And what a week it’s been! So much sharing of our womanly wisdom, so much inspiration from our gifted contributors – and from all of you readers in the comments!
Reading all of YOUR thoughts and ideas on self-care has been the best part of my day!
And now it’s time for another confession: Putting together this web site, and coordinating everything to run smoothly for this first week, has left me with far too little time for my own self-nurturing. Today I’m feeling a bit exhausted and sorely in need of replenishment!
Once upon a time this kind of realization would fill me with self-loathing and doubt, and I’d be kicking myself for being a hypocrite.
Uh, yeah. That was really doing myself a favor! All it did was subtract even more from the personal self-care roster for the week!
But how can I possibly write about my own self-care routine from a place of exhaustion?
Well, I’ve come to some important new realizations in recent months (and some just in the past week – from listening to what’s being said here on this blog!)
Some are about this whole notion of self-care, and others are about how I can be fully present for myself and for the world in this second half of life.
Today’s not the day to tell you all about them – I want to spotlight the thoughtful stories and tips so graciously shared by today’s group of midlife movers and shakers.
However – I do feel compelled to talk about one realization that I think rests at the core of all true self-care.
The most important way to care for myself is simply changing the words and tone of voice I use when talking to myself (which I often do out loud, but I try to avoid that in public.)
When I catch that Bitchy Inner Critic berating me as an “idiot”, a “loser,” a “bozo,” or a number of other cruel names, I now intervene by speaking to myself in a kind and loving way. I counteract the attack by talking as kindly as I would to my daughter or someone I care about deeply.
It never ceases to amaze me how differently we speak to our own selves than to others. Even the people we don’t particularly like get better treatment that we give ourselves.
I don’t always catch the B.I.C. and head her off at the pass (she’s pretty sneaky) – but I’m making headway all the time.
So – in the spirit of loving kindness to my own self, I refuse to call myself a hypocrite or a loser for falling down a little on the self-nurturing during the very week that I’m sharing so much information about self-care.
I’ve finally accepted that a creative pattern for me is to blast full bore ahead when I get pumped on a project. Although (unlike some other bloggers I admire) I am a proponent of balance in life, there are times when I set that aside and just ride the wave of creative energy.
Then, after cresting that wave, that’s when the balance comes. Taking some time for deep rest, relaxation and replenishment. That’s what’s up for me this weekend – along with some fun times and catching up with out-of-town visitors.
A Sweet Herbal Give Away!
I rely heavily on my herbal allies in my own personal self-care regimen (and really I do have one! Promise!). And not just remedies – my absolute favorite herbs are the ones that don’t remedy any particular ailment at all, they revitalize and enhance the energy I already have.
In that spirit, I’m so thrilled today to announce an awesome herbal give-away – courtesy of my herbal teacher and mentor, Jane Bothwell.
Today’s prize is a set of plant extracts, formulated and crafted by Jane using all organic and wildcrafted herbs.
The first is a Jane’s Vitality Tonic. This balancing mix of Siberian ginseng root, nettle, oats, lemon balm and fennel seed in a base of organic grape alcohol, glycerine, organic apple cider vinegar and Mt. Shasta spring water will enhance, well, your vitality!
The second is an absolutely heavenly Rose Glycerite, also made with Mt. Shasta spring water (and vegetable glycerine)….to comfort and soothe the heart and soul. When I first tasted Jane’s rose glycerite I thought I had immersed myself in a bed of roses! Better than desert, this stuff is truly sublime!
We’ll ship these two extracts, at no charge, to one lucky person whose name we’ll chose at random from comments and tweets.
So, please, read on! After you’ve had a chance to absorb today’s offerings of self-care wisdom from 10 more juicy, visionary women, take a look at how you can win the Vitality Tonic and Rose Glycerite.
Once again we’ve got some wonderful stuff here – from poetry to practicality!
Sandi Amorim, Instigator & Coach
Self-care has been both a challenge and a journey for as long as I can remember, or perhaps I could more accurately describe it as a roller coaster! The highs of a new promise to oneself inevitably followed by the lows of realizing the habit is not sustainable. I go through it along with most of my clients, and I wonder, does it always have to be this way? I don’t believe so, but it will continue to go this way if we make promises based on external forces or circumstances rather than what’s important and meaningful to us.
So where do we begin?
I look to my values, considering how they show up in my self-care, specifically in the areas of mind, body and spirit. For I think of it as a system with all three parts needing attention to make up my emotional well-being. When I recently recommitted to my self-care I was reminded of popular wisdom that recommends changing one habit at a time. But being a rebel at heart I wondered how it would go if I took on one in each area.
I started with mind and decided I would recommit to my meditation practice. I then moved onto body, and took on a 40 day detox, along with green juicing. Last but definitely not least, I explored my spirit to find out what it needed, and it spoke to me of solitude. And so, a new promise emerged along with a new excitement to experience a breakthrough in self-care.
I took these changes on like my life depended on it – not to be dramatic, but because it actually does. The life we say we want absolutely depends on committing to ourselves for the right reasons and then following through. Why? Because how you know you’re committed is when you’re in action, and when your values inform your self-care action is inevitable.
As I near the end of my 40 day promise, my results speak of a breakthrough. I’ve meditated every day, transformed how I shop, cook and eat and have enjoyed a new level of satisfaction in all areas – mind, body and spirit. My values of fun, adventure and integrity were present with me each time it felt hard to keep my word. And each time they got me through.
Like the roller coaster, there will be always be ups and downs but this time even the downs were a positive experience. Each turn of the coaster reminded me of what’s important in my life and why, and each turn brought me closer to my passion for living fully.
Victoria Brouhard, Project Coach
I learned growing up that self-care was a luxury for after all of my work was done. And by the way, there’s always more work to do (how’s that for a dirty trick?).
Just in the past few years I realized I didn’t even know what was nourishing for me anymore, and I’m still trying to learn. The practice that has helped me the most is to keep asking myself, “What do I need right now?” And then doing my best to really listen. It’s taken a while, but the answers keep getting clearer. (Usually they start with, “Get away from the computer!”)
Julie Jordan Scott, Writer, Actor, Poet, Mom
I used to think being a life and creativity coach meant I had to have the whole self care regime perfected. In fact, there was a long time when I did have my routine perfected. Walk daily, gratitude lists daily, writing morning pages daily, but after a while, I found myself exhausted by it all.
Slowly those bits and pieces and comforts fell away. If I had been more aware, this would have been a red flag. Instead, it was a shrug of the shoulders and a path to learning about self care even more deeply.
The most significant aspect of self care is self forgiveness. Being present to exactly what is ranks up there, too. This way you may leave space open for the most important questions to live: “What is up with me right now?” and “Where does this feeling live inside my body?” and “What am I making this (or that or the other) mean?” and “How does doing what I doing right now reflect what I (say I, sometimes more than are actually doing) am up to in life?” and “Is this Passion or is this another Platitude?”and finally, “Is this self love or self indulgence?”
When I forgave myself my indulgences, my lack of presence, my occasional and sometimes very often misalignment of my actions with my vision, all of a sudden I had all the energy I needed to step up into a more balanced, whole and loving life. Self forgiveness is the fuel and the foundation for self care.
Cathy Wilke, Business Alchemist and Holistic Business Coach At Freedom and Fullfillment
I used to be the Queen of self-care but after starting my business two years ago, my self-care routine went down the tubes.
Over the last couple of months I’ve returned to they gym and yoga but the thing I relish, the thing that really feels indulgent is the modern dance class I take once a week. Getting there and back takes up half my Tuesday but it sends a message to my psyche that I am worth it. I’m not there to burn calories or to build strength–I’m there for the pure joy I get from moving to the music and connecting to my soul. And what better reason is there to do anything…
Sherold Barr, Business and Life Coach for Women Entrepreneurs
I know that I connect deeply with my soul when I am in nature. My mind clears of the monkey mind chatter, and I breathe fully when walking or hiking in the forest.
My husband and I own a cabin on national forest service land here in Oregon. My absolute favorite activity is hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail that is nearby. When I hike, I feel connected to everything – especially nature. In July, we will spend 10 days there and this is where I write.
Last winter we spent one month in Loreto, a small Mexican town in Baja. I wrote two chapters of my digital manifesto there. When I am in nature and connect to my soul and spend time writing, it’s as if I am being written. The words just flow out of me. When I look back at those particular chapters, I think – wow did I write that?
This practice of being in nature is a critical part of my self-care routine. When I am not in nature, I have a regular yoga practice that keeps me connected and aligned with my higher Self.
Jenny B. Bones, Owner and Resident Goddess at Up Your Impact Factor
Getting enough sleep. Walking in the woods. Practicing conscious dreaming.
And lately, removing sugar and gluten from my diet. The latter is something I thought I’d never do. But I agreed to try it for 30 days and don’t think I’ll ever look back. My energy is more vibrant than it’s ever been, I feel healthier and more emotionally stable than ever, and my creativity flows like a babbling brook (I even babble a lot, too!).
Now…off to take that walk…”
Farnoosh Brock, Author, Business & Career Coach at Prolific Living
My favorite self-care routine is a re-affirmation that I do several times throughout the day that reminds me that I believe in myself, and that I create my reality. This is usually just a simple mental process but I have reminders everywhere.
I have a big board that has a message on it, “be ridiculously positive”, and this has helped me tremendously because falling into that negative thinking trap is the start of everything going downhill, so I’ve found that we are all humans and we simply are drawn to the negative because it’s the easy path and it absolves us of responsibility. But I’ve also found that if you nip the negative in the bud right at the beginning, it’s so easy to have the right attitude and to be extremely productive and successful just with the right mindset.
So I go through a routine that says, “that’s not true” – whatever the negative thought may be – and I turn it around and if I have the luxury of time, I meditate and I use a mantra that says over and over, “acknowledge and release (the negative)” and I do it until the positive sets in and I am in harmony with myself and the world around me.
This may not be my most “favorite” self-care routine but it is the most important work that I do and one that I believe has the largest impact on us. Everything else is secondary: eating well, taking care of your body, etc. The first thing to get in order is the state of your mind, so pay attention and learn to be actively and consciously positive. You will astound yourself with the results.
Andrea Olson, Coach, Personal Dream Manager
My favorite self-care practice is to slip away for an hour and walk quietly along the beach. The act of walking, the steady movement of the waves, the smell of the forest’s blackberry undertones, the sea’s salty freshness, and the sight of varying shades of blue and green, all act to restore my sense of balance, peace, and joy. Being a single mom, I sometimes find it hard to do all the day-to-day stuff and maintain consistent enthusiasm for my dreams and ideas (let alone think of new ones!). As simple as that walk on the beach is, it recharges my creative energy and reconnects me to my possibilities.
Melissa Dinwiddie, Artist, Inspirationalist & Creativity Instigator
Over the past couple of years I’ve developed a morning ritual, which I love, and which has become ingrained enough now that I feel slightly “off” for the rest of the day when it doesn’t happen.
I realized years ago that the thing I do first is the thing that gets done (and sometimes the only thing on my list that does!) I’ve also come to realize that morning is a super-creative time for me. And since doing my (many and varied) creative things is top of my priority list, I’ve learned that for optimal happiness, it’s best if they happen in the morning.
So here’s how my ideal morning looks:
I wake up, seat myself on a cushion, cross-legged on the floor, and meditate for 20 minutes or so. Then I crawl back into bed, prop myself up with pillows at my back and write in my journal until I feel “done.” Usually this starts off as a “brain dump,” typical morning pages ala Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, but often it evolves into an essay or blog post draft, or a business strategizing session. Much of what I create as a writer and business person starts out in those morning journaling-in-bed sessions.
Depending on which creative thing is on the front burner, I may pass some more time playing my ukulele, painting, or doing more writing. The rest of my day may go in any number of directions, but that morning routine is, for me, the ultimate of self-care.
I should note that the meditation chunk is a very new addition — after years of resistance and thinking I just “wasn’t a meditator,” I recently joined Susan Piver‘s Open Heart Project mailing list, and set the intention of meditating for just 10 minutes a day, every day in the month of April. Much to my surprise, I found myself becoming kind of addicted to it! Now 10 minutes doesn’t feel like enough anymore, and allowing myself that time to meditate in the morning is such a gift to myself, and one that I’m finally ready to receive.
There are many studies that show that meditation increases willpower, and, as Jonathan Fields writes in Uncertainty, “allows you the equanimity to lean into uncertainty, risk, and judgment with greater ease.” As a creative, I need to be able to lean into uncertainty, risk, and judgment, and I find my morning meditation a powerful, and very self-compassionate, tool to help me do that, especially when combined with the journal writing.
Jane Bothwell, Herbalist, Teacher at Dandelion Herbal Center
I would say that my favorite self care routine that connects me back to my passion and keeps me aligned with my dreams is spending time in nature.
I met a new friend recently and she asked me, “What are your addictions, what can you not do without”? I had to think a moment and then said,” Being outside!” For being outside connects me to the wilderness, the wild within me and surrounding me. Life makes so much more sense to me when I am surrounded by the green!
A natural progression to this addiction is bringing plants into my life in the form of wild foods, teas, tinctures, flower essences, house plants, garden plants, etc. The most beautiful and nurturing gardens to me are the wild ones, for none can be created quite so magnificently, all in perfect order! So whenever you get a chance go lie in the grass, breathe in a sustaining breath, listen to the birds and connect!
Ahhhh, don’t you just want to run outside right now?
This wraps up the Holistic Hot Sauce self-care extravaganza. A week’s worth of introspection and tips from 49 kick-ass, passionate women!
But let’s not stop here. Comments are open always. Share your thoughts now!
Have you come to any new realizations about what self-care means? Or, tell us which of the ideas in today’s post speaks to you loudest!
If you’re hot on winning today’s herbal give-away, go ahead and comment twice! Tell us why you’d like to win the rose glycerite and vitality tonic!
Each comment and Tweet gets you another entry into the cauldron. I’ll be picking the winner tomorrow and we’ll ship the gift next week!
Oh – and I just installed a new commenting system. The good side is it’s supposed to make it easier for the community to interact with each other through comments. The down side is you have to log in – which you can do through FB, Twitter, or your Google account. If this is just too much of a hassle, just send me you comment in an email and I’ll make sure your name is in the pot!
If you’re tweeting, be sure to mention @saraholeary to get your name counted for the giveaway. Sample Tweet: “I just entered to win a Vitality Tonic and Rose Glyerite from @saraholeary at Holistic Hot Sauce, http://wp.me/p2tELZ-xx”
Can’t wait to hear all of YOUR ideas on how you nurture yourself (or, what you think about what you’re reading here.)
If you missed the first 3 posts in this series – you can find them through the links below:
Today’s Featured image by Big Golf