Accepting Yourself the Way You Are

When you look in the mirror, what do you say to yourself? Do you notice all your flaws and wish you looked different? (Or do you see your best features and thank your body for everything it’s done for you?)

How do you receive compliments? Do you say thank you with a smile? (Or do you counter it with self-criticism?)

Do you use negative words like dumb, fat, and stupid when you think about yourself or talk about yourself? Do you criticize yourself both to yourself and to others? (Or do you use empowering words and focus on your positive attributes?)

Do you think life would be better if only you had a better job or worked harder or if you lost some weight or if you had nicer clothes or a more expensive car? Do you think people would like you more if you put on fake eyelashes or carry an expensive purse?

I know people like this. They put themselves down all the time for one reason or another, and they can’t accept compliments when you point out something positive about them. They think what’s on the outside matters more than what’s on the inside. They think happiness is always around the corner if they just do more, have more, weigh less, be a certain way etc. They never find happiness because they are focused on the wrong things.

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I’m here to tell you to stop it if you are one of these people. Just stop it. You are enough. You are perfect the way you are. You don’t need to change to please anyone else, and you don’t need to change to be happy or to be loved by others.

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In fact, happiness comes from inner peace. Happiness comes from the inside. It’s not something you find outside of you. And it’s definitely not something you find in a material object. People who will judge you and like or not like you based on something material are not real friends anyway.

But can’t we all make improvements? Absoutely, yes we can. If you need or want to lose weight, go for it! If you want a better job, go for it! If you want flashy clothes and cars, go for it, but don’t think that changes your value as a human being. If you want to change your lifestyle choices like eating better or drinking less or working out more, go for it, you will still be perfect every single day on every single step of the way. You will still be lovable and worthy.

We are all exactly where we need to be, and we are perfect exactly the way we are. We are all beings of love and light on separate journeys in this life. We are all unique and perfect in our imperfections. We are all very different, and we all have positive aspects about ourselves, and that’s great!

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Just be you. It’s really simple. You’re already you. When you accept yourself the way you are, your confidence will make you shine. When you are secure that your life is a wonderful thing just the way it is, you start to appreciate what you have. When you let go of caring what other people think, you are free to be whatever you want and smile about it.

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Try looking in the mirror and seeing what is beautiful about you. Try identifying a few character traits you like about yourself. Try being grateful for everything you have (make a list) and examine your relationships to see which ones are genuine. Let go of people who drain you and situations that wear down your sense of self. Identify goals and take baby steps to meet them. Keep growing in the direction of your choosing. Never lose track of who you really are inside.

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We only get one life, and life is short. Find your inner peace and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

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2014 in Review and My Hopes for 2015

New Year’s Eve 2014 is here. It’s the time to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the next. For years, I’ve been working on accepting myself exactly the way I am and living each day in the moment, free of regrets from the past and worries about the future. This kind of thinking has led to great changes in my life, and I intend to further develop myself one day at a time.

What a year it’s been! There’s been a wide spectrum of emotions and experiences. Lots of pain and lots of growth occurred this past year. I got divorced after 14 years of marriage. It was hard. It was painful. It was complicated. There was a loss of a fairy tale and a loss of my family structure. I lost fifty percent of my time with my kids. We sold our big, beautiful house (that we moved to Texas for) and moved into rentals, a house for me and an apartment for him. While everything looked great from the outside, my ex and I had some serious personal problems that ultimately we were not able to resolve. We agreed to put the children first and to co-parent in peace. We agreed not to drag each other through the mud and to keep our personal business between us. While I lost half the time with my kids, he gained the other fifty percent of the time, and the kids are adjusting to their new lives well. They enjoy the one on one time they get with him now. And I think that while they might prefer we still be together, they see that life can be peaceful and happy even with the changes. It was a painful experience, but I’ve been brave and have learned a lot from it about being true to myself and taking care of myself. In the new year, I intend to continue using the time to myself for self-care. When I don’t have the kids, I sleep, do yoga, go to the gym, play guitar, do math etc. I use the time to take care of myself and continue growing in all my interests and hobbies. I miss the children terribly, but I know they are in good hands, and I am thankful their father wants to be an active part of their lives.

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For years, I’ve wanted to take college math classes because nobody ever made me take them when I was in school. I didn’t know I liked math until I became a teacher and started specializing in teaching math. So, this year I took advantage of the opportunity since I had time (being a stay home mom) and finally took Trigonometry and Calculus 1. I got an A in Trigonometry, so my professor let me skip Pre-Calculus. I spent the spring semester taking Trig and the fall semester taking Calculus 1. I struggled with Calculus and went from a C to an F to a B overall. I learned so much about what it feels like to struggle as a student and thankfully found an excellent tutor who supported my struggles and helped to make everything make sense. At one point, I considered dropping the class, but I’m not a quitter so I stuck with it. I learned first-hand that hard works pays off and I was thrilled to finish successfully and check that class off my bucket list! In the next year, my goal is to get back to teaching full-time. I would really like to teach high school math this time. I have my master’s degree in education. I’m certified to teach all subjects 4-8 and math 8-12, and although my eight years of classroom experience was in middle school, I’ve been tutoring high school students since 2001. I’ve been working as a substitute teacher this fall and have really enjoyed subbing in the high schools. I prefer the older students and the more advanced math curricula. I quit my job to be a stay home mom years ago, and it’s difficult to get back into a full-time position, but this will be my main goal for 2015.

I took an amazing trip to Aruba for a yoga retreat, another bucket list item. Click here to read about my amazing week with yoga girl Rachel Brathen in paradise. I’ve also been participating in a 365 day handstand challenge and intend to finish it in 2015. I am on handstand number 259!

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My yoga retreat group

 

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My kids are continuing to grow and thrive, and I absolutely love being their mom. I’m cherishing every stage of their lives even though it’s tough sometimes knowing that I don’t have little kids anymore. Those days are over, but they are growing into amazing older children and my oldest is officially an adult now, 21 years old and graduating from college this year. She’s majoring in Business Marketing and Management and plans to move back to the Dallas area to work after graduation. Her laugh is infectious; her sense of humor is hilarious. She’s an avid dog lover and has been helping me take care of my dogs some this year. In fact, she might be taking my Boston Terrier back to school with her for a few months this spring. She’s been working part-time at a hair salon and getting good grades. I’m so proud of her! In 2015, I look forward to attending her graduation, her 22nd birthday in May, and seeing how her adult life unfolds when she moves back to Dallas and starts working.

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My middle child is now 14, a high school freshman on the drill team at school and a competitive company dancer at a local dance studio. Watching her dance is one of my favorite things to do. She specializes in contemporary dance, and sometimes it’s so beautiful it brings me to tears with pride. We spent a week in Panama City Beach, FL in June for national competition, and it was a really fun vacation together. She just got her braces off and has a brand new smile. She is an excellent student and is well liked by her friends. I’m learning to give her more space to be a teenager and love it when she has her friends over to our house. In 2015, I look forward to another season of dance competitions and conventions, a week in Florida for national competition, and her 15th birthday in April.

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My youngest child, my son, is now ten years old and a vibrant, intelligent fourth grader who loves science and thrives on challenge. He loves reading books and playing games and doing all kinds of sporty things with me like bike riding, rock climbing at the gym, swimming, roller skating, and playing games of horse. I love his sense of adventure and getting out to be active with him. We have a great time. He is also really loving and gives lots of hugs and kisses, one of my favorite things about him. He is a deep thinker and asks all kinds of questions about life, nature, and the universe. I know he is destined for great things in the future and in 2015, I look forward to watching him play baseball, spending a week in Florida together, and his birthday in November.

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This year, I had the kids for Thanksgiving, my ex had them for the first week of Christmas, and I have them for the second week of Christmas vacation. In 2015, I look forward to having them for spring break and then for the first week of Christmas vacation. I am super proud of all three of them and want the best for them in the upcoming year with good health and lots of happiness.

This year, I ended a friendship with someone I thought was my best friend in town. She betrayed me, backstabbed me, lied to me, then called me ugly names when I confronted her. All I can control is me, so I ended it, and I’m really glad she is out of my life now as I can see it was really a one-way friendship for years. She is not really worth any more time or space on my blog, so I will move forward to the good news: I gained a new best friend in town this year. She’s another dance mom who has kids close in age to my youngest two kids, and she lives nearby. She’s been a great friend to me this year, someone who has a huge heart and does anything to help other people. She’s been there for me whenever I’ve needed a friend, and I truly enjoy her company! She’s funny, caring, and has a genuine personality. We’ve had lots of great times together this year. I look forward to many more good times in 2015 and hope to continue to develop my other girl-friendships with get togethers and outings.

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I fell in love again this year with a man from Virginia whom I’ve known since we were twelve. His dad caught us kissing when we were in middle school, and after that we were always dating other people but hung out together as friends all the time. He was in a near fatal accident in high school, and we lost touch after he switched to another school and then I graduated and left for college. The girl who was driving the car that night died, and I’ve always been so thankful that he survived. He has always been a precious life in my opinion. We reconnected at a funeral for a friend in 2007 and have been in touch ever since. He went to Aruba with me, and we’ve been traveling back and forth visiting each other in Virginia and Texas as often as we can. It’s been amazing to find love with someone with whom I also have a deep friendship and a long history. I’m super grateful the timing is right for us to be a couple and have enjoyed every single moment we’ve spent together so far. In 2015, I look forward to his February visit to Texas (to celebrate our birthdays – we were born nine days apart) and hope we can visit each other many, many more times also. Since we are in a long distance relationship, and we both have children to raise, people often ask us how we are going to work things out so we can be in the same place. I don’t know the answer to that question yet, and I’m not going to worry about it either. It’s working for both of us right now, and I trust that things will unfold exactly the way they should. I would rather have him in my life to talk and text with every day and see periodically than not at all. So, I am grateful, humble, and hopeful for the future.

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I intend to spend 2015 really enjoying every day to its fullest, loving people in my life, and taking good care of myself. When negative things happen, I will look for the positive lessons, and I will accept challenges as opportunities to grow. I will continue to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the many blessings in my life and face each day with courage, an open mind, and a positive attitude.

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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

21 Day Yoga Girl Challenge Day 21: Self Love

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What makes me happy? 70 minute reflexology sessions! Got one tonight after having a nice day taking care of myself (went to the gym, practiced handstands and forearm stands, did a little shopping and took myself out to eat a healthy dinner at Pei Wei).

Click here to learn more about reflexology. It’s like massage but different, and I love it!

I think the concept of self love is super important and have been working hard in this area over the past several years. I blog about it under the category Self Care Sunday

Ever heard of the golden rule? You know, ‘treat others as you want to be treated’? I like that idea, but it could use some extension. How about treating ourselves the way we want to be treated? How about being nice to ourselves, doing things we enjoy, doing things that are healthy for us? If we don’t take care of ourselves, we are not really any good to other people. If we aren’t happy and whole being ourselves, we don’t have much to offer others. On the flip side, if we continue through life without making ourselves a priority, it not only affects us and our overall health, it can also get in the way of healthy happy relationships with others.

If you haven’t seen this video yet, please take a few minutes to watch. It’s worth it. Ben Smythe has a way with words and expresses it better than I can. Just watch and listen. Watch it and listen to it a few times. He makes several excellent points and he is hilarious!

Click here – Ben Smythe on Attracting Unfulfilling Relationships

I just want to say thank you to Rachel Brathen for this fun challenge! Some days were easier than others. My favorites that I don’t already do often and want to keep doing more are: get creative, Mother Nature, start a new routine, something new, and sweat. The hardest one for me was rise and shine. I only did it that one morning! My chiropractor says my adrenal glands are not happy and I need more sleep, so for now I won’t be rising too early. Overall, I already try to do some yoga and meditation every day (even if it’s brief), be grateful, say I love you, and get shit done.

I also focus hard every day on self love. It’s what’s helped me grow through a lot of pain and difficult times. Loving myself and taking care of myself has helped me be happy being myself. Once I found some inner peace I think things started to fall into place in my life. I also think taking care of myself is a good role model for my kids.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

#handstand365 days 45-113 What I’ve Learned from Doing 113 Handstands

I started doing handstands in May 2013.  That was ten months ago.  I started doing them as another way to challenge myself.  Since then, friends ask, “What’s with the handstands? Is this like the new planking?”  I didn’t know how to do yoga handstands when I started or that I would learn some life lessons along the way…

1.  Have fun every day.

2.  I am strong enough. I can do it.

3.  Mind over matter.  My body won’t do anything my mind doesn’t tell it to.

4.  Even if it’s hard, try again.

5.  Be at peace with yourself.  Let things be the way they are.  You can’t change other people anyway.

6.  When people walk away, let them go.  It’s their issue, not mine.

7.  Meditation is like a bubble bath for the mind. It’s so soothing and so good for our brains to enjoy silence.

8.  Breathe. No matter what.  If things are stressful, breathe even more deeply and slowly.

9. Accept new challenges.

10.  Believe in myself.

11.  Give as much energy to my dreams as I do to my fears.

12.  Pay attention to form, find center, and balance.

13.  Who cares what other people think?

14.  Who made up the rules anyway?

15.  Find inner peace and things start to fall into place.

16.  Don’t let anyone else take away my inner peace. I can remain calm despite the circumstances.

17. Practice self-love. Do something to take care of myself every day. Be kind to myself.

18. Worrying about things doesn’t help so why bother?

19. Do what makes me happy!

20. It’s ok to take breaks and rest whenever tired. I don’t always have to be doing something. If I get more sleep I feel better anyway.

21.  It’s helpful to look at things from a different perspective sometimes.

Looking forward to the next couple hundred handstands! So thankful for the experience so far.

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Self Care Sunday: Swimming

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I love swimming. This is a picture of the indoor lap pool at my gym, where I swim frequently. I’ve mentioned swimming before in a Self Care Sunday entry. It’s one of the ways I take care of myself because it’s a whole body, low-impact sport.   It’s easy on the joints because the water makes our bodies more buoyant. Yet, it’s strengthening and challenging to move ourselves through the water for a sustained period of time.

As a child, I took swimming lessons in elementary school I think. I do remember learning all four of the strokes and how to complete a flip-turn. I was on the diving team for one summer but never on the swim team. I mainly swam for fun at the neighborhood pool.

As an adult, I rediscovered swimming when I became interested in triathlons. To train for a sprint distance triathlon in 1998, I started swimming laps at the gym pool. I learned from a friend to do a set of sixteen laps, take a short rest, then a set of twelve, eight, and four laps and sprint the final two laps of every set. It took about 45 minutes.

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We spend family time together in this pool (indoors) all year. There’s another pool with water slides outdoors that’s open for an extended season depending on outdoor temperatures.  Spending time together as a family swimming, sliding, playing basketball, and throwing the football is a fun way to relax and enjoy weekends.

I spend a lot of time going back and forth from the pool to the jacuzzi.  It’s good for circulation to go back and forth between heat and cold.  Plus, I love the jets! They feel like getting a massage.  There is also a sauna (coed) and steam room (female only) for the ultimate spa type experience.  Feels so good.

 

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!20131203-214112.jpg

Fiction Friday #18: Good Enough

debiehive.blogspot.com

debiehive.blogspot.com

My Friday Fiction Friends and I write different stories based on the same prompt. This week,Tammy Soong at World’s Worst Moms provided the prompt. This is episode eighteen in an ongoing series. If you missed the first seventeen episodes, here are links:

7. Love
__________

“Perfect”

Sometimes is never quite enough

If you’re flawless, then you’ll win my love

Don’t forget to win first place

Don’t forget to keep that smile on your face

Be a good boy

Try a little harder

You’ve got to measure up

And make me prouder

How long before you screw it up

How many times do I have to tell you to hurry up

With everything I do for you

The least you can do is keep quiet

Be a good girl

You’ve gotta try a little harder

That simply wasn’t good enough

To make us proud

I’ll live through you

I’ll make you what I never was

If you’re the best, then maybe so am I

Compared to him compared to her

I’m doing this for your own damn good

You’ll make up for what I blew

What’s the problem…why are you crying

Be a good boy

Push a little farther now

That wasn’t fast enough

To make us happy

We’ll love you just the way you are

If you’re perfect

Alanis morissette

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_1BQRAkcyc

Alanis sang the lyrics that took Amanda back to her childhood and the constant pressure to be better, to be perfect in her parents’ eyes. Despite being divorced and living in separate states, both her parents were disappointed with her for various reasons. First, she was born the wrong sex so that put her at a disadvantage in her father’s estimation from the beginning. First born sons get the respect in Korean culture. Second born children, especially girls are not as valuable to aging parents. Then she didn’t accept the right religion (her mom’s fundamentalist Christianity) or get accepted to the right college (where her father worked) because she didn’t get “good enough” grades. Instead, she rebelled against their advice and set out to create a family of her own that accepted her for who she was.

Looking in the mirror, she saw the same eyes of that young girl and mentally hugged her, saying her mantra to herself. You’re perfect the way you are. Written on a neon green sticky note with a black sharpie, it was hard to avoid seeing it as she went through her daily beauty rituals. Her eyes were the same, but everything else grew up over the years. Her worries, joys, and experiences all carved into wrinkles on her tan skin. Instead of looking for her flaws, she observed with her mind and kept her focus on her golden brown eyes. Another sticky note written by Richard told her, “You are beautiful.”

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She dabbed concealer under her eyes and on her other imperfections then brightened up her eyes and face with fresh color and black mascara on curled lashes. Careful not to overdo it, she preferred a natural healthy look, plus at this point it was difficult to find the energy to go through her routine. Her counselor suggested it as part of an overall self-care program, starting with basics like hygiene and appearance. So, she woke up early just to take a shower and do her hair and makeup before starting her day. She liked the effects of enhancing her natural beauty with feminine touches, but as with everything in life there is a law of diminishing returns. Too much concealing and too much color makes a woman look fake and desperate for attention. It calls more attention to the flaws instead.

If only it were so easy to conceal imperfections in our lives.

So many things weighed on her mind…Richard, Ella, Anderson, Richard’s affair, life as a single mom, her boys, her granddaughter, her mom in the hospital. Taking care of herself was literally the last thing on Amanda’s mental list, so it really did take effort. Mother’s Day was just a few days away, and she hadn’t had any contact with her mom since her suicide attempt.

Amanda was learning to let go of guilt, and she felt especially guilty that her mom was alone and suffering. Knowing the perfect daughter would fly into town and visit in the hospital with flowers, Amanda gave herself permission to be less than perfect, to be good to herself even if it meant staying away from her mom. Even though it was sad her mom did that, it was even sadder she blamed it on Amanda instead of accepting her problems as her own and attempting to work on those problems with professionals. She certainly wasn’t being and hadn’t been a perfect parent.

I will send her some flowers and a card. That’s something. Better than nothing.

She loved her mom but knew that engaging with her would be toxic, so she stayed away. It was not a utopian mother-daughter relationship. No sense falling prey to a nirvana fallacy. The more Amanda let her mom into her world, the worse she felt and the more stressed and upset she was. Being a mom to her own children took all her energy.

She was thankful for her life and her family and needed to try to stay in a positive place. It was her daily practice to let go of the negative and appreciate the positive. She knew life can change at any moment, and she learned the hard way to love fully while there is the opportunity. Her life was still full of love, and although it felt like the end of the road in many ways, she knew there was beauty in the world. Dwelling on the positive was the best way she knew to keep herself from sinking into deep depression and activating a stress response in her body.

GratitudeYellow

Richard and the boys always made Amanda queen for the day on Mother’s Day. This would be the first time she would celebrate it alone. This year, she would have to see the positive in celebrating it with her boys and her granddaughter. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be good enough. Keeping everything in perspective, at least she had three handsome sons and a gorgeous little granddaughter to celebrate.

People in the world are suffering way worse than I am. I am fortunate to have Cassidy and the boys. I am a proud mother and grandmother.

Because of her tense relationship with her mother, Amanda vowed to be a different kind of mother to her own children. And having Cassidy as her granddaughter felt like another opportunity to raise a little girl, one she missed out on when Ella’s life ended unexpectedly. She made it her priority to attend regular therapy and took medication for depression, unlike her mother. She told her boys all the things she loved about them and complimented them for qualities unique to their personalities. She encouraged them to follow their dreams and to believe in themselves. She and Richard tried not to fight in front of the children, and they showed affection in front of them. As far as the kids knew, everything was fine in their marriage except the grief. She tried to shield the kids from her troubles. And she never blamed them for anything going wrong in her life.

I am not perfect, but I’m perfect the way I am.

Feeling Good

____________

Here is the prompt:

Let your characters work through the old saying, “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
Visit my Friday Fiction Friends to see what they wrote with the same prompt:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.susannenelson.wordpress.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com

Follow us on Twitter:

@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@DeBieHive
@neargenius
@MollyFieldGrassOil

Follow us on Facebook:

DeBie Hive
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Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!
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Self Care Sunday: making appointments, showers, flowers, and sticky notes

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Do you make time for yourself? I try to. To help myself, I make appointments in my schedule for the gym. I’m more likely to go if I plan in advance what days to go during the week. It’s understood that we want to go on the weekends too. I try to make it to the 11:00am yoga class at the gym on Sundays. I also like to make time to get my nails done from time to time. It’s something little that makes a difference. I feel prettier when my nails look nice.

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There is nothing like a long, hot shower. It’s relaxing and refreshing to wash off the day before getting into bed, and it’s a great way to wake up in the morning and prepare for the day. I always feel better after getting out of a shower. It’s so good for my skin to moisturize right after a shower while it’s still moist. I don’t always dry/style my hair and put on makeup, but when I do, I definitely feel more confident.

I also think it’s nice to buy flowers for myself from time to time. I prefer living plants and flowers so they don’t die quickly. I especially like my calla lilies that I planted a few years ago. They come back every year, and they have a beautiful red flower. I’ve also planted knockout roses in my gardens and love snipping buds to put in a vase inside.

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Sticky notes are a good way to give myself reminders to take care of myself and use positive thinking. I also like to leave romantic messages on sticky notes for my husband. He is slowly learning to return the favor. It makes me happy to find little notes from him.

How are you taking care of yourself today?

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Self-Care Sunday: sleep, exercise, and self-talk

I’m declaring it Self-Care Sunday. How do you take care of yourself? Do you take care of yourself? As a busy wife and mom, I find that I have to remind myself to take care of myself too. It’s too easy to let life get in the way. But it’s like with the oxygen masks on airplanes, if we adults don’t put on our masks first, we are not going to be able to adequately take care of our children.

I’ve been trying to lower my overall stress level to help with chronic pain. I’ve been trying to focus on one day at a time instead of being stuck in the past or anxious worrying about the future. Meditation and yoga help me relax and open up to the moment at hand. Mental stress causes physical stress.

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It’s hard to find a balance with time, but my husband and I like going to the gym on the weekends so we can take care of ourselves physically. The kids complain, although it is a resort like facility. We go anyway. It’s something we do as a family, and generally we all leave feeling better than we did when we arrived. Exercise allows chemicals that improve moods to flow freely in our bodies. We spend all week working and taking kids around to all their activities (son takes Taekwondo, baseball, and cub scouts; daughter dances sixteen hours a week). They both had friends over for sleepovers this weekend too. It only seems fair that mommy and daddy get to pick the gym for an activity. Today, I did light weights, core work, rode the bike, swam some laps and sat in the hot tub. It helps me to both strengthen and relax my body. I also hope that modeling healthy behavior has a positive influence in our kids so when they are older exercise will part of their lives.

Sleep is also so important to me. I seriously can’t function right without enough sleep. I used to have sleep apnea pretty badly and got the uppp surgery in 2006 to carve out the back of my throat so I could breathe better at night. I got retested and found out I still have mild sleep apnea, but it is much better than it used to be. We get up early with the kids Monday through Friday, and I always sleep in on Saturdays an Sundays. If nobody wakes me up I usually sleep until ten or eleven in the morning. Luckily my kids sleep late too.

I’m also working on being nice to myself. I learned to listen to myself and I was hearing a whole lot of negative self talk. For some reason I was programmed like that and found out I was constantly criticizing myself and putting undue pressure on myself. I’m learning to be grateful for all my positive qualities and to accept those that are negative. I’m learning to fill my self-esteem bucket on my own and to be happy just the way I am (instead of always trying to be better and do more).

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