We can all agree that these have been trying times. It can feel beyond hopeful right now. Imagine, just over eight years ago we had “hope” and we felt hopeful. Today, well, we are going day by day. We are feeling overwhelmed with fears about the pandemic, overt racism, dirty politics, dirtier politicians, global warming, and the list goes on. So how do we focus on persevering and flourishing during this time? How do we stay aware and participate in what we believe in without depleting our mental and physical energy?
Here’s What I’m Doing:
Drinking water and eating Whole Foods. Taking care of my body by taking in the very best foods possible. 2. Exercise. My exercise not always rigorous but I make movement a part of my daily routine. I move my body and increase your heart rate for 20 minutes or more per day. 3. Simplified my routines (beauty, self care, exercise, cleaning, home life, wardrobe). Pear it all down! I found that the more I made my surroundings simplified, the more I saw that I had much of the things that I already needed. I didn’t need to buy new clothes or home decor because I had the stuff. It was just hiding under all of the excessive stuff I already owned but also wasn’t using. I used all of my beauty products before buying new ones. This was a hard one for me.
There is nothing better than a Sunday afternoon stroll and if you get to stroll through nature, then the Sunday stroll gets even better. The warm weather invites cool clothing as well as the desire to get outdoors. This dress made me feel amazingly free and not restricted. I normally live in blue jeans but sometimes the buttons squeeze too tightly or the thighs feel too tight but none of this happens in this dress.
Getting in touch with nature before the start of the week is a great way to reset. Weekdays for many of us can be a combination of work, chaos, schedules, meetings and juggling multiple responsibilities and tasks but getting a jump on mentally centering yourself on a Sunday can help to remedy some of the potential chaos.
On Sunday, take time to think. Take time to breath and reflect on all of the growth and stillness of nature. Find tranquility that you can take with you into the week ahead.
How do you ready yourself mentally for the work week?
The winter weekends call for comfy, warm and inviting spaces as well as routines that include beauty and eats.
Ren Skincare is great for exfoliating and softening my face. My Instyle magazine is never too far behind. It keeps me posted on all of the latest trends.
A glass of red is good for the heart.
Make a Meal.
This goes beyond “self-care”. You don’t have to schedule time in your day to truly care for yourself. Care for yourself on a day to day basis. Self care does not even have to be a “thing”. Control your thoughts. Be kind to yourself and others in your mind me thoughts. Forgive. Focus on what makes you happy and fulfilled and smile.
These are some of the methods that I use in order to live a low-stress lifestyle. I cannot use the term “stress-free” because stress is just another feeling that lets us know that we are living and breathing. It is there with love, hate, fear, anxiety… Stress can be a good thing but it should be used to put us on a path of problem-solving and it should not rule our lives or debilitate us. Check out what I do below:
Sing and hum tunes that you find delightful throughout the day. Many times we are not stationed at a desk or not able to play music throughout the day so take some time to make your own music. Music automatically puts you in a better mood and serves as a de-stressor.
Focus on at least one positive thing that happened in the day to help cancel out some of the negative.
Prepare the day or night before in order to alleviate some of the day’s load. For example, if getting out of the door on time is a stressor then prepare your outfit, lunch and get your gym/work bag packed the night before so that you have less guesswork in the morning. Get the kids to bed on time and have their projects, bag, shoes and coat at the door for an easier exit.
Eliminate some of your social media, phone use and office gossip. Many times we get preoccupied with other people’s stuff that we fail to get our “stuff” done. Set short-term goals for the day and get started first thing in the morning.
SMILE! No, for real, smile. You automatically radiate good vibes, healthy feelings and positivity to others when you smile. You also feel good so quit pursing your lips.
On a typical day, I probably talk to my husband and daughter for more than an hour after work/school. The subject of my conversation is never about things that are bothering me at the job. My husband will often rant about the latest artist who is driving him crazy -although I must admit he is able to do this in a lighthearted way that isn’t very negative. That is a topic for another post, however 😉 Personally, I don’t engage in negatively in any way. Not even in a lighthearted way. Typically, I’m discussing my plans for the week or something interesting I came across online.
I don’t undertake projects that will result in more stress than satisfaction.
My end of the day routine is very relaxing. A glass of red wine and an episode of Scandal or Real Housewives brings most nights to a close.
Lately, I have been a bit obsessed with self-improvement and have really been trying to tap into a need to do “more”. Now when I say “more” I do not simply mean I want to be busy. Being busy does not make for a more fulfilled life. On the contrary, being busy can shave years off of your life and ebb away at your happiness. Many are so busy being “busy” that they are truly not living a good life. A “good” life can mean many different things to many people. A good life to me means taking care of myself, my family and my community. It means we are all comfortable and there are no great emotional or financial needs looming over anyone. What a utopic thought? Yup, I know but it is my desire.
This intangible”more” which I desire is now just a mere thought that I wake with and go to bed with at night. At 40, it is probably a more common occurrence amongst my peers than most would like to admit. My angst lies in what I should do with this desire and what my outlet should be in order to accomplish some of these desires or goals that I sleep with at night. These thoughts and desires have become my companion and consort. I no longer want the material things I used to desire. There aren’t many items in-store that can make me happy or fill a void anymore. My 40-year-old self, my mid-life self no longer finds comfort in a badass pair of shoes or a fly outfit. I want more.
However, in all of my thoughts, I do not forget that I am…
Two brands that we trust when it comes to quality came together and created a panel of women who spoke about the importance of “self-care”. We’ve all heard the term “self-care” before but how many of us really practice the routines and rituals that make self-care necessary. I’m guilty of not always caring for myself the best ways I should. I’ve had to learn the hard way that I have to really have to put on my oxygen mask first. If I don’t care for myself then I cannot care for the ones that I love. As women, there is so much that we are in charge of caring for. We are in charge of taking care of children, spouses, siblings, grandparents, parents, work, friends, you get the message… In all that we do it can be difficult to take the time to care for self but time and time again we learn that we must take the time to care for our mental, emotional and physical well-being.
The message that most resonated with me that evening came from the Chief Diversity Officer at Johnson & Johnson, Ms. Wanda Bryant Hope. She imparted that her most important self-care routine is to ask for help. As a mother and a woman in the workforce I rely on help from family and friends on a daily basis. It is how I keep my family and my life going. No man is an island and no woman is an island either. I had a difficult time asking for help after I had my daughter but learned quickly that this cannot be done solo (and by solo I mean just my husband and I. We are a unit). We have to rely on loved ones and others in our tribe who we trust in order to make our family and our lives work. I also find comfort in the thought that my daughter is surrounded by people who love her and she knows that she is a part of a community of care givers.
Is anyone else reading, “The Body Book” by Cameron Diaz with Sandra Bark? My husband gifted it to me for Christmas and I have yet to sit and read it cover to cover. I must admit that I don’t really read self help books like this one straight through. I like to read it chapter by chapter, take a break and absorb the stuff that I’ve read. I require absorption time. Thinking time if you will. Wait…hold on. I’ll be right back. I have to pick up the hubby from the train. I’ll be back.
Ok, I’m back. Where was I? right, my need for thinking time. Well, think about it. You are reading a book that is supposed to help you change your life! There are thoughts that requires more thinking about than lets say, the downfall of a fictional character who slays zombies for a living. yes, take the time. Use it to really figure out how the chapters in the book relate to you. This book introduces us to Cameron Diaz’s beliefs about nutrition, physical strength and mental clarity/strength. I’ve eased through the chapters on nutrition and wasn’t really introduced to many new concepts. There were some but now many. The moral of the story is to eat whole foods, but you know that. Work out! How many times can we be told before we get off the darn couch and move? Cameron moves. Do you? I don’t move nearly as ,much as I should. I want to but I don’t. It’s a bad habit. It’s laziness and it’s also related to a lack of discipline. Now don’t get it twisted. I don’t lack discipline in all areas of my life. I am a great mom and my work ethics are through the roof. My discipline in regards to working out? Crap.
I am not alone. I know there are millions of women who are like me. There are also millions of women who slay in the department of self care. They are mindful of their bodies. They work to make it strong. They work to make it sexy. They work to make it comfortable for themselves. Chapter 37 of this book is titled, “Nothing’s For Free” and I was struck by the short but blunt chapter. This entire book could just be this one chapter. I made my 11-year-old daughter read a portion of the chapter because there is a paragraph on “discipline and accountability” that every person needs to hear, hear again and live by.
She wrote, “knowledge that whatever job I needed to do, I was the one responsible for the result-Discipline and accountability were instilled in me from a young age, and I rely on that foundation everyday. Discipline was my mother waking me up every morning to make breakfast and making sure that I did the dishes and cleaned up after myself when I was done. It was my father teaching me to be accountable for everyday chores around the house. It was both my parents instilling in me the knowledge that whatever job I needed to do, I was the one responsible for the result-no one else.” Now, this might have very well struck me because I am raising a daughter in the same light. I was raised with discipline. The question for me is, How do I harness this discipline in order to practice better self care. That is also the type of discipline I would like to also pass along to my daughter. I’m an Ace at taking care of everyone else and everyday responsibilities but what good is all that if I’m not taking care of myself.