Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Declaration of Self-Care

The Declaration of You Blog Lovin' Tour
I was invited to contribute a blog for The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 100+ other creative bloggers. The Declaration of You will be published by North Light Craft Books this summer, with readers getting all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! 

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{ SELF- CARE }
How I use self-care to prevent and deal with stress

When I was asked to write about Self-Care to support the launch of ‘The Declaration of You’, I wanted to share about spa retreats, manicures, meditation workshops and yoga classes. All of those self-pampering activities that I love so much. But, when I thought about it more I wanted to share about how self-care has been the cornerstone of what keeps me  balanced, mentally and physically. Hopefully you'll take some inspiration from my journey and learn that self-care provides the power to self-sooth, self-honor and reflect.  It stops me from expecting other people to make me happy and puts the power squarely in my hands.  When I practice self-care, on a regular basis, I am naturally creative and open to new possibilities. I'm also able to move on after a stressful encounter.

I hate to admit it, but my biggest teacher for self-care has been navigating through various stressful situations. I've learned what works and doesn't work.  I've been able to implement what works over time. I now have a variety of methods that work for me that I can use at the drop of a hat. As life goes on, issues start to have less of an impact because I get over them faster. Life is more peaceful and joy-filled.



I've learned to use stressful experiences as opportunities to discover new self-care strategies

Recently I was on a leisurely walk with my dog, Dexter,  when I had an encounter with a neighbor.  As I was walking my dog, I could hear this neighbor walking and yelling at her two small dogs. My instinct told me to create distance between us, so I kept walking and maintaining a good distance.

Dexter stopped to do what dogs do and I was waiting for him to finish, when suddenly I heard the woman scream from across the parking lot...."Would you walk your dog faster! You're taking your sweet time. I've been trying to hold my dogs back."   I told her I was picking up after my dog and she could walk in another direction.  Before I knew it, she was racing toward me with her dogs, yelling at them and cursing at me. We exchanged angry words and I walked Dexter away from her dogs to another area to play.

After we played for a while, I started to walk home.  In the distance, I spotted the same woman returning to the area with her dogs.  She crossed the street and disappeared behind some tall hedges.  I continued to walk and to my surprise, she was sitting behind the hedges waiting for me with her dogs.  More angry words where exchanged and she even attempted to follow me home.

When I returned home, I was upset and clearly shaken. The situation was over but I was still feeling the effects. I kept thinking about it. I kept experiencing the emotions as I thought about it. I noticed that I was not sleeping well. This is where knowing how to exercise some Self-care comes in handy..

I know I'm not at peace when I keep thinking about a situation over and over again


I have a regular practice of journaling and part of what journaling provides, is a way for me to slow down my thought processes and get connected with my feelings.  From there, I can access what feelings need to be soothed, nurtured or balanced through self-care. 

In this situation, my journaling time exposed my need to know I was safe and I did not do anything to deserve that, so I went to the safest place I know ...my tribe - Andy (my personal hero), Debra (my neighbor),  Marcia and Jennifer ( my sister friends). After talking to them, I felt better, but I was still feeling a bit restricted. One of my self-care strategies is to spend time in nature. It gives me a sense of peace and freedom so I took Dexter to a few beautiful parks and sat with my bare feet in the grass.  I felt lighter but I was still waking up thinking about the incident, so I implemented another self-care strategy, a workout and swim at my gym. Suddenly I found myself laughing about the situation and that was it, I was free.

Self-care can restore peace mentally and physically

From this place I was clear enough to determine if there are any actions I needed to take to resolve the situation.  In this case, I could see this woman was probably just an angry person and I was just in her cross hairs that day. It was more important for me the let the situation go than to keep it alive by pursuing actions against her. 

{ Self-Care is a practice that is perfected over time }
  • Practicing self-care on a regular basis will give you access to peace, creativity and new possibilities
  • Self-care can give you access to your intuition to help you avoid potentially stressful situations.
  • Recognizing when you are stressed is key to determine when you need to implement some self-care strategies.
  • You may need to implement a few different self-care strategies to restore peace both mentally and physically.
  • Things happen in life and stressers do come up but if you practice self-care you'll know how to self-sooth so you can restore your inner peace and have a clear mind to make decisions.

{ My Favorite Self-Care Strategies }
  • Art Journaling : Allows me to get out of my head and into my heart
  • Talking with Friends : Talking with friends I trust helps me feel safe and supported
  • Walks in Nature: Nature grounds me, leaving me feeling peaceful and free
  • Physical Exercise: Exercise and working up a sweat helps me get out any residual toxic feelings in my body 
  • Music : I am so inspired by music and I keep a number of Pandora stations organized to help me get in to a relaxed or creative mood. 
  • Space Clearing: If I feel overwhelmed I feel better when I clear my environment of clutter and make it special by adding flowers or burning scented candles.
{ Let's Share Self-Care Strategies! }

  • Join us for The Declaration of You’s Facebook party this
    Friday, June 28 at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST.
    We’ll be chatting LIVE about SELF-CARE over at facebook.com/TheDeclarationOfYou.
    Hope to see you there!
  • Talk to me! Comment below and let me know some of you're favorite Self-Care strategies.

2 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, the beginning of this post hits home. Recently my mother was out walking her (very small) dog in the neighborhood when a larger dog snapped its color, lunged at Mom's dog, and bit down so hard that there were puncture wounds. My mother's dog was okay (a few stitches later, vet bill paid for by the owner of the large dog, who offered and was very upset that it had happened,) but still. So many things can happen to us out of the blue, it can be hard to keep it together sometimes.

    Particularly if we're artists, and trained to hold on to things, so we can call something to mind in our work later on.

    I took a fairly simple approach to my entry, but self-care is something I think about a lot. I am a bit of a workaholic and really have to fight with myself to take a break sometimes. It's so important though.

    My favorite methods: Going for a walk, sitting in a park, birdwatching, cooking (particularly something that involves kneading or chopping if I'm upset), and lately swimming.

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    Replies
    1. As an artist I let things go in my art. I don't always know where it comes from. Sometimes its new things and sometimes its really old. Each time it is a release. I always feel free after an art session.

      Thanks for the idea of ...
      Bird watching, chopping and swimming. I'm going to add those to my list. Your ideas gave me another one...cloud and airplane watching. Forgot how much I love that.

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