Preview of February Self-Care Month Events

As you may have seen, Stacey and I decided to designate February as self-care month. With Valentine’s Day not far off, it seemed that the idea of self-care and showing ourselves “a little love” was timely.

During February, we’ll be writing and having guest posts on topics pertaining to self-careself-compassionself-lovewellness, mind/body health and other POSITIVE mental health topics. If you have something to say about the importance of self-care, have an established a self-care regimen that works for you or have questions about how other women (ourselves included) make self-care work, then please contact us using the form on our post announcing Self-Care Month.

If you live in St. Louis,we’ll be hosting several self-care classes at my office, Midwest Mind Body Health Center which are:

Mindful Stress Reduction: Saturday, February 8th 10am-noon

Join Dr. Sanford for this 2-hour class to learn clinically proven techniques to reduce anxiety, depression & stress, and improve health & well-being. Mindfulness skills include: breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation training, mind-body movement, thought-releasing techniques & self-compassion.

Mindful Moms: Mondays 9:30-10:45am

Start your week off in a calm, peaceful way with Mindful Moms. Practice basic mindfulness skills with other moms. Learn meditation, breathing exercises, mind-body movement, thought-releasing techniques and self-compassion to stress less & live better.

Women’s Self-Care: Wednesdays 7-8:15pm *Preview 1.28

Is it time for Code Lavender? Time to reduce stress and increase overall health and well-being. An intentional self-care map will make 2014 a year of transformative personal & professional growth!

Mommy 411: Thursdays 9:30-10:45am

Join Jamie Bodily, PLPC, for this on-going 4-session class and support group. Topics include mom & newborn physical care; coping with postpartum emotional adjustment; dealing with relationship changes & developing healthy sleep habits and schedules.


Video Does Great Job Explaining Depression

I came upon this video yesterday and thought it was an outstanding way to explain depression to someone who has never had it. It also mentions the awful stigma that comes with dealing with mental illness and its symptoms. Feel free to share this with someone who could use it. The URL is Namaste’.

Free Yourself To Be Yourself

In a conversation with a client last week, we talked about how difficult it’s been for her to focus equally on what’s in “her best interest” as well as those of others. While she’s finally doing this more in her 50’s, it’s been hard to overcome the message that women often learn growing up of taking care of others in spite of the emotional cost to themselves.

I still remember when I said “No” for the first time to one of my family members and they threw a jar of mayonaise at my feet. Although I was startled by their response, I knew I had to stand my ground. One of the most revered Jewish teachers, Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now when?”

In her remarkable poem “The Journey,” Mary Oliver describes how ultimately we must abide by our “inner voice” if we are to survive. This is also one of Maria Shriver’s favorite poem which she presented for National Poetry Day at the 2011 Women’s Conference, and which I advised my client to listen to last week.

So sit back, relax (well maybe) and enjoy the following rendition of “The Journey.” Then let us know what you think. Is this too radical to imagine or not? If so, what may be standing in your way? What would it take to free yourself to be yourself?

Click on the black box below to listen.

“Self-care is Like Chocolate. You Can Never Have Enough.”

Like Stacey last week, I’ve been a little under the weather this weekend so I’m posting a link to a new interview I did for Psych Central about practicing self-care. The above phrase is one my husband and I came up with for a talk I gave to new moms, although all of us (including me) can benefit from being reminded.

Here are some recommendations from the interview, which you can click here and read in its entirety.

Practice self-care in intervals.

For instance, take 15 minutes for yourself, twice a day, said Sanford, co-author of the book Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. “Don’t do the laundry, make dinner or read your email.” Instead, take that time to close your eyes and breathe, read a magazine or take a shower, she said.

Practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is “paying attention to the present moment on purpose, without judgment,” Sanford said. And you can do this with any activity, at any time. For instance, when washing the dishes, don’t think about your to-do list. “Just pay attention to the sensory experience” of doing the dishes. When playing with your child, focus on the experience of being with them, she said.

Sanford also suggests her clients try this breathing exercise once in the morning and once during the day, along with this body scan as they lie down to sleep. One client, who had a baby in October, sets her morning alarm for five minutes earlier to practice the breathing exercise.

Ignore the naysayers.

Some people might disapprove of you taking time out for yourself. Remember that others’ objections are more about the discomfort within themselves than your actions, Sanford said. Instead, “listen to your inner wisdom,” and tune into your own feelings. Does an activity feel nourishing to you? Do you feel recharged?

The next time you feel guilty or selfish for practicing self-care, remind yourself that “you matter too, and denying your own needs for a prolonged period does not serve anyone,” Eder said. As Sanford noted, self-care isn’t selfish, it’s “self-preserving.”

What wil you do for self-care this week? How will you make it happen?

Transforming Your Life One Day At A Time

It’s the New Year and the question on many of our minds is, “What will I choose to do with my life this year?” Some of us will resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising and improve our physical health. Others may resolve to be a better parent, spend more time with friends, or de-clutter our homes. For women who work outside their homes, the focus may be on improving our careers, getting a new job or finding more work-life balance. Whatever it is, most of us view the New Year as a fresh start in becoming a better version of ourselves.

Here at livingselfcare, our commitment is to help provide you with inspiration and information to help you lead the best life you can-body, mind, heart and soul. While Stacey and I draw upon our life experiences and resources we’ve found to write our posts, we’re always looking for ideas and recommendation about other blogs, websites, books and resources that offer information on women’s mind-body health and well-being. Just this past week my colleagues introduced me to two new website, and  healthywomen,org, both which I highly recommend. The more women I meet through the web, the more convinced I become that it is women who will reshape the world into a more humane and peaceful place which we desperately need.

What I’d like to say today is that while the New Year provides an opportunity for change, each day brings the chance to start anew. Here are some guidelines for mind-body health and well-being from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Resolve to follow these four agreements daily and your other goals are more likely to be achieved.

1. Always be impeccable with your word.

2. Don’t take things personally.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

4. Always do your best. 

Transform your life one day at a time with commitment, effort and persistence. Yes, you can!

P. S. Please let us know what books, websites, blogs, and other resources inform and inspire you to share with our livingselfcare community.