self-care tips

5 Efficient Self-Care Tips: Pamper Yourself In All The Right Ways

self-care tips

 

I’ve seen myself fall into an existential trap that my own mother wallowed in for the most of her life. She was a kind and industrious woman, but she could also be unbearably clingy. Above all else – she demanded attention. While I was a youngster, I used to tell myself that I will never turn into that person, but you know how your parent’s own pattern of behavior tends to creep up when you least expect it.

I used to be crushed by sadness when my own children forgot to, for the lack of a better expression, shower me with attention on birthdays and anniversaries, and I had to jump through serious hoops until I really accepted that happiness comes from within.

Here are 5 efficient self-care tips for all of you moms out there.

1. Adopt the right mindset by asking the right question

As it has already been established in the introduction, happiness comes from within, which means that you should rely on yourself to find the most opportune and enjoyable ways to celebrate a particular holiday that pertains to you. Remember, it is not about date or tradition. The date is merely an excuse for self-pampering, and it should be treated as such. The question you should be asking is NOT: ‘What sort of surprises do my kids have in store for me?’ but ‘What can I do on this day to make my week more enjoyable?’ By asking the right questions, I learned how to self-indulge in ways I previously unimaginable. Mindset is everything.

2. Organize a day of hearty meals

Good nutrition is the foundation of health. Therefore, you can exploit the holiday to organize a day of hearty meals for yourself (the presence of other family members is optional) and relish in banquets in restaurants that you always yearn to visit yet rarely have time for it. Instead of kicking the day off with a toast and a cup of coffee, have a fruit-laden breakfast with vegan-carrot cake and top it off with an espresso. Why not?! Embark on a culinary adventure and try out dishes that you never tasted before. It is all about you, at least for the day.

3. You’ll never regret investing in your hobby

The entire goal of a hobby is the combination of enjoyment and self-improvement. Therefore, any investment into a hobby is a form of self-care, and there is hardly a better way to treat yourself than to purchase something that will encourage you to continue that pursuit. The hobby might be something creative – like painting, and you can ‘arm yourself’ with a new set of brushes or color palettes. If it is a hobby that entails exercise, like running or swimming, a cool water-resistant triathlon watch is a quality investment. A useful gift is always better than a mere trinket, and it can represent an important part of your self-care lifestyle.

4. Rejuvenate your self-care style

Open the browser and begin the selection of local spa centers until you’ve narrowed it down to top-3 for services such as beauty treatment, massage, and sauna. A full day of rejuvenating treatments may just be the best sort of reward you can get, and you can encourage your family members to chip-in. Here, we get to another positive mindset you need to adopt – you have a full right to ‘shamelessly’ remind your kids and your partner that a Mother’s Day or your birthday is upon them and that they might as well do something about it. If they have forgotten about it, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care, and most of them will gladly contribute.

5. Alone in the outdoors

Finally, one of the greatest self-care habits you can embrace is the stroll through the closest natural reserve. Savor the scents of opulent nature and have a meditative walk alone to replenish your energy wells. Did you know that 30 minutes a day in nature does wonder for your immunity? Going wild in the outdoors is an amazing way to add a dash of adventure to your life.

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running on empty

Are You Everything to Everyone? Running On Empty?

running on empty

 

Running on empty

Running blind

Running into the sun

But I’m running behind…

My new theme song, the music that best describes my life? Jackson Brown’s “Running on Empty.” I’m burning the candle at both ends and many, many nights it is “taking all night” to get done what needs to be done.

I crawled into bed at 3:30 am this morning only to be startled awake at 6:40 by a phone call about a family emergency. My day started with 3 hours sleep, it is now 12:46 am and life is feeling crazy. It’s my life though and I love it. I’m juggling quite a few balls but I’ve learned when to put them down and put on the breaks. Have you?

Is multi-tasking your standard method of operating? If you are a woman, it probably is. Married or single, us women are caregivers, problems solvers…we are everything to everyone.

If you are a divorced, single mom who works, more than likely you are stressed out and exhausted. Your day may start at 6:30 am and end at midnight. You hold yourself to high standards.

You have a career to build, children, to parent and parent perfectly. Those two things alone would wear on anyone both physically and mentally. Throw in everyday problems like car maintenance, cooking, cleaning, an elderly parent to care for or, a house full of kids with the chicken pox and life will begin to take its toll.

Signs You Are Running on Empty:

  • Feelings of fatigue
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Feeling irritable and moody
  • An inability to concentrate, memory problems, feeling “spaced out”
  • Feeling a lack of desire for sex
  • Generally feeling unwell

If you relate, then I’m right there with you! We push ourselves too hard and end up with major burnout. I have a few suggestions for you, aside from reading a good book, pouring a glass of wine or unplugging the phone. Those things are temporary fixes.

For long-term well-being, it is time to change your MO and feel better. A permanent fix means making a habit out of the following activities and behaviors.

How to Fill up Your Tank:

Work Out: Exercise or participate in some physical activity daily (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai-chi, which teaches inner balance and relaxation.

Ask for Help: To avoid burnout and stress, you can enlist the help of other family members, friends. There is no need to feel vulnerable for reaching out. And you are certainly worth support from others.

Take a Break: Take a single day, a weekend, or even a week’s vacation. And when you’re away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven’t been able to get to, see a movie. Only a real break will renew and refresh you.

Eat Well: Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins, including also nuts, beans, and whole grains. Indulging in caffeine, fast food and sugar as a quick “pick-me-ups” also produce quick “let-downs.”

Take Care of Yourself: Just like you make sure your children get to the doctor regularly, make sure you get your annual check-up. Being a single mom provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but you cannot and should not compromise your health.

Indulge: Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from your situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing your children. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good.

Remember, if you take care of yourself, your children will be happier, your attitude will improve, and you’ll feel more accomplished and content.

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peace through yoga after divorce

How I Found Peace Through Yoga After Divorce

peace through yoga after divorce

 

I was twenty-four years old when a close family friend took me to her power yoga class. As I walked into the studio, I remember seeing the Turkish evil eyes and similar tapestries hanging from the walls. Adding to the mystique were several battery lit candles and a hint of incense. A packed class filled the humid room.

Later I learned that the style, Baptiste Power Yoga, suggests the temperature of the room should be 85-90 degrees to start so the body feels warm. The instructor guided us through a steady rhythm of yoga postures and breathing exercises. At the time, I thought “great work out, I feel strong.” After that initial class, I only attended a handful of additional classes assuming the “stretching” was not what I wanted.

I Found Peace Through Yoga After Divorce

Flash forward a decade. I have a baby, a short unhappy marriage and a painful divorce, and another good friend invited me to her yoga studio for practice. This studio followed Baptiste Power Yoga as well, so the room was again humid. The room set up, however, was different from my first experience. The studio was brightly lit and free of any distracting decoration. There was no incense, and happy music was playing.

The class was listed as “basic.” In this situation, perhaps I was overconfident in my own abilities and athleticism. This was during my divorce and I was focused on weightlifting and consistent food intake as a way of dealing with the emotional pain. The instructor must’ve smelled that overconfidence and took aim at pushing me in these 75 minutes of torture.

After the class, I was left tired and sore yet aching for more. My muscles wanted to continue the rip and tear and stretch and pull. My lungs quickly got used to the steady command of “inhale, exhale” as they were called out by the instructor. My mind grew very quickly accustomed to the demand the instructor required for the remainder of the class. This was the first reason I came back the next week. I wanted my mind to be in the present.

During my divorce, my mind constantly flashed back and forth to the past, between those truly happy moments and the horrible realities. Even in the best of situations, I had periods of sadness for something that had ended. I found that yoga keeps me grounded here and now. It keeps me in the present moment through posture and breathing.

You do not have time to think about the yoga pose you just completed. You do not have time to “guess” what is coming next.

You have to be present the moment to focus on your breath and where you are at that moment.

The second reason I came back the following week was someone had called me on my excuse. During that recent class the instructor had pushed me into a pose I was unable to do and I made an excuse for not trying. I said out loud in the class, “I cannot do that.” The instructor laughed and said, “Cannot does not exist. Your mind created it. Now let’s do this pose step by step until you can.”

After class, I realized for the first time in years, someone cared enough to see through my veil of excuses and pushed me to the edge. She would not let me quit before I tried.

I imagine many others who have divorced had the same feelings as I did, I felt I was unable to do something. I was unable to keep someone’s love and affection. I was not able to keep my small family together. This instructor saw through that. She saw I needed to be guided, step-by-step until I succeeded. By the end of that first class, I succeeded.

Finally, during my separation and divorce, yoga helped me to trust new people. I had trusted someone with my happiness, and it felt like he threw it away in the end. That first yoga class hooked me. I learned over the course of the next two years to trust other instructors to lead me through postures and practices. I also learned to have confidence in myself in different moments of muscle pain, fatigue and mental stamina.

After two years of steady practice, I had enough confidence in myself enough to join the Yoga Teaching Training program. With a group of eleven women, I hunkered down for sixteen weeks of intense study, training and group therapy. The trust I developed in these women helped me move forward personally.

I think I learned this trust through the discipline of yoga.

It showed me that I could be open again; though it will take time. When I was pushed to deepen my downward dog or hold a half-moon, I learned and practiced, and I got stronger. Ultimately, strength comes from within. I learned to trust again because the strength came from me.

So, I ask myself, did yoga solve all my post-divorce problems? Well, honestly no. I still struggle with internal self-doubt and self-esteem. Yoga, however, helped me prioritize and redirect my focus. Instead of dwelling on those low moments, I find inner strength on the mat through either breathing or a quick Sun Salutation A.

I focus on the present moment and how I can make me better right now. I find peace in 75 minutes of class or even the 10 minutes of chaotic flow while my eight-year-old daughter plays around me. After the pain of divorce or any unsatisfying adventure in life, I feel finding peace is what matters most, and I find peace in yoga.

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