"It's hard to give of ourselves if we haven't given to ourselves".
[one] SPEAK KINDLY
Negative self-talk when you're experiencing doubt comes way too easily. There are days we just can't get everything done, and the things we try to do don't go the way we want. Hell, this is my third attempt at writing this post because I just didn't like where it was going. But, it's ok, and I remind myself everyday, it's really all ok. Making mistakes can be frustrating, but it is also the best way to learn. We start each and every day where we are, and we go from there. We don't always know where we will end up by the end of the day, but we have the opportunity to always speak kindly to ourselves, which sets us up to use those same kind words towards others. It can be helpful to ask yourself, if a friend came to you with this [insert current project here] would you tell them it was crap or would you encourage them to keep going and remind them how far they've come? Be your own BFF and offer those same words to yourself you would to anyone else.
Every morning I drink a smoothie with spinach, kale, and avocado, and choke down a shot with apple cider vinegar and tumeric. Every evening I put a couple of heaping tablespoons into a bowl and pile graham crackers off to the side and I dip those graham crackers into that creamy cocoa and hazelnut spread loaded with sugar and carbs and I enjoy every second of it. We spend a lot of time trying to navigate health and wellness, productivity and preparation. People burn out all the time trying to do things they should be doing without realizing a simple indulgence is exactly what we should be doing before it's too late. Eat some chocolate, drink some wine, sit for an hour in the bath...and don't feel one bit bad about it. Life is meant to be lived, not navigated.
[three] CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Sorry (not sorry) if you thought this post was going to be all about creating rainbows and unicorns around us. Sometimes the best way to show ourselves love is to prove what we are truly capable of. I started taking a really hard fitness class centered around weight lifting. It's the type of class you start and ten minutes in you feel like you might pass out or vomit. When no one is paying attention, you might switch to lighter weights, or just take a break. Don't. Do 5 more reps. Stay on task for 5 more minutes. Write one more paragraph. Paint another happy tree. Whatever it is you just don't think you can do for one more minute when no one else is watching, do it, because the most important person is watching. The feeling you get when you are doing something for one reason, because you're just not sure you can, will make you feel amazing. Every. Single. Time.
[four] USE ALL YOUR SENSES
When we eat, we don't just taste, we smell, see, and feel the food. How often do we really take note of that whole experience? Half the time I'm merely inhaling and I don't even really taste it. What a waste of that experience. Slow down! So many of our daily tasks utilize all of our available senses, but we limit ourselves to only noticing the obvious ones. One of my greatest frustration with social media as a marketing tool is that you can't smell it, and my business is extremely nose-sensitive. It forces me to take notice of everything else I can do to get the idea across that I have something great to offer. Show a photo, talk about the texture, reminding people if their kid were to eat the delicious smelling block soap it wouldn't hurt them, but they'd probably only do it once...I'm forced to see the things I smell everyday in a new way. Being fully present to enjoy each of life's experience, no matter how simple it may seem, can show you things in a whole new way and bring a lot of unexpected joy.
[five] GIVE YOURSELF SPACE
I've always wanted a house with an empty room. Somewhere I could walk into and enjoy light, emptiness, and silence. A place with nothing to do, no objects to arrange, and nothing to focus my attention on. A place where I can go and I'm just me. Though not my current reality, I do think it's important to give yourself space, even if it's just a metaphoric empty room. Kids, spouses, friends, and even pets have to realize that you are not at anyone's beck and call all the time. Everyday should encompass some time to be quiet, alone, and in thought. This also means letting go of work, to-do-lists, and calendars. Sit, breathe, and regroup. Even 5 minutes spent intentionally alone can help you keep pushing through even the toughest schedule or emotional breakdown. You deserve it.