In law school I would find myself spending an obnoxious amount of time, right around finals, cleaning my apartment. At the time I thought it was a classic avoidance technique…I will clean so I don’t need to focus on what really matters, my studies.
Today I think what was really going on was much different. You see, in law school, I would spend an entire semester cramming my head full of terminology, case law, statutes, common law and the like into my brain. My brain would be full by the end of the semester. No more penguins could fit on that iceberg come May.
In fact, towards the end of the semester I was known for forgetting the name to common household items (it was a spoon) AND for putting stamps on the wrong side of the envelope. Too many penguins on the iceberg resulted in good penguins jumping ship!
Anyway, what I really think was going on during these cleaning frenzies was that my mind needed a fresh perspective and by cleaning and reorganizing my living space, it was allowed to take a breather and have a fresh perspective, so that my brain could organize and focus.
That is what the year of self love challenge is focusing on this week. Take some time to rearrange your living space. It could be your bedroom, office or even the bathroom. Buy a new bedspread. Get out a different set of dishes.
What ever it is rearrange the living spaces in your life differently to allow that fresh perspective to sneak in. Your brain (and those penguins) will thank you for it.
I’m a firm believer that problems get solved with some fresh perspective. This is true when you are working too hard (just take a walk or run your ideas by someone else) or when you are in a rut (try something new and see how inspired you get).
That’s why I love this week’s challenge so much! In a year devoted to loving yourself as best you can, what better way is there to get a fresh perspective about yourself? Try a new hairstyle or makeup look.
For me that meant cutting a couple inches off the bottom to get ready for summer. My head feels so much lighter now that that dead weight is off. I’m ready to see where the next 6 months of the year takes me for sure.
This doesn’t have to be extreme. Maybe part your hair a different way or try a new style.
Go to a beauty counter and have them give you a new lip or eye option.
The possibilities are as minimal or as extreme as you want them.
Oh, and I also resurrected an old hairstyle this week as well. You have to put on a scrunchie with a high ponytail when you go to see New Kids on the Block!
Getting up in the morning and moving a bit has been one of the best things I have done for myself in a long time. It gets my body moving, helps to stretch me out and gets the blood flowing to my brain.
My movement is simple: 30 jumping jacks, 30 second plank and either burpees or kettle-bell swings. It takes me 5-10 minutes, but the effects on my mood are astounding. I am awake, rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.
This week, pick out your favorite exercise outfit and get moving in the morning. It doesn’t have to be long…but it totally can be if you want.
My favorite exercise outfit is my leotard and tights from ballet class! While I don’t wear that during my morning exercise routine, those 2 classes I spend at the barre are the favorite 90 minute blocks I have to myself all week. One day I will be wearing one of those tutus on the bar you see above. For now, I will settle for my black leo’ and my steady improvement in the realm of ballet.
Happy movement this week!
Self-care and self-love are often confused with indulgence and it really shouldn’t. To me self love is taking the time to check in with yourself and to engage in those activities to keep your tank full. My filling your own tank you are able to take care of your responsibilities as well as the needs of those around you.
I’m learning this. It’s a hard concept to grasp. But 18 weeks into this Year of Self-Love Challenge and I’m learning.
Sometimes…self care means a small indulgence.
That’s why this week we are taking the time to indulge just a little. Get a manicure or a pedicure, or both. Indulge a little. Take a time out. Pictured above is our pedicure indulgence. It was Maizy’s first pedicure.
Best part was watching the workers at US NAILS fighting (discreetly) about who had to deal with Jason’s feet! In the end though, we all came out a little bit more relaxed and with soft well manicured toes.
Enjoy the week and a little indulgence.
This week for the Year of Self Love challenge the act is simple. Write down 5 of your greatest accomplishments. Simple in theory, but painstaking in practice. Since announcing it on Tuesday in the Hopelessly Devoted Group, I’ve already had 2 discussions with friend’s who have expressed to me how hard it has been to come up with this list.
Let me give it to you straight, these friend’s are super successful, professional women…who struggle, just like me, with writing down the things they have done they are proud of.
Why is that? Why is it so hard to acknowledge ourselves for a job well done?
Acknowledging what we are proud of doing throughout the day is important to our mental health. When we acknowledge it by putting it in writing we are in a sense, rewarding ourselves, and that feels good. It boosts our mood and gives our brain a healthy dose of dopamine.
Doing it daily results in a measurable history of our progress, which reminds of us of how well we are really doing. Don’t believe me though, Harvard Business School completed a 15 year longitudinal study which revealed that those who wrote down their daily accomplishments experienced all of the above. Calling it “The Progress Principal” it is an excellent motivator for me to start with my greatest 5 and then work into a daily habit of focusing on my progress.
So back to why some, including myself, are hesitant to engage in this good mood inducing activity. For me, I think it comes from a hesitancy to brag about what I have personally accomplished; it’s so much easier to defer to the accomplishments of others. However, I think it’s time to stop that silly behavior. There is a start distinction between taking a moment and privately recognizing a job well done and forecasting it out to the world.
So take a moment and write down your 5. If you feel brave, share it with me. I’d love to celebrate your accomplishments with you.
I remember distinctly the moment I realized that traveling solo is really a gift. My work had taken me to Anaheim for the week and I had flown down the day prior to get myself situated and well, go to Disneyland obviously; Anaheim is the City that was built by a mouse! My colleagues, to put it mildly, wanted nothing to do with it. I, on the other hand, had an annual pass and Disney well, Disney is my thing. So I decided to get out of my comfort zone and go solo.
I had read on several of the travel blogs that solo Disney is actually not that uncommon of an occurrence. I scoured the internet for tips and tricks, travel journals, anything that would make me feel like what I was about to do was normal. I brought a book (just in case it got awkward standing in line for an hour or so with no one to talk to), my phone, I had earbuds so I could listen to music. Basically I prepared to entertain myself in the event I couldn’t handle being alone.
The day came and I flew from Sacramento down to Orange County, I checked into the hotel and then off to the park I went. I had my purse of supplies and I remember calling my husband shortly after getting in the park because I was nervous about spending 12 hours by myself. We spent 10 minutes or so outlining my touring plan (if you don’t know that that is, send me a message, that’s a entirely different subject) and then, with a bit of trepidation, I set off on my own.
I didn’t need any of my packed-in distractions. Traveling solo allowed me to open my eyes and see what was around me.
Taking the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places in the world by myself let me experience it exactly as I wanted to. More importantly, it allowed me to slow down and just be an observer. My typical role in life is that of a planner. I joke (but it’s not actually a joke) about carrying a clipboard. I will tell people I have a clipboard that outlines my clipboard projects! Disney is no different. When we go, either as a family, or with friends, I tend to plan the day, know the course, and guide the group.
Late in the day on this first solo trip I remember standing in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. There was a Dad and his three boys in front of me. They were rambunctious and rowdy…typical end of day Disney behavior right? One of the boys was particularly worried about me; he must have been about seven. As we boarded the ride, he and his family got in the front row and I climbed in, by myself, in the row immediately behind. When he realized no one else was boarding with me, he turned around, and with wide-eyes asked me, “Are you alone?”
I smiled and said, “Of course. Hanging out with myself is one of my favorite things to do.”
Since then I haven’t shied at the opportunity to travel solo. Usually, these opportunities are tied to a work event or a conference I am attending. Not only do I get to slow down and really take in what is around me, traveling solo also pulls me out of my comfort zone and tests my ability to be social. I’ve made new friends in Ashland, New Orleans, and sometimes, just sometimes, I even chat up people on the plane.
Lastly, by freeing myself of distraction while traveling solo, I have found that I have been able to clear my head. Usually these opportunities come at a time where I am really wrestling with something. I have a decision to make and taking some time to be alone let’s me focus, think, and listen to the inner voice in my head that often gets drowned out by life. Without a doubt, taking an opportunity to be by myself for a little amount of time has always helped me make a decision.
So here comes the challenge, this week, start planning a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be big. Take a day trip to the city. Spend a night at a hotel and have a spa day. Find a weekend conference and book it. The possibilities are limitless but I promise you, so are the rewards.
Let me be honest, when I saw this week on my list at the beginning of the year I dreaded it. I struggle with saying, “No.” And when I say struggle, I mean S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. I think it has to do with my upbringing. Now, don’t get me wrong, my upbringing was fine. No major trauma. I don’t feel like I have one of those stories where I’m working though the trauma of my past.
However, I was brought up to be a pleaser.
There was really no way around it. I’m the oldest of 4 children AND the only girl. My childhood memories all revolve around caring for my brothers, helping with the family business, and striving for perfection in my academics, my athletics, my music, and my activities. Add to that a conservative christian upbringing where it was frowned upon for women to rock the boat and say “no” to obligations charged to them by their husbands, family, or God and you have a recipe for a disaster on your hands.
Even today, knowing that “no” is a difficult concept for me, I still struggle with it, but in a different way. Typically those opportunities to say “no” aren’t in relation to unhealthy choices (for the most part); my life is a carousel inundated with fun and engaging choices. As an adult, Jason and I often have extended family in crises who need us, to the detriment of the attention of my little family nucleus. I have a demanding day job where it is often seen as a weakness to say “no” to additional or extra working opportunities provided by management. However, that takes me away from my family, as well as those activities that bring me joy. My part-time business can literally be worked anywhere at anytime and for that reason I am always feeling guilty when I’m not working, or, in the alternative pushing to keep myself active to the detriment of myself. We have an active friend group and with so much fun going on all the time, it feels impossible to say “no” to any of the activities and plans being made.
You see what I mean. These aren’t bad things.
It’s just that sometimes, the myriad of choices don’t support who it is I want to be as a person.
Over the weekend, I listened to a Podcast from Super Soul Sunday (thank you mother Oprah) that hit on this topic so resoundingly that I have listened to it three times now. “Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter”was one of those Aaah Haa moments that I haven’t had in a long time. Here is the basic premise for me:
Developing the ability to say “no” is the only way you are going to discover what you are meant to be.
How you ask?
Because when you stand firm in you “no,” you open space up to live in your “yes.”
Think about that for a minute. By saying “no” to the things that don’t honor, that don’t support, and don’t sustain who you were meant to be you can’t make room for those things that are really important to you. I am SO guilty of this. I feel frustration all the time because I don’t have time for those things that I find most important. In reality, it’s my own damn fault.
Yeah, I said it, It’s my own damn fault.
By worrying about others, by being a pleaser, I have over-committed myself in detrimental ways. I haven’t made space to live in my yes.
So this week, let’s flex that “no” muscle a little bit. We can all make space to live in our “yes’s” and really, that is what is most important.
Make sure to check out Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter. Available on iTunes. Here is a video link to her full “You Matter” sermon. (Oh and if you don’t think it’s a sermon, watch the whole thing….It will have you saying “AMEN” by the end)
Fair Warning: I am an Amazon Affiliate. But here is a link to one of my favorite books right now. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.
Her chapter on about the word “NO” is about as life-changing as can be…if you are open to it. 🙂