Self care. These are two little yet powerful buzz words everyone is talking about lately. But what defines it?
After the birth of each one of my children, my best efforts toward self care came down to brushing my teeth and showering. Going for a pedicure and getting my hair styled was at the top of my self care list, but I put myself last and that sure made me irritable. It seems like a simple thing, but it made a difference to how I felt about myself deep down. I craved that time more than a toddler screaming for an ice cream cone.
When I turned 40, I felt more alive, stronger, more aware of the importance of taking care of myself. The wisdom that comes along with the experience of aging is an interesting discovery. I don’t feel old at all, in fact. I’m feeling good about getting older because I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of my body, mind and spirit.
But I definitely needed a ton of self care in my life.
Vitality is the essence of living, and self care feeds your vitality. You know the word vitality, it also means spark, drive, passion, aliveness. What is at the core of feeling alive? Your spiritual energy.
Finding balance and being in gratitude are my two guiding lights in a busy busy world. It keeps me centered when I tap into my core and get thankful for even being alive.
Now as I approach 50, I’m even more energetic, full of life, joy, excitement, curiosity, passion and, thankfully, I’m healthier than ever. (My doctor recently shared that my blood work was that of a teenager. This is reason to celebrate my 16th all over again!)
My main self care struggle is finding time (or making time) for self care. Does this sound like you? Oh, it does. I’m a working mom living in Los Angeles. I understand the busy life. So here’s what I did to change the direction of my excuses (I’m too busy to____.) Just do a little girl twirl and go with the flow:
SELF CARE + EATING WELL:
Every living thing has life energy. So it makes sense that the more we eat fresh live food, the more essence we have. The philosophy of eating raw vegan foods is based upon this principle.
When we eat a raw food diet, we support our natural state of being. I don’t only eat raw foods, but I make it a plan to eat several fresh and raw fruits and veggies every day. Lemon tea in the morning, a smoothie with raw vegan protein, celery sticks, an apple, salads, and handfuls of grapes. Eating well includes eating more live fresh foods, less processed stuff. Get creative with how you get in your fresh raw foods: dark chocolate pairs well with almond butter and apple slices. You don’t have to suffer and not eat the things you love every once in awhile.
Eating well is the remedy for feeling better if you’re sick, more alive if your feeling blah, all helping you feel so much more connected to your body, in a good way.
Have you ever eaten too many apples? It’s definitely not the same as eating too many apple Jolly Ranchers.
SELF CARE + BUSINESS:
Make sure it’s not just you doing all the things. (This is another one I’m working on personally…) To do your work and continue on your business journey, delegate. Find other people to do the stuff you can’t handle. The only way I’ve been able to continue to focus on my personal growth and blogging life — along with my new vegan tee shirt line! — is to hire a few virtual assistants from time to time. You are in control of the outcome, so control freaks, learn to let go and trust someone else to re-design your logo, website, whatever it is. Delegate and create more time for yourself. Now if I can get my kids to cook, make dinner and wash the dishes…
SELF CARE + PEOPLE:
You come first. I don’t mean this in a “be selfish” kind of way. I mean, take care of you first. This is one self care thing I’m totally focused upon lately: saying no. You know what I mean, don’t you? When you’ve blocked out some precious “me time” and then something (or someone) asks for your attention, and that takes you away from that me time. I don’t mean this to apply to parenting per se, because your kids needs do take some priority over yours, depending on the situation (and age, because my teenage daughter makes me feel like shutting my door and blasting some music). But you can put your phone on airplane mode and ignore the distractions while you take a yoga class, a hot bath, a long walk, or anything else that requires your contemplative focus.
I’ve said yes too many times and felt frustrated because it meant giving up that special time I’ve blocked out for myself. It’s a negative cycle that stops the moment you say no to others, and yes to you. Learn how to say no and feel good about it. If you can’t say no, sort your schedule so that you can create time for yourself. (This is an easier said than done thing, but it can be done.)
SELF CARE + MY SCHEDULE:
Block out time for yourself. Most days I have to play the girl boss, the talent, the director, the camera person, the producer, the visionary, the food stylist, the grocery shopper, the writer, the blogger, the mom and the cook. It’s a lot to be so many people!
I’m an idea person. When my plate(s) are too full, I can’t think. Nothing is done properly. Everything feels insurmountable and unfinished. More ideas come like a flock of seagulls and I’m holding a big bag of chips. They pop in like, “Hey, why don’t you reboot your YouTube channel and create a series of videos about going vegan?” “Oh, and while your filming your YouTube, maybe you should also start a podcast. Can’t you shoot the food for Instagram while you’re at it? What about a blog post? Hey, why not make a vegan cheesecake and film it in stop motion?”
The ride my ideas and suggestions take me on is an endless endless journey to get-nothing-donesville. Let’s not get started on my day job’s wacky and fickle schedule, plus being a mom of three. Laundry, lunches to pack, dinner to make, drop offs, pick ups, and what about date night? What happened to that cookbook I’ve wanted to write for over five years?
I had first heard about this time blocking (or “chunking time”) concept through listening to a Tony Robbins interview in the car while I drove in Los Angeles traffic, fretting about how much time I didn’t have to do everything I wanted to fit into in my busy day. Blocking out time for myself sounded like a fairytale, but once I started doing it, it worked like a magic charm. (Thanks, Tony!)
Write it down. I’m starting a new routine of one-thing-at-a-time and not anguishing over all the things I need to do. I’m writing ideas down and allowing them simmer.
I plan out my week on my paper calendar (in pencil) and leaving room for flexibility (flex for me, not others). No reading emails until 10am, putting away the phone and laptop at 8pm makes for a happier self care fulfilled me. I put my shopping list, my goal list, my dream list, all on paper, not stored in my notes on my iPhone, because then I start scrolling through apps and forget about what I was doing. I tape the list on my bathroom mirror. Visualize it and it manifests. Real talk, my friends.
Don’t chase your dreams, manifest them. I had heard someone say that emails are full of other people’s agenda. That takes away from your own agenda. Focus on your agenda. Once you’ve given yourself enough attention, you can respond to others is a better way that doesn’t leave you feeling drained, annoyed and unfulfilled, which only brings you more of that feeling.
Allow your dreams to come to you instead of chasing your dreams. Whoever thought of the saying “chase your dreams” is probably still chasing them. Visualize, create a vision board, write it down, say it out loud, dance to disco while dreaming up your wildest dreams, whatever it takes.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE AND HOW DO I DO IT?
I take care for myself when I take care of my mind, soul and body in these five ways:
- Set the intention to do things that make you feel good physically: exercising, yoga, meditation, lifting weights, getting a facial, a massage, getting your eyelashes done, etc.
- Put away the phone. Listen to beautiful music in the morning to start your day. Just before bed, instead of engaging in the mindless social media scroll through, listen to meditation apps, music, do yoga, take a hot bath with spa music and candlelight, etc.
- Write down lists in pencil on your paper calendar for the next day. If it’s in pencil, you can always erase and rearrange things. Lists of things to do, ideas, things you want to do, anything that comes to mind. A creative mind is always brimming with ideas!
- Eat as fresh as possible. My diet is plant-based, but I don’t criticize myself if I have a little dairy every once in awhile (eggs & cheese are two long lost loves of mine), or when I had the fish entrée on MasterChef as a food critic. Seriously. Just because I choose to enjoy a vegan plant-based lifestyle that is in harmony with my soul beliefs and physical body, doesn’t mean it’s an exacting ideal to torture myself with. It’s better for me to choose more plants, but it’s also better for me to balance myself and be open.
- Remember that wellness is being in the state of love. It is being connected, gentle, kind and loving to yourself and others. It’s not about being perfect or being a martyr. It is not about speaking negative words, to yourself or others. Speak positively to yourself. You deserve it.