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Nurturing You

This can be a funny time of year. Funny weird, not funny ha ha and it can seem surreal. Has this ever happened to you? You’re in the mall with all the crazy making (if you didn’t lose your mind trying to park the car) while Christmas carols of joy, world peace and love play in the background. There’s a disconnect between my reality and my seemingly unattainable desire for the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas.

In all honesty, I have moments of sadness at Christmas which I make worse by feeling bad about feeling sad. This is supposed to be a happy time, right?

I asked myself what I wanted to do as opposed to what I should be doing. And I realized I’ve been a hypocrite. I talk a good game about self care, but I haven’t been great about taking my own advice or implementing it because what I wanted was self care; time for me.

Self care is really about self love. It’s about nurturing and nourishing all of you; body, mind and spirit. And very often during the holiday season, our self care can go missing in a big way.

So in the spirit of giving, this year I decided to give to myself and I implemented my own 12 days of giving ~ to me.  Here are some ways I came up with to nurture me:

  • Say no. This is one of the most challenging lessons for me. It’s also the best way to stay out of overwhelm, feeling panicked and angry.
  • Meditate or at least have some quiet time for yourself. I know ~ who has time for that when there’s not enough time as it is? Trust me, this is the best way to recharge, and feel calm and it actually allows you to get more done. Just 10 minutes a day creates big results.
  • Have a green smoothie or juice every day. It’s easy to over indulge on the sugar, fat and alcohol this time of year. Balance it with the addition of a daily green juice or smoothie. They’re fast, easy and SO good for you. Your whole body (including your liver) will love you for it!
  • Give yourself the luxury of a warm bath – preferably accompanied by candle light and great music. Water is very feminine and nurturing on all levels. A warm bath relaxes the body and mind and is a fantastic (and inexpensive) way to love yourself. For exquisite skin care, start with exfoliating your whole body (not face) with a dry skin brush. After your bath massage your body with warmed coconut oil mixed with your favorite essential oils.
  • Take a nap. This little act of self care has changed my life. I wake up refreshed, in a good mood and feeling so self-indulged!
  • Read. Curl up with a cup of tea and that novel you’ve been trying to get to all year.
  • Watch a movie. I love romantic comedies and one of my favorites (and yes, I watch it unapologetically every year) is The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Kate Winslet.
  • Bake. Or cook, whatever your thing is. For a few years I stopped baking at Christmas because it isn’t particularly healthy and I have a tendency to eat too much of it. You know what? I LOVE to bake – I love the structure and precise steps of baking, the memories that the aroma’s bring and the beauty of the finished product. I balance it by keeping a little and gifting a lot.
  • Get physical. As much as you can, stick to your work out routine. Or at least go for a walk and get some fresh air. Make a date with friends and go snow shoeing (requires very little talent at the beginner level which is a huge plus for me) skating or skiing. Let mother nature gift you with the quiet beauty of her winter scape.
  • Get fresh flowers. Even if its a single stem. Flowers are alive and share their life force with you. They bring instant beauty to any surrounding.
  • De clutter your space. This is another simple thing that has a huge impact. Stress is perceived through our eyes (as well as emotions) and when we look around and see nothing but chaos and disorder, we have an automatic stress reaction. Reduce stress simply by getting rid of what no longer serves you, isn’t beautiful or useful. Ask a friend whose home you admire, to help you. Create a plan and make it fun, not a burden.

Learning to treat yourself with with love and kindness makes your world a better place and ripples out and affects everyone. We teach others how to treat us by example of how we treat ourselves. Be good and kind to you, and others will follow suit.

I am so happy you are here; many blessings to you and may this beautiful Christmas season and every day be joy-filled and stress free!

xo

photo from brainworksrehab.com

 

 

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Success and Celebration

Have you ever done something you didn’t think you could do? And after it was all said and done, looking back you think, that wasn’t so hard?

That pretty much sums up this year for me. I started down a path in October of last year, having no idea where it would lead, how or even if, I would complete it.

In complete transparency, this has been one of the toughest year’s of my life ~ and the most exhilarating and rewarding.

I am writing this post sitting on a flight to Miami. I’ve been up since 3 am and from my vantage point of 35,000 feet in the air I’m witnessing the most spectacular sunrise! What a beautiful way to usher in another glorious 24 hours.

I’m headed to Miami for my graduation and celebrating the completion of this epic year of intense work, growth and development in a high end coaching certification program. In this moment, I’m so present to what it took to get here, to bring myself to this point where I’m actually on this flight. And I have so much gratitude!

One of the biggest lessons and gifts I received this year was learning to acknowledge myself. Actually taking a moment to stop and give myself credit for breaking through something or completing something I didn’t think I could.

I have typically ploughed through life; my sight’s constantly set on the next thing to get done. I have operated believing there is never enough time so I was constantly in a panic, rushing through everything.

I’m learning to practice celebrating and you know what? I don’t have to look very hard or very far. Life provides endless reasons and opportunities to celebrate. I’ve also discovered that gratitude goes hand in hand with celebration.

I’m letting go of the idea that life is so hard (practicing it anyway), and serious. Yes there’s a time to work and yes there are serious moments but I’m committed to enjoying life; having fun and being happy.

So I’m celebrating. I’ve created this time to acknowledge and honour what it took for me to put myself in the game the way I have; for not giving up and for having the courage to face my demons and to achieve a massive goal I set for myself.

How can you celebrate today? Life is so much sweeter when you allow yourself to enjoy it, to celebrate. To acknowledge the road you have traveled and just how far you’ve come. Your life is about you and it is worthy of celebration.

The sun is now up and a new day is well and truly underway. Enjoy the gift that is your day.

Choose joy.

 

 

photo from Her Campus

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Being Present

One of the goals I made this year, was to practice paying attention to what I think about and how I think. And that includes practicing staying in the  present moment. I took this on because I spent so much time hurrying through what I was doing to get to the next thing on my to do list, worrying about the future, or regretting something from the past.  I was literally missing my day to day life.

I share this because I’ve just moved house and the process of moving took me right out of being present. I seemed to constantly be projecting into the future: being concerned about what I would or wouldn’t be needing, and trying to imagine life in a new neighborhood and environment.

Yesterday I was swiftly and abruptly brought back to the present, because yesterday, I helped move my mother into a long term care facility.

When I first heard the term dementia being used in with reference to my mom, my first reaction was fear. What if she gets to the point that she doesn’t recognize me and my siblings? What if she loses the memories of her life? This is so unfair! What if.

And then yesterday I got it.

Watching my mother and being with her, I mean really being with her – not just moving stuff around and getting her organized, but truly being present as she ebbed and flowed with different emotions, concerns and questions, I so clearly saw that we only have right now. This moment. And I shifted from sadness, and thinking I was losing my mom to recognizing that this too, is perfect.

She is still my mom and she is still teaching me.

My letting go of the way it used to be, of the way I want her to be, gives both of us freedom. She has the freedom to show up exactly as she is and exactly as she isn’t and I am free to love her, regardless of the personality that accompanies her on any given day.

I’m learning that fear ~ of anything, does not exist in the here and now. It only exists in the future! It lives in every single what if we think or say. So by staying in this moment, keeping focused on right now, there is no fear.

I’ve heard it said that 2 things cannot co exist in the same space at the same time, so where there is love, there cannot be fear. And equally, where there is fear, love will be missing.

The best way to let someone know you love them is to be present with them. Not half listening to them while on Facebook or texting or watching TV. Turn around, make eye contact, and be with them.

When you freely give your love in this way, it has no choice but to circle back. That is one of the fundamental laws of the Universe.

So if I keep my attention on the present, on this moment, there’s no fear, worry or anxiety. There’s only love that goes out to the person or people I’m present to, and eventually it circles back to me.

So I’m practicing being present, showing up in this moment.  And what my mother is teaching me, is that when I’m present to others, I’m automatically present to myself and I’m no longer missing out on my life. I’m experiencing it moment by moment.

Now that is a lesson worth learning.

xo

 

photo from pickthebrain.com