Smell the Roses: They’re Always There

Many times I figure out what my New Year’s resolution is after the new year starts. That’s what happened this past week.  I woke up Wednesday night thinking, “Stop struggling.  Enjoy the good life you have.”  Don’t get carried away and think my life is perfect.  It isn’t.  Although Ann and I teach  self-care, we are equally challenged to make it part of our daily lives.

The New Year is about how to improve life and ourselves rather than savor what’s already working.  In fact, last week I talked about taking small steps to make change stick which still applies because it’s  challenging to “smell the roses” when facing the “daily grind” as one of my clients puts it.  When did we decide that life had to be difficult and stressful instead of satisfying and joyful?  How often do we hear each other say, “I’m so stressed.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”   It’s the mantra of modern life.

I’m listening to Deepak Chopra‘s Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul: How to Create a New You. He says that reconnecting with our soul’s inner guidance can make our lives easier.  Well, mine woke me up last week and I’m resolved to spend more time soaking up the sunshine and appreciating my blessings.  My family, friends, comfy home, writing with Ann, work I love , and the wonderful community of women whose lives have touched mine.  Each day is a gift.  Even in the darkest night, the stars shine.

New Year for a New You

There’s always the classic “Top 10” list for resolutions: 1. More time with
family and friends; 2. Fitness; 3. Tame the bulge; 4. Quit smoking; 5. Enjoy life more; 6. Quit drinking; 7. Get out of debt; 8. Learn  something new; 9. Help others; and lastly: 10. Get organized. What seems to be missing from this list? Self-care! Granted some of these “Top 10” touch on the concept of self-care, but what does it really mean to create a “new you” and stick with it all year round? What are you going to do to make sure you break your bad habits and take care of yourself more and really mean it?

Real woman Mollee Bauer of pregnancy.org

Last time I touched on how self-care should be a revolution. I still believe that whole-heartedly. Taking time out of your day to meditate, laugh a bit,  eat right, do for yourself first, even smile with yourself, is crucial to being a productive and happy woman. It’s a new year – a clean slate – let’s fill that slate with powerful and beneficial actions of self-care! Find a tip or two on this site! You won’t be sorry!

At  www.pregnancy.org, we’re in a similar business. We give women the tools to not only empower themselves, to feel safe and secure but also advice on how to take care of themselves, pamper themselves, and make certain they have the tools necessary to meet each daily  challenge.

Today’s guest author is  Mollee Bauer,  Founder & General Manager of www.pregnancy.org.

How to Make the Most of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Everyone starts the New Year’s with the best intentions.  Determined to make changes to improve their lives in significant ways.  And what happens?  Most of us fail miserably.  Instead of aiming for the moon, we need to undertake small, attainable goals.  Like practicing self-care 15 minutes a day (which many have remarked is difficult enough).

Breaking the change into smaller steps can  make it easier to achieve.  For example, if someone wants to lose 50 pounds this year, start with losing 1-2 pounds each week.  To do this, a person has to reduce their daily calorie intake by 500 calories each day or increase their activity to burn an extra 500 calories a day.  Doesn’t this sound less daunting?  By changing how we think about our goals, we can improve our motivation and persistence.

Likewise, it’s important to set our daily attention on what we want to do different.  When we get up in the morning, spend 5 minutes visualizing the desired change and let it be known that “Today I will make this happen.”  Once the intention is set, go about the day normally.  Remember,  life responds to what we put our attention and intention on.

Finally, if we get off track, don’t become self-critical.  Since what we think about expands, this only leads to feeling worse and diminishing motivation and persistence.  Instead, use this as a learning opportunity to re-evaluate what may need to be done and re-calibrate the next step.  Each moment affords  a new choice.  Success is only a step away.

Finding Your Happy Place

 You just wrapped up your holiday festivities and this years’ “fun” has left you more stressed than ever.  It’s time to find your happy place.

Your happy place is the place you go when you need to rejuvenate.  It can be your bath tub or your favorite chair where you can escape with a good book.  And if your happy place is a beach in Aruba where you know you can’t literally go, escape there in your mind.  The point is you need to get to that happy place and you really should visit daily.  Some experts say taking just 15 minutes a day for YOU can make all the difference in the world in your outlook and your health.  Don’t think you have 15 minutes for you? Well, if you believe it’s simply not possible, you’ll be right. But imagine how sweet it would be if you were wrong on this one!

Think about all the things you consider important in life.  Shouldn’t you be on that list?  Where do you go to escape the stress of daily life? Tell me about it and inspire other moms to find their happy place, too.

Today’s guest author is Desiree Miller, mom of 4, who developed her motherhood expertise into a baby planning business, www.bottlestobritches.com

As Ann and I said many times during the 21-day self-care challenge, 15 minutes  is a great start toward filling your emotional pitcher and making your  health and well-being a priority.  Go Desiree.

After Christmas Prescription: Rest and Restore

I was visiting with my cousin at my mother’s annual holiday party when he commented to me he was glad to have “endured” Christmas.  I told him that once his children were older, like mine who are now 22 and 18, he would enjoy the holiday more.  I recalled how I felt after decorating, shopping, wrapping, and celebrating with the girls in tow, and how my joy was tempered by exhaustion.

Our self-care tip this post-holiday week is to rest and recharge your battery.  Don’t put pressure on yourself for playdates, taking the children out or visiting friends and family unless that’s easier for you.  Resist preparing  gourmet meals, downloading holiday pictures or catching up on errands.  You have the entire  year ahead.

What to do instead?  Rest.  Restore.  Recharge.  No child has ever died from a diet of hot dogs and macaroni.  In fact, many of them prefer it.  They will gladly wear the same clothes and don’t care if their rooms are a mess.  Also, let them entertain themselves.  What about the new toys they took seconds to unwrap?  They can play with them!

For a healthy and happy new year, you need to have the energy to enjoy it.  As Ann and I always say, you must keep your pitcher filled to take care of yourself and those you love.  Don’t run yourself ragged like little Spudgy and miss out on the fun.  Give yourself a break this week.  You deserve it.   And get some sleep.

A holiday challenge

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas / Ev’rywhere you go…”  A beautiful reminder for those who love and celebrate this holiday to see all the decorations:  houses lit up on cold winter nights, bell ringers outside stores with “SALE” signs in windows, even Santa sledding on an electric razor on television.

For those of us who are not Christians, however, it’s a constant reminder of our differentness.  The saturation of our culture in the Christmas holiday makes this a difficult time of year.  How do those of us who swim against the tide maintain perspective in the midst of the season?

For me, I remind myself of what’s really important to me.  I find the commercialism and gift-giving particularly difficult and have tried to bow out of family activities that involve gift-giving.  But I’ve come to realize that, though this tradition isn’t meaningful to me, it makes the grandparents happy to give my children gifts, and my children feel loved and happy  receiving those gifts.

I also remember that the basics of living my self-care are more important than ever  this time of year:  deep breathing, regular exercise, healthy food choices, a good night’s sleep.  I  make the holiday my own as much as possible, holding to traditions that are meaningful to me and letting go of the rest.  “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men” is a gift I give myself every year.

JoshuaDavisPhotography

Thank you to Angela, mom of 2 from Wisconsin, for this invaluable perspective in today’s post.

Happy Holidays! Self-Care Books We Love

After watching Oprah’s holiday gift show, Ann and I thought seriously about a gift for all of you for your generosity of living self-care with us. As avid readers, we’re gifting you a list of our favorite self-care books. Here’s to your health and happiness.

Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom’s Postpartum Survival Guide. Our new book on what to expect emotionally after having a baby, and how to survive and thrive new motherhood. Detailed self-care plan for all moms.

Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box: Cut Yourself Some Slack (and Still Raise Great Kids) in the Age of Extreme Parenting. Ann’s most recent solo work, offering concrete ways to change the thinking behind today’s “perfection parenting.” Quit second guessing “am I a good mom?” “How’d I wreck my kid’s life today?” and embrace that you already are a perfectly good parent.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.Dr. Christiane Northrup’s comprehensive book on women’s health and how our emotional life affects us. Great advice about healing from emotional pain and caring for our bodies and souls. Thanks to Dr. Northrup for recommending Life Will Never Be the Same.

The Dance of Anger The essential classic by Harriet Lerner, guiding women through letting go and using anger as a tool for change in lasting relationships. EVERY woman needs this book. Thanks to Harriet for recommending Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box.

Gift one (or all!) to yourself or a woman you love today.