Social Media and Self-Care

These days, technology has become an asset in being able to connect with our loved ones. We all know that social distancing and being cautious are important, and yet we are also aware of how it feels to miss the hugs from our extended family members, the missed conversations at dinner gatherings, the ability to invite a friend over for a chat and a coffee.

I know that to make up for that, I have been checking my phone more often – with two family group chats in place and a friends one as well (lots of love, laughter and pics), I am often also scrolling social media accounts. In our mode of isolation, it makes total sense that we need to also feel connected to the outside world.

When it comes to social media and self-care, this post is not about limiting your time on it (unless that is what you need of course), but rather about creating accounts that line up with your values and what makes you feel supported. It is about unfollowing any people or pages that are not having a positive effect on you when you see their posts in your newsfeed and it is about choosing sites that do.

We may not have a lot of choice right now when it comes to our social life, but we do when it comes to our social media 🙂

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Photo credit: http://Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

The Importance of Holiday

We have just returned from a lovely, sun-filled week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Kurt and I, along with three other couples, have much to be grateful for including:

  • time spent connecting. Catching up, enjoying wonderful meals together, laughing, memories made.
  • being Canadian. It is such a wonderful feeling to hear (many times over) from Mexicans that they love Canadians.
  • the sun. Being in a sunny place for even a week, helps to reset your commitment to winter 🙂
  • the opportunity to experience local culture. We headed off the resort to the small mountain village of San Sebastian where we can easily see that simplicity creates happiness. Every Mexican town has a town center or ‘plaza’ that plays music all day until late afternoon – what a lovely and welcoming tradition.
  • the hospitality of the Mexican people.
  • the ocean. Relaxing on the beach is always a wonderful way to feel grounded and at peace.
  • home. Returning home to family and its coziness is always a part of the experience of travel.

Taking holidays (even if you don’t travel), is an important element of self-care. It reminds us that spending time with our loved ones is an important way we can connect – especially when we are not confined to the pressures we often experience as part of our daily routine. And if travelling is a part of holiday plans, we can experience the lovely feeling of escape – an important element in recognizing how necessary it is to purposely plan for fun and play in creating a contented life.

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Photo credit: Me!

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. I guarantee you, 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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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. What are some of your self-care words?

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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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Photo credit: http://Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

 

Self-Care During the Holidays

Christmas time can bring us many things to be thankful for – time spent with family and friends, social functions at work or in our community and extra kids’ activities. The lead up to the holidays; however, can be a time when we put ourselves on the back burner. 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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Self-Care for a Rainy Day

This time of year often brings rainy days and we can find ourselves in the house, feeling a bit cranky that the weather has predicted our day. With little control over the weather, perhaps we can turn a rainy day can into an opportunity for self-care:

  • 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.
  • Research vacation ideas.
  • Visit memory lane by looking through old photo albums.
  • Go to a cafe, sit by the window, enjoy the sound and look of rain.
  • Laugh with re-runs of a funny TV program.
  • Indulge and take an afternoon nap.

Although rainy 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. What are some things that you like to do on a rainy day?

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A Colour On Your Calendar

I sat with a new mom in session. Her baby was about 4 months old; into a nice routine and able to start bringing her to baby-oriented activities in the community. She was happy to be a new mom, and yet also experiencing some adjustments – including some inner resentment she was feeling towards her husband who was starting his hockey night out every week and was due soon to go hunting for a few days. She noted that she didn’t want to have these feelings.

When we become a new mom, we add that to who we are in terms of our self-identity. And in the first few months of the baby’s life, there is little room for anything else. The baby’s needs take primacy and we quickly realize that our schedule has now been trumped. And that is a necessary reality in the first few months.

Our roles as parents; however,  are not meant to be all-or-nothing in terms of our identity – the goal, rather, is to integrate who we are as parents into who we are as people. Now that the baby was four months old, and a tad more predictable, this couple was making sure to have a date night once a month, she was beginning to attend baby groups a couple of times a week, and her husband had resumed some of his interests. And so I asked her “Where is your colour on the calendar?”

Part of the answer to that question will likely come from guilt – I think “Mommy guilt” comes built in – part of it will also come from feeling protective of the baby. All natural feelings, it is still okay to give ourselves permission to have our own space on the calendar. To set some time aside for ourselves, leaving our baby in capable hands, so that we attend our yoga class, have coffee with a friend, plan some girl-time.

Doing so will help to alleviate built up feelings, provide some re-charge time, integrate self-care into our new role and create some healthy habits along the way. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by The Honest Company on Unsplash

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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. One of the things that is a part of my self-care routine is carving out time to read….in the summer, I love my three season porch as it allows me to feel the evening breeze and hear the sounds of outside. In the fall, I find myself curled up in my armchair, with the fireplace on – cozy. 🙂

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!

Photo credit: http://Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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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? What the heck was that?

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. 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Haley Powers on Unsplash

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