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?

Feel Good

I recently listened to Gabby’s latest book Super Attractor and it was fantastic.  I took this quote from it and it truly resonated with me.  I think sometimes as grown ups, we forget how to have fun, enjoy ourselves and allow ourselves to feel good.  As mamas, we often take care of everyone and everything else before we think about ourselves.  It’s so important that we remember!

 

For me, it was one of THE BIGGEST triggers or “bullet holes” I discovered when working with my life coach.  What was?  Oh, you know, allowing myself to feel good, or have fun, just for the heck of it.  For some reason I create boundaries for myself (I’m still working on it) where I don’t really ‘let loose’ or ‘have fun’ unless others are having fun.  Or my work is all done.  I have gotten a lot better at letting the ‘guilt’ go and really just focusing on ME at the present time.  I really do best when I get a workout in daily, write daily, and take time in the morning to reflect on my goals and dreams, as well as sit in quiet.  I journal, spend time looking through devotionals or other inspiring reads. It really helps set my mind right.

What I am learning is that the universe attracts more of what you put out. I’ve always loved the quote, “what you think about, you bring about.” But it’s so true.  The more you feel good, that good energy, happy vibe, the more you will attract.  If you’re stuck in a sad, lonely, victim mentality–that everyone is out to get you, you’ll simply attract more of that.  There’s a always a way out, and it’s to focus on yourself.  Do baby steps.  Cook a favorite recipe.  Go on a walk by yourself.  Journal.  Figure out what would start those feelings of enjoyment, happiness and ultimately live into that.  It will become your life.

I distinctly remember a wine tour my then boyfriend, now husband I and went on.  I was so worried and uptight over everyone else enjoying themselves, that honestly I was not having a good time!  I’ve done this a lot throughout my life.  Part of it is yes, I am a control freak (working on it) and also very in tune with others’ around me and their emotions.  (Hello, Empathy is my #1 strength.)  Over time I am learning that my happiness has nothing to do with other people and it’s okay for me to feel good, even if others around me don’t, can’t or won’t.  It is hard to watched loved ones and friends stew in their own misery, but Joe and I both work very hard at creating a calm, peaceful, happy and joyful life in our home.  Sometimes it’s best to just focus on yourself, and pray that others will find ways to feel good too.

What do you do for yourself to feel good?

“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.

 

Thoughts as a Work at Home Mom

Snow day (or rather, “Cold Day”) number 2 with the littles today!! Honestly, I am as giddy as ever when I see my babies will be home safe with me.  Being a former teacher, I have never outgrown the love a good day off from school.  I also have the pleasure (and stress) as being a work at home mom.

There I said it. Whew.  I think for so long I have been battling with this idea that I don’t really work…and in reality?  I really do a lot of work! Simply staying home filled my days with more than enough to do.  The laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, tidying, tending to, it’s endless, am I right? No matter if you stay home or work outside of the home, being a mom is hard work but someone’s gotta do it, and no one better than you mama.

I think I’ve struggled a little bit with coming to terms with working because I don’t exactly get a paycheck, nor do I get dressed up daily and go clock in somewhere.  It’s not the conventional way I used to ‘work’ when I was teaching full time and so I know that internally I had some things to overcome.

Sure I’ve done my fair share of side hustles.  I loved getting healthy with Advocare and with that, helping a lot of friends and family find a better way to live their lives as well.  Why did I stop?  Well, honestly some of the products just didn’t work for me the way that they once used to, or how I would have liked them to.  I still believe it’s a great company and I take daily supplements but my heart was not into devoting all the time and effort into that business.

As Bradley began crawling around, I saw the new up and coming jewelry KEEP and got super excited with that! I also felt that pull of needing to be a part of something. I reached out and did a ton of online parties, made some new friends and really had fun.  Which lead me to my next little venture with Stella & Dot.

Stella & Dot had been around for awhile and while I truly love love love their accessories, what I didn’t enjoy were doing in person trunk shows.  Sure you can still have a great business online, but at the same time as I was rocking with this biz, my husband and I changed the way we were running our real estate company.

Two years ago in March we decided to switch our business model from renting single family homes, to Rent to Own Homes.  This has totally changed the game for us, but as with any business, it continues to grow and evolve. We now have ten properties and a lot of book-keeping, marketing, advertising, taking calls, paper work, collecting money from all tenants…the list goes on.

What was once a small hustle, is turning into an empire.  My husband still works beyond full time and I refuse to raise Bradley differently than Brooke, in the sense that I don’t want to put him into day care and not be with me.  So?  Somethings have to give.  There is no ‘balance’ so I won’t pretend that I’ve found it nor do I believe one day I will magically feel all zen.   But I do believe that as we grow, change and become better versions of ourselves each and every day, we have to say goodbye to old patterns, habits and move forward.

All of my experience in MLMs or Direct Sales, whatever you’d like to call them, not only brought me the BEST of friends—hi guys!!– but also a huge sense of confidence in sales.  I now surround myself with other leaders, continue to read the best professional development books and know that when I have my down days, (and oh, do I ever!) It’s always important to pick myself up and keep going.  I also learned a ton about social media, how to connect with folks and as always the number one reason why we are on this planet?  To help one another.

So I suppose I share all of this because maybe you too feel a shift and want to change.  Perhaps there’s something new you’d like to try but maybe feel like you shouldn’t.  You are never too old and it’s never too late.  I went to school for a very long time; received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Masters Degree.  While these may just be pieces of paper to some people, to me I accomplished my goals, lived out some dreams and was able to teach some amazing and beautiful souls throughout my 8 years teaching English.  The best part?  I will forever have the knowledge I’ve gained, and if I decide to go back ever, I have a NYS certification.

As for now?  I will be parting ways come March with my fun little side gig of Stella & Dot.  It was sure fun while it lasted, but I feel that it is in my family’s best interest to focus on our family business and help grow what we have started to build.  Since realized that time really is the biggest and most precious thing on earth, I really value where I spend it and whom I give it to.

I think I’ve been nervous to admit that I do in fact work, partially because I wanted to be a perfect stay at home mom, making all the meals from scratch or at least semi-homemade.  Do all of the cooking, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc…but if you are a successful person, you already know this: You cannot do it all.  With 24 hours in the day, it’s imperative to figure out what needs to get done and what and when to let go of things.  (Grocery pickup, I’m looking at you!!)

As far as 24 hours?  I saw a quote that said, there’s 24 hours in a day.  You deserve 1 hour to do whatever you want with it.  Or something like that. Basically, it put me into tears because so often I find myself turning into ‘all work no play’ and then turning into a potato at 8pm and scrolling FB/Insta because I never gave myself one small morsel of the day to spark joy, inspire myself or heal.

I need to write more, so that’s back up at the top of my list.  Working out.  Spending quality time with the kids and Joe.  Dating my husband.  Re-establishing and even creating new friendships. Cooking.  Building our real estate empire.  Playing with our dogs.  Being in nature (when it’s not a Polar Vortex!) Yoga.  Meditating. Networking with other leaders/girl bosses. Giving back to our community. Reading.  Walking. Being.

As I continue to lean into this year, 2019, the year of SIMPLIFYING, as long as this month seemed to be, I could not be more clear or driven on my purpose and reason on this earth.  I pray that we are blessed with better health in the coming months and that by Summer time, all these seeds that have been planted, will bloom.