It’s Cyber Monday-See If You’ve Won

True to our mission here at livingselfcare, Lauren and I took last week off to recharge and enjoy the holiday. Since today is Cyber Monday, we thought it would be fitting to announce the winners of our Nov.14-18 2011 Self-Care Challenge Contest.

Here they are:

dianne@femininefaceofmoney.com - $100 SpaWish certificate from Pregnancy.org

http://outoftheclearblue.wordpress.com - $25 Shutterfly Gift Certificate via Working Moms Against Guilt

melody.meiners@gmail.com - $25 Maternique Gift Certifiicate from Darline Turner-Lee of Mamas on Bedrest

starfish810@hotmail.com - Happy Family clothing & PSI Educational DVD via Postpartum Support International

felicia3@gmail.com- A copy of A Life’s Work by Rachel Cusk via Postpartum Progress

lisa07110@yahoo.com - Jewelry set via Mother to Mother Support

simply.homemade@yahoo.com- Deluxe Prize Basket from Real Mom Experts

Congratulations to all our winners! You’ll be contacted via email with additional details regarding how to claim your prizes.

Thank you again to all the wonderful Challenge Champions. We couldn’t have done it without you! Also, to all of you who participated in our weeklong self-care challenge. If you missed out, you can still go back to the posts and participate in the daily gratitude activities. Thankfulness is always timely and a great way to practice self-care.

Spread Gratitude in Your Heart and Beyond

Last week, our theme for the self-care challenge was expressing gratitude and thankfulness. Many of you commented that you liked Friday’s challenge which was to send gratitude to others by “choosing someone you want to express thanks to for what they’ve done, who they are or what they mean to you. It can be someone you’re close to or someone you may have fallen out of touch with. Let your heart and soul decide.

Then message that person via e-mail or Facebook, text them, make a call or send a note. Once they receive your message, ask them to choose someone to express their gratitude towards and contact them. The goal is to connect as many people as possible with thankfulness and appreciation, keeping the true spirit of the season alive. Let’s see how many cities, states, and countries we can reach and how far our message can spread.”

Since Thanksgiving is Thursday, we hope you’ll make this a weeklong activity. Let family and friends know your gratitude for them. Perform random acts of kindness like smiling at the grocery clerk or saying “Hi” to a neighbor. When someone is thoughtful towards you, show them your appreciation. Did you know that when you are kind or someone is thoughtful towards you, it improves your and their health and mood?  It also has a positive influence on those observing.

Join us on twitter and Facebook for conversation and support in spreading an attitude of gratitude. Best to all of you!

Let’s See How Far Our Gratitude Can Spread

It’s the final day of our self-care challenge and hopefully you’re less stresed and feeling better from this week’s gratitude activities. Now, it’s time to spread the cheer. Remember when you used to play telephone and whisper messages in your friends’ ears passing them from one to the next. At the end, you’d laugh over how the message changed and start again.

Today’s challenge is to send gratitude to others in whatever way works for you. Choose someone you want to express thanks to for what they’ve done, who they are or what they mean to you. It can be someone you’re close to or someone you may have fallen out of touch with. Let your heart and soul decide. You won’t be misled.

Then message that person via e-mail or Facebook, text them, make a call or send a note. Once they receive your message, ask them to choose someone to express their gratitude towards and contact them. The goal is to connect as many people as possible with thankfulness and appreciation, keeping the true spirit of the season alive. Let’s see how many cities, states, and countries we can reach and how far our message can spread.

At livingselfcare, we want to thank each of you for joining us this past week and sharing your posts and comments, and to each of the challenge champions for their participation and generosity. Let us always remember what we’re thankful for during the holidays and each day of our lives.

Change in the Weather, Change in Attitude

The cold weather is creeping in, or already here in most states. It’s hard to relate to winter when you live in the sub-tropics of sunny South Florida, like myself.

Winter’s notorious for the cold, darker days and feelings of melancholy, depression, or lethargy seeping in. How do we combat the winter blahs from freezing us? Turn that blah attitude around to an attitude of gratitude! What better way to empower yourself than to take the positive steps necessary to make yourself healthy and whole!

We’ve started the Self-Care Challenge, and the results are trickling in. From women realizing they’re not taking care of themselves, to women reaching out to one another in thanks and gratitude, it’s clear that we’re becoming better educated about what it means to live self-care.

Here’s today’s challenge activity. It’s also perfect for Thanksgiving. Looking for that special centerpiece? Why not make a “GratitudeTree?” You can gather up twigs and other decorations, and place them in a vase. Cut out special pieces of paper, and with a “hole punch,” punch a hole and add a bit of ribbon. When your family and friends arrive, have each person write what they’re thankful for on their special tag and hang it from the “tree.” This creates the attitude of gratitude for the entire group, and leaves you with special keepsakes you can treasure year after year.

Today’s author is Mollee Bauer, founder of Pregnancy.org which gives moms the tools they need to empower themselves and practice self-care.

Doing A Good Deed for Each Other-Priceless

With the focus on gift-giving during the holidays, we sometimes forget that one of the most precious gifts we can share is doing something kind or thoughtful for each other. Today’s activity is to do a good deed for a family member or friend to express your gratitude for them being a part of your life.

There are three guidelines for this activity. First, choose something which you know your family member/friend would appreciate even if it’s different than what you want to do for them. An example, my mom asked me to help clean her closet for her holiday gift and while I’d much rather run an errand, make her a meal or buy her a present, that’s not what she wants from me.

Second, it must come from the heart and be done in the spirit of generosity. Doing it in a begrudging or resentful way is not the intention of today’s challenge. Remember, this is a “gift” for someone you love. Third, it can’t cost anything. Giving your time and attention to your family and friends is truly more valuable than anything money can buy.

Finally, consider making this an activity for the whole family. It’s a great way to express an attitude of gratitude toward all those you love.

Today’s inspiration: “It is only through the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

Beat Holiday Stress-Join the Challenge!

Before holiday stress overwhelms you, join our online self-care contest/challenge Nov.14-18. But wait you say, that’s still a week away. To begin flexing your self-care muscle, we’re offering tips starting today on how to replace holiday stress with inner peace and happiness. Follow us at www.twitter.com/realmomexperts  and www.facebook.com/livingselfcare for stress-busting advice.

Likewise our self-care challenge champions have pitched in to get this party started. Take a listen http://ow.ly/7hkKZ to @mamasonbedrest interview with me about livingselfcare. Visit www.pregnancy.org for their new look and updated info on motherhood and health. Visit www.workingmomsagainstguilt.com for support on “putting mommy guilt in its place.” Who couldn’t use some of that?

For moms struggling with postpartum emotional health challenges, we’ve got you covered too! Check out Postpartum Support International’s extensive website http://www.postpartum.net. Visit Katherine Stone’s amazing www.postpartumprogress.org and sign up for Daily Hope to lift your spirits. Listen to #ppdchat Mondays at 1pm EST and 8:30pm EST with Lauren Hale of mypostpartumvoice. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the contest part for this week. Visit any of the sites mentioned above, leave us a comment at www.livingselfcare.com and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a self-care treat. Nov.14-18 each self-care challenge champion will contribute a prize to a random drawing the end of the week. More info on that later.

So, flex your self-care muscle and get on board. Spread the news about the challenge to other women you know and love to help them feel better and beat holiday stress. Start today!