The Idea of Productive Rest

We can all appreciate a good work ethic. When our head hits the pillow at night, there is a part of us that feels satisfaction from a fruitful day. And yet for some of us, the pendulum has swung too far. From the moment your feet hit the floor, it is go – go – go.

Perhaps it is Type A tendencies, expectations of self that tend to be too high, perfectionism, learned behaviours and/or developed patterns that have contributed to an association that resting is unacceptable. And as a result, when there is no more energy, and the crash comes, resting means doing nothing. Zoning out in front of the TV, feeling useless, grappling with the guilty thoughts of “I should be up doing something.”

But what about the concept of productive rest? Could it be that instead of rest being indulgent, it actually could be necessary? I often refer to our comfort system and the importance of recognizing that in order to truly be productive, we also need to rest our bodies and relax our minds.

Productive rest is planned. It is about carving out time to do something that is restful in nature and yet soothing to the soul. For me, that plan often includes reading – there is nothing like a good story to draw me in, resting my body, distracting my mind. Easy exercise, chatting with a friend, sitting by the water, walking in the forest – they all work too. It is about incorporating rest (even in little bits) throughout the day.

Giving ourselves permission to productively rest can help ease our minds too – we can begin to give up our core beliefs that somehow we are inadequate if we relax. When we can acknowledge that rest is an important part of our ‘work’ day, we give ourselves the valuable gifts of joy and peace.

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Insecurity and How it Takes the Lead

We all have insecurities. Sometimes they are ones that developed in our childhood, sometimes they can be circumstantial. We can have insecurities about the way we look, a skill that we lack, the way we parent, our abilities at work. Our insecurities can be tied to our sense of esteem or confidence, and they can be long lasting or fleeting. In any case, insecurities tend to take the lead. When feeling vulnerable, we often let our insecurity speak the loudest:

“There is no way I can handle this.”

“I hate the way I look in this dress.”

“No one will want to eat this.”

“I always sound stupid at social gatherings.”

“You’ll do it because I said so.”

“I will never get a better job.”

It is important to remember that we can’t outrun our insecurities. And because our insecure thoughts tend to be rigid and laced with criticism, they feel much more authoritative and we lean into believing them.

The reality; however, is that we are not meant to criticise ourselves. Learn from our mistakes? Absolutely. Belittle ourselves? Nope. Our soul, our life force, our inner core would never want that for ourselves. The first step is to recognize when we have allowed our insecurities to take the lead. It is from here that we can begin to identify what needs to change and begin our journey to become more secure in ourselves and our abilities. With time and effort, we can win the race. 🙂

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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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