Wellness Wednesday: Self Care (my list)

I’ve been a slacker lately.  I’ve been neglecting the most important person in my life.  I haven’t been speaking nicely to her, I haven’t been letting her have fun.  I’ve been stressing her out, making her feel less than, and putting everyone and everything before her.  In some ways, I’ve ripped some bandaids off of her that needed to come off, but also took away some vices that are no longer serving her.  She’s felt a little lost, confused, lonely, transitional.  She’s been so consumed filling her days with endless chores, work, tending to children, dogs, a sick husband.  I let her slip through the cracks of the day where I used to let her shine.  Instead of allowing joy and passion, I restricted her fun times and made sure she was constantly worrying and working.  Instead of breathing in positivity and love, and exhaling negative emotions and draining feelings, I made her spill her cup until it was no longer full…and she just kept pouring even though there seemed liked there was nothing left.  I didn’t even put her on the back burner, I took her completely off.  I stripped away parts of her that were not really what she wanted, and instead of filling her soul with what she craves, I pushed her harder into motherly duties, housework, and fatigue.  But do you know what friends? Our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls are all connected.  They know when something is off, when we are not living out our true abilities.  And I began to listen.  I started hearing the still small voice saying go to acupuncture, eat the right foods, move your body, write freely, spend time doing the things that you love.  It took awhile for it all to start to come together, and after a tearful breakdown before my kids’ birthday party, I realized something really had to change.

Mamas.  The weight of the world that we bear on our shoulders can be immense.  No matter if you’re working from home, working away from home, or simply working hard at being a mom, there are so many reasons we burn out.  Our bodies will tell us when something is off and mine has been trying to tell me for some time…but how often do we just push away our desires, feelings, thoughts, frustrations, needs, wants etc because we just simply don’t have the energy or the time?  Well that is not okay.  We need to pull out our calendars, our iPhones, our day planners and schedule it in.  Not just “me time” but sincerely put it into a time slot and prioritize yourself.  Then do it again.  Then again.  Then again.  Watch your health increase.  Your mood get happier.  Your life seem to get easier.

Don’t just say, “Oh when the kids go to bed I’ll take care of me,” because if you don’t have a plan, like me, I get to the end of my day and I just feel like a zombie.  I’ll pull up some distraction of sort, and scroll until my eyes cross.  Then I’ll just go to bed.  Wake up and repeat.

Not sure what to do? Stop right now and take out your phone or better yet a piece of paper or journal and write down at least 10-20 activities that you enjoy doing.  They can be free or they can be experiences that cost you money. I shared a list previously here on this post last year, as this was part of the process when I worked with Lindsay Preston my Life Coach.  Interestingly enough, I was just chatting with my friend and neighbor Katie earlier and she was saying how the Blogilates girl was sharing how her weight went down more when she was doing things for herself like taking dance lessons, getting massages etc.  We hear it all of the time, do more self-care–but self-care is NOT selfish and honestly should be one of the first things we schedule into our day.  Rachel Hollis even said she’s writing a book right now all about making your health a priority and to move your body every day for 30 minutes.

My current “do you time” aka self-care list:

  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Journaling
  • Working out
  • Morning Routine
  • Actually playing with my kids (puzzles, outside, with their toys, video games, reading books, board games…)
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Mani/Pedi
  • Massages
  • Facial
  • Tea time
  • Girl Time
  • Date Nights
  • Trips & Travel
  • Sipping a Starbucks drink in a Starbucks.
  • Cooking/baking
  • Detox Bath
  • Walk outside
  • Dates with Brooke
  • Dates with Bradley
  • The beach (Summer)

The point is we become so consumed with daily needs of the world and neglect ourselves.  And in my humble opinion, when I start taking everything so seriously and don’t allow myself to have fun, life feels so hard and isolating.  Now some of these can be bigger things like vacation or fancy spa days, and those are great incentives to work towards! Others are free and simple–they just require the time for us to do them.

You are the most important person in your life! Without your health, no one else can be taken care of.  I know there’s a ton of haters out there who think ‘self care’ or ‘self love’ is a joke, but don’t concern yourself with them.  I send them love from afar, and hope that one day they’ll value themselves as much as they should.  Once again, I always believe that those that don’t believe in self-improvement are those who probably need it the most.

I’ve been fairly consistent with my morning routine, and I do count that as self care as I enjoy journaling, writing in my planner, reading a motivational book and I’ve been trying to make more time for blogging.   I know waking up early is not easy, but once you start waking up 10 minutes, try 30, 45, then 60 minutes earlier than normal.  It will become a habit and honestly my day always flows so much better when I take “ME TIME” in my morning.

I love rolling on this “Peace” essential oil, sipping some green tea and writing in my journal.  Sometimes I write about what’s on my heart, what’s frustrating me, what I dream about, where I see myself one day…

I just write.

The point is, no matter how old you are, or where you are in life, you can always change and evolve.  The beauty of life is that you get to do what you want with it.  Silly, I know, but I tend to forget that.  It’s not my mom’s life, my husband’s life, my kids’ lives, it’s MINE.  How do I want to look back on my days? What did I do to make myself happy and smile?  I never claim to be perfect, I fail every day at something…but that’s the secret. Stop trying to be perfect and just be you.  Embrace it all. Do what you can with what you have and try to figure out what it is that you want.  Start small, but just start somewhere.

What’s one way you will take time to fill your soul this week?

“That Mom”

I’m not always ‘that mom.’ The one who brings in treat bags, cookies, cakes, games, or other thoughtful pieces of holiday goodness for little ones.  I’m not always smiling or feeling like I have my act together, because to be honest I don’t.  Most days I’m just doing my best, trying to remember all of the balls that are juggling in the air.

However, there are some days when I find the time, the little extra window in my day where I can appreciate the smallness of my children and drop into a Dollar Tree and put together silly little bags for dance class.

There’s a few reasons I felt called to write this post, and most importantly that it’s OKAY to be that mom who forgets or didn’t have time to do something extra.  It’s also OKAY to be the mom who does.

This morning as I worked out, I figured afterwards I would take Bradley over to the Dollar Tree and pick up some glow sticks for our pumpkins to light up.  I then remembered last year’s dance class “Halloween Party” and how it sent me spiraling into an emotional meltdown.  I feel that it’s important to share these things, because to some people, it may look like I have it all figured out.  I simply stay home, raise kids, cook a lot of food, run a real estate business, take care of two dogs and do most housework because my husband works crazy hours.  But the point is, I do it mostly alone, with little help here and there.  The pressure I put on myself (yup, it’s me and my mind!) can sometimes bring me to a breaking point, thus resulting in last year’s escapade.

I remember sending some friends a Marco Polo after getting home from dance class.  I just rewatched it, and man I want to hug that girl! My eyes were swollen from hysterically crying and I remember just feeling alone, like a failure and like I should just go on meds because I felt just absolutely crazy.  (Disclaimer, I do believe medicine has a purpose, I just don’t think it’s best for me, at this time.)

Why was I so upset?  Because I knew that Brooke (who was in her 4th year of dance) would be having a little Halloween party.  I knew the other moms/girls would have treats or trinkets for the girls to give out.  I also just didn’t go to the store and get some…

Prior to dance class I had been going around and around with a frustrating tenant who fell behind on the rent, and was arguing with me that he had paid x amount when my records showed differently.  I was extremely frustrated and since this was really the first tenant we had any issues with, it truly caught me off guard.  I let my emotions get in the way, some insecurities and such, and it just threw me.

But when I went to pick up Brooke at dance, I felt like she was the only one who didn’t have something to pass out to her little friends.  It killed me.  Now, I knew even then, that no one really cared about the candy (hello, they’d all be getting SO much more in another day trick-or-treating) but the fact was, that I enjoyed doing the little things for her and her dance friends.  I love holidays, even Halloween, mostly because of the magical element of innocence, simplicity and wonder it brings out in the kids.  I sat there, with tears welling in my eyes as I saw the girls exchange and Brookie looked at me like, where’s my bags to give out?  Of course her 5 year old self didn’t say anything, but it hurt and clearly still haunts me to today.  Why?  Because I was not being my authentic self that day.  It was a number of things that lead to that feeling, but I truly felt like a shell of myself this time last year.

It’s about the effort.  It’s about doing something, even if it’s little, if you can and want to.  It’s about not letting negative people who aren’t paying their rent, bring you down.  It’s about rising up even after you may have failed, and getting a second chance to do something right this time.  It’s about asking for help, whether it means paying a sitter a lot of money to have time away, or hiring a cleaning service to help you get your house back in order.  It’s about being the mom you want to be, not what anyone else may expect or want from you.  It’s about loving yourself in the moment, even if you don’t want to.

That girl a year ago had a lot of growing up to do.  It wasn’t just about not having a silly bag of Dollar Tree goodies (that may or may not end up in a dog’s mouth or the garbage) but it is more about SELF LOVE.  SELF COMPASSION.  SELF WORTH.  SELF IMPROVEMENT.  This past year I have worked on ME so much and it has made me a better, happier, stronger, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, human.  Anyone who tells you differently, makes fun of you for working on YOU, has more work to do on themselves.  Let me say that again, any person who tries to say anything negative about loving herself, has a lot of growing to do and it’s not up to you to fix her.  We can only change ourselves, that is all.  Other can learn by us leading by example.

I had some major changes that had to take place that were not easy. Shortly after this episode, I had to walk away from a friendship that was no longer serving me.  I had to put myself first and join the gym again.  I had to surround myself with loving, encouraging friends that lifted my spirits. . . I needed to find out what made JENN happy. (This blog from last year explains a bit more.)

Life is not always easy, nor do I expect it so.  I think one of the most beautiful aspects of life is that we can look back and truly grow from our experiences.  I write all of these words not to brag about my goodie bag, but to share that you are right where you need to be right now, friend.  Whether you’re a mom or not, whether you are struggling, or feeling high on life, everything is going to be okay.  It’s not all perfect, it’s not all going to fall into place, but each day we have the chance to be a little better than we were yesterday.

So stop beating yourself up about what you did or didn’t get to do, and maybe just go out and do it now.  Make the cookies.  Join the gym.  Read the book.  Cancel the cable.  Take the class.  Join the side hustle.  Whatever is speaking to your soul, listen.  The more wound up I find myself getting, the more I need to simplify and quiet my world around me so that I can hear what I am being called to do.

I hope that you can begin to listen too.

 

Becoming Unstoppable: Getting Ready for Action

Phew!! Can I get a woop woop??

I’m feeling high on life my friends.  I am literally 1/3 of the way through my current Life Coaching program with Lindsay Preston.  I am getting quite a few comments or questions from friends who are intrigued, but don’t know if Life Coaching is for them.  It is.  If you think you have more to get or give out of life, then you do.  If you’re feeling stuck in your current business or life, then it’s time.  It’s time to stop drinking away the feelings, shopping away the fears, hanging out with the wrong people, becoming a zombie in front of your TV, or Ipad, or whatever.  Stop the madness people!! Sure it’s a “quick fix” but as Taylor Swift says, (and Lindsay uses the term bullet holes for a reason!) “bandaids don’t fix bullet holes.

In my last blog post, I opened up and shared some of my icky memories from my life.  I didn’t share what the feelings (bullet holes) caused, but we are going to work on fixing them.   The behaviors I have accepted in my past and allowed to continue into my present (and would most likely have allowed in my future) will be no more!! Unfortunately Lindsay doesn’t have a magic wand, but she sure seems like a fairy godmother to me!!  Week 4 was a tough one for me.  I had to face myself and take a quick assessment to see how many things I still tolerate in my life.  Out of a list of 20, you guys–I put up with 10.  TEN!! (one example is “it is easy for me to say no to people.) I consider myself a strong and independent woman, and this just broke me.  I started recognizing patterns in my life that I’m not happy with…and guess what? I have the power to change.  Yup.  It’s not going to be easy, but oh I can feel it’s going to be worth its weight in gold!

Another thing we had to look at was how we are meeting our needs.  Based on what needs we feel that we need to fulfill, we have created some goals and habits on how to reach them.  Not going to lie, this is the part that is firing me up.  I am not sharing my 21 day habits yet, but once I am in my routine, I will for sure share them and let you know how they’re going.  I have 3 that I will be doing daily for 21 days and I’ve been playing around with them and it’s feeling amazing already.

I have got to say the best and biggest advice/tool that I have learned has still got to be journaling.  Lindsay was pretty strict on this saying that we really need to write for 30 minutes a day, and I will be honest…I kind of doubted that it would really be that helpful. (oops) and what I have found out, is that by writing (not blogging, but in a personal space) I am giving my IMG a voice.  She can cry, rant, scream, swear, and be as negative and mad as she wants…and you know what happens then?  My authentic self started shining through–just like the sun shining after a terrible storm.  I swear there were rainbows.

I feel like I can breathe.

I see my future, I feel my present and I am so damn loving to myself right now, you guys, I went and bought a new bikini at Target today.  I loved on myself and all of my flaws. My soft belly, my stretchmarks, my less than perky post-breastfeeding boobs.  I embraced what I saw, and high-fived my damn self. I’m not perfect, but this is HUGE for me.  I don’t talk about my physical body imperfections much and I do try to stay healthy, but I will say usually my IMG tears me to shreds.  So the cellulite on the back on my legs?  It’s there.  But I know my strong muscles help me crush each and every day that I am alive.

So although my inner work has been, well, work, there is something almost magical happening.  I wish for every woman to feel this.  The more we can love and accept all of ourselves, the less we would get mad at strangers on the internets, or having squabbles in real life.  I am becoming a better mom, wife, woman every day.  I feel it in my bones.  Success isn’t a straight onward and upward motion.  I know that there will be a few steps forward and one step back.  It’s when I’m stepping back, that I am getting calm, focusing on what needs to be changed, so that I can go even further.  Now, I’ve done this time and time again by myself, but having an actual coach to work with me through this, is making all of the difference.  *cue the song…Don’t believe me just watch.

If this is something you’re craving, just take a chance.  See how amazing you can feel; if you’re not feeling that amazing…I’ve been there sister, I know it’s not fun.  There is a way and you can find it.  Perhaps you’re reading this right now thinking, what if?  Just take the leap.  Take Lindsay’s FREE assessment and get on that phone with her.  Shen won’t change your life, but she will coach you to do it yourself. Don’t forget to use the code JENN20 if you want to save $20 on the Life Luvers course!! 

Getting Quiet

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t posted in a week.  If you know me well, Insta is my favorite slice of social media.  I started blogging back in 2011 and I believe it was that year that Instagram made its debut.  I loved my little blogging/insta community. It was real, raw, and pure.  Friends from all over could share their photos instantly with adorable captions.  I had so many amazing connections with women over fashion, food, family, husbands, you name it!!

Fast forward to 2018 and my feed was filled with overly airbrushed images, ads to buy something and picture perfect squares of everyone’s perfect lives.  I knew that when I would scroll, put the phone down and then only to pick it right back up and scroll again, it wasn’t making me feel good.  I kept brushing it off because I still do have some amazing, inspiring and uplifting people that I follow—but that wasn’t how I was left feeling after looking at Instagram.

Instead of feeling empowered, I felt insecure, jealous, envy and literally joy was being sucked out of me.  I’d wish that my house was more perfect, that my kids could strike amazing poses for photos and that I must not really be inspiring anyone because, well? To be honest, I was hung up on the numbers.  I don’t have 21k followers.  Hell, I don’t have 1,000.  And I was beating myself up.  I must not be helping enough people.

Regardless, I was going through a low point, feeling sorry for myself, oh woe-is-me, playing the victim, and if I’m being brutally honest? I was ready to go to a Dr and ask for a little magical pill that would maybe make me feel happier.

All because of Instagram? No.  Absolutely not.

But I can say that taking a little fast from Instagram, helped me quiet my mind, soul and allowed me to truly listen.  I have never been addicted to anything, but I believe that I had a problem with incessantly checking this silly app! So once I removed it off my phone, a lot of things happened.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I picked up a book:

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This book seemed to speak to me and allow me to reflect on what the hell was going on inside my mind.  I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I don’t think that I needed to or was meant to.  I got what I needed out of it.  People need other people in order to not only survive but also thrive.  Staying home I clearly don’t get as much social interaction as I used to when I was a teacher, but somehow I stopped going out pretty much all together.  I’d get the groceries.  Visit my husband at his work.  Do the school drop off/pick up.  Take the kids to the occasional park or library.  Dance class.   But when was the last time I did a mommy meet up?  Play date?  Had fun with the kids some place other than home?

I immediately decided to take the kids to the Museum of Play that very next day since Brooke had a day off.  We had so much fun.  While they played in the “Vet clinic” for no joke, 45 minutes, I decided to look up the local gyms in my area.  Interestingly enough, the gym I was interested in was having a $1 sign up fee and $20 a month membership.  What?!  You know what I did? I took immediate action.  Why? Because that is how you conquer fear.  Anxiety.  Stress.  You do something. Anything!! After we left the museum I went straight to the gym and signed up. I knew that the classes would be excellent for me, I’d be more social and around happy, energetic and healthy people.

Know what? It’s working.

I’m not saying that medicine is a bad thing; if you honestly need anti-despressants or anti-anxiety meds then definitely take them!  I was at my OBGYN’s office Wednesday of last week telling him about how I had been feeling.  It seemed to coincide with my monthly cycle.  The sadness, crying, overwhelm.  He suggested I figure out the root of my problem, come to a solution and execute!  If that didn’t work then he obviously suggested that I go and talk to someone and maybe explore medicinal options if need be.

I can’t explain why I was feeling the way I was.  I have a beautiful life and everything I have ever dreamed of.  I listen to positive podcasts.  I read leadership books. I was grateful, writing gratitude lists, trying to cling to anything that seemed to try and help pull me from that funk.  The guilt I felt about just not feeling happy or well, was becoming overwhelming and only when I took the bull by the horns and acted upon something did it all change.

While I have only been going to the gym for a week, my body, mind and spirit are in so much better of a place.  I feel as though I’ve cleared some cobwebs, decluttered the social media accounts I choose to follow and have really begun to listen to what matters most.

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I’ve also started to listen to a little meditation on you tube each morning. Maybe about 10 minutes or so, and I just allow myself some time to wake up and listen to good things.  I feel like it helps our crazy morning routines go by with more ease, less stress and certainly more smiles.

As women, we can sometimes take other people’s problems on as our own.  It’s our job as a mom to fix boo boos, wipe tears and lend an ear.  I tend to be overly empathetic and while I know watching the news isn’t great for me, I didn’t realize how much toxic energy I was absorbing through social media apps.

I’m a little apprehensive in sharing all of this publicly, but as Brené Brown keeps speaking into my ear, the power lies in vulnerability. (I’m currently listening to her newest book, Dare to Lead.)  So I suppose I am sharing all of this on my blog so that if you’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or just not happy, I am suggesting that you get quiet.  I went and got a pedicure and put my phone down.  I read some of a book.  I listened to that still small voice that I don’t make enough time for.  It’s never too late to start something different.  To make one small change.  One step leads to so many more. After you get quiet, I also highly suggest you force yourself to work up a sweat.  10, 20 or 30 minutes whatever–get your body moving! Just as we were intended to be social creatures, our bodies crave movement.

I think I’ll be taking more “social media cleanses” and I know that checking myself has done more wonders than I could have imagined. Once I realized that time is our biggest gift and the one thing we can never ever get back, I knew I had to be more strict with my time.  Where my time goes, my energy flows.

 

And of course, in Jenn fashion, there are a few quotes that really resonated with me…

 

 

 

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You matter. You are beautiful.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are real.  You are living this one life that is truly a gift.  When you fall down, brush yourself off and get back up.  You are not a victim; you and you alone are responsible for your happiness.  Happiness is your birthright.

All my love,
Jenn