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My Word Of The Year: Self-Care

Click through to see how I'm making my word of the year work for me.

This past year was wild.  It was amazingly beautiful and hard and exhausting and heart bursting and it showed me what it was like to truly care for someone. My baby boy Marty was only a month old when the year began, and oh boy was it an adventure!

I didn’t even make it to creating a word of the year last year because I was so in the weeds. So lost. I was nursing, not sleeping and wondering what I got myself into with a newborn.  After 42 years of doing what I wanted, I was now at the beck and call of a hungry, tiny tyrant.  And most of the time I was totally ok with that, but I will never take sleep for granted again. 🙂

And things changed (as they always do), life was marching on and I wasn’t keeping up with my basic spiritual maintenance.  I didn’t do a very good job of tending to myself + my needs which resulted in some PPD and many tearful days. I put everything I had at the time into my baby and it didn’t leave much for me personally or for my relationship.  I was winning as mommy, failing as Steph.

I realize now that I ignored that age-old saying about putting your life mask on first before you can help others put on theirs. I know that any other mom would say that it’s just how it is in the beginning, you have to lose yourself a bit with the baby for it to work and I agree with that, but at some point there has to be a boomerang back. And I didn’t do that.  Lesson learned.

And so for this reason, my word of the year is self-care.

To me, self care isn’t just about the physical–getting back to the gym or eating more than a PB&J sandwich–it’s also about creating time to do things I love. I know this will be a challenge for me in the beginning but I know when I take more time for myself, I show up for everyone else in such a stronger, more present way.

Navigating being a new parent is a tricky role to get used to: in some ways, it comes so naturally, in other ways I feel like I’m a stranger to myself.  I’m just trying to be patient + compassionate when I think of all of the ways I’m failing. Because in reality, I’m succeeding wildly in many ways, I just need to focus on those areas more.

SO.  These are some of the ways I’m going to express + practice self care:

  • More movies and popcorn.
  • Yoga classes that end with an awesome meditation.
  • Acupuncture that blisses me out.
  • A monthly pedicure (and foot massage!)
  • More pleasure reading and less  TV.
  • Painting, painting and more painting!
  • Conversations that go deep + provoke wild thoughts of expansion.
  • Writing more on the blog and reaching out to connect with others online.
  • Dates with my husband that aren’t always rushed.
  • Juicing more, eating for energy. Less sugar.

That’s just the beginning, but it already feels good just to have said it; I’m excited to get back to being more me.  Farewell 2016, you’ve been quite a learning experience. 2017, let’s see what you’ve got.

Love, Steph

PS Do you have a word of the year, too?  Come join my Facebook Group and tell me what it is.

My Word Of The Year: Self-Care2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00

Don’t Ask For Permission To Take Care Of Yourself.

I admit it, I am a reformed rule follower.  When I was in kindergarten, I learned that following the rules doesn’t always make sense.

It was a crisp autumn day in 1978 and I was sporting a newly knitted poncho from my Aunt Peg; it was made of a cozy, soft pink and white wool.  After jumping off the bus and getting in to my classroom that morning, I hung up my beloved poncho to get ready for our skills testing.

My teacher explained that under NO circumstances do we get up from our seats and that if something came up, we would have to wait for whatever it was that we needed until after the testing was done.

To love oneselfAnd so as nature would dictate, about 15 minutes into the testing, I raised my hand because I suddenly needed to go to the bathroom.  Really bad.  As per the earlier instruction, she ignored my hand waving in the air.  I began to panic–I know she saw me, and my 5 year old bladder couldn’t hold on for too much longer.

Eventually, I lost control and peed in my pants right at my seat.

I felt totally humiliated in front of my classmates as they started giggling and pointing at me and the puddle under my chair.  I was forced by my teacher to put on my new poncho as a make-shift skirt and was sent to the school nurse to wait until my mom got to school to pick me up with dry clothes.  Talk about embarrassing.

As young as I was when this happened, it had a profound impact on my life.  I learned that I was never going to let anyone stop me again from taking care of my personal needs; I was always going to choose myself first.

Back then I was worried about what the other kids would think if I got out of my chair and disobeyed the instructions.  I was worried I would get yelled at by the teacher.   My five year old self wanted to be ‘good’ and follow the rules and not get in trouble.

But the world doesn’t work by one set of instructions and sometimes you need to break the rules.  Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you and let the chips fall where they may.  I learned in that classroom that listening to my primary needs are the most important thing I can do for myself, especially when it comes to my health.

So now as I embark on new kinds of journeys in my life: getting married, starting a family  and developing my art career, I remember that taking care of myself should always be the first step. Self- care will make the journey more fun and enjoyable.  And whatever comes up after that, I can handle with a little grace + patience.

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Don’t Ask For Permission To Take Care Of Yourself.2018-03-29T20:23:12-04:00

What To Do When Overwhelm Takes Hold.

Do you fear success as much as you fear failure? Don't get caught in the self-sabotage trap! Click through for 5 ways to get through overwhelm like a breeze.

 

It seems like the older I get, the faster times goes.  I remember my dad saying that to me when I was younger and I thought he was craaaaazy!  Keep in mind, during those days I was lounging in front of the TV watching Josie and the Pussycats or the Brady Bunch; time seemed to stand still.

Fast forward to life as an adult and all of a sudden, moments fly by in a blur.  At this point in my life, I’m planning a wedding, settling into (and trying to decorate) our new home, getting ready for the holidays + in my spare time, launching my art business.  Let’s just say, there’s not a lot of down time.

In fact, there’s too many lists and too many tasks on those lists to check off.  All of the things I’m working on are so exciting!  And amazing!  And I’m not complaining (truly).  I’ve said it before–feeling overwhelmed comes from living a full life, so I try to appreciate the gift that come from feeling this way, too.

I just know that even in the fullest, most exciting moments of my life, I can feel overwhelmed  to the point of it almost ruining the experience.  So here are some tried and true ways I get beyond the fear.  Maybe they’ll help you, too:

  • Make a list.  I know, I know, I was just bashing lists but I’m talking about a big master list to work off of.  I need to know what I need to manage and if I don’t have the big picture, the overwhelm can seem so much worse than it really is.  Seeing everything in front of me puts it into perspective.
  • Break down the list into manageable tasks. For example: I’m not going to finish the big list in a day or maybe even a week, so I try to ration out tasks over a period of time so I can realistically get them done.  Jamming them into an unrealistic time frame only paralyzes me into not taking any action.  I recently made this handy schedule for myself and mapped out 2 days, hour by hour.  Holy Moley!  I was fascinated with how much more I got done when I broke it down into small steps.
  • Ask for help. Why do we think that we have to do it all, alone?  I’m a huge fan of reaching out and asking for expertise/tips from friends and family.  There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and they’re usually pretty happy to help (I know I am when people ask me) so stop being the hero + ask for a hand.
  • Take a step back and evaluate the big picture.  Will this matter in a month? A year? etc.  Getting clear about what my intentions are, keeps me focused.  Overwhelm sometimes comes from the feeling that I’m not doing what I really want to be doing and I end up getting caught up in silly time wasters.  Remembering what my goals are helps me get back on track with what I’m actually excited to work towards.  And then the stress of it all shrinks.
  • Take time for self care.  Overwhelm comes in and sets up camp when I’m not eating right, exercising regularly or getting enough sleep.  So first things first, I have to make sure I’m taking care of my needs and then I can conquer the world–and my list.

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What To Do When Overwhelm Takes Hold.2018-03-29T20:23:13-04:00
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