Week #2 Self Care

For our challenge this week I wanted to share some information from an article entitled 6 Simple Self-Care Tips That Change My Life written by one of my favorite authors Rachel Macy Stafford. (I recommend all 3 of Rachel’s books:
Rachel begins by sharing the following story and then goes on to share some tips for self care. "Last spring, my body let me know something was wrong. I didn't feel like myself, and I wasn't acting like myself. In a moment of overwhelm, I actually smashed a casserole dish on my kitchen floor. After that I knew I needed to low down and make some change. I pledged to drink less soda, start running again, and log at least seven hours of sleep a night. And most importantly, I would finally get to the bottom of the bladder infection I had developed six months ago
The various antibiotics I’d tried hadn’t helped. So I made an appointment with a specialist—a highly skilled urologist, who discovered the underlying problem: I had a gargantuan-sized kidney stone.  She explained that left unattended, it could have been fatal. All I heard was: You could have lost your life.

Believe me when I say, I intend to be on this earth for a long, long time. I want to watch my kids grow up. I plan to write more books. So I was grateful for the reminder: If I want to stick around, I need to take care of myself the way I care for the people I love.”

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I’ve learned a lot in the last few months since that scare. These days, I think more clearly, handle frustration better, and sleep through the night—all thanks to minor tweaks in my perspective and daily habits. Below are six of the self-care tips that have truly worked wonders for me.

1. Acknowledge yourself

The first step: Remember that it isn’t selfish to look after yourself. It is critical for your happinessand well-being. You have limits, and they are crucial to help you honor your health. You have needs, and deserve affection, rest, sustenance, and grace—just like everyone else. And you have dreams, and are worthy of the time it takes to pursue what makes your heart come alive.
2. Gift yourself

When is the last time you did this? It’s important periodically to choose something that will add a bit of joy to your life to your life: A colorful water bottle to encourage proper hydration. A beautiful new journal to record your dreams. An extra hour of sleep, or exercise, or creative expression. If nothing else, give yourself a moment: We all need a moment of grace, forgiveness, or acceptance every now and then.

3. Restore yourself

Think back to what made you feel happy as a child. Was it the smell of a library book? Or listening to the crickets at night? Maybe it was strumming a guitar, or walking barefoot in the grass. Try to recreate those experiences of simple pleasure.

4. Speak up for yourself

Choose a trusted soul and voice the unspeakable: “I need help.” “I am afraid.” “I haven’t felt like myself in awhile.” There is something about voicing the burden that makes it lighter. Give the people close to you a chance to support you. (Note from Sandee (advice she needs to take as well as state)  “Be careful not to make assumptions that work against your own well being. Don’t assume everyone expects you to do more or to do it all by yourself. Don’t assume others are aware you need assistance, or acknowledgement or kind treatment but are denying you on purpose. Speak your needs to those that love you and clearly ask for what assistance or kindness you need.)

5. Take the pressure off yourself

What are you telling yourself about your parenting skills? What are you telling yourself about your appearance? What are you telling yourself about your long to-do list? Now try setting more realistic expectations. Lower the bar; let something go. Ban the word “should” from your vocabulary today. And when you lay down in bed tonight, ask yourself, “Did I show up?” If the answer is yes, that is enough. It’s more than enough.

6. Notice the good in yourself

Take a moment to recognize any tough obstacles you’ve overcome, or lessons you’ve learned—and think about how far you’ve come. Then try to see yourself through the eyes of those who love you. They don’t see imperfections, failings, and mistakes. They see love, never-failing love. Try to see it too.

So your challenge this week is to do something every day to administer self care and kindness. You can choose anything but some ideas:
1. Gift yourself something wonderful. Perhaps something to help you to better honor your own health. A pretty water bottle, a new pair of work out shorts or a pretty journal. Or ask your family’s cooperation to gift you an hour to work out, to sleep in, to play your instrument to do anything that renews and rejuvenates you. Another important self care gift you can give yourself is to make that doctor's appointment you have been putting off. Get a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a well women's check or a dental cleaning. (Note you can count this as your self care for the day if you just call and make the appointment) 
2. Gift yourself by doing something that brought you joy as a child. Go for a swim, go on a swing, listen to your favorite teenage music and dance like crazy. Whatever made you giggle as a kid do it now.
3. Speak up for yourself with those that care about you. My daughter is the queen of asking for compliments. Honestly I have hear her say to her cute hubby “Do I look cute in this?(He tells her she looks cute) “Really don’t you love how it fits me?”(He says yes it fits great) “Don’t you just love the color?” (He agrees it is his favorite color on her) etc. etc. etc. Especially if you feel like your co-workers or family don’t notice enough, help enough,, compliment enough. Kindly and with a sweet gentle tone ASK FOR IT!
4. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Someone told me once that everyone has their own “average”. I am a pretty good cook. But sometimes I am amazing and sometimes what I have made comes out awful. But I can give myself a break just by acknowledging that. Celebrate when my efforts in any area are above my average but when they are below my average be kind to myself as I would be to someone else when something doesn’t come out as well as they hope. Give yourself a break. You may need to do this OUT LOUD to and for yourself.
5. This kind of goes along with the one above but notice the good in yourself. It might help you to notice it as if you were someone that loves you looking for goodness and accomplishment in what you do or say.  Honestly-- either say it out loud or think it as if saying it. “That proposal I just turned it at work is really clearly written and well done.” “What I just cooked was delicious” “I am so good at showing up. I was the first one at work again today.” “The dog loves that I am so good at feeding him” It can be small things but honestly if you neglected to do them they would be big things. Applaud yourself; notice what you have done well. Give yourself some credit.

So that’s it ladies. For every day that you make an extra effort to do some type of self care you earn the 5 daily bonus points. And please do a different type of self care each day this week. This needs to become one of your life long healthy habits. This might work best for you if you plan your week out ahead of time and write what you are going to do for self care on your calendar! Good luck- you deserve it!

And just for fun ladies- google "Self care" and click on images-you will find some wonderful things there. You might want to choose something to print up and hang on your mirror! 

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