Often my posts are inspired by unexpected happenings. This week was one of those. Last Friday, I met a woman, Laverne, who sat next to me while I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and began talking about how she’d let her own health go this past year, and how she intended to make herself and her well-being a priority in 2014. She said that she planned to make time for self-care by getting her hair done (which she hadn’t in several months) and following up with exercise and diet (which she hadn’t in several years). She’d realized she was neglecting herself when she looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize herself.
I told her I was a women’s health psychologist with a focus on self-care. Then she mentioned that her mother’s birthday was Dec.22 and I said so was mine. Earlier that week I kept thinking I knew 5 people with my same birthday but it had only been four until now. As we spoke, we discovered that both our moms are 81 and that we each have sisters in town. Purely coincidence? Maybe but I think it was one of those “happy accidents” a phrase a pastor I met on a plane ride to Philly used.
I gave her my card and told her about the new Women’s Self Care Group we’ll be offering at my place in STL, Midwest Mind Body Health Center, and that she’d be welcome. Our meeting, a reminder to me that we are all connected.
“If the world is to be healed by human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being, and who can rest in the vitality of that larger body.”
The holidays have arrived with fun-filled and stress-filled times sandwiched together, not unlike raising children, work, marriage and other life pursuits. So, here are some recommendations to make the holidays calmer and happier.
First, have realistic expectations of yourself. Many of us feel disappointed because our “fairytale images” don’t materialize. Instead, focus on feeling good from the inside out. Build a fire and roast marshmallows, shop with a friend, or take a long walk in the woods. Meditate, workout, read, or listen to music. Take time to feed your soul.
Second, have realistic expectations of others. No one’s family or friends are perfect, and the holidays won’t change this. Since we can’t change them, we need to rely on ourselves to gather what’s positive and let go of the negative. Experiment with creating new family traditions that don’t stir up bad memories. If a situation becomes too negative, leave.
Finally, if you’re looking for a gift for a pregnant or new or veteran mom, preview our books on motherhood and self-care at our revamped livingselfcare.com site. While you’re there, let us know what you think of our “new look.”
Thanks for belonging to our self-care community. We wish each of you all the best at the holidays and throughout the year!
Beauty comes in many forms–and there is no form more beautiful than you. Just exactly as you are, this minute, right now, without changing a thing…you are beautiful. Beautiful enough to take God’s breath away. – Neale Donald Walsch
Labor Day has come and gone, signaling the commercial commencement of “The Holidays.” Every year, I feel a little nauseous the first time I see Christmas/Hanukkah items displayed in a store in late-August/early-September. It’s sad, really. I remember a time when “holiday time” started after Halloween and consisted more of family gatherings instead of the shop-fest that it has become.
Instead of reiterating a bunch of advice about avoiding holiday stress, let me instead ask how can you make this early Fall more self-focused? The kids are off at school. Things are slowly starting to settle down. Do you find yourself settling down as well or are you immediately jumping ahead to planning Thanksgiving dinner?
One of the first pieces of advice I remember ever giving my daughter was, “Don’t believe everything you see on TV.” The same goes for all of society’s mass outlets – TV, radio, Internet and stores themselves. If the merchants were to have it their way, we’d buy back-to-school clothes, Halloween candy and costumes, huge turkey dinners, Christmas/Hanukkah gifts and holiday dinners, one right after the other. Family? What family?
As you send your kiddos off to school today, I challenge you to avoid the media – avoid the hype. See what a pre-Fall day can be like with just your thoughts about things, not influenced or controlled what you “should be” thinking forward to. Staying in the present moment is a tried-and-true method for reducing anxiety and tension. So, when you look at right now, what do you see? Thanksgiving? Christmas? Or just September 6, 2012, ready to bring you whatever it brings? This is YOUR “holiday season,” whether it’s already started or not – do what’s best for YOU and YOUR family!
I just got back from a wonderful week of meditation and yoga with Deepak Chopra and the amazing Chopra Center teachers. In it, they talked about how each day corresponds to one of “7 Spiritual Laws of Success,” and ways to practice each law on a given day.
So, here’s my first gift for you-ideas from Deepak Chopra about how to put Monday’s law, the “Law of Giving” into practice.
1. Bring everyone you come in contact with today a gift. For example, a smile, compliment or hug. Be creative. Material gifts count too but research shows that affection, attention and acceptance nourish our souls most.
2. Be grateful for all life’s gifts like the sun, the flowers and waking up in the morning. Be open to receiving gifts from others whether it’s a material gift, compliment or kind remark. Let it soak in.
3. Keep the ultimate “wealth in life” -love, affection and caring ” circulating through giving and receiving which work in unison to keep the energy of the universe flowing. Send lovingkindness silently to everyone you meet.
My second gift to you is to encourage you to sign up for the Chopra Center’s 21-Day meditation challenge “Free to Love” which starts today. Each day has a guided meditation, inspiration and practical tips about improving your health and well-being. Don’t pressure yourself about this. Be open-minded and take from it what works for you. That’s all.
Since many of us (Stacey and I included) won’t be celebrating the 4th with fireworks because our dry, hot weather has turned the country into a fire hazard, we wanted to find an alternate way to celebrate. So, we decided to announce the winners of our May Self-Care Challenge!
No, we didn’t forget! But as many moms know, May and June are jam-packed and sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions. Now that the madness has slowed down, we are excited to announce our winners although any woman who practices self-care is a winner to us.