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Where I Find Moments for Self Care During the Day

Living in the twenty-first century is a hectic, fast-paced, and stressful experience for many of us. Trying to juggle work, family, and social lives is a constant pressure with very little time for chilling out and relaxing. Finding time for self-care can be challenging, especially when as women, we have been taught to put everyone else’s needs before our own. Here are some I have found to look after myself, even when I am on the go:

Stretch

Stretching the body is so good for you and it only takes a minute. Stretching helps to maintain your body’s flexibility, can help release toxins from the body, and increase blood circulation. Try range-of-motion stretches such as shoulder shrugs, wrist and ankle rotations, and straightening and bending the knees. Do this for all your joints. You may find you are able to move with less stiffness and pain as a result. I do these simple stretch exercises while I sit in traffic, wait at the grocery store checkout and while I am on the phone.

Breathe

Whenever you feel stressed, take a few minutes to just breathe. Breathing is something you can focus on at any time. Contrary to what your mother might have told you, don’t “Take a deep breath.” Science tells us that breathing in increases the stress response while breathing out helps to relax us.

Try breathing in for two and out for four. Exhale all the way out and allow your body to breathe in when it is ready. Let the breath find its way into your lower belly. This is a relaxed way to breathe.

Relax

Practice relaxation regularly. This helps alleviate your stress levels, and when you are relaxed, your mind will slow down and you will not think such worrisome thoughts. You will feel peaceful and calm. Progressive muscle relaxation is a good way to start: I begin by clenching my toes for 7 seconds and then releasing.

I move to the next muscle group, i.e., my calf muscles, clench for 7 seconds and then release. Eventually, I work my way around my entire body. When you do this, notice how different you feel now compared to when you started the exercise.

Be Grateful

Research shows that people, who regularly practice gratitude experience greater life satisfaction, have increased levels of happiness and are less prone to depression. An attitude of gratitude can improve sleep and bring about a feeling of contentment, as opposed to a sense of emptiness, hopelessness, longing, and constant dissatisfaction encouraged by our materialistic society, which tells us, we can never, ever have enough. You can say your “thankyous” silently to yourself as you go throughout your day. Make sure you really feel a sense of gratitude.

Stay In The Moment

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, but you don’t need to subscribe to any religious or philosophical belief system in order to practice it and gain the benefits. Mindfulness is the art of staying in the present moment, without worrying about the future or obsessing over the past.

Some aids to helping you stay centered in the present moment include focusing on your breath, the experience and sensation of breathing gently in and out or using the five senses to keep you rooted in your present moment experience.

Final Thoughts

All of these tools can be incorporated into your busy day, whenever you have a moment or even as you go about your daily tasks. Take a 30-second break from your desk and do some stretches; remember at any time to breathe and to stay mindfully focused on the task at hand. Learn to feel grateful for all the riches in your life and you will become calmer and more relaxed.

When you are stuck in a situation you cannot change, try the muscle relaxing technique. With a little dedication, you will have created a self-care routine that doesn’t take time away from all your responsibilities, and you will feel so much happier for making the effort.

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How I Found “Me” Time

I, like most women, am pre-programmed to take care of everybody else before me. It’s hard in this day and age when we seem to be doing it all. We’re daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, professionals, and we feel the pressure every single day.

But we all know how we can be after a couple of nights (or months) of not getting adequate sleep, or how frustrated we get when we don’t get even 15 minutes a day to ourselves.

Taking time off to do something you enjoy as a means of taking the edge off and releasing the pent-up pressure of your daily responsibilities isn’t a luxury – it’s a must!

Studies show that when you don’t prioritize yourself and your needs for, at least, a few minutes each day, you become resentful of those taking up your time and space. Then you start taking it out on them by lashing out, being frustrated all the time as opposed to your usual calm and sweet self.

Taking a breather gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge so you come back with a better ability to carry out your commitments with more clarity and a sense of enjoyment. Learning to be “in the moment” is crucial to your own personal sense of happiness.

This is what those who practice meditation refer to as “practicing mindfulness.” It gives you the power to control your emotions and lower your stress levels. When stress levels are low, your perspective on things tends to be more balanced, and positive, you’re not angry as much, you’re more organized, in control and energetic.

“We’re a multitasking society. If we’re having a conversation with a friend, we’re thinking about the other things we have to get done,” says Allison Cohen, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles. “Instead, you need to be present in the moment…”

Often people ask me how I do so much. My response is I have learned to be in the moment. Whoever I am with, whatever I am doing, I concentrate on that and only that. No additional phone calls, no extracurricular activity, nothing. Just that encounter. It keeps things in perspective and creates clarity and strategic moves.

Here are a few tips to remind you how important it is to carve out some time for yourself.

You deserve it.

In order to lower stress levels, women need to stop feeling guilty about leaving the dishes unwashed, leaving the kids to play on their own for a few minutes, or leaving their work at work. So the first step is to consciously make the decision to free up some minutes during the day for you – everything (and everyone) else can wait.

“You have to build in battery recharge time,” says Margaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School. “We’re very good at project management in our work lives, but not so well in our personal lives. Treat it like any project…”

Decide how you’d like to spend these precious minutes.

Some women exercise, others read a book; some do yoga, while there are those who just want a cup of coffee and some quiet. Whatever provides you with relaxation and a chance to free your thoughts and release some of the pressure, then that’s what you should do.

Remember, though, that you should treat this time as you would any other appointment and don’t get bullied by your sense of guilt into doing housework or running errands during your special time.

It takes practice, but you’ll quickly discover that you become a much calmer version of you when you make time for yourself, and who doesn’t want that!

Practice smart time management skills.

Whether it’s scanning emails, surfing the net or answering personal calls during your workday, then it’s time to put a stop to anything that wastes time and leads to nothing. Learning to organize your responsibilities should be your top priority, this will eliminate stress and free up time, which you can use for something more enjoyable.

You can even sit down during the weekend to organize your time, and write down everything that should be accomplished for that week. Sometimes, this means that there may be times when you have to say “no” to some obligation or other that you don’t want to participate in that doesn’t bring satisfaction or joy into your life.

On the plus side, if you’re facing a problem at work or at home, sometimes the best way to find an answer is to stop thinking about it altogether.

Channel your energy into doing something creative. Being creative could be what you need to grease those brainstorming wheels and regain your focus. It could also be the exact thing you need for better sleep.

Find the time.

Well, unfortunately, there are only so many hours in a day – you won’t ever be able to change that. However, what you can do is free up some time here and there to your own personal gain. Juggling your work or study schedule, traffic and everything in between can be freakishly difficult to handle.

However, all you need are some smart organizational skills, and you can be the one in control of your time and not the other way around.

  • If you drive, use this time to listen to music or the radio. You can even enjoy the quiet and your own thoughts.
  • If you can ditch your car and use public transportation, then you can use that time to do something you enjoy, like read a book or writing or even meditation.
  • If you can walk, all the better. This way, you’re doing some exercising; you can listen to music or an audiobook.
  • If you have an appointment, try to get there 15 minutes, or even more, early so you can have those minutes to yourself.
  • If you can, have lunch by yourself at least once a week. Go to the park to get a break from all noise pollution, or if you can’t, stay in your car or a quiet cafe or restaurant where you won’t find any distractions. Many associate being alone with loneliness, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Being by yourself allows you to enjoy your own company. You get back in touch with your interests, likes and dislikes so you know exactly what makes you happy, and a stronger version of yourself.

“Solitary time can help you have a better understanding of yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions,” says Katherine L. Muller, PsyD, associate director at Center for Integrative Psychotherapy.

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Setting Boundaries

Healthy relationships at home and work are a priority for a healthy, well-balanced individual. One of the best ways to have a healthy relationship is by setting up boundaries. Personal boundaries are the emotional, mental, and physical limits we set up to protect ourselves, as well as assert our individualism while realizing the same in others.

Having a strong sense of self helps you identify with who you are and your likes and dislikes. Otherwise, you’ll just derive your sense of worth from others’ opinion of you. Those who haven’t set up strong personal boundaries suffer from fear of rejection, of being not good enough. And they usually attract those who disrespect and take advantage of them.

If you can’t seem to say ‘no’ to others, feel constantly overwhelmed and get sick more than you’d like to remember, chances are you’re not setting up boundaries very well.

Learning to trust your instincts and respecting your strengths, abilities, and individuality takes practice. It also takes strength to stand up for what you want. But it’s a crucial part of enjoying a positive self-image. When you learn to stand up for yourself, you feel a strong sense of empowerment and confidence.

For women especially, it’s particularly hard to set boundaries. People tend to lean towards pleasing others because we want others’ approval. But for women, it’s tenfold that sometimes so much, so that it turns into a major dilemma.

Women are famous for making lists, and their needs are usually pushed further and further down the list to make room for what others want, thinking that if she puts herself first, she’ll be seen as selfish and an unfit mom. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

When the main caregiver of the household has energy, clarity of thought and is in good mental and physical health, then everyone will be happier and better cared for.

Being assertive requires patience and persistence. When you assert your personal boundaries, you’re sending a clear signal that you respect your space and expect others to do the same. And the best way to do that is to create your very own self-care plan as a way of enhancing your health, managing stress levels and boost your self-esteem. In the medical world, self-care is defined as the actions that one would carry out for optimal health.

There are roughly 3 main self-care categories:

  • Physical: the basic day-to-day activities of everyday living. Physical exercising and good sleep is also part of this category.
  • Emotional: managing stress, being able to unplug from the pressures of work and home, finding time to be alone for relaxation and recharging.
  • Spiritual: practicing mindfulness, volunteering, connecting with nature

When you take care of yourself, you refocus so you work smarter, not just harder without having anything to show for it. It also helps prevent you from burning out and diminishes the negative side-effects of stress.

Here are some ways to practice self-care while fearlessly drawing up your personal space:

  1. Make self-care a priority. Putting yourself first allows you to enjoy a more positive outlook on life, as well as more energy to get things done throughout the day for you and those around you. “When we’re in a better place, we can be a better wife, mother, husband, coworker, or friend,” says psychologist and coach, Dana Gionta, Ph.D.
  2. Be direct. If you’ve scheduled an hour for yourself to read, knit or do nothing, then stick to it no matter what. If something comes up, make it wait until your time is up. Same goes with people. That’s why it’s important to clearly name and state what the limits are of your personal boundary.
  3. Keep a journal. Just writing down bullet points is cathartic. It’s a good way to deal with anxiety and stress.
  4. Practice self-awareness by acknowledging your feelings.
  5. Start small. Even as 3, 60-second breaks a day will do wonders for your health.
  6. Be patient. Self-care should be fun, enjoyable, and definitely relaxing, so if it turns into a chore, try something else.
  7. Send yourself reminders to take care of yourself on your smartphone. You can schedule texts to yourself even 2 years in advance. This way, you can never forget to take care of yourself no matter how hectic your life gets.
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Ladies: What’s Stopping You from Taking Care of Yourselves?

Women take care of everything and everyone usually falling asleep at night from sheer exhaustion. Shouldn’t that be enough? But it isn’t, because the most important person in that equation is being the one most marginalized.

Women are predisposed to be the caretakers of the family, no matter what role we’re playing; daughters, wives, mothers, friends. And it’s sucking the life out of us. Meanwhile, the men in our lives sometimes don’t get how much we sacrifice to make sure their lives are running smoothly

We have to take a step back and ask ourselves one fundamental question: “If we don’t start taking care of ourselves, who will?”

The answer is, no one!

Almost always, you’ll find women with too many commitments, being pulling in each and every way. These women know that they should start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. But they don’t’ know where to start.

And since they’re already overwhelmed with things to do and people to take care, they see taking care of themselves as just another “job”, so they just keep pushing it down the list.

But one of the things we don’t take into account when we neglect to take care of ourselves is that through this behavior, we’re setting the bar of how we want the people around us to treat us. You can’t expect them to put your needs first when you don’t do the same.

Here is how I started down the path to some much- needed self-care:

The first thing you need to do is to stop feeling guilty about taking time off for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done but it is necessary. I still struggle some days. However, I remind myself that it is essential for others as well because I cannot take care of them if I haven’t been taken care of.

The second thing you should do is to find the things that you like.

The third, and probably the most important, is to schedule in time for yourself just like you would any other appointment so you reduce the risk of forgetting or cancelling. This is an amazing tactic. It is intentional and it works.

The final step is putting the plan in motion. Writing all of this down on paper is great but if it’s not implemented it’s just words on paper. Don’t think of it as a selfish act, because when you’re happy and relaxed, you bring a sense of calm and contentment.

Here are a few things I have tried to do to take care of myself:

  • Take time to do something for you and only you – even if it’s just for 10 minutes each day.
  • Meet up with friends and family, or talk on the phone at least once a week.
  • Read something that inspires you – it can be a book or even a short quote.
  • Don’t be passive. Learn how to be the one in control of your life, not just react to things as they happen. This is a reflection of how emotionally stable you are.
  • Stop prioritizing others’ opinions over yours. Don’t allow anyone else’s expectations to dictate who you are and what your likes/dislikes are.
  • Make sure you look and dress in a way that boosts your confidence. You’d be surprised how this can improve your outlook. I know I was.
  • Have goals and work towards them. From the small, daily goals to the big, life-changing ones, having something to strive towards helps keep things in perspective.
  • Ask for help. This is still the most difficult for me because like many women I see myself as being able to do it all, with no outside help. But that’s not being realistic and it’s stressful. And you’ll quickly resent those you’re taking care of because the load is too heavy for you to carry on your own. No successful woman ever did everything by herself all the time – it’s just not possible. When you ask for help, it means you’re wise enough to know your limits and you love yourself and your family enough to know when it’s time to take a step back, reassess, rest then come back a happier, calmer version of yourself.
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Find Out If You Are Taking Care of You With These 12 Questions

At some point, you need to ask yourself the difficult questions in order to determine whether you are doing the right thing by you. I know I did. I didn’t like some of the anwers. It’s up to you to protect your own self from mental health issues, burnouts, and fatigue. Luckily there is an easy way to do so and you can assess whether you are providing yourself with enough self-care by answering just a few questions.

In fairness, your level of self-care will vary depending on the time in your life. Sometimes getting hopefully lost in the woods is the only way to find a new path, for it is in those moments of strife the scales fall from your eyes and you realize how far you have strayed from who you are.

It isn’t easy, to be honest with yourself about what changes you need to make in your life, however, the only way to get the best from this exercise is by being brutally honest. We are all guilty of telling ourselves lies, so it’s time for openness and honesty.

You may find that some questions or the thoughts that stem from them make you feel anxious. There is no right answer, there are only honest answers that lead to eureka moments. Don’t feel shame about your answer.

The 12 Questions

  1. Can you make and take time for you without feeling pangs of guilt?
  2. Are your leisure activities a priority in your life?
  3. Do you understand the difference between self-indulgence and self-care?
  4. Do you feel as though you deserve your self-care?
  5. Do you feel okay about sometimes slowing down?
  6. Do you take care of your needs and desires?
  7. Do you say yes to requests from others when it is best for you to say no?
  8. Do you do things you really don’t want to do, or that will overextend you?
  9. Are you running on empty?
  10. Are you overwhelmed?
  11. Are you chronically tired and have a lack of energy?
  12. Do you crave and eat junk food often, and especially during times of stress?

Don’t judge yourself or your answers, just allow yourself to be aware of where you are with your needs and wants as well as your general habits and stress levels.

Here is a quick self-care quiz you can take (https://www.cherylspeaks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/selfcare_quiz.doc) which walk you through a simple evaluation of your self-care. You may also have signed up to receive the more in-depth assessment when you came to this website.

These questions may sound simple, but they really get to the root of whether you are making enough time for you and your self-care. Once you have determined whether you are, aren’t, or need to do more it is important to take what you have learned and create a personal plan that addresses your entire self.

People often forget that there’s more to a person than just their physical health, and fail to realize how all of these sides of us play into the health of each other. You can’t look after one and dismiss the rest and believe that is sufficient.

Physical Self-Care

  • Enjoy a nutritious diet
  • Drink water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get good sleep
  • Enjoy a regular massage
  • Practice yoga or meditate daily
  • Learn time management and know when to say no to manage your stress levels

Cognitive Self-Care

  • Journal
  • Mindful Meditation
  • Read for enjoyment
  • Take note of negative self-talk and redirect it to positivity

Emotional Self-Care

  • Honor your feelings
  • Don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling with others
  • Learn to laugh at yourself
  • Learn to be compassionate with yourself
  • Practice the activities you enjoy, whether it’s hiking, golfing, baking, knitting, or gardening
  • Set boundaries

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Garden
  • Watch the sunset (or the sunrise)
  • Listen to music that soothes your soul
  • Spend time in nature

How can you be of any use to others if you are unable to look after yourself? It isn’t just your physical self that requires self-care, but also your spiritual side, emotional, and cognitive sides.

Self-care should not be viewed as a luxury, rather it’s a necessity to maintain your whole self, healthily. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for you, everyone deserves to find happiness, health, and peace – even you. You can’t adequately serve others if you can’t even serve yourself first.

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10 Ways I Improved How I Cared for Myself

We all do it. We put our needs on a back burner to take care of work, family, or friends first. It’s in our DNA, but doing it repeatedly is suffocating and will slowly suck the life out of you. Take it from me I know. There were days when getting out of the bed was a chore. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I was totally drained and exhausted. Yet, life must go on. So, I dragged myself out of bed and carried on with life as usual.

But news flash: if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. It’s that simple.

1. Improve your sleep. Make a nightly routine to calm down all the noise from the day, and the adrenaline pumping in your veins. Don’t eat heavy meals at least 2 hours before bedtime. Dim the lights and turn off the TV. Getting good sleep will give your body and mind a break from the day’s hectic routine. It’ll also give you a chance to rejuvenate and get ready for the next day. This strengthens your concentration and memory skills. It also increases your energy levels so you don’t feel wiped out by lunchtime.

2. Meditate. Relaxing, in general, improves your outlook on life. You stop making mountains out of molehills and your ability to think logically improves dramatically. It also brings in a sense of optimism into your life. Just by closing your eyes for 2 minutes while focusing on your breathing will do wonders for your physical and mental states. You can also do yoga or tai chi, which are also considered specific types of meditation, especially if you do it outside where you can be one with nature.

3. Talk to family and friends. Research shows that when connecting with others, especially those close to us, our brain releases “happy” hormones, which lower stress and blood pressure levels. It also gives us a sense of bliss and peace, even if it’s just talking on the phone for a couple of minutes.

Having that sense of belonging is crucial to a healthy, well-balanced existence. Volunteer work is also great and helps you connect with people. Also, joining a club with your interests or taking a class will offer you similar results, and you’ll meet new people while learning something new, so it’s a win-win!

4. Read. Pick up a magazine, follow a blog, or sit down for 10 minutes each day to enjoy a good book.

Reading allows our minds to do 2 things:

  • Free itself from daily, tiring thoughts that clutter and exhaust us
  • Spark up your imagination

Both of these things are crucial for healthy living.

5. Keep a journal. Journaling has been my a part of my life for as long as I remember. Many of the books I have written come from my journals. I believe it’s important to set aside at least 5 minutes each day to write down the day’s events and your feelings towards them. If it was a bad day, then writing it down on paper will relieve you of the burden of carrying around all that negative energy and lower your stress levels. If it was a good day, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when seeing the day’s events on paper. Either way, it’s a therapeutic way to get in touch with your inner self. You can also write down your goals to help you stay focused on what you really want out of life.

6. Explore. Schedule it in your calendar so that once a month, or every weekend if you can manage it, you can learn something new about a topic you’ve been thinking about, or learn a new language. The point is there’s a wide world around you, filled with exciting and new things you haven’t seen or tried before. It’ll put things into perspective and give you a chance to see where you fit in. You can think of it as some much-needed “me” time because you get to do something you enjoy.

7. Speak up. Successful and well-balanced people know that if you don’t speak up and say what you want and what you don’t want, you’ll get trampled on. I was one who apparently believed everyone, especially my husband was supposed to read my mind or know what I wanted by osmosis. But that’s not effective or true.

We’re often so afraid of not fitting in or upsetting our loved ones that we don’t speak our thoughts and feelings. However, keeping quiet will make you resent those around you first, and then you’ll slowly start to resent yourself.

We usually associate speaking up with being rude or selfish, but when done right, saying how you feel is actually very healthy and therapeutic. Moreover, people on the receiving end will appreciate it because it lets them know where they stand. It also shows your confidence and stability. And who doesn’t want that in their lives?

8. Eat and drink right. So if I’m honest this is a back and forth for me. And the best balance is moderation. Maintaining a balanced diet where the amount of food you eat equals the amount of energy you burn is necessary to live a long, healthy life. Taking care of your own self requires hard work and discipline, but it quickly becomes a lifestyle when you do it right and make conscious decisions about what types of food and drink you want to go into your body.

9. Maintain high self-esteem. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, nothing can be more important than how you think and feel about yourself. It helps bring inner stability while reducing attempts of self-sabotage, which we’re all guilty of. Enjoying high self-esteem will make you happy in all of your relationships because you’re confident in your own skin, and you know exactly what your likes and dislikes are. Stopping your inner critic takes time and practice, but by using motivational statements, you’ll be able to have a more positive outlook. Appreciate everything that makes you YOU and learn how to stop the myth of perfectionism. Instead, focus on your strengths and all you’ve accomplished in your life – even the small things because they’re part of what makes you special.

10. Surround yourself with supportive people. You cannot take counterfeit people to the real places you are meant to go. Sometimes, it’s easier to blend in with the crowd and go-with-the-flow. However, that isn’t always good for our mental and physical health. We need to have people who know and love us for who we are, without judgment or negativity.

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4 Self Care Rituals I Practice Every Day

As women, we lead very busy lives. Juggling work and family leaves us with little time for ourselves. Traditionally we have been taught to put others before ourselves. However, if we are to care for others it is absolutely imperative that we care for ourselves first.

We must maintain our own health and well-being if we are to care adequately for those around us, not to mention maintain responsible positions at work. Here are four simple, self-care rituals that I have managed to work into my day, without having to take too much time away from my never-ending “To do” list.

Stretch In The Morning

A few minutes of gentle stretching when you get up in the morning can help increase your blood circulation, improve flexibility, and reduce pain in your muscles and joints. When done on a daily basis you may be surprised by the results.

Try stretching your muscles to incorporate their full range of motion: Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, wrist and ankle circles, and forward/back movements, and so on. After a few weeks of daily routine, you will notice you are much more limber and can get dressed, tie your laces, reach, etc. with way more ease.

Meditate Morning And Night

Another easily incorporated daily ritual that I use to improve my sense of well-being is meditation. Meditation is known to help improve mood, deepen sleep, and develop a sense of inner peace and calm. It can reduce stress levels, decrease cortisol, and contribute to an increase in immunity and relaxation.

It can reduce high blood pressure and even aid concentration. I choose to meditate on positively affirming scriptures while listening to praise and worship music. But you can use whatever works for you.

With so many benefits for just a few minutes a day of your time, this is one self-care ritual you don’t want to miss out on. Try just 2 to 3 minutes per session at first and build up gradually over time.

Drink Eight Glasses Of Water Per Day

The jury is out on exactly how many glasses of water you should drink in a day, but if you aim for eight, you will avoid dehydration and keep your skin soft, smooth, and supple. My personal best is a gallon a day, but that’s when I am in full exercise mode. Drinking water can help you stave off hunger pangs; in fact, feeling hungry is a sign that you are in fact, dehydrated.

Next time your tummy tells you to eat, drink a glass of water first, and see how you feel. Chances are you won’t need to reach for the cookie jar! Staying hydrated keeps your kidneys working optimally and aids in healthy digestion and excretion of wastes.

Smile

I have often been accused of being “too” happy whatever that means. But the truth is, a smile doesn’t cost you anything and can change your entire outlook. Even if you don’t feel like it, science has discovered that if you turn up the corners of your mouth, into a smile shape, you actually start to feel happier! Smiling releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happier. The brain doesn’t know how to differentiate between a fake smile and a real one; it reads the positioning of the facial muscles and acts accordingly. How cool is that? Practice smiling at others and notice the responses you get. A simple smile can help you feel better, and make others feel better too. Everybody wins!

Final Thoughts

Even though you are a busy woman with many responsibilities, you simply have to learn to put yourself at the very top of your list of priorities. After all, if you don’t look after yourself, how will you be able to do all that you do?

By incorporating these few easy self-care rituals into your daily routine, you will feel a lot better and able to continue caring, working and living your life to the full.

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How I’m Working on Work-Life Balance in 8 Steps

What does it really mean to find balance in your life? Quite simply that you don’t feel as though you’re being tugged too roughly in any one direction.

It also means that you are not dedicating too much time, effort, and energy to one part of your life. For the most part, you feel motivated, calm, clear-headed, and grounded in all areas of life and within yourself. Some people say it’s impossible but I think it is if you’re intentional.

It’s fair to say that the aspects of life that need to be balanced the most fall into one of two categories: external and internal.

The Internal: Heart, Body, and Mind

  • Emotional Health. Includes your mood, happiness, positivity, healthy processing of feelings and avoiding things like depression and anxiety. 
  • Physical Health. Eat and drink well, but with your health in mind. Exercise well, but don’t forget to take adequate time for rest and treat yourself with foods that you truly love.
  • Mental Health. Stimulate yourself intellectually, but give your mind the opportunity to rest.

The External: Fun, Family, Social, and Work

  • Leisure time. Take time to indulge in activities that you enjoy.
  • Family. Maintain healthy boundaries, but ensure you make times to fulfill your responsibilities.
  • Social. Indulge in social activities with friends. 
  • Work. As you push yourself to chase your goals continue to keep your eye on the big picture.

Finding Life Balance

Most people are guilty of focusing too much on one or two areas while neglecting the others.

So, you may be guilty of focusing on the external aspects of life, such as your work, and neglect your family and leisure time too much or you spend too much time on family, social life and work that you neglect your physical, mental and/or emotional health.   

Balance in all areas helps you to maintain a high level of wellness without yourself and your life. While this may surprise you, it is possible to balance all these areas without compromising any particular one.

Steps To Finding Balance

  1. Acknowledge – Review all parts of your life and self, are you neglecting any areas?
  2. Examine the internal and external, which areas need more balance
  3. Create a specific list of goals in creating balance. For example, if you work more hours than you should, thereby missing out on family time, then cutting down on work hours should be one of the goals. Another example is if you completely neglect your physical health, by eating badly or never exercising, this indicates a goal is needed to improve in this area, and alter your diet and make time for exercise.
  4. Plan – Create steps for the week and for the month on how you will achieve your goals
  5. Consider obstacles in your way and note how you will deal with them. Think of how you dealt with obstacles because this can be of use to you now.
  6. Preparation – Prepare for any inner turmoil that will keep you from following your plan. If you know you have a habit of fueling negative self-talk, make a note of the things you tell yourself and statements that will counteract them.
  7. Get support and make connections – Whether it’s a specific tactic or a person in your life that offers support and motivation- find helpful connections that will help you stay the course. For example, your spouse can help remind you of your goals. Your best friend can join you in a workout ritual. Your sister or brother can be your partner in any needed leisure time.
  8. Stick with it. Just like anything, finding balance takes time because you have to break negative behaviors and habits in order to instill new ones. Don’t give up, it’s within reaching distance. In this step it is important to note your success and keep track of how creating balance is serving you as you go through the process, this can help you to say motivated.

If it was easy everyone would have found balance easily, but the best things in life are worth working for.

Once you attain your life balance, you will find that decisions come easier because you are in tune with yourself and your true needs and desires.

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5 Mind Body Exercises that Helped Me

Did you realize that there are exercises that engage both your mind and body and these work together to promote your overall wellness? Who knew? Your thoughts can influence the physical responses of your body. I have used these exercises effectively to relieve stress, pain, anxiety, and improve my immune system and sleep patterns.

Yoga

This ancient discipline is perhaps the most well-known mind-body exercise. It effectively connects the spirit, mind, and body through a series of poses that require both flexibility, meditation, and concentration. And for my brothers and sisters in Christ who might wish to judge me, I meditate on scripture. I’m just saying. (Psalms 1:2 and others)

Consistently practicing yoga will improve your circulation, improve your bodily functions, boost the immune system and circulation, and also balance your metabolism. It allows for chronic pain to be controlled as each muscle group is worked in every direction. It is truly an overall body workout. It is also precise, yet gentle, and can be undertaken at any fitness level. For me, it was great because I’m not a gym rat. I prefer to get in and get out as soon as I can with the ultimate benefit.

Muscle Relaxation

This involves specific muscle groups being tensed and relaxed in sequence until you have completed the entire body. You should tighten a muscle group for around ten seconds and release while noticing how it feels now that you have done so.

You should start at the feet and then work right up through to your scalp. This engages the mind as well as the body because your mind is controlling your actions. I love this method because I can do it even in a boring meeting. LOL

Weight Training

Yes, seriously. While not officially named mind-body exercise, weight training most certainly engages and benefits the mind.

Weight training builds muscle while boosting your brain cells. As you lift concentrate on how your muscles feel as they tighten and relax through your reps. This can relieve stress and anxiety and of course, boost your strength.

Weight training requires strength, concentration, and visualization that helps regenerate brain cells, all while boosting your physical condition.

Relaxation Breathing

The power of the mind can guide your breathing. It allows you to adjust your breathing rate from unhelpful shallow breathing to deep, thoughtful abdominal breaths. Mindful breathing is one of the most effective ways to manage your stress as it crops up.

You can practice it anywhere and take back control of your emotions. Imagine there is a balloon in your abdomen, your breaths need to fill it so you can concentrate on that action. When you breathe now where do you feel or see the action?

Most likely in your chest, but it should be the abdomen you see rising and falling. With every abdominal breath, you will start to feel less panic and more relaxed.

Walking

Yes, something as simple as walking can be a mind-body exercise if you can let go of your worries and focus on visualizations as you walk. This is probably my favorite. When I can’t or don’t want to do anything else, I will walk. Walking, of course, is a known health benefit. So, if you’re already a walker add some soothing music that you find both inspiring and uplifting. As you walk focus in on the music, you’re listening to and concentrate on your breathing and your stride.  

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How I Began Working on My Burnout

When you hear that women can have it all do you start to think it might be more apt to say that women can do it all?

Women are mothers, partners, bosses, employees, colleagues, daughters, sisters, best friends, clients, mentors, and caretakers to everyone. So, it makes sense that women can get caught up in the endless demands heaped upon their heads, right?

When you focus on being all things to everyone you start to lose who you are, leading to stress, resentment, feelings of being overwhelmed, and finally, the dreaded burnout. Here’s how I started on working to prevent that from happening.

  1. Focus On Your Needs First

When morning rolls around take care of your own needs first. When you wake up (raring to go or not) it’s tempting to just get right into the action, but don’t. How your day begins is how your day will proceed, so establish a routine that looks after your emotional and mental well-being, just as well as your physical.

Consider the following as part of your routine, reading while you enjoy your breakfast, meditation, yoga, a podcast, sitting in your backyard, a trip to the gym, focused breakfast, or really just about anything that fills you with happiness.

  • The Bedroom Is A Sanctuary

We’re all guilty of taking our mobile devices to bed and you probably have a list of reasons why it’s so important that you do so. When you wake up you probably reach for your phone before you do anything else, whether it’s to check emails or check out the latest news on social media.

This is radical thinking, I know, but find a real alarm and leave your gadgets out of the bedroom. You will fall asleep easier, sleep deeper, and even find getting up in the mornings easier, too. Once you’re up you’ll slip into your morning routine without the temptation of your phone looming.

  • Regular Breaks Are Key

When was the last time you finished a cup of coffee while it was still hot? Did you eat lunch, or even have a break? It’s one thing to slip into your flow and plow through your day, but your mind and body need a rest.

One effective method to ensure you are getting adequate breaks and focusing on your work is the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer and work in 25-minute bursts with a five-minute break before starting the next cycle. Use those five minutes to get up and get moving.

  • Breaks For Breathing

Stress tends to restrict your breathing and if you pay, attention to how you’re breathing during your most tense moments you’ll realize it’s shallow. Proper breathing is crucial to your overall well-being, so you may want to use your breaks to indulge in some deep breathing. Close your eyes and turn your focus to breathing and quieting your mind.

  • Move To Feel Good

It doesn’t matter whether it’s yoga or dancing, walking or cycling, if it makes your body feel good then you should be embracing it! It will help you relieve tension and improve your mood. Any type of exercise will give you an endorphin boost and leave you feeling better, so even just 10 minutes of activity should be enough to improve your mood.

  • Set Boundaries

In truth, it is all about respecting your time and priorities because if you don’t then who will? Set boundaries with everyone in your life and be assertive as you stick to them. You don’t need to justify your no, so stop offering reasons to placate the masses and start focusing on yourself.

Burnout is totally preventable, but it takes a well-planned and deliberate effort. Don’t get sucked into the vortex of a busy life, where you ignore yourself and your needs, your wellness really depends on you!