Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I Need Will Come To Me...


Be like the bird that, 
passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight
feels them give way beneath her
and yet sings
knowing that she hath wings
-Victor Hugo


 

 
I have been operating lately on the premise that what I need will come to me.

It really is a refreshing perspective, because historically, I have always been a very driven person, my grip fervently on the controls of my destiny.  

Perhaps in the past that mindset was necessary and wildly effective on many accounts.   But now that my little bird has flown the coop, now that I have settled into a comfortable and happy marriage, now that grad school is complete, now that I have established myself in my career...a forceful approach to life just seems harsh and unnecessary.

Maybe this means I have officially paid my dues.   Today I am more a believer in fate.  What is mine, WILL come to me.  

This doesn't mean that I am going to stop doing my best, that I am going to stop dreaming or working or striving to be a better person or more effective project manager.    Because I think that this mindset and a positive attitude attract the people who I want around me and the opportunities that I am seeking.    It simply means that I am giving up worry and stress and relinquishing some control.  

I am beginning to look at life as an interesting adventure and not an urgent race.   Knowing that you will get what you need....(and probably more)....and just letting go...opens you up to being present in the moment and that is where true living happens.

Take Good Care!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Appreciating Strengths.

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses” Marilyn vos Savant quotes (American Journalist and columnist of Ask Marilyn. Billed as the person with the highest IQ (228) ever recorded. b.1946)




I love book stores and libraries!

It empowers me to be surrounded by so much documented information, so much creativity and diverse opinions. I could spend all day browsing.

There is a little game that I play when I find myself happily between the racks: Next time you are in your favorite book place, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and pose a question. Any Question will do – a spiritual one…or cooking, or business...or simply “what do I need to know right now?”

Then grab a random book off of the shelf, open it to any old page, and read your answer.

(Sometimes this works…sometimes it makes me laugh…sometimes it is just mysterious and I have no idea what it means, but I still try to make sense of it)

I did this little exercise on recently.  I posed the question “what can I do to improve in my career?”

The answer came from a little book called “Strength Finder 2.0”, and I will paraphrase here: too many times we focus on overcoming our weaknesses when we would be much more successful if we work to perfect the strengths we already possess.

Well, I bought the book and I went to the website and completed the assessment that was included with my purchase. The results were very insightful and I think fairly accurate too. (Ironically, one of my strengths is my love of information and books!)

I am still analyzing the feedback but my biggest “ah-ha!” is that some of my tendencies –which I previously viewed as weaknesses- were conveyed through this exercise as strengths. For instance: I frequently have my head in the clouds- always dreaming and planning for the future. The assessment called this “futuristic” thinking – It proposes that I would be very good at helping others visualize possibilities. I do like the idea of that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stress-Busting

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.” -Natalie Goldberg



I have had to call upon my self care powers several times this week and it is only Tuesday.  

Yesterday - despite my best efforts to deal effectively with "the day of the moon" - was, indeed, so very Monday-like.

Keep in mind that if I truely possessed extraordinary self care abilities, I would probably not be so interested in this self care exploration.    Quite simply, sometimes self care does not come easy.   Sometimes things happen and you get yourself wound tight as a top before you realize that maybe this moment would be a good time to employ some self care.  

I think the boy scouts may have been on to something valuable when they adopted the motto "be prepared".  Lets face it (hate to be the bearer of bad news...) you are going to have times in the future where stress overwhelms you.  (messenger here- don't shoot)    You may be surprised to learn that you can plan for those nerve rattling events in advance.  

25 Stress Busters:
  1. Take a walk
  2. Take a hot bubble bath
  3. Light candles, sit and breathe
  4. Chop vegetables 
  5. Call a friend and talk it out
  6. Have sex (releasing those endorphins is great for stress)
  7. Write it down
  8. Play some soft music
  9. Watch your favorite movie
  10. Do yoga
  11. Get a massage, pedicure, manicure...spa day!
  12. Eat Ice Cream  
  13. Clean house  (this works for my friend Melinda K)
  14. Get someone to rub the back of your neck gently for 15 - 20 minutes (I read a great article on this in Whole Living a while back- interesting, this lowers blood pressure for women, but isn't so effective in that regard for men)
  15. Exercise
  16. Engage in a hobby
  17. Check out the Self Care blog  (shameless plug, I know)
  18. Buy yourself flowers
  19. Take a mental health day
  20. Buy some chocolat (don't forget the bow)
  21. Take a nap
  22. Have a cup of herbal tea
  23. Ask for what you need
  24. Hug a furry friend
  25. Pray
Please let me know if you have any other great stress busters to share.   (I feel better after just writing them down.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Best Way To Accept A Compliment

"A simple 'Thank you' will suffice." - Melinda Casey (my BFF, when a compliment she made was not accepted in the best way)



The best way to accept a compliment:

1) Smile.
2) Make eye contact with the compliment "payer"
3) Say "Thank you."
4) If someone helped you become so compliment-able, give them some credit too!

Do Not Under Any Circumstance:  

1) Counter a positive assessment of you with a negative thought or comment.  (compliments should never be poo-pooed!)
2) Take all the credit for doing something awesome if you had any help at all.  (Give propers where necessary- "Thank you, I had a lot of help...." is a good way to accept and acknowledge)
3) Allow yourself to not believe the compliment is true!

You are awesome...and beautiful...and wonderfully unique!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Self Care Girl is Away From Her Desk Today....


Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one's self?  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sorry that I missed your visit!

Self Care Girl is off today having a fabulous spa day with her best girlfriend!

Do Something Nice for YOU today!  
You really do deserve it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self Care Girl Likes....

Decided to shorten this feature just a smidgen...lets try 3 things this week, instead of 6!



This week my favorite things are: Cherry Blossoms, Sudoku puzzles and Pampered Chef  Prep Bowls   

Spiritual Self Care:  Cherry Blossoms!

Is there a better harbinger of springtime?  Cherry Blossoms just  make my soul leap!

By Nina

Per Wikipedia:  The cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring.

   By Yumi
There is a Japanese custom of having feasts and celebrations under the Cherry Blossom trees.   I was looking for something to add to the landscaping around our lower patio and I am thinking a row of cherry blossom trees may be perfect for this.  (Of course we would then have to have a celebration down there too!)

  By Jeffrywithtwofs

A walk under these trees can absolutely renew your spirit- I hope you will take the time to do that!

Mental Self Care:  Sudoku Puzzles (Patiently awaiting the arrival of a 25x25 grid sudoku book)

I think what I love about Sudoku is that these puzzles are so methodical.   They appeals to my logical, problem solving side.   When I need to wind down and focus, Sudoku is just the ticket.

I have worked my way up to genius ones- the easy ones I can do in as little as 5 minutes.  I struggle with the 16x16 ones...so I expect that the 25x25 edition will be challenging.

Contrary to what many people think, no math is required to complete these puzzles - just logic and the process of elimination.   Try it:  It is good exercise for the brain!


Physical Self Care:  Pampered Chef 1 cup Prep Bowls (set of 6)


You are- no doubt- wondering why I categorized these bowls under Physical Self Care.

Well, the answer is:  because I have found these to be so helpful with portion control and helping me stick to my diet.    The bowls are also fantastic for mis en place (that is French for: preparing all of your ingredients before you cook) which is why I bought them in the first place. 

 The glass bowls measure exactly one cup and come with plastic lids.    I recently saw that PC also makes a 2cup (set of 2).   These are on my list for the next time I buy from PC!

PS:  My friend Jaymi sells Pampered Chef- I am sure she can help you order if you are interested.    Check out her page here

Please feel free to comment.  I would like to know: What are your favorite things for taking good care of yourself?

Take Good Care!

Disclaimer
Please note,  I am not paid for any reviews provided here. I blog as a hobby and am not particularly interested in monetizing my self care blog at this time...all items and ideas provided here are purely my "likes", influenced only by my impeccable high standards and my mission in encouraging busy women-like you- to think (and do) more to take good care yourself!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Well, Dip Me In Chocolate And Call Me Dessert...

"Twill make Old Women Young and Fresh; Create New Motions of the Flesh. And cause them long for you know what, If they but taste of chocolate."   (from "A History of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate" - James Wadworth (1768-1844) )


Just a little treat from me to you...I was very pleased to come across this little recipe because it combines two of my favorite self care tools:  chocolat and a hot bath!   (It is a great little way to get my chocolat fix on this diet  I am on too!)

Enjoy!

Chocolat Lover's Milk Bath Mix

2 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients and place in a pretty glass jar (be sure to tie it with a pretty pink bow!).
Add a half cup to your next bath.

Take a moment and set the atmosphere - one does not just JUMP into a tub of chocolat without a few preparations!

Here are a few tips for getting the senses primed and making the most of your bathing experience:

  • Turn off the lights and light some candles (might want to light the candles first, actually)
  • Play some soft music
  • Dine on strawberries and a glass of wine
  • Inhale the chocolately bath goodness (in with the good chocolat-scented air....out with bad air....in with the good chocolat-scented air...)
  • Relax. 
  • Feel fabulous.
 Follow up with your favorite scented lotion (Doesn't coconut body lotion sound good about now?)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snowflakes



Man...is always an individual, a unique entity, different from everybody else. He differs by his particular blending of character, temperament, talents, disposition, just as he differs at his fingertips. He can affirm his human potentialities only by realizing his individuality. The duty to be alive is the same as the duty to become oneself, to develop into the individual one potentially is.


-Erich Fromm


This is just a quick post to remind you how unique and incredible you are.   Take a moment and think about all of the things that make you different and exceptional.   Embrace these things.  There is no one else exactly like you!

***The pictures above are pretty cool -these are real life microscopic pictures of snowflakes...each unique and amazing.

(And...My sincere apologies to any of you out there who are ready for Spring but keep getting snow- I am sure that these magnified snowflakes are the absolute last thing you want to see right now!  Spring WILL get here, I promise!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Exterminating the Clutter Bug

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  - Albert Einstein


We cleaned out our closet over the weekend and made some room for our warm weather clothes.  We do this twice a year and it always amazes me how much stuff we remove from our lives.

"Removing" means we either throw the item in the garbage, or we put it in a box for charity or for someone else who we know will appreciate it.  

The older I get the less tolerant I am of clutter and the more I long for simplicity.   Getting rid of the excess makes cleaning so much easier and it makes finding things when you need them absolutely effortless.
 
There is something about walking into that de-cluttered space, or opening a well-organized drawer that I find incredibly soothing and reassuring.  I feel like I am in control even if the world around me outside of my home is spinning out of control.

I think that our mental health is improved by creating order and freeing up space around us.   We become less stressed, more productive and less wasteful.  

A few things I have done to exterminate the clutter bug:
  1. Spend 15 minutes a day decluttering a room, a drawer, a shelf, a closet.  Visit Flylady.org and check out her "baby steps", if you want a structured approach to this. 
  2. Think of the tools you use semi regularly (tweezers, nail clippers, nail file...) Having one of these- instead of a dozen can make you more mindful of where you leave it.   I keep each of these in a small bin in my bathroom.   I always return these there and can always find them when I need them.
  3. When you buy something new, throw out something old. 
  4. Clean out your purse every friday night.  Really think about what is essential and what is not.
  5. Have one drawer or small bin in your kitchen designated for keys, cellphone, work badge, and anything else you require to head out the door on your work day.  
  6. I have been successful in identifying two pairs of shoes that I wear for work all of the time.   One black and one brown.   I have my running shoes (which sadly are underutilized), my flip flops, my garden clogs, a pair of slippers, a pair of formal shoes (black) and two pairs of sandals (one black, one brown).   I have determined that these are the bare minimum of shoes I need to be well-dressed.  I mention this, not as an advocate for shoe conservatism, but as an example of how you can choose an area of your wardrobe (or life) and minimalize.  
  7. We have a "touch it once" policy regarding our mail.   We bring it in the house and immediately sort it into three catagories- garbage, bills, and of interest.   Garbage is thrown out, bills are put away, and the items of interest are placed in a stack for immediate review and disposal (which technically is touching it twice, but you get the point.)
  8. I plan a menu at the beginning of each week and clean out the fridge.   We use the menu to plan our grocery list.   Yes, I still buy things not on my list, but we buy mostly just what we need and we do waste a lot less.
  9. I find that if I keep my desk top clean, I am much more productive
  10. There are certain spots/surfaces in everyone's home where clutter accumulates.   Make a daily habit of clearing those spaces.  
   If you have a de-cluttering secret to add to this list, please share in comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

Take Good Care!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deciding You Are Worth It

"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on 'til you come to the end: then stop.” -Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.












I think the first step in practicing better self care is simply deciding that you are worth it.  

"But.." You say, "...I have children, and a husband, and family and friends and a career and housework and all my volunteer activities and church activities and community activities and a blog and facebook and.....well, (fill in the blank here)"

"I know I should take better care of myself, but I just don't seem to ever be able to fit it into my life" -I hear this all the time!

My response: "Well, if you weren't here, who would do all of this stuff???"

And I bet you can't think of anyone more capable or perfect for the job of managing your 'crazy, busy, life'  than YOU!   (And, quite frankly, I can assure you that no one else wants that job!   They all have busy lives of their own!)

Well, then, I think we have established your worth!

You are important and valuable.   Practicing better self care is just going to make you much stronger, more patient and just plain better all around for dealing with all of your responsibilities.   You benefit.   The people who you care about benefit.  There is no reason not to!

So, where do you begin?

One goal of this self care journey should just be to keep things simple.

Self care is supposed to feel good and be good for you.   We don't want it to be a stressful and guilt-provoking.   The rule of thumb is to just do your best to take care of yourself whenever you can, and however you can.    (There really are no other rules.)

Plan in it to your daily routine.  Self Care does not have include the Queen for the Day package at your local day spa (but don't turn it down if it is offered, for crying out loud!)   It can be a daily ritual of enjoying a cup of coffee before everyone gets up...or enjoying a cup of tea before you go to bed.  A weekly bubble bath; splurging and buying yourself a springy bouquet, or a decadent chocolate truffle.  It doesn't matter how little (or big) you go about taking better care of yourself.  What matters is that you simply get in the habit of doing something nice for yourself each day!

Take Good Care!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Just Being Me..

“Flowers do not force their way with great strife. Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun.... Don't be in a hurry about spiritual matters. Go step by step, and be very sure.” - White Eagle



A few things I am going to "Be" this week:
  1. Be patient.  
  2. Be confident that what I need will be provided.
  3. Be open to new possibilities.
  4. Be gracious and thankful
  5. Be myself
Take Good Care!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Self Care Girl is Out of the Office Today...


Sorry that we missed you!

 
Most likely today you will find Self Care Girl....
  • Outside cleaning up her garden
  • Spending quality time with Mr. Self Care
  • Reading a really good book
  • Taking a nap
  • Singing out loud to the radio
  • Watching a really good chick flick
  • Talking to her family on the phone
Well, that is what is on her to-do list anyway!

Take Good Care!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Self Care Girl Likes....


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,  Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, 
Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favorite things.
-Favorite Things, The Sound of Music


Something new on My Self Care Blog...

On Saturdays I will be adding a post called "Self Care Girl Likes..."  This post will highlight some of my favorite self care stuff.

Highlighted each week will be one favorite thing from each area of the "Official Self Care Girl School of Taking Very Good Care of Yourself" categories!  These include (with links to their primers) Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Social & Volitional Self Care.

I am not paid for any reviews provided here.  I blog as a hobby and am not particularly interested in monetizing my self care blog at this time...all items and ideas provided here are purely my "likes", influenced only by my impeccable high standards and my mission in encouraging busy women-like you- to think (and do) more to take good care yourself!

So without further ado...

This week Self Care Girl Likes....


Physical Self Care:   

The Nutritionist Reviews  (Awesome blog!)

 I discovered this blog a few weeks ago and I find myself returning often.

Amanda reviews products and hosts giveaways here, but I was particularly impressed by the recipes she has provided on her site (I am a major foodie- and I am on a strict diet-so that is naturally where I zeroed in!)

These recipes are not just healthful, but the pictures look really delicious too.   I confess that I have not tried one yet (due to the aforementioned diet restrictions) but the second I am able to, I am definitely going to try the Skinny Mexican Layer Dip!

Check it out! (Click on the icon above!)


Emotional Self Care:    

Steel Magnolias  (major chick flick)


The ultimate "chick flick".   

Undoubtedly, many of you have seen this movie previously.  I watched this recently and there is one scene that gets to me every freakin' time!  I won't spoil it for anyone who has not seen this yet by providing the details,but at one point in this movie, I always find myself blubbering like a huge baby, and then, suddenly, I am shocked into complete laughter.   

It is an emotional roller coaster ride, really, but I think for women it is good therapy to be able to express our emotion with complete abandon now and again- its sort of like flushing out the system!  

I believe a good chick flick provides us a good forum for that. I encourage you to grab a copy soon! 



Mental Self Care: 
    
Food Rules- An Eater's Manual 
by Michael Pollan



I love Michael Pollan!  He is the author of several very good books on food and our food supply.  This book is no exception.  Short chapters, well-researched and just plain good knowledge about what to eat!

The book is best summed up with this excerpt from Pollan's website:

Eating doesn’t have to be so complicated. In this age of ever-more elaborate diets and conflicting health advice, Food Rules brings a welcome simplicity to our daily decisions about food. Written with the clarity, concision and wit that has become bestselling author Michael Pollan’s trademark, this indispensable handbook lays out a set of straightforward, memorable rules for eating wisely, one per page accompanied by a concise explanation. It’s an easy-to-use guide that draws from a variety of traditions, suggesting how different cultures through the ages have arrived at the same enduring wisdom about food. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat buffet, this is the perfect guide for anyone who ever wondered, “What should I eat?”


Spiritual Self Care:   

Women of Character (facebook page)


I am very big on character- I choose to surround myself with women who are honest, genuine & big-hearted.  Women are so much alike- in spite of whatever differences in experiences and perceptions we have gathered over the years- we are moms, daughters, sisters, friends.  Our roles as nurturers and selfless warriors are so important in the world! 

Women of Character is a spiritually-based facebook page that promotes those ideals of character through lots of inspiring quotes and photos.  There have been several moments I have gotten on facebook and found a post by this page that was just what I needed to read at that moment.  

Women of Character's mission (from their info page):
Love is all. To inspire and motivate each other spiritually to become exceptional women while following the foundation of love. We can then take what we learn and share it with those who lack joy and hope. Be light!

I think you might "like" Women of Character's facebook page too!  Check it out!

Social Self Care:   

Book Swap - (great idea!)


A girlfriend of mine hosts this event quarterly.   It is a great excuse to get together with the girlfriends, it provides lots of topics for conversation, and it's creates a fabulous opportunity to remove old books from you library and gain a stack of new ones.

The swap is simple to organize.
  • Invite your guests to bring along any books that they no longer want.   
  • Arrange spaces in your home to divide the books into different genres (cookbooks, kid's books, romance, mystery..etc..).   
  • As people arrive have them sort their books into the appropriate groups.   
  • Allow your guests to browse and select new books. 
  • At the end of the evening gather up all of the books that were not selected and 
    • a) bring them out for you next event, 
    • b) donate them to charity, or 
    • c) exchange them at a used book store for more riveting titles that may be selected in the next swap.  
Our hostess usually cooks a main dish (a soup, lasagna, ham) and we bring appetizers, sides, beverages and desserts to accompany.  (You can't have a proper girlfriend gathering without food now, right?)


We also have a "circle" time where each of us talks about our preferred genres, our favorite authors and books, and where we can also provides a quick recommendation of one or two of the books we brought.

These events are a lot of fun and that girlfriend time is so important!
 


Volitional Self Care:   

Dave Ramsey  (debt free living guru)


Mr Self Care and I discovered Dave Ramsey on the radio about 4 years ago- well, actually I found him first and debated about whether or not to share my discovery with my "way-too-enthusiastic-about-finances" husband.

Naturally, Mr SC was completely over the moon about this.

We were able to get on the same financial page right away. We developed a budget and a plan following Dave's principles.  We began to just knock off one debt after another, and suddenly, in November 2009 we paid off the last student loan and became debt free-except for our mortgage.   We are well on our way to creating a financially secure future and we owe much of our success to Dave Ramsey.

Dave teaches a very easy to follow plan to get yourself out of debt, so that you can start focusing on more important matters than money...like people...and your health.   Being debt free can help you be more stress free and it really have a positive impact on your marriage.

Dave's advice is for everyone-from single moms who are barely getting by, to young couples burdened by debt, people who have unpredictable monthly income, or even older couples who have fallen on hardship or just didn't plan enough  for their retirement.   He starts with teaching you simple baby steps and before you know will be wiping debt out of your life forever. 

One more thing I love about Dave...the man has a HUGE heart and INCREDIBLE people skills!   I think you will fall in love with this man too.   

You can visit Dave's website to learn more about becoming debt-free.   Information about his debt-free plan and where to tune in for his radio or television show can also be found there.  

Soon you will be "living like nobody else" too!

So there you have it- the pilot post for Self Care Girl Likes...!

Please take a moment and let me know what you think in the comments.

If you have a favorite self care "something" to share, please let me know!   As you can imagine, I absolutely love this stuff!   You can email me your suggestions for Self Care Girl Likes...at theselfcareshop(at)gmail(dot)com.    Please put "Self Care Girl Likes" in the heading so I don't miss it!

Take Good Care!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bloggers Day of Silence For Japan.

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world” - Sadako Sasaki


WWW.FORJAPANWITHLOVE.COM
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend all of February in Japan leading an engineering project.

My team and I visited Hiroshima, several shrines, castles and temples; we marveled at how clean and tidy everything was kept-even in the most populated cities; we ate sushi, rice with every meal, discovered plum wine; marveled at beautiful kimonos on geisha, and we wandered through gardens with views that just took your breath away. 

Yet, it was the hospitality and kindness of the Japanese people that truly made my visit there so memorable and amazing.   You will not find a more polite people anywhere in the world.
 
It breaks my heart when I think about the devastation and loss there and the continued threats that they are enduring.  

For this reason,  I am joining an outstanding group of bloggers tomorrow in supporting the "Bloggers Day of Silence", and I am encouraging my blog followers to donate to the charity, ShelterBox at  For Japan With Love

The Charity: 

ShelterBox was one of THE first organizations asked by Japan to help and were on hand on the Saturday after the quake.  Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items. 
 Please check it out and whatever you can contribute will be so appreciated.

Arigato!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 
May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you, 
A sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you. 
Laughter to cheer you. 
Faithful friends near you. 
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you. 
 
- Irish Blessing

 
Take Good Care!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Little Things...

"True life is lived when tiny changes occur" - Leo Tolstoy


Just a quick list of some little things you can do to treat yourself to some self care today:

  1. Eat something unprocessed- an apple, some raspberries, celery sticks.  
  2. Take a quick walk outside
  3. Call your mom (or your sister, or your best friend)
  4. Sit quietly with a cup of tea for 15 minutes
  5. Make that appointment for your next dental/ medical, check up
  6. Laugh
  7. Stretch
  8. Have a decadent piece of chocolat...savour it!
  9. Drink plenty of water
  10. Sing along loudly to your favorite songs
Take Good Care!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Exercise When You Would Rather Just Eat Cake


A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise. ~A.A. Milne



Is it just me or does everyone seem to be running these days?    I tried running too, and after a mere 4 weeks, I realized "Gee - I really do not like running".    (Actually it was very apparent after week 1, but I thought that my distaste for it might pass)

That realization, coupled with the one I had this evening "Gee - I really do like cake....and steak..and pasta" (all food really), puts me and the extra weight that I am carrying in a very difficult position. 

So, while I am probably the right person to come to if want me to taste test your mother's devil's food cake recipe, I am probably not the best person to tell you to get out and exercise.   My own attempts at sticking to a routine have been rife with inconsistency and do-overs.   I am not perfect....I am working at this self care thing too!

I have done some thinking and a little bit of research on the subject to help us both out.   This is my unofficial exercise guide for those of us who would just rather have our cake and then take a nap, but who know that we must take good care of our bodies.  

Here goes:
  1. You will not be successful if you give up everything you love and make yourself do everything you don't love.    If you love red velvet cake, eat red velvet cake.   Just don't eat a whole red velvet cake every day (no matter how tempting that may be).  If you don't like to run, do not start training for a half marathon just because everyone else is.   (the latter is more of a note to myself)
  2. Do something active every day.  I don't like to run, but I do like to walk.   I have found that a little stroll at lunch time is a nice break.   It helps me to clear my mind and sort out my thoughts and make plans.   It doesn't feel like exercise.   Find an activity that invigorates you.   
  3. Work out with a friend.   Find a friend who likes to walk in the morning or hike on the weekend, join a dance class, an indoor soccer league or another active activity that involves others.   Accountability and social interaction can make exercising more fun and not so easy to avoid.   Playing with your kids is also a good way to make exercise enjoyable.
  4. Purchase a stability ball and use it as a chair.  This is my favorite, because it involves just sitting.  A stability ball is a really big rubber ball.   When you sit on a stability ball, instead of a chair, you engage muscles in your core (mid-section).   Strengthening muscles in this area help your posture and can help you alleviate back problems.   It is also difficult to sit still when you sit on a ball...go ahead see if you can use a stability ball without bouncing around.  Good fun!
  5. Define a Compelling Reason for exercising regularly.  For some of my runner friends, a marathon or 5 K on the horizon compels them to hit the pavement each day.   For my non-running, cake eating friends, a different compelling reason may be in order.   Your compelling reason may be as simple and a short term as the rejuvination that a lunch time walk provides each day.   Or it may be a long term goal to lower your blood pressure, to increase your flexibility so you can keep up with the grandkids, or to ensure that you and your hubby have a long and healthy life together.  
Ultimately, our bodies were made for movement.   The important thing is not what you do for exercise, but that you undertake some form of regular activity.   Losing weight is difficult (Believe me, I know this!)   Take things a little bit at a time and be gentle with yourself along the way.   Find something you love to do and regular exercise will be a piece of cake!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Good Night's Sleep...

There is no hope for a civilization which starts each day to the sound of an alarm clock. ~Author Unknown






Sleep is an important- but oft neglected-basic need.

Most adults (including yours truly) simply do not get enough sleep to fuel their busy lifestyles. This is bad because sleep deprivation can lead to all kinds of preventable illness - like obesity and heart disease.

Lack of sleep can also keep you from performing at your best. It can affect the way you treat other people and it can affect your ability to think positively. The tell-tale signs of tiredness -bags under eyes and being cranky -are just not very attractive either.


Did you know that sleep deprivation has been used effectively as a method of torture? It is a horrible thing! Why do we do this to ourselves?

I consider myself to be a bit of a night owl. It often seems like I don't completely hit my "zone" until late afternoon...sometimes this carries me into the wee hours of the morning...and then, of course, I find getting out of bed in the mornings quite harsh and unpleasant. I have friends who have young kids, friends who work long hours, a few friends who still party like they are in their twenties..we all have excuses for not getting to bed at a decent hour, but no really good reasons, I think.

On its face, going to bed early seems soooooo easy, doesn't it? There is nothing particularly strenuous about it- it doesn’t take a lot of exertion- and there are times (like when my alarm went off this morning at 5:30am) when nothing seems easier or better than being (and staying) in bed. A good night's sleep just feels good!

So, last night I explored the option of getting to bed early. I was so enthusiastic to be making my first big commitment to self care. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, pulled on my British Airways first class pajamas (that Mr Self Care procured for me on a recent business flight) and I hit the hay at 9:00pm!

My records show that at 10, 11 and 11:59pm I was still wide awake, staring at the ceiling (except for when I woefully looked at the clock as it blared back those sleepless hours)

At 1 am I actually got up and had a cup of tea   I fought the urge to pull out my laptop and play Zuma Blitz...and maybe iron a basket of laundry.

I think it was closer to 2am when I finally was able to sleep.

Experts say that most adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I was shooting for 7. I think I got less than 3.

Well, naturally my first thought this morning when my alarm went off was " I don't want to go to work today!" followed by "Mondays really suck." followed by an almost defeated "I can't be self care girl, because I really suck at this self care thing!" but after I simmered down and looked at the situation over my black coffee with a tablespoon of milk (the diet!), I realized that this experience just reinforced that even the easiest types of self care, may not be quite so easy. The real self care lesson here is to be "easy on yourself, when you find something isn't so easy"

I will try again tonight (I was actually planning on going to bed before tomorrow anyway). And this time I have done a little bit more research on the subject...

A few useful tips for getting a good night's sleep:

  1. Operate on the same sleep schedule as much as possible. Go to bed and wake up at close to the same time...even on the weekend...even though you are tempted to sleep until noon.
  2. Coffee and alcohol can inhibit sleep- stop drinking these 8 hours before bedtime.
  3. Get plenty of exercise daily.
  4. If you are having trouble sleeping, a warm bath and mug of warm milk may help.
  5. Keep your room cool and dark
  6. Make your bed an inviting place to be...invest in fluffy pillows, a warm comforter, and soft, cozy sheets... a good teddy bear would be cool too.
  7. Remove televisions and other electronic equipment from your bedroom. Make this room your private retreat.
  8. Get yourself in the habit of following a bedtime routine.
  9. Visit the website: http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/sleep-stages.gif to learn more about sleeping well.
  10. Go easy on yourself if at first you don't succeed...there is always tomorrow night!
Self Care Assignment: Make a pact with yourself to get a good night's sleep tonight! I am aiming for 9:30!  Try it again tomorrow...then see if you can get a good night's sleep for a whole week....you might just make this a good habit eventually...but for now...just start with tonight.

Take Good Care!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Self Care Girl is Connecting "Actually" Today

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another - and ourselves” - Jack Kornfield



Sorry I missed your visit...but it is Sunday and I have made a commitment to disconnect from the world wide web each week on this day.   So if you are not "actually" in front of me, I am afraid I am not going to be connecting with you.  LOL!

 

This gives me dedicated time to focus on my husband, my home and my own self care.  These things are important to me, so I am walking the talk.

 

While you are here...please take a look around- read some of my previous posts.  I love reading your comments, and I would love to have you follow the blog too!

 

Take Good Care!

Self Care Girl

 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Relationship with Food...

Food is an important part of a balanced diet.  ~Fran Lebowitz

 
I am a foodie. 

I love food. 

I love to cook, bake, combine new flavors.

I love to entertain, wine and dine...devour...

I have enough cookbooks to open my own cookbook store. 

I even have a slightly neglected food blog here that I haven't posted on for a while now (and probably won't again until I figure out what my issues are with food.)

The only show I watch regularly is the Biggest Loser....and while I watch, I eat food that would have Bob and Gillian cringing in horror.
  
Food is HUGE in my life.

Earlier this week I started the HCG Diet...For more about this you can check out my journal here or the HCG website here.  

Consequently, I am now thinking about food more than ever.  Realization about the role that food plays in my life is magnified....and it is causing me great conflict!

Some of my thoughts over the past few days....
  • When I think of getting together with my girlfriends....what fabulous dish can I share?
  • When I think of going on a date with my husband...where should we go for dinner?
  • When I think of my next work assignment in S. Carolina....what wonderful cuisine can I try there?
  • When I ponder a cozy weekend at home...I think comfort food.
  • How will I maintain this weight loss?
  • Will I ever be able to have a cupcake again?   Wine & Cheese?  A date at Tulalip Bay or Palisades?
MODERATION!  I tell myself...but then I wonder if I can tolerate that. 

PORTION CONTROL!  I am practicing this now.

Somehow I must find a balance.  But I don't have the complete answer yet.  

I have a goal to get myself off of my high blood pressure pills.   I don't have a firm goal for weight loss.   It is happening though.  Slowly.

***Photo above is from Sonia Studio
http://soniastudio.com/ss/spics/badfood.jpg

Friday, March 11, 2011

Secret Self Care Guidebook: How to Be Queen For A Day

“There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things. I dare say you haven't had much practice, said the Queen. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The first step in being Queen, is to believe -with all your heart-that you are capable and deserving of that title.   (and YOU ARE because being Queen IS a birthright!) 

Look in the mirror, raise your head high, adopt a proud demeanor and give yourself a regal and approving nod!

There you go.....You are Queen!  And now you are ready to go about planning your royal day....

While a birthday or holiday might justify such an indulgence, I think that choosing to be Queen for a day on just any old ordinary day is perfectly Queen-like and acceptable.    You rule, afterall, so why not just declare it on a whim?  (You cannot decide to be Queen and then go about it only halfway!)

Imagine, for a moment, how would you spend your day?  Would there be pampering? SILENCE!? Bubbles? Chocolat?   Would you surround yourself with pets or people?  Would you just like to be left alone?  Sleep in? Or get up and go on an adventure?

Plan your regal day today.   Pick a date and make the arrangements necessary to ensure you can have full, uninterrupted, reign.   

Rule for being Queen for A Day:

1) There are no rules...well, none that aren't put forth by her majesty anyway.

Who knows, you may decide that this Queen -thing quite suits you and issue a ruling to become queen at least once a month!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who's Awesome????. ...You're Awesome!

No one's perfect, but everyone can be awesome.   
- IDOA site

You can buy the prints shown above here


Today is International Day of Awesomeness!

A perfect day to remind YOU that YOU are an amazing human being.

This is what I know about YOU:

  • YOU are perfect just the way YOU are.
  • YOU can do anything YOU put your mind to.
  • YOU hold all the answers YOU need within YOU.
  • The world IS a better place because YOU are in it.
  • YOU really are an awesome and amazing person. 
Now....Go forth and make a difference in the world!  I know YOU can do it!

Take Good Care of YOU today!

One Thing At A Time

Multi-tasking: Screwing everything up simultaneously.  -unknown



Multi-tasking is actually something most women do very well.   If you think about the roles and capabilities of  women- especially mothers- the ability to multi-task is an amazing and essential gift.  

The technology age is built upon our society's need for efficiency in everything.  Technology allows us to increase our capability and our speed to get things done. 

Those who are effective at delivering results in a fast and flawless manner are highly revered.  So it is no surprise that many of us live, breath, and cannot function without our I-phones, text messaging, and facebook.    In theory, technology should actually create more quality time in our lives, but the reality is we don't unplug when the work is done and many of us allow our quality time to be encroached upon by technology more today than it ever has been before.  

The purpose of this post is just to increase mindfulness on this topic.  

There is real value in becoming focused on a singular task at hand- seeing it through from start to perfect completion.

There is real value in unplugging ourselves from machines regularly and completely (at least once a day, maybe even a full day each week and especially when on vacation).  Just imagine the difference in your life,  if you could capture that plugged in time and lavish it instead on another human being in your life... or luxuriously spend some undivided attention on yourself. 

Your full attention is a greater gift, than your ability to multi-task. 

Just my thoughts!
  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Get Over It Day

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.  ~Isak Dinesen
Today is.....Get Over It Day! A day strategically scheduled at the halfway point between Valentine's Day and April Fool's Day for YOU to finally address and release any nagging issue that are taking over your ability to enjoy life.
How to "Get Over It" and send your problems packing: 
Identify the problem - the official website Get Over It Day suggests that if you don't know what you need to get over, ask a friend what they are tired of hearing you talk about.   
Box it up - think about the issue for a bit, and then re-frame it.  How is holding on to the problem affecting your life?   If you woke up tomorrow and it was gone, how would that feel?  What would you do differently?   Apply the serenity prayer too: acknowledge what you have control of and what you don't.  Change what you can; accept what you can't and begin to let it go!
Address it -For those items within your control...In many cases the solution is simple, but issues that aren't addressed become much bigger, weightier problems.  Put your complaint in a letter-even if you don't send it.  Call that person and apologize if you did something wrong (ask how you can make it better).  Decide what the better picture will look like and begin to draw it.    
Stamp it - Sometimes solutions take time, be patient with yourself.   Recognize that you hold the solution within you.  Put your mark on it.  Do it your own way.  Just do it.
Sent it off - Once you have done what you can, let go of it.  Trust that God and the universe will take care of the rest. 
Take Good Care!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women’s Day: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.  
~Madeleine K. Albright




Happy International Women’s Day!  

Although this is the 100th celebration of International Women’s Day, many of us have only become aware of this important global holiday this year….some of us didn’t know about it until yesterday… and it is quite possible that a few of you are just now hearing about it on this blog…(and that is perfectly okay.) 

I, personally, will not be taking the day off today, even though celebrations and demonstrations are happening in our honor all over the world (and I am tempted!).   

It’s not that I don’t believe in the holiday (I really do!)…but like most of the women I know, I have my own little vida loca to deal with today, and I cannot just spontaneously drop everything to join a rally.   I know that many of you are also the glue that hold important lives together…and -quite frankly-even if you did find a way to escape, everything you didn’t do today would be there waiting for you twofold tomorrow…(the laundry is simply not going to wash itself... and why is it that no one else in your house sees fit to replace that toilet paper roll when its empty?)

The most important thing about today (and everyday) is that we take time to honor women.   This does not have to be done on a grand scale…no need to organize a parade…or join a movement.   Little things do mean a lot and collectively we really can have a huge impact.

10 small ways to celebrate International Women’s Day:

  1. Be nice to other women – we have so much in common, none of us are perfect.  Show gratitude and tolerance.
  2. Teach our sons to respect and love women
  3. Teach our daughters to respect and love themselves
  4. Donate your… time, money, clothes, household items, kid’s toys, etc…to organizations that support the growth and well-being of women.
  5. Offer to babysit for a girlfriend who needs a break
  6. Buy a bouquet of flowers…share them randomly with women you encounter all the way home.
  7. Invite a friend over (or out) for coffee and conversation
  8. Be a good example.
  9. Support women owned businesses in your neighborhood and town 
  10. Be kind to yourself

Take Good Care!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Mingle - 3 Questions


This weeks questions: 


1. Where do you think you’ll be/what you’ll be doing in 10 years?

In 10 years, Mr SC and I will be living in Kauai- in a beach house, preferably in Poipu.   Snorkling, eating pineapple, getting lots of vitamin D and (of course) wearing good SPF 30 sun block.   I might work a few projects here and there, but mostly I just want to be a beach bum. 


2. You are ordering a hamburger at a restaurant (or veggie burger :) ) How do you have it cooked, what type of cheese and what else goes on it?


Well done- bacon and bleu cheese please. 

3. What are the current gas prices like where you live?

I know they are going up.  I hear lots of complaints about it.  I am not too worried though.  We carpool and drive our economy car when things get really expensive.