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!
It’s the final day of our self-care challenge and hopefully you’re less stressed 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.
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.
Fall is here, and that signals a time of introspection and self-analysis. Fall also symbolizes the time where we feel obligated (guilt involved or not) to redirect, “pay it forward,” and learn how to do “nothing.” Learn how to do nothing? Did she really just say that? That’s impossible! Not really, it just takes a few attempts before you get good at it.
Living self-care is more than lip service. I’m guilty of saying that I’ll do “xyz” for myself, and then, it magically doesn’t happen. Well it doesn’t happen because I don’t allow it to happen. How do we take care of ourselves without it feeling like a chore? The answer is as simple as mindset. In my opinion, it comes down to how we perceive, feel, and think about ourselves, and how we view ourselves in the big picture.
The self-care revolution is coming – we all feel it – it’s just a matter of when. Are you willing to take up “arms” and join us? Perhaps those arms will be more willing to hug and take care of others after we take care of ourselves. If you think about it, we can’t help anyone until we help ourselves.
Today’s guest author is Mollee Bauer, founder of Pregnancy.org which gives moms the tools they need to empower themselves, feel safe and get advice on how to take care of, pamper, and check-in with themselves. These tools help them conquer their challenges and overcome obstacles to self-care.
Did you know that women experience twice as much depression as men? Would that be because we’re more sensitive? I think not. The explanation which best fits is that we are more affected by hormonal shifts which influence our brain chemistry, particulary around times when our lives change dramatically-like pregnancy and post-birth.
In fact, 1 in 8 women will experience a clinical episode of depression, anxiety, etc. during pregnancy, postpartum and menopause, which is greater than the occurence of most health conditions. So, what will it take for emotional health to become an integral part of women’s health? Why aren’t women being routinely screened for mood and anxiety conditions? How can health conditions which have such a profound impact on developing families continue to be ignored?
I was having this conversation Friday with a local journalist and told him that women must lead the charge like we’ve done with breast cancer. We must come forward and share our stories to support each other in getting the help we need and deserve. We must be prepared to educate our health providers and make it clear that we expect to be cared for-body, mind, heart and soul. We must challenge our own biases about anxiety and depression, and accept them as “health conditions” just like heart disease or diabetes.
Ghandi said, “Become the change you want to see in the world.”
To learn more about hormones and mood, read Women’s Moods about pregnancy and postpartum, The Wisdom of Menopause, and visit www.womenshealth.gov.
Living Self-Care: Our Hearts
Living a heart-healthy life means taking good care of our emotional health and relationships. In short, it is loving ourselves and others unconditionally.
1. Prioritize Emotional Health: This involves making time for self-care but more important believing we deserve self-love. It means saying “yes” to what makes our heart sing and “no” when it’s too much.
2. Trust Inner Guidance: This is trusting what our “gut” is telling us. While our inner voice isn’t 100% accurate, it’s often signaling questions or issues we need to consider. Don’t drown it out with others’ need but listen to what’s coming up.
3. Self-Acceptance: One of the hardest habits is learning to love ourselves wholly with our strengths and limitations. As Melissa Etheridge sings, “There’s no love from someone else if I can’t love myself.” Practice unconditional self-love for optimal emotional and relationship health.
4. Communicate Assertively: Express both positive and negative feelings openly and directly. Don’t attack the other person or passively withdraw. Address problems as they occur. Be respectful and expect the same. If the situation deteriorates, wait until later.
5. Prioritize Relationships: Nurture relationships with time, energy and attention. How often do you stop when you’re busy doing what needs to get done to listen to your child or spouse? Nothing is more important. Relationships are flowers in the garden of life. If you nourish them, they’ll bring much delight. Neglected, they’ll whither.
“Mom, you have friends?!”
It was my 5-year-old’s innocent response to me mentioning my girlfriends. Since having twins five years ago and then another son, I don’t get a chance to chat with, let alone see, my girlfriends as much as I would like. Yet, they still carry an important role in my life.
Girlfriends help each other carry their burdens, celebrate each others’ accomplishments and bring joy to each others’ lives. Girlfriends also have a keen sense of intuition. Despite miles of distance and months without communication, girlfriends are there when we need them most.
Take for example a dear friend who called me out of the blue as I was just beginning to miscarry my first pregnancy. Or another girlfriend who popped up on Google chat one day when I was having a terrible time coping with my son’s developmental delays. On two of the worst days of my life, these women
helped put everything into perspective. I hope I’ve been there to do the same.
When the teeter-totter of life drops you square into a puddle of mud, it’s usually a girlfriend that climbs on the opposite seat and lifts you back up (then helps you shop for new pants). As women we naturally care for and nurture others, and through the sisterhood of girlfriends we give that nurturing back to ourselves.
Today’s author is Jessica Pupillo, freelance writer and editor of St. Louis Sprout & About (www.stlsprout.com).