The Power of “I am”

Words matter. Ask anyone who has been criticized in their childhood, or bullied with words, and they will tell you that it has long lasting effects.

The way we speak to ourselves; therefore, matters. Our internal dialogue is often automatic and we can carry with us the words heard (and now believed) from childhood. Repeat after me:

I am worthless.

I am ugly.

I am unlovable.

We can play around with the words “I am” to incorporate almost anything negative. “I will never meet anyone.” “No matter how hard I try, nothing ever works out for me.” “I have a black cloud following me around.”

We can call it a self-fulfilling prophesy; or we can look at it as the energy that we are sending out into the world. In either case, the result is the same – when we say those words to ourselves, we hear them. And we live them.

It is important to recognize the power of “I am.” Repeat after me:

I am worthy.

I am beautiful.

I am lovable.

Take a deep breath, and say them again. And again. And again. Take any negative statement that has been created in you, and change it. Say it before you believe it. Be determined. It will change how you see yourself, and you will begin to see results.

I am capable. I am worth it. I am brave. I am here for me.

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Self-Care During the Holidays

Christmas time can bring us many things to be thankful for – the lead up to the holidays; however, can be a time when we put ourselves on the back burner. Building on yesterday’s post, here are some holiday self-care tips that we can incorporate into the Christmas season:

  • Find some time in the evening to cozy in on the couch and watch a favourite Christmas movie.
  • Take a drive to enjoy holiday lights.
  • Give yourself permission to say no if you begin to feel the need to simply rejuvenate at home.
  • Enjoy the scents of the season with pine scented candles or candy cane hand cream.
  • Set aside time to continue your usual exercise routine.
  • Indulge in some favourite foods; especially ones that remind you of childhood Christmases.
  • Lean into the traditions of the holidays for some feel good moments.
  • Remind yourself of the four D’s (delegate, defer, delete or do it) – no reason why other family members can’t help you wrap gifts!
  • Climb into some cozy holiday pyjamas and enjoy some mulled cider or hot chocolate.
  • Create a Christmas play list with your favourite holiday tunes.

By purposefully planning some time to enjoy the holiday season, we take care of ourselves with meaningful experiences that promote our sense of well-being.

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Important Self-Care Words

When we think about self-care, we often think about the things we do to support and honour ourselves and the time we set aside in order to achieve those tasks. Here is a reminder of some self-care words that, being on our radar, help us to create a satisfying and joyful life:

  • Growth. Are we moving forward? Creating goals for ourselves? The path to progress is movement.
  • Acceptance. Of ourselves; of others. Of knowing that we often can only control our reaction to something or someone.
  • Creativity. Such an important element – for a healthy ‘fill up’, accomplishment and joy.
  • Soulful. How are we feeding our soul? Connecting with our inner spirit is an important element of self-care.
  • Nurturing. Not only of ourselves, but of the loved ones in our lives.
  • Balance. Pretty much the key to everything.
  • Connection. We can find many ways to feel connected to others and ourselves – building our time wisely.
  • Joy. Let us not underestimate the power of feeling contentedness and joy; we can strive for it through our self-care goals.
  • Kindness. Kindness matters – always.

Adopting these words into our overall self-care needs and goals, we aim towards creating a routine for ourselves that best supports us.

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The Importance of Self-love

I came across this quote by Kim McMillen:

“When I loved myself, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen

How many times do we fail to see our value? Perhaps we have been in a job or relationship so long, we feel worn away. Perhaps we feel that to leave it means we have failed.

I love the line “My judgement called it disloyal; now I see it as self-loving,” as it implies that in order to stay, we have compromised or misread our value system; the truth it would seem, was found within.

I then came across a poem entitled “Self Love” by Lang Leav – it sums up perfectly what I am attempting to convey:

Self Love

Once when I was running, from all that haunted me: to the dark I was succumbing – to what hurt unbearably.

Searching for the one thing, that would set my sad soul free.

In time, I stumbled upon it, an inner calm and peace; and now I am beginning to see and to believe, in who I am becoming – and all that I’ve yet to be.

– Lang Leav

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A Thoughtful Poem About Body Image

A poem by Hollie Holden has caught my attention:

Today I asked my body what she needed,

Which is a big deal.

Considering my journey of 

Not Really Asking That Much.

I thought she might need water

Or protein

Or greens

Or yoga

Or supplements

Or movement.

But as I stood in the shower

Reflecting on her stretch marks,

Her roundness where I would like flatness,

Her softness where I would like firmness,

All those conditioned wishes

That form a bundle of 

Never-Quite-Right-Ness,

She whispered very gently:

Could you just love me like this?

– Hollie Holden

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Self-Care for a Grey Day

This time of year often brings the grey days of fall and we can find ourselves in the house, feeling a bit blue. Recognizing that we might need a cozy self-care day, here are a few ideas:

  • Cuddle up on the couch with blankets, loved ones, popcorn and a feel-good movie.
  • Bake a favourite recipe; focusing on comfort food.
  • Write a letter to someone – the old fashioned way.
  • Have a home spa day – candles, a warm bath, pedicure.
  • Enjoy a warm drink while sitting down to read a book.
  • Visit memory lane by looking through old photo albums.
  • Go to a cafe, sit by the window, enjoy the atmosphere of fall.
  • Walk on a leaf-covered trail.
  • Laugh with re-runs of a funny TV program.
  • Indulge and take an afternoon nap.

Although grey days have the potential to make us feel blue, we can proactively change our inner climate by focusing on the cozy and feeding our comfort system.

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Changing the Script

We can all fall into the cognitive trap of an internal voice that is often too critical. It is more often than not that we will be harder on ourselves than we would on others and we can easily afford others compassion while disregarding the need for it ourselves.

In a recent podcast episode in Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations; Iyanla: Finding Yourself and the One You Want, we listen to the wisdom of Iyanla Vanzant. Iyanla, in her no-nonsense and hilarious way of delivering some soulful advice, teaches us that we often “language ourselves into disempowerment.” This resonates, as I often remark that we can choose to use language in such a way as to bring strength and resilience into our space.

Iyanla has a way of bringing what needs to be said to a bare-bones, bottom line aha moment. For the people in the podcast she is speaking with, and for all of us tuned in.  A worthy listen; you can follow the link here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/iyanla-finding-yourself-and-the-one-you-want/id1264843400?i=1000538418439

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Self-Care Ideas for the Fall

One word that always comes to mind in the midst of the Fall season is cozy. The warm fall days with a slight chill in the air, the cooler evenings, the vibrant colours. Although self-care is something to aspire to every day, all year round, as we immerse ourselves into the beauty of this season, here are some specific Fall self-care ideas:

  • – Go through your summer wardrobe. If you didn’t wear it, donate it to charity.
  • – Write down some things about this season that you are grateful for.
  • – Cook some traditional fall dishes; bake with pumpkin and spice.
  •  Enjoy a walk outside with Fall colours.
  •  Visit an apple orchard or a pumpkin farm.
  •  Light a fall scented candle.
  • Pull out the Fall scented hand creams.
  • Go for a drive in the mountains.
  • Take a Fall crafting class.
  • Enjoy a pumpkin latte with a friend.
  • Buy yourself a cozy new sweater or blanket.
  • Write down a “Fall Bucket List.”
  • Create some positive affirmations about the changing of the seasons.
  • Read a book by the cozy fireplace.

As you can see, there are many ways that we can incorporate Fall self-care ideas into this season. Have any others? Feel free to share by way of commenting!

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Let’s ask the question “Is Self-Care Selfish?”

I often hear in therapy that “self-care feels selfish.” One of the things we explore when first hearing this statement surrounds a person’s understanding of why they feel that way.

If we tend to be someone who self-sacrifices or is a people-pleaser, self-care does not come naturally. Hence, the feeling that we are being selfish. Other times our busy lives dictate this feeling. Running around with little kids, having a commitment laden job, or trying to manage work and home life can sometimes throw time for yourself on the back burner. Giving any thought to self-care feels self-absorbed. Perhaps growing up we didn’t witness our own parents pursuing a personal interest or spending time on their own with friends.

Self-care is not about self-preoccupation.  In fact, when we ascribe to self-care practices, we allow ourselves to better take care of those we love. When we have the ability to first recognize and then begin to practice the art of balanced self-care, we have more calm energy. We have spent some time purposely feeding our comfort system. This leaves us less frazzled, less overwhelmed, less crabby. We have a better us to present to our family and friends.

Self-care is not selfish, is it an act of love that we choose not only for ourselves, but for those we love as well. 🙂

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A Thought Worth Considering

What often inspires my blog posts are reflections that occur through my work. Not only with the individual clients I see but in the groups we run as well. Recently, a young woman brought to group a thought worth considering when we are wrestling with whether or not we say yes to something that has been requested of us. Resonating with her was a meme that she had seen which stated, “Don’t confuse my free time with my availability.” 

This is perhaps something we need to consider before saying yes. Perhaps we have set aside an entire day to do nothing but putter. Cross a few things off the list, enjoy choosing our own pace to the day, deciding how we want to spend our time moving between productivity and relaxation. Technically we are free. And so when someone asks of us a favour, we may begin to feel guilty if we don’t say yes. We may begin pushing the limits to our perception of what we perceive to be selfish.

In our examination of “Do I have the time, energy and support available to me to agree?” question, the distinction between free time and availability becomes an important one. The value we place on how we recharge our serenity is important and worthy of consideration.

Free time versus availability…a thought worth considering 🙂

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