a place where I am more confident, where my self-confidence shines more each day. I care about others, respect others, but no longer am willing to sacrifice my happiness and or my desire to walk the path my Creator has set for me simply on the fear others may not be happy.
I struggled with this because I would get wrapped up in my thoughts thinking that this was selfish, rude, and un-yogic like.
But it was yoga which taught me caring for myself and living my life in the best light I can, the way I feel I am called to do is how you can best care for others.
Here are five things that come to mind when I reflect on my own self-confidence and what helped me cultivate it.
5 Ways to Boost Self-Confidence:
- Learn to be Uncomfortable. First on the yoga mat with poses, then in life with people. Just sitting with emotions, breathing, and letting things pass.
- Use Your Voice. First through teaching, sharing my point of view with the understanding that others may not agree. Then in life, at first little things, and when someone would disagree, letting that conversation be, and not recanting myself to appease the other person.
- Began to Ask Yourself What Feels Good to Me. Not one thing is going to be 100% right for everyone. No diet, no exercise, not even yoga. And knowing that is OK, there is no need to convince someone of your practice or lifestyle.
- Get Quiet to Get Loud. Not yelling, but to use my voice with confidence I first needed to get real quiet and listen, feel, and process. As someone who would often shoot from the hip in life. This has served me well.
- Realize and Fully Understand That Not Everyone in Life Will like You, and That is OK. I know some of you will feel the need to email me and tell me “I like you”. And I appreciate that, but it’s not necessary. I have found great strength in others not liking me, not agreeing with me, or flat out rejecting me. It has been one of my best muscle builders to help my light shine bright.
So today, let your light shine bright. Let it beam with self-confidence. Don’t worry a thing about whose eyes may not like it. Shine baby, shine and let your self confidence burn bright!
From my heart to yours,