What does self-care mean to you?

The term self-care is pretty trendy these days, but what does it really mean? You see people posting about it every day, but how does it relate to your life? Is it taking the time to get a pedicure? Or to watch a movie?

My take on self-care is simple. It is an activity that you partake in, that helps you reset, take a breath and often inspires you. Another way to reference self-care is TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF! Easier said than done, though right? We tend to forget, that in order to take care of ourselves, it takes more than a massage or getting your nails done. Its about taking care of your body, your mind and your soul. Getting that massage will give you a feeling of bliss, but unless you are nurturing the other parts of your life that need caring for, that bliss won’t last. Be careful not to compare what others use an their own self-care, to your own. Remember that we are all unique and so are, our methods of care.

For example, tonight, I was lucky enough to get a massage which is what sparked these thoughts regarding self-care. I walked out of there and said “If I could just feel like this all of the time, life would be so much easier!” Reality check, not gonna happen. There will be bad days, and mediocre days, dark days etc. but how you take care of yourself will determine how you feel on those days. Clearly, I love getting massages (which is a new thing, because I used to despise having a stranger touch me), I love writing, I love reading…. I am practicing self-care right now, as I type this because it makes me feel more alive. So you like hockey? Head to a game! You enjoy coffee? Find a new local coffee house to explore! From simple, to luxurious, find what excites you and relaxes you at the same time. That healthy medium of adrenaline and inner peace that makes you smile.

This is just a friendly reminder that not all self-care is physical and your method of self-care only needs to make sense to YOU.

 

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent, caring for myself is an act of survival.” -Audre Lorde

There is beauty in being transparent.  

I’ve been told that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. If I am feeling something, I don’t even have to say it, because you can see it on my face and see it in my body language. If you ask me a question, I will answer honestly and probably give you too much information. Perhaps I shouldn’t say ‘too much’, just more information than most people would give. I’m brutally honest, and not ashamed to be open. What you see, is what you get. This has allowed me to have some extremely close and successful connections with people that appreciate these qualities, but has also caused a lot pain. There have been many times when I have tried to reign in my transparent personality, and it just flat doesn’t work. What I have come to realize (finally) is that when you feel as though you need to reign in your authentic personality, you are in a situation that you are trying to force. When you try to force something to fit, it never works. Its silly to think about, how we try to force ourselves to fit in at work, in friendships, relationships, but if you can’t get your pants over your hips, what do you do? You simply move on to another pair! It doesn’t mean you are happy about it, but you don’t have a choice! Life is not always as cut and dry as not fitting into a pair of pants, but my point is that, the sooner that we allow ourselves to be transparent and really accept who we are as individuals, the easier our lives will become.

I think that people assume that to be transparent, you have to share every aspect of your life with the world. To me, being transparent means that you have nothing to hide, not that you openly share personal problems and events with everyone that comes your way. Determining what you share, is a personal decision. There are no rules, it has to be what works for you!

So, go with your gut, say what you mean, mean what you say.

At the risk of sounding cliché, DO YOU, BE YOU!

3 ways to help slow your mind down when you are on the verge of having a panic attack (cliff notes)

Our lives move at an incredibly fast pace. Even if you don’t struggle from an anxiety disorder, it is very possible for you to get overwhelmed just trying to keep up with your daily tasks. Here are a few things that I do, when I feel like I am going to lose control, and have a panic attack:

  1. Breathe! Yes, it sounds cliché and easy enough but when you feel a panic attack coming out of nowhere, you need to focus on your breathing. I cannot count how many times I have been sitting at my desk at work, and had to completely stop what I am doing, close my eyes, and only focus on deep inhales and long exhales. If you start to panic in a busy public place, finding a place to sit down and breathe works wonders, especially if you have no idea where the nearest restroom is and hiding in a stall is not an option. Just breathe.
  2. Go for a walk. This is my all time favorite. Something triggers me, I go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be far, but I just need to exit the area that I am currently in, and go somewhere else. I  might only do a lap around the building, but the simple action of getting up and removing myself, shifts my focus and allows me slowly stop spinning and return back to somewhat logical thoughts. Ideally, I am able to not only leave the area, but actually walk outside, in the fresh air. (also an ideal time for some breathing exercises) The movement alone helps, regardless of how far you walk or how much time you are gone.
  3. Listen to music. This one has proven to be a bit tricky for me. I have fine tuned it, so that I know exactly what type of music calms me down, but it is very different for each person. Music in general has healing powers, but if you are looking to distract yourself from a certain subject, don’t listen to something that reminds you of that subject (seems logical, but when you are already struggling it is very hard to think straight!) Lately, classical piano has been the winner to calm my mind and body down. It also helps me regain focus when my mind is all over the place and I am unable to fully complete one task.

Of course, the above are all things that work for me personally and each individual has their own way of coping and dealing with their panic attacks. I chose to list those three ways, because they are ideal for our on-the-go lifestyle. We might not always be able to stop what we are doing to sit down and meditate with no interruptions, or stop to read a book, do yoga etc. These are tricks that have helped me through many moments of panic and anxiety, and have been key to overcoming the fear of “What do I do when I panic and I am not at home” feeling. Try to remember, that you can breathe through anything!

“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

Why “We need to talk in person” should be a welcomed statement, not a feared statement.

We’ve all been there. Staring at your phone, not wanting to believe the words that you are reading. Relationships and friendships begin and end, important family news is announced etc. all while we hide behind the glowing screens of the latest version of our smart phones. It seems like communicating face to face has become a lost art.

While we have the potential to use technology to enhance our ability to communicate, more often than not, we allow it to hinder our ability. Countless arguments ensue because we, as human beings have difficulty sensing the tone of the text message, or the email. Is the sender angry, sad, do they have any emotion at all? Successfully communicating is difficult enough, without the added pressure of trying to figure out what the sender really meant. Why do we continue to allow this to affect our relationships, when we know damn well, what the outcome is? Imagine if we took the time, to meet with the person that we care about to have a conversation about what was on our minds, instead of stringing it out through a week’s worth of emotionally draining text messages and emails? I know, easier said than done. That would take effort and we are all used to having the world at our finger tips and receiving instant gratification.

We now have the ability to schedule our fights and awkward conversations whenever it is convenient for us, from the comfort of our own homes without any human contact whatsoever. About to have a potentially painful conversation? One sec, let me throw on some sweatpants, grab a glass of wine and get cozy in my bed first (that is my personal favorite). Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, probably more than I should, but I am willing to admit that there are certain times when we need to revert back to the old days, and communicate in person. See the persons face, read their body language and acknowledge a human reaction to the information that is being delivered.  Tears will be shed, awkward laughs will be had, and most importantly, respect will be gained. So, the next time that someone reaches out to you and says “We need to talk in person….” embrace it, try not to panic and be grateful that they are making time to see your face.

 

You have to start somewhere!

If there is anything that I have learned from having an addictive personality, its that idle hands do the devils work. That is why it is extremely important for me to have a passion project. I say passion project in lieu of a hobby because being passionate about something ignites your soul and occupies your mind. For me, writing is an outlet to clear my overactive brain.  Once the words are written, there is room in my mind to move forward, focus on something new. I write for myself, by myself. I have been told multiple times, that writing is worth it, even if no one ever reads it.

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