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Self-Care While Isolating

Self-Care is the Little Things

Self-careAs days stretch into weeks with no direct human contact, I realize one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to self-care. It goes further than simply trying to eat right, get some exercise, and plenty of rest. Those things feed your physical body, but do nothing for the parts of you which derive energy from the seemingly meaningless interactions you have with others, and for which you, without realizing it, take better care of yourself.

In the first few days, I found it easy to skip the simple things:

  • Washing my face
  • Brushing my teeth
  • Showering
  • Washing my hair
  • Getting dressed

The advent of regular dance nights via Zoom made me more conscious of my personal hygiene even though I was one of many images on everyone’s screens. But I also discovered I was more productive and positive when I spent a few minutes taking care of myself.

Keeping Up Normal Activities in Creative Ways

It isn’t just the hygienic practices that need to continue. It’s things like sitting on the floor and doing a nice, long stretch; showing up on Facebook Live to encourage my friends; spending time out on the patio getting some fresh air, and listening to bird song. I’m quickly realizing how much I’ve taken for granted over the years. Even the attention my cats both give and demand has become more meaningful; more intense.

Even from the seeming solitude of my own home, I’m learning I can reach out to friends and offer support, encouragement, and connection. Many are doing the same for me. Not a single day goes by when I don’t at least talk to someone via Facebook Messenger, if not by phone or Zoom. My friends and I are in and out of each others’ homes, in much the same manner as I did as a child when doors weren’t locked, and all the kids in the neighborhood wandered in and out of several of the houses.

Necessity is causing a new normal to emerge; not one that will continue in the same form once restrictions are lifted, but one which gives a new appreciation for the value of human contact. It’s a case of not knowing what you had until you lost it, though in this case, it’s a temporary loss. I know I’ll hug longer and tighter, pay more compliments to strangers, and even find the patience I’ve long thought elusive when I go out into the world unrestricted once again.

Hoping for A Pandemic of Kindness and Compassion

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/in/photolist-dqNKPQ-8xXrZz-a2tqF7-ecib3q-aR5rxR-23UMduh-aWLsg4-aQ6X3p-dTTc5c-dcyQ5m-b1FLUp-drS8ZF-bsmN5R-nNhBzE-6ssEeg-9jEcfZ-aVXtzx-j6LK2o-aNpZyT-dCTfD3-dvswdt-b3pgdi-dtXu4B-6LJawW-8CFHEg-8aL7Jf-hDdmuC-anA578-cPoDxo-9qmjuQ-dtXueV-qsdJSm-dqq1i2-2cGG4pp-dqq1sP-hp14Hw-cbnjHE-7bv7xs-chavXC-7uLgNT-8E3GL9-ar7X3y-aai6ME-nt1LXG-gZvg1N-S1DgTf-8kUop7-6532HD-exeWcJ-di6ynQWill others be kinder and more patient too? That’s not for me to say, but I tend to hope for the best most of the time. Will I see more of the good in people, and be less likely to see insensitivity and selfishness? I think so. I’m already trying to look past those who do things which seem selfish and uncaring, trying to understand what drives people to do what appears to me to be, if not morally, then ethically wrong.

More and more, I’m seeing peoples’ judgemental remarks as simply frustration, and a lack of understanding for what someone else is going through. For some, it might be an inability to find toilet paper. For others, it’s the real fear of losing their home. Somehow, in the minds of each, the problem is insurmountable and frightening.

I’m learning by watching and reading that everyone has their trigger point. Everyone’s ire raises at different levels. When I worked in an office, I called it my “bullshit meter”, but I’m learning it’s more than that. It’s what we are able to tolerate based on our own past experiences.

We Each See Lack Differently

I once had a friend who would tell stories about how his mother only bought him a limited amount of underwear and socks, but spent thousands on face creams and clothes for herself. As an adult, he hoarded socks and underwear because that was his trigger point indicating lack. My own mother didn’t allow us to have pillows as she believed it was bad for our necks. Today, I have more pillows on my bed than I need, though I often take full advantage of the abundance when I’m having trouble getting comfortable.

Who am I to say there aren’t those who lived in a household where toilet paper was in short supply and they had to make do with something else? How can I possibly know if someone lived where cleanliness and hygiene were ignored, and where members of the household were often ill as a result? If I learn nothing else from spending far too many hours in my own company, it’s that compassion and kindness can’t be limited to those I believe, based on my own experiences, deserve it. If I’m going to err, it has to be on the side of abundance; abundance of compassion with no restrictions or exclusions.

Compassion for Those Unable to Shelter in Place

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jkfjellestad/17408694382/in/photolist-swm7k9-5RUVz2-mJjTbx-5RZcQG-LaVetu-ehWSkL-mJjNaa-mJncXh-UQc1nx-mJkdTR-mJnhJS-UNopBe-TLtd22-UnTzSt-UKUNfQ-TvXc6r-UWzrjN-g9uykn-H7hkTY-27dmuiJ-dPKPg5-StARkr-H28Np7-TLyHW2-SasSyJ-ovj4Jg-TDQz2w-g9v3mc-H7rXSy-UWEf8E-qxwgcP-X7uFem-TyrPG7-g9uRij-g9vmqr-TLF3sZ-683YTJ-4DjRMh-5R69WX-eiwKNy-873BnY-787D4h-g9vKLK-UWGbnj-TytBPA-p92cJn-Ufcsfy-URnUfu-TrXPo4-UMmQvhI saw a man walking down the street carrying a large duffel bag and checking car doors as he walked. I called the police for the sake of my neighbors, though most these days lock their cars. It wasn’t that I wanted the man arrested. There had to be something very wrong in his life for him to walk around in broad daylight doing something that could be construed as looking for something to steal. By the same token, the people in the neighborhood didn’t deserve to be robbed simply because they might have what he lacked; a home and a working vehicle.

I was gratified to see a police car going down my street mere minutes later, not because it increased the chances of them finding him and talking to him; perhaps offering him assistance if he seemed to be in distress, but because it meant people were staying inside like they’re supposed to instead of being out on the streets, making work for the police officers. It proved my belief that people are basically good, caring, and considerate of others.

I know I won’t come through this unscathed; unchanged, nor will anyone else. With compassion guiding me, my hope is I’ll come out the other side a little kinder; a lot more compassionate; and a lot more willing to give of myself for the sake of others.

Finding More to be Grateful For

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers.
  2. I am grateful for the givers who set an example for the rest of us.
  3. I am grateful for friends who are making an effort to see the good in a difficult situation.
  4. I am grateful for opportunities to reach out to others in any way I can.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, inspiration, motivation, self-care, love, friendship, dancing, kitty loves, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Indulging in Self-Care With Personal De-Cluttering

Time to End the Abuse With a Little Self-Care

https://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/5553015049/in/photolist-9sGDUM-5EBqW9-7A6Tdw-4gDtmh-aH1FQZ-9FbnL6-GymTWs-26fkr9f-5t3PNx-cec9oY-WMQdCP-bA2uTS-28EnC2y-VHjUDL-28EnB8u-MAb7Yo-2dLwChQ-PchPS-NCzeCi-RQra6J-ciZcrj-2akrLTS-buxsYi-pic2z7-ZVksGY-UFYUDP-MqWXKx-WsCN9A-EaFk7u-bE2XQ9-REsNPQ-JCtDs6-941tK5-p1HRmt-2dZ8F3V-brd3vY-bEEkqK-L1AxbK-YyFiMk-SobxGk-2bdufAm-2dZ8CoM-egeuTm-29STX8v-YHukp7-RR7Dmo-Kn2kZh-Tr68cF-28j8uyd-23xUoYqThere comes a point, many times in a life when you have to make a difficult choice. Do you keep slogging through, unhappy, and maybe taken for granted, allowing a relationship to go on, or do you cut your losses, and allow yourself the opportunity to find happiness elsewhere? Do you let another person; another job; another living situation tear at you until you can almost see parts of yourself disappearing bit by precious bit? Or do you accept that nothing you can do or say is going to make this one work, no matter how much you give up; how much you try?

What if it’s a family member? A spouse; a sibling; a child. What then? Do you keep giving them chances to rip your heart out, stomp on it a few times, then hand it back to you like a piece of spoiled fish, knowing you’ll come back with a fresher piece once you’ve had time to lick your wounds, and worse; forgive them yet again? When is enough enough?

I’ve pondered this question several times lately, and came to the conclusion I needed to cut a few ties and build walls high enough to make it clear the door was well and truly closed, barred, and bricked over. None of the decisions were easy. I could have talked myself out of each one a dozen times. But the truth is, I love myself too much. I’ve worked too hard to get as far as I have, even knowing I still have a long way to go to be fully healed from all the trauma in my own life and that of my ancestors. These people I’ve left were really only a small part, but they were a part I could and did finally jettison. It was time. And yes, one was related by blood.

Different Breaks; Different Reasons

I don’t really look to carefully at which ones were harder to cut than others. To be honest, any relationship I invest time into; that I give my heart to is going to be hard to end. One is perhaps more difficult if only because there are places we have in common neither of us will give up, nor should we. So she has yet to accept my withdrawal, or even recognize how high the walls have gone up. In time she’ll grow tired of slamming up against a brick wall and take her attentions elsewhere. There are plenty who accept them willingly, so I doubt she’ll miss me once she accepts the break is beyond her control.

One asked for an explanation, and I gave it to her. She may not see things as I do, nor understand why I needed to make the break, but accepts my right to my feelings. I appreciate her acceptance if not her understanding. How well do I really understand the people around me? No matter how sensitive or perceptive I am, I’ll never be able to get inside a person to fully grasp what they’ve been through, nor why they respond the way they do. I certainly can’t expect others to be able to do that with me.

The last was a family member, and frankly, that was the easiest one to end. It was a long time coming, and involved a couple of blocks and nothing more. I’ve spent years holding out hope we’d eventually manage a semi-normal relationship. Every year or two, she might drop me a crumb; a picture of her daughter, an announcement of her latest pregnancy. But now she’s the mother of 3 and has made it abundantly clear there are others she’d rather have in her life than me. So be it. For a moment I became her Fairy Godmother and granted her dearest wish. She’s now free to select the mother of her choice, and I’m free to stop hoping for a miracle.

Changing Tides

I’d like to say I’ve walked away without a qualm, but being an Empath is often a double-edged sword. So many times as a child and teenager, I was told I was too sensitive. Though I don’t see it as a fault any more, I do hurt more than my share when I have to walk away from someone I’ve grown close to. Even if the ones I leave don’t have a wound; a scar to show for the brief time I was in their life, I have one from them. I can’t go in halfway. I’m either in the deep end up to my neck, or I’m sitting on the edge dipping my toes in and nothing more; uncommitted, and unaffected by the changing tides. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The tides of my own life are changing yet again. I’m looking forward to what comes in as I continue to make space. Another de-cluttering adventure will yield many surprises, as they always do. New opportunities, new people, new experiences; all guaranteed to teach me something I need to learn.

Outer Changes Heal Internal Dysfunction

It’s already begun in other ways too. Having reached the end of my options with Western medical practitioners, I’ve turned to other options, and learned a lot about the damage I’ve been doing to my body. Suddenly, I’m eating healthier and smaller quantities. The weight that insisted on clinging to my body despite my best efforts is finally allowing me to release it little by little. Maybe I had to let go of one thing to convince another it was time to move on?

Everything in my life is interconnected. I know this on a conscious level, but often lose sight of it when I’m hyper-focused on one area. I forget my struggle might become a success if I figure out where the real logjam is and clear it first. All in all, it boils down to self-care, whether that means healthy eating, more sleep, meditating, exercise, or something less tangible like my emotional and mental well-being. Health concerns remind me to keep those things at the forefront all the time instead of just when I’m feeling sick, or sad, or depressed. A little preventative de-cluttering pays enormous long-term dividends.

Gratitude: My Favorite Self-Indulgence

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for friends who can read between the lines, and check in on me when I’m a little off.
  2. I’m grateful for options; to stay in or go out, to hold on or let go.
  3. I’m grateful for music. Sometimes it inspires, sometimes it soothes, and sometimes it helps me release what’s stuck.
  4. I’m grateful for all of my cracks. They let the starshine and love in. It took me a long time to realize that, but I’m glad I finally did.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, release, de-cluttering, opportunities, lessons, inspiration, motivation, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is Holistic ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Self-Care Makes Us More Effective

https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipglevy/9462509263/in/photolist-fqaQkr-6B62hk-9jZwX5-4FH1En-54uCWa-a3Ns41-6BanmN-6DM4U9-5u49NP-6v9Puu-6DGTwD-4FMcCG-doJVpC-3ervgn-4FMcmC-pb1bmR-6v9McG-6DM5Wm-a71Zuu-5i6sb2-6B9Lkj-4FH1v4-gQpcex-jZKZ5o-6v9NNf-6B5zw6-89YYg5-6v9Xbb-6MPVRc-6v9Wow-6v5Gyk-aPQjfH-6v9QjU-6v5PF8-6v9VcG-cu2a4-DUvgxx-6v9YGJ-5oAaDQ-8ipJ7z-5VgzB9-6B9AVJ-5KTyGH-5Vce46-Uwsk9p-6vNzky-6v5FCV-6B5rgp-6v9UFb-6v9LjqMaking Self-Care a Daily Habit

In a world where we’ve come to believe more is better, one thing we often lose sight of is self-care. In fact, it is often ignored completely until some nasty virus, or worse knocks us flat. Too many of us fail to recognize that if we don’t take care of ourselves first, we will ultimately break down. Meanwhile, as we run ourselves ragged without a break; as we ignore our body’s pleas for relief, our effectiveness is decreasing daily.

But what is self-care, really? It can be as simple as getting up from your desk every hour so to stretch, or as hedonistic as an entire day at the spa or the beach. We definitely need both extremes, but on a regular basis, we need something in between. Here are a few of my favorite self-care choices

  • Making a big salad to keep in the refrigerator for a side dish or an entire meal. I can grab-and-go but still get a healthy meal.
  • Cooking shakshuka for breakfast as inspired by one of my favorite chefs, authors, and food journalists,  Faye Levy
  • Giving myself one day a week to go to the gym and run errands.
  • Giving myself 3 workouts per week.
  • Dancing
  • Getting a massage
  • Reading…all day
  • Walking on the beach
Feeling Good Makes You More Effective

You can certainly make your own list if you give it a chance. The main thing is to do something for yourself that makes you feel good, even if that’s just cleaning your house. It takes you out of your normal routine. Mixes things up, not unlike changing a workout routine. It makes your muscles; in this case your brain and emotions, work differently so you avoid fatiguing them to the point of failure.

Indulging in self-care carries with it some huge bonuses. For me, it means:

  • Being able to work 10-12 hour days when my work load requires it because I have grab-and-go meals in my refrigerator and freezer.
  • I’m already in the habit of getting up and moving every so often, so my muscles don’t stiffen during those long days at my desk.
  • I can take off for long weekends when I want or need to.
  • I can afford to designate one day a week as “errand day” without feeling guilty about the work I’m not getting done.
  • I can work my own hours.
  • No guilt…ever.
Give Yourself Permission to be Self-Indulgent

That last one is to me the most important aspect of the whole program. One of my favorite mentors, Linda Clay says it best: “Don’t beat yourself up”. Sometimes you need to take the time to relax rather than accomplish things. When you take time to relax, you allow your mind, body, and spirit to rejuvenate. You’re more productive for having taken the time to honor your own needs.

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few nights vegging in front of the TV and playing games on my phone. I woke up one morning and I was super-productive. I got a ton of work done, wrote extensively and even cleaned the house because I had the energy and motivation to do what I needed to do.

Getting Things Off Your “Someday” List

One of my veg sessions led me to do one of the “someday” tasks, and doing so left me feeling freer and more energized. I had a large cardboard box full of random plastic ware in one of my bedrooms. It was the last remaining box from my ill-fated remodel. I’d been moving it around the room when I cleaned for years. Yes, YEARS! I just didn’t want to deal with the task of sorting through it and finding homes for the contents. Now that it’s gone, I realize it really stood for my resistance to releasing the emotions from the whole experience. Other than putting down some of the ceramic tile I’d bought for the project, I’d done nothing else to improve my space.

Emptying out that box and either storing, trashing, or giving away the contents opened up the floodgates to many changes.

  • I bought the red Adirondack chairs I’d seen at Lowe’s so my front porch looks welcoming and encourages friends to come visit for wine and red chair nights.
  • I finally picked a paint color and let my daughter have her way with my living room. (I’m loving the sea green walls!)
  • I began attracting new clients because I had made space for them.
  • I recreated a healthy, productive work schedule which takes advantage of the times I’m most attuned to certain tasks.
  • I was finally able to hone in on certain aspects of my business which were bogging me down, like who my ideal client is.
Lose the Guilt

Self-care is effective, no matter what, but to enjoy it’s full rejuvenating benefits, you must give yourself the gift without strings. What strings, you ask?

How often do you stop to do something for yourself, but feel guilty for doing it? You feel like you’re letting someone else down or failing to do everything you should. STOP THAT NOW!

Guilt and self-recrimination sap the beautiful energy you gain by taking some time for yourself. If we accept the rest and refresh time as necessary and allowable, we are far more productive afterwards because we don’t use up the energy we gain castigating ourselves for taking that time, for not operating at peak performance.

You deserve time to refresh yourself. Give yourself permission to do so.
Treat Yourself the Way You Treat Everyone Who is Near and Dear

If we are constantly operating full bore, all the things we say we’ll do “someday” will never happen because we never take enough of a break to let someday come. If we take the time for R & R without guilt or regret, we’ll have the energy to tackle the “somedays”. We’ll have the motivation to do more than we could have imagined when we were driving ourselves into exhaustion.

I urge you to indulge yourself regularly. Take those breaks. Do something you love that’s just for you. Get out in nature every single week. Spend time with people you love and who energize you. Because all work and no play doesn’t just make you boring, it can make you sick.

As a bonus, here is my Shakshuka recipe.

Sheri's Shakshuka

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A light, healthy, Mediterranean-inspired dish perfect for a solo breakfast or brunch, or to share.


Ingredients

  • garlic olive oil for cooking
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 piece fresh turmeric chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/4 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Heat oil in small frying pan
  2. Add chopped onion, garlic, and turmeric. Cook until the onions start to turn clear. (this can be done while chopping the next ingredients).
  3. Add zucchini, cook for a minute or so. Add mushrooms, cook for another minute or two. Add spinach, cook until slightly wilted.
  4. Carefully crack eggs on top of the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Gratitude: My Favorite Self-Indulgence

Last but not least, always be grateful for all you have, and especially the little things.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the people in my life who remind me to take care of myself.
  2. I am grateful for ready access to healthy foods.
  3. I am grateful I take the time for self-care.
  4. I am grateful for my ever-increasing well of energy.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; energy, self-love, self-care, friendship, healthy habits, health, peace, love, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

Watch the Facebook Live video here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

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