Tag Archives: self care

Day Thirty-One: Siestas in Spain: The Importance of Breaks to Health & Well Being

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Madrid & Siestas-Don’t Stop-You Had it Right!

We need to track down whoever it was that created the

40 hour work week and ask “why in the hell did you

do this to us?”. I heard a talk about this very routine

and in other (more balanced) parts of the world people

work less hours and are allowed to take more frequent

breaks. Madrid has has siestas (several hours per day

in the afternoon where everyone has a nap). Now because

of a decline in economy and increase in tourism, theRemnev_A_Dream‘s-Girl 001

government is trying to take away the siesta. Even

businesses would close down for several hours every

afternoon. I remember watching an international

real estate relocation show and the couple was walking

down the street during siesta. The street and the

square were desolate, like a ghost town. I fantasized

about living in a place like this where during the least

productive time of day one was encouraged to sleep.

I loved the philosophy and more and more scientists

are testing this theory and proving that a break or nap

in the late afternoon results in more productive and

content employees who burn out less in the long term.

My work ethic has always made me a hot commodity

in the workforce. Unfortunately, my expertise is in

caring for others and I did it so well that I left my

own needs in the dust. I would rush through my lunch

if eating it at all. I would hold it until I literally needed

to pee my pants. Dehydrated and stressed I was too nice

to make myself unavailable.

What if someone needed me right away, I had to be there

didn’t I?

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I had a boss that said we were to be available at all times;

we were never to leave the building, ever! I felt like I

was trapped. Once I saw the sun streaming in the window

and opened the door to just feel some fresh air on my face.

I would come home flustered and spent and my husband

said, “do you realize that prisoners get breaks?” He called

and emailed several times a day to check up on me after that

conversation. It worked for about 2 days and then I fell back

into old habits when people started getting annoyed with me

for leaving my post when they needed me. I realized I need

me too. But, unfortunately I didn’t fight for me. It all went too

far.

Today’s focus will be on the importance of taking mental

 and physical breaks throughout the day to ensure optimum

health and well being.

Morning Meditation: Chakra Clearing, Cleansing, Energizing

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Journal Entry; Today’s journal activity is to document

your day. Write down anytime you take for yourself and what

are you doing? Figure out, in black and white, just how

much of your day entails you working. Now how much

of the day are you caring for yourself or relaxing? You’ll

be surprised by the results.

The Scientific Power of Naps

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When students came into my office, panicking about an incident

or an upcoming exam I calmed them down and did this meditation with them.

It was quick and easy but very effective for both the student and I.

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Informative Reading & Learning-The Science of Power Naps

http://holistichealthnaturally.com/the-science-behind-power-naps/

Here is Cheryl Richardson’s trans-formative video about her incredible

book The Art of Extreme Self Care.

Evening Meditation:

Take Care of You

Much Love, Peace & Namaste

Em

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Day Thirty: Unleashing The Creative Being Within-Healing through Imagination

A Short Film by Carlos Lascano-Lila-Stunning & Imaginative

When we are bombarded and overwhelmed with life, it is

hard to feel much of anything, much less have the time

or motivation to create. The best part of life is when we

are balanced and fresh; full of imaginative ideas…when

both sides of our brain are working in unison to achieve

phenomenal ideas and opportunities. When we are not

passionate about what we are doing we are living in

our own silent black and white film, trapped in a

monotonous scene that loops around, repeating

itself over and over and over again…

tumblr_n1a49oubl61sq3gbzo1_500True fulfillment can be gauged by how open our

spirit is to creating and imagining. How do we attain

this in a world centered on the 9 to 5 daily grind?

It can be a vicious cycle because we stay away

from our passions because we claim to be too tired,

but these are the remedies to our imaginative blockages.

If we turned on that favorite song while we worked,

or we picked up that guitar when we felt the act of

it would enliven us and act more effectively than the

myriad of prescription drugs our society has become

dependent on to numb the anxiety.bb04fedff011022b9085b74d121c2fc7 (1)

We could literally used our imaginative life as a

gauge on how balanced and healthy we are.

So many people see my art and say “Oh I am

so not creative” and I respond by saying “Oh

yes you are!” People are creative in different ways;

with ideas, writing, building, selling, cooking, painting-

we all create art somehow in our lives. You are capable

of anything, you are innately imaginative so open up

your soul, grasp on to your instrument of choice and

release your inner artist…

A Sand Art Love Story

Today’s focus will be on unleashing the creativity and

imagination that may be laying dormant within.

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Morning Meditation: To Ignite Creativity

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Journal Entry: Consider what creativity lies within you and try to remember the last time you felt passionate about something and created something fantastic-a true reflection of who you truly are.

Self Care Activity: Purchase or pick up an art-form that  you feel passionate about. Spend some time every day for one week re-acquainting yourself with this craft.

 

 

Music to Inspire Creativity

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Elizabeth Gilbert-Your Elusive Creative Genius-TED Talk

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How Art Evolves Consiousness

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Evening Meditation: Your Question Answered-Mystical Creative Visualization

Peace, Love & Namaste

Em

Day Eighteen: The Perfect Balance: An Interview about Parenting

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Striving to be the picture perfect parent is something all parents go through.

We do our best and hope that our children have their needs met and more.

When you have your first baby everyone wants to give you advice; some you take

and some you don’t. Reading parenting books did provide me some insights but

the most effective guide was within me. It has always been my intuition. Let’s

be realistic, we all know when we are the model of ideal parents; fresh baked

apple pie wafting through a spotless and pristine home, while the children sit

reading their books with smiles and a warm glass of homemade cocoa placed

in front of them. We also know when the stress and sacrifice of parenting,

and the mountain of responsibilities turn us into a shell of a parent, walking

around with a robotic tick. Or worse yet, we take our frustrations out on our

families and then need to beg for forgiveness and teach our children that

we are simply human and can’t live up to perfection.

Can and should perfection be the goal in parenting? Or do our

children need to see us in all states, good or bad, so they feel that they

too can rise and fall?

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As I was sitting in my friend, neighbor and fellow mother’s hot tub, having

some girl time, we started to talk about achieving balance as a parent. She has

regular gatherings for all of her girlfriends-which are always a fabulous way to

connect us and give us a vehicle to gather and be a sisterhood of women. I know

we all appreciate her time and effort to make these events happen. I

had always been inspired by her ability to maintain balance and a sense

of well-being as a parent and Day Home Business Owner. I asked her if

she would be my first interview for today’s blog about Parenting.

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The Perfect Balance: An Interview with Erin about Parenting 

Here is the script:

Emily: Do you feel you achieve balance as a parent? 

Erin: Yes. 

Emily: How?

Erin: My husband and I are equal partners; employment, housework, cooking

caring for the kids-all of it. We also both have hobbies that we pursue outside

the home so there is no jealousy or guilt if one of us does something alone. There

is an equal balance for both of us.

Erin

Emily: How important are your friendships in keeping you balanced?

Erin: Having a network of friends allows more opportunity to balance my

life; I have a diverse friendship group. Each woman provides me with a different

type of relationship. Each one plays an important role in my life.

Emily: Is it difficult to work at home with 7 or more children all day?

Erin: I never feel overwhelmed with it because I always have some time

with friends, an event, a party, a girl’s night to plan or look forward to. 

The knowledge of this keeps me going and it keeps me out of my funk.

Emily: What would your life look like without this circle of friends?

Erin: I would feel depressed, trapped…In the past I didn’t have a network

of friends and I was on anti-depressants. I was a ‘young mother who never

went out’. When I first moved to this town I was uncomfortable with my

body, this made me self conscious and I retreated within myself, afraid to 

approach other moms. Some of the moms in this town seemed unusually pulled 

together.  I definitely felt like I could’t approach. 

Emily: When did things change for you? What was the turning point?

Erin: I lost weight and had a total transformation; then I began my

“Friend Mission”. My new found confidence gave me the courage to

seek out friendships. Here’s how it went; I would see her across the

crowded playground and say to myself “she’s gonna be a friend.”

It worked about 50% of the time. 

Emily: What made these women approachable?

Erin: Part of it was that I changed. I even went off the anti-depressants

successfully. Here is the Approachable Friend Profile: 

1. A little stressed

2. Clothing average, nothing too swanky

3. Hair a bit disheveled

4. Muted make-up

5. A great sense of humor

6. No censor.

As a first impression, these qualities made me feel more comfortable, 

like I didn’t have to be afraid I was going to be judged.

Emily: Do you take the time for self care?

Erin: I didn’t before the transformation but now I definitely do.

Going and doing things I love and being with friends are part of

that self care. Caring for myself caused a boost in my confidence and

then I was more approachable as well. I became a happier person.

Emily: How do you know when ‘the funk’ is coming on?

Erin: I feel tense, snappy, I feel a black cloud over my head, 

my eyes are beginning to glaze over, I’m an unresponsive ball of

nothingness on the couch-if it is severe-with a glass of wine or a 

half eaten chocolate bar and unintentional dreadlocks.

Some tidbits of our conversation after that:

All parents have stress, sacrifice, issues, fears…It is a universal

feeling. When you put on a mask and conceal the struggles you

may become more isolated and detached-then you become unapproachable

to others. They are afraid to be judged or that they can’t live up to your

ideals of perfection.

Even the seemingly ‘perfect mom’ has the strong desire to reveal

her true self.

As parents we need to band together and support one another.

This helps us achieve the balance we all desire. It is also

very healthy for our children to see us happy and balanced so they too

can achieve it for themselves. Being a martyr can harm not only

ourselves, but can damage our children presently and down the line.

Children have a stronger intuition and are closer to our source than

we are so they sense when we are out of balance.

Parents must stop judging one another and unite, it can be challenging

to balance such a crucial role, but if you do your best at least 80% of the

time, you’re doing well.

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A Huge Heartfelt Thank You to Erin:

You are an incredible friend, my life is better for knowing you.

Peace, Love & Namaste

Emily

 

Day Seventeen: Aromatherapy for Healing, Stress Relief and Self Care

Aromaoils

The night I fell in love with my husband was the first night we met in person.

I’ll never forget the night we kissed one another goodnight. It was in this parking

garage beside the restaurant we met at. It was attached to a handmade, natural

soaps company called LUSH. The scents wafting up into the parking garage mixed

with the sweet spring air swirled around me and my love while we were locked

in our final embrace for the evening. Since then I have retired from using man-made,

chemical based scents and cleansers and use only natural, organic products

scented with pure essential oils.

The key in using them is finding out what each scent is meant to do for the

psyche, body, mind and soul. Nature has the most healing of elements there

for the offering; and I feel closest to the source when I am adorned with

scents from nature. Hey, let’s be honest, how many  people can walk through

the perfume section at a store and not leave with weepy eyes and a headache?

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Today our focus will be on enriching your life with natural products

and scents that heal and induce well-being.

I love to light Nag Champa Incense on days where I truly need to connect

to my spirit. It brings me to a place of peace and tranquility and soothes me.

Certain scents can be tiny time machines, transporting us olfactorily to a

place and time that we felt grounded.

Nag

Here is some information about the History of Nag Champa:

http://incense.pro/incense-basics/nag-champa-incense-origin-and-uses/

Aromatherapy for Meditation: Use of Insence

AromaSaje

My Favorite Store for Aromatherapy Oils etc. is Saje.

You can buy a diffuser that cleanses the air in your home and

when you put the oils in it contain natural healing properties.

I run my diffuser day and night and my plants are very healthy,

the air quality of the home is fresh and it smells incredible.

Let me tell you, when you are trapped inside in the frigid

winters here in Alberta you need some reminder of

spring and summer.

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Delectable Reading & Learning: The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy

Oils and their Purposes: http://www.aromaweb.com/essentialoils/

Aromatherapy Course Online Video:

Aromatherapy Music to Soothe The Senses:

The Benefits of Peppermint: 

1. Relieves Muscular Pain, Headache Relief, Alertness

Here is a video on how to make your own, inexpensive Peppermint Oil:

You can also make your own Natural Soap from essential oils:

Aroma Oils

Evening Meditation: Put a blot of lavender on your pillow,

not the case-so you don’t feel irritated.

Enjoy Your Olfactory Journey

Peace, Love & Namaste

Em

Day Eight: Making Time to Love Yourself

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When I was listening to “The Art of Extreme Self Care” by Cheryl Richardson,

for me, it was a survival guide. Having lived at mock speed for years and

depriving myself of daily human needs; it was time for a drastic self

intervention. The part of the book that struck a cord most was when Cheryl

warned that others would not like your decision to initiate self care

rituals. She said that part of initiating this way of living would disappoint

others that have grown to depend on your usual selfless behavior. “How

dare you take time out of your day for you?” When you look at this question

it seems silly, but I was not alone. Many women who I spoke to that juggled

a full-time job and a family said, there is no way I would have time for__________.

It made me so sad to think I was not alone, that so many other people felt

this weight. Today’s focus is loving ourselves by taking the time to nurture

all of ourselves; body, mind and spirit.

You DO have time…You MUST have time…

When you wake up this morning think about all the amazing and unique

qualities you have. 

love-yourself

Journal Entry: Write a list of things you would do for yourself if you had

an endless amount of time. Now today, cross one or more off of that list.

Morning Meditation: Louise Hay-Loving Ourselves: Become Illuminate-Youtube

This is a long meditation so you could listen to it as you prepare for the day.

Woman Looking at Reflection

Self Care:

Mirror Work: One technique that Cheryl Richardson outlined in her book

was mirror work. This is where you look in the mirror at yourself, look directly in your

own eyes and say “I Love You (your name).” It will seem silly at first but will become

easier the more you do it.

Buy Yourself a Bouquet of Flowers.

Physical Activity: 30 minutes of Qi Gong: This is a beautiful, and very spiritual

Chi Gong is an ancient Chinese healing energy exercise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7DZ3YdR8Nc

love-yourself-first

Art Project: “Life on Hold”: by Youtube User: RachO113:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfrhdVOLKr8

Simple Abundance

Literary Suggestion: Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach:

This has always been my bible and a book I buy whenever I see it at a second hand

book store to give to others who I felt needed it. I has a daily inspirational reading

and something in your life to focus on to empower yourself. She has a collection

of books in this series and a journal.

Here is a link to her website:

http://www.simpleabundance.com/index.html

Evening Meditation: Deepak Chopra: A Renowned Spiritual Author:

“The Secret of Healing: Meditations for Transformation and Higher Consciousness.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uin2q_hEHlU

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Peace, Love & Namaste

Em

P.S. You do have time for yourself!

What Led Me Down This Path…

The universe blessed me with the unique opportunity to stay home with my children

for the first ten years of their lives. I then entered into a very fast-paced and

highly demanding Education career as a high school teacher and then counselor of

300 students. After four years keeping up with the pace of life and trying to be

a wonderful mother as well I hit burnout. A severe pain bloomed in the heart

region of my chest and my body was in severe pain; so severe I needed my

helpful little girl to pull me out of bed as I winced with pain. Breathing was a

chore and I felt like for many months I was swimming through quicksand just

simply surviving. I was the type of counselor who was always accessible to

everyone else; as many of us women, mothers, grandmothers are. I would

skip lunch or eat my lukewarm bites while meeting with students or trying

to wade through the hundreds of unread emails that sat stale in my inbox.

I rarely made it to the bathroom without nearly peeing in my pants or

cramping up from holding it so long. I never took breaks from the moment

I woke up; 6am until 9:30 10:00pm when I finally felt I had done as much

work, mothering and wifery as I could possibly manage. At which time I

would sit with my husband and choke down some chips, two glasses of red

wine, and half a pint of chocolate peanut butter Haagen Daaz. Then I would

half stagger up the stairs to bed, burping up the sour decadent shame as I bent

down to pick up the balled socks that lay lifeless on the floor. I threw them into

the ever growing pile of stanky laundry that taunted me each day as I passed.

With close to $30 in late fees at the local library, I walked in shamefully, paid the

fees and picked up an audiobook I had put on hold, by author Cheryl Richardson

called “The Art of Extreme Self Care”. The next morning, after struggling to

wake up and shovel through the cement I called life, I got in my car and slid

disk one of the audiobook into my CD player. I then began my 20 minute

commute to work. By the third day I had listened to the entire audiobook and

each one of those days I put her instructions into practice in some miniscule way.

The first day: I ate my lunch in the staffroom, instead of scarfing it down in my

office while multi-tasking. It was only 10 minutes-but there was no one else there

and it was pure, unadulterated bliss! Afterwards I felt like a new, refreshed,

pretty little package that could take on the world. As I walked back to my office,

my husbands words rang through my mind-“Emily, did you know that prisoners

take breaks?” I started to realize that I was really self destructive and abusive

to myself. My days and nights were spent nurturing others and I had become

an invisible shell that was kicked into the dust for years. I went home and had

a long, severely hot bubble-bath; the candles I lit were the only flickering light

and I submerged myself under the lavender bliss, blocking out the demands

of my chaotic life. Silence…………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I exited that bathroom a refreshed, self-loving woman who was ready to

take life by the balls. I had accomplished the impossible; and done two

things in one day JUST for ME!

http://www.cherylrichardson.com/store/the-art-of-extreme-self-care/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdcgoMWTruk