self-care

Hedging our bets on an unknown future

Future tripping is not really a gamble but the stakes are our very lives.

The future lives in the unknown and sometimes we get that dopamine hit like the lever of a slot machine.  Will today be my lucky day?  Will I go pro or go home?  So we go outward, discarding the mundane and instead wishing the day away to a future point.

We end up not appreciating how good we have today:  Our lungs to breathe.  Our hearts to beat and pump.  Life force coursing through our veins.  Our loved ones here today to share a meal or a hug.  To think it will be better or I will feel complete or more organized/fit/healthy/alive in the future makes us miss the target.  The point is that today is all we have.

Dreams and goals are important and we shouldn’t dismiss them and not have them.  Just don’t let them crowd our vision of today.  What small steps can I take today?  What future do I envision?  Why does it hold power and energy or attention over right now?  What can I do this very moment to bring that vision closer to my reality?  Ask questions.  Take stock.  Be still and listen to the guidance.

Is wishing away the potty training stage and loads of laundry that goes with it worth not being present to see her smile?  Her full sentences form, her blooming creative play, her, “Momma, play with me?”  This is where I am and the future is uncertain.  Someday it will go by all too fast and be a distant memory.  Today I’m in her life.  We share the same roof and space.

I can wish the clutter and loud chaos away or I can see the bigger picture.   We have the means to acquire all these awesome toys that allow us stretch our imaginations and connect with each other.  I can witness how she’s finally grappling with her own body cues to use the bathroom on her own.  And as in all learning, there are missteps and accidents happen.  And I don’t want to miss it for a moment.

Hedging our bets on an unknown future robs us of what is happening in the here and now.  I will breathe and I will play, if only for today, because that’s where I live.

self-care

What does self-care mean to me?

It’s 19 days into 2018.  And I’ve been inspired by three lovely ladies to start the New Year by putting self-care front-and-center.

January began with Kris Carr‘s 3 Simple Habits to support all your goals.  It really set the foundation for prioritizing my self-care.

  1.  Keep it simple.  Don’t tackle more than three goals.
  2.  Include buffer time.  Set realistic deadlines so I don’t set myself up for failure.
  3. Add more, subtract less.  Instead of cutting out that evening chocolate or snack,  I grab an apple before I reach for that treat.

Last week I participated in Susan Hyatt‘s miracle week setting yourself up for a fantastic New Year.  It was five-days long.  Each day had an uplifting video which included a 12 minute health/body challenge.  My daily self-care soared.

  1. Create a hygge corner.  It’s a cozy nest to unwind and de-stress.  I live in a small house with small children, so my couch became my hygge.  I neatly folded a blanket and had a fluffy pillow that was just mine.  Then I filled my tote bag with a journal, three inspiring books, two uplifting card decks, and a mindful coloring book with pencils.
  2. Mindful mealtime.  At home we usually eat with the TV on or at work I tend to scroll through Facebook during my lunch.  It was a challenge at first to put the technology away.  Now I’ve enjoyed Facebook-free lunchtimes for over a week!
  3. Declutter your wardrobe and find three amazing outfits.  We used Mari Kondo’s  philosophical question, Does this item spark joy?  That pink frumpy sweater and the itchy “work” sweater that I bought at Saver’s thrift store many years ago finally got tossed!
  4. Media detox.  This next tool has been a life changer.  Unroll.me brought my email inbox management to the next level.  I used to check my email and spend so much time deleting emails rather than reading them.  Now I’ve added those unwanted time-sucker emails to unroll.me.  They all get rolled into one email a day.  So the emails that I want to receive appear without any added distraction.
  5. Tiny goals and building consistency.  Small, attainable goals have the momentum to create lasting change. With the idea that tiny goals rock, Susan suggests that we choose one fun and tiny health goal that can be realistically and enthusiastically committed to.  My goal is to sit in my hygge corner for 12 minutes a day.  And if the couch is being used, I can just grab my tote and go to another room and unwind.

Susan Hyatt also hosted a motivation hour webinar.  The biggest take-away I got was Dial It Up and it only takes two minutes.  She suggests doing it while you brush your teeth in the morning.

  1. Assess how are you feeling or what you are thinking about.
  2. How do you want to feel?
  3. What can you think or do to get that feeling?

Here is an example.  Before I get out of bed in the morning, I tune in to my thoughts.  Am I beginning to plan all the little things I have to do to get me and the kids ready for school?  What will traffic on my commute be like today?  Are my to-do’s already forming?

How do I want to feel instead?  I want to feel a sense of completeness since it’s the end of the work week.  And I want to cultivate presence so I can savor the moment with joy.

What do I have to think or do to get that?  I can prioritize my self-care.  I can delegate the small things so that my plate is a little less full.

I’ve been practicing Dial It Up for three mornings in a row and I have enjoyed mornings without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

And heartfelt gratitude to Hunter Clarke-FieldsMindful Mama Immersion.  Five days of podcasts with experts and advice from mindful mamas who share their struggles and stories.  I might do a future blog on the takeaways from that experience.  Hunter’s wisdom and guidance came at the right time while I was forming my New Year goals.  She reminded me that meditation and mindful movement grounds me.  And I can choose to become aware of my thoughts.

For example, when we are sitting at the table as a family, I can notice my thoughts.  Sometimes I feel rushed and on a time-line.  But my thoughts are not all urgent.  I don’t have to share every single one (negative thought, fear, etc.) that pops into my head.  I can let it muster for a breath and the thought usually precipitates.  Then I’m able to enjoy myself, the meal I’m eating, and the moment.  And everyone around me is happier too.

When I feel aligned and mindfully present, I can truly listen to my child or my husband.  We all want to be validated and heard.  I know that’s one of my triggers.  I just want to be acknowledged and appreciated.  And if it doesn’t happen as expected, I can feel resentful, hurt, or frustrated.  When we’re lost in thought, we can lose those moments of connection.

So what does self-care mean to me?  It’s ever evolving.  I finally realize that how I start my day sets me up for how I want to feel for the entire day.  I begin with Dial It Up.  Then I do a few gentle yoga poses to feel grounded instead of hitting the ground running.  In the morning I choose to journal before I check my email.  At work I take a break and meditate for five or ten minutes.  After lunch, I take a walk in nature when possible, weather permitting this time of year.  I enjoy my green smoothie and a piece of fruit as a snack.  I spend the last few moments of the workday to reflect on the day, plan for tomorrow so I can set myself up for success.  And at night after the kids go to sleep, I devote at least 12 minutes to sit in my hygge corner.

What does self-care mean to you?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Here is Hunter Clarke-Fields free 3-5 minute guided meditations for you to enjoy.