Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

COMPASSION

Kristen Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components–self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

She says self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging or criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings-after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Please practice cultivating gentle, loving-kindness towards yourself as a way of being more self-compassionate.

SPACE

 A continuous area of expanse, which is free, available or unoccupied.

There have been times in my life I needed some space. A weekend getaway, walk through the woods, riding in the car playing my favorite tunes or just to being in a room all by myself.

Who remembers the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella 1965 song that went like this…In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. There is such freedom in that chair.

When was the last time you allowed yourself some space?

GRACE

Is the spiritual freedom that arises from living in harmony with yourself, others, and with the entire world. ~Unknown

A virtue coming from God.

Mercy, pardon, favor, privilege, kindness, courtesy, approval, dignity, temporary exemption, honor, beauty, elegance, harmony, charm and divine love.

My 2019 One Word is Grace. I believe grace allows for our Wholistic heart, body, mind, and spirit to all be in full alignment bringing JOY to the world and all those in it.

What does Grace mean to you?

SELF-CARE

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress.

I would like to share a blog that I think is well written. I credit Tracie Nichols with these wise words:

Recently I saw a social media post about self-care steps someone was taking after coming through an intense few weeks inviting folks to talk about the way they were taking care of themselves.

Not surprisingly, an impressive list of messages, nature rambles, spiritual experiences and the like followed.

What was surprising to me was the mixed set of reactions I felt when reading them.

There was my usual surge of “go you!” appreciation for people truly caring for themselves. I also felt exhausted and overwhelmed at the thought of trying to attempt any of these truly beautiful self-care practices myself. And then came an ache of aloneness and an alarming pulse of shame. (Shame?)

You see, my life right now is a storm of worry and off the charts stress. There are hard, hard things happening for 2 people I love. 2 people who are inextricably woven into the fabric of my daily life. People for whom I have a foot and a heart in the role of caretaker.

I’ll pause here to let you (deeply kind, so very compassionate and caring folks) no I’m OK. I know you’re all wise in the ways of healing and self-love and I’m not asking you to do the labor of offering advice (with a gentle appreciation for any who had that impulse). I simply offer this snapshot of my life to give you a bit of context So what I’m saying next about self-care makes sense.

Since a lot of my work centers around helping people Cultivate resilience, my aversion reactions to this post gave me this ghostly sense of being an outsider in a space I typically call home.

That pulse of shame? She’s there because “I know this stuff and I should be doing better.” which is hogwash, of course. But As I am sure you know when our resilience is stretched rice paper thin, that’s when our inner monsters stage their coup.

Hello, monsters…  Nope. You don’t get to take over ‘t get to take over…

So right now…

~because it’s all very intense and utterly beyond my control
~because it’s swampy with all the feelings, especially grief
~because my time isn’t my own – or doesn’t feel as if it is
~because the weight of this is bringing me to my knees – sometimes literally
~because massages and painting classes and long walks and silent retreats feel mythical. Unreachable. A climb up Everest in flip flops. 

…my version of self-care looks like

  • Remembering to eat.
  • Breathing a quiet “yes!” when it’s veggies rather than donuts.
  • Wearing the softest, most comfy clothes I own.
  • Embracing unplanned naps.
  • Stopping by a park for 10 minutes between transportation runs, rolling down the windows and breathing. Getting out of the car optional. Walking optional.
  • Wrapping my hands around a warm Cup of tea. Breathing.
  • Letting plans – for my business and life – go dormant for a bit.
  • Holding schedules – for my business and life – gently and loosely.
  • Whispering “I love you. You’ve got this.“ when I catch a glimpse of myself in random reflective surfaces.
  • Kindness and patience when none of these work.
  • Kindness when the patience fails.
  • Retroactive kindness when the kindness fails.

So, here’s my invitation to you this time: take a moment to notice the state of your resilience. And, if it feels nurture nourishing, whisper “I love you. You’ve got this.” when you catch a glimpse of yourself in random reflective surfaces. Saver how that feels. Build yourself a sweet well of self-love to draw on when life gets hard.

HUMOR

The quality of being amusing, comical or funny.

Humor is the gift we give ourselves but one that takes a little bit of work. We must look for the humor in every situation and use it to gain perspective, reduce stress and make others laugh and smile. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

“Spring” Into New Beginnings

“Spring” Into New Beginnings

Spring is finally here and it’s shown in many forms.  The weather is shifting, animals are awakening, the farmers are planting their crops and nature is blooming.  Spring brings so much beauty and joy in many forms.

While in yoga the other day, I connected with several ladies and our discussion shifted to the concept of spring and change.  This year, I keep hearing that so many are resisting change and feeling stuck.  Naturally, our bodies want to change as we leave winter and come into spring.  Yes, we often times get stuck in old habits, fear the unknown and resist this growth.  After leaving class, it made me think more in-depth about this concept.

It’s important to remember that change ultimately begins with us.  We are the main person who can shift our own lives. Change is inevitable but how we show up, the choices we make and our perceptions all play an important role.  As we make choices for change and reflect on who we’ve been and who we want to become, it’s important to do so with self-compassion.  There are a variety of feelings that may come with change, leaving the old and growing into the new.  If you’ve made choices that didn’t serve you well, don’t beat yourself up.  Ask yourself what you can take away from it and how you can grow from it.

Looking at life from a holistic perspective, think about where change can be made in your nutrition, movement, relationships, career (and finances) and spirituality.  Think about areas that may need improvement and implement a plan that works for you.  Consider some habits that may be holding you back.  Reflect on when they began, outcomes that have come from them and what improvements can be made to change them.

Below are some tips that may help as you transition into the spring season.

Nutrition

As we move from winter into spring, our plate will change. In the winter season, we eat hot, heavier root based meals.  We crate hearty stews and soups.  As spring approaches, our body craves lighter, refreshing meals.  Spring focuses on liver health, detoxification and it’s important to add in foods and tools that support the liver.  Some of my favorites are beets, fresh herbs (great for detoxification), carrots and avocados.  Eating with the seasons is very beneficial and it’s much easier to do this time of year with the farmers’ markets.

Relationships

It’s important to reflect on your personal and professional relationships. Unhealthy and toxic relationships play a huge part in our health and goals.  Focus on gratitude, forgiveness and implementing boundaries as needed.  Looking to grow your personal relationship?  What new activities and experiences can you create with others?  The warmer weather provides opportunities for outdoor events and activities.  There is a bounty of possibilities for simple pleasures.  Think about the things that bring you joy and who you want to experience them with.

Your Space

If you find your work and home space to be cluttered, chaotic and overwhelming, this may be a good place to make changes.  “Spring cleaning” can help with de-cluttering space, bring an opportunity for new things, minimize stress and overwhelm and help us feel lighter and leaner.  Spring is a good time to donate things that no longer serve us or things we don’t use.  It’s a good time for deep cleaning.  Open the windows to release old air and bring in freshness.

Movement

Healthy movement is so beneficial to the body and mind. Spring is a good time to get outside and move. Consider the activities that you enjoy.  Movement can be anything from hiking, biking, signing up for a race or trying a new yoga class.  With longer days and lighter evenings, spring offers an opportunity for walks after dinner and quality time with family and friends.

Self Care

As you experience change and implement new things, it’s important to be mindful of your experiences, what you’re thinking and implement compassion and care.  Making time for self-care daily is important for the body and mind.  Self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.  It can be anything from a relaxing Epsom salt, reading a book, cooking a healthy meal and implementing breathing techniques and tools for alleviating stress.

When we look at the different holistic areas as I mentioned above, we can see how they often go hand in hand.  Taking a hike with your partner brings joy, creates quality time and includes movement and exercise.  Pack a healthy picnic and you’re adding in healthy nutrition.

This is just one example of creating healthy habits, fueling things that nourish your life and help with change.

Begin this new season by focusing on the key areas of your life.  Allow opportunities for change and growth while embracing the uncertainty.  Focus more on love (of yourself and others) over fear and the ego.  Discover new habits for growth, happiness, gratitude, joy, and nourishment.

Let’s get Spring Cleaning!

Today’s author: Kim Wilson is a retired police officer with a huge passion for helping others and working in the community. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHC) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Towson University. For more information on Kim and how she is empowering women to live the nourished life, please visit her website.

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

As an Occupational Therapy Professional, one of the many things we do every day is to help people with their activities of daily living. Things like grooming, bathing, and dressing.

In the upcoming BE WASHED Event, as your Evening Coach, I will be helping you in another activity of daily living…the area of your thinking.

Imagine if you will, that voice that sometimes sits on your shoulder. Is it whispering words of TRUTH and LOVE or FEAR and LIES?

We will begin the evening retreat by exploring the book, Girl; Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Here, we will learn to STOP believing the lies about who we are so we can HONOR and become who we were meant to be our true authentic selves.

Have you ever found yourself saying things like “I’ll start that diet tomorrow.” Then several pounds up on the scale you hear yourself repeating those same words weeks later? Me too! I can’t tell you the number of times I have started my diet tomorrow, Monday, or the first of the New Year. Or how about…I’m going to take that spin class at the Y, or I’ll start walking around the block every day from now on.

WELLLLLLLLLLLL Lies, all lies we tell ourselves. We like to talk about all the things we are going to do, learn about the things we are going to do, but somehow, we never get around to DOING all the things we say we are going to do. Ugh! Can anyone out there relate?

Many of us can. The Be Washed event will expose more of the most common lies we tell ourselves and offer new strategies to help us be honest with ourselves about what we are blowing off.

The second half of the event we will be taking a look at the book Change your Mind, and Your Life Will Follow by Karen Casey. Her book showcases 12 principles that guide us towards LOVE. Who out there doesn’t need more of that?

Thirty years ago Karen Casey wandered into a support group and learned there was only one thing she could change—herself! The result of this change was so profound she dedicated much of her life to teaching others about it.

I, like Karen, believe if we change our minds, our lives WILL follow. I want to use the opportunity I have as an Occupational Therapy Professional and a Coach to help others grow in this area of thought. Let’s face it; it truly is an activity of daily living.

Let’s think better, do better and feel better. What do you say?

Hope to see you there!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Love Over Fear – A New and Growing Superpower!

Love Over Fear – A New and Growing Superpower!

Are you one of the people that have a tendency to be fearful and hard on yourself? It’s like an automatic default to the land of negative thinking and feelings of unworthiness. Others tell you to stop being so hard on yourself, and you wonder how? If you knew how to do that, you would certainly have done that a long time ago to stop the suffering.

Over the years I began to realize this was a real problem for a lot of people and me. I now see it as an opportunity and blessing in the pursuit of wholehearted living. I learned all about distorted thinking and the lies we tell ourselves and automatically believe. It was a real awakening. I read a book titled Ten Days to Self Esteem by David Burns, and there I found a breakdown of the many ways we can distort our thinking.

  • All or Nothing thinking – Looking at things in Black & White
  • Overgeneralizing – Viewing an adverse event as a never-ending pattern of defeat
  • Mental Filter – Dwelling on the negatives and avoiding the positives.
  • Discounting the Positives – Insisting that your accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count.
  • Jumping to Conclusions – Concluding things are wrong without any conclusive evidence. (Mindreading) or (Fortune Telling)
  • Magnification or Minimization – Blowing things way out of proportion or shrinking their importance.
  • Emotional Reasoning – Reasoning from how you feel. You feel like an idiot so you must be one.
  • Should Statements – Criticizing yourself or others with should, shouldn’t, must, ought’s, and have to.
  • Labeling – Instead of saying I made a mistake. You label yourself a loser or stupid.
  • Blame – Blaming yourself for something you are not entirely responsible for or blaming other people and overlooking the ways you may have contributed to the problem.

What I initially believed is that we feel the way we think. So, I thought to myself, just think positive! But as my default would have it that led me back to… I am thinking positive but still feeling negative so this must be my fault. Not knowing if that was self-centered or reality-based, I kept searching for answers.

That’s when I discovered Brené Brown. This quote of hers spoke directly to me:

(Love over Fear and growing a new superpower was in the works but it would require more explanation and understanding).

Brené teaches us YOUR THOUGHTS + ACTIONS + FEELINGS ARE LIKE A THREE-LEGGED STOOL

One leg represents Thinking.

 One leg represents Feelings.

One leg represents Behavior.

Incorporating all three would then equal our wholehearted living and loving selves.

FEAR thinks-I’m not good enough, or I’m no good at this, how frustrating, I’ll numb out with some of my favorite comfort food.

WHOLEHEARTED LOVE thinks – I’m going to work on this, I feel good about having a goal, and I will take it one day at a time and strive to build on that.

Wholehearted living and loving are about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness, being brave, putting love over fear and knowing we are enough.

While some argue that you can change your life by changing your thoughts, Brené has seen no evidence of this in her research. She says, “Real transformation doesn’t happen until we address all three parts as equally essential parts of a whole, elements that are inextricably connected to one another”.

If being wholehearted makes us whole, then the opposite of that is to be broken, fractured, or in disarray. So many of us are moving thru life this way. The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness actually depends on the integration of All of our experiences.

Remember… the three-legged stool shows the way you THINK affects the way you FEEL which then determines and will have a direct impact on your BEHAVIOR and what you DO.

So what then do we do?

WE GET CURIOUS

Be willing to open a line of inquiry into what’s going on with you, and why?

  • Why am I being so hard on myself? Or others?
  • What is setting me off?
  • How did I get to the point of no return and wanting to punch something?
  • Why am I so overwhelmed?
  • Why can’t I shut my brain off?
  • Why am I reacting so emotionally?
  • What is going on?

Since we respond to EMOTIONS FIRST, and they often direct us to shut down or disengage. This is why we need to train ourselves to get curious about our emotions and develop a desire to learn more about why we feel the way we do. Although we don’t want to feel our feelings, this is the starting point to growing our superpower.

Brené says “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we reject our stories and disconnect from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead,

“They own us, they define us”!

Our job then is not to deny our feelings in fear of feeling them, but rather to explore them with love, grace (My One Word for 2019) and curiosity, teasing out the distorted thoughts and getting clear on our truth (My One Word for 2018). Being open to the daily Wholistic  (heart, mind, body, and spirit) practice of consciously choosing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and living and loving as a whole person, growing and strengthening our Love over Fear Superpower!!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Fiscal Self-Care

Fiscal Self-Care

Self-care can be described as incorporating practices that increase our mental, physical and spiritual wellness. It’s about taking time to reflect on the parts of your life that leave you feeling drained or overwhelmed, and taking action steps to lower your stress and increase your well-being.

Practicing self-care can often take a back seat to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. We can forget how important it is to make sure we nurture ourselves so that we can show up as our best selves for those that are counting on us-as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup!”

Financial self-care is no different! By taking a few steps you can begin to re-nourish your perspective about your money mindset and increase your overall sense of wellness.

Here are some steps you can take to begin the practice of self-care with your finances:

  • Take some quiet time to reflect on your short-and long-term goals. How are your financial decisions supporting these goals? How can you change your approach to making financial decisions to facilitate these goals?
  • Try using new self-talk about your approach to money: stifle that inner critic!
  • Instead of saying, “I am bad with money,” try saying, “I am learning more about how to manage my money.”
  • Rather than “I can’t afford it,” try saying,” This is not in my current spending plan.”
  • Replace, “I’ll never be able to (go on vacation, get out of debt, purchase a home) with, “I am learning to make financial decisions the will help me reach my financial goals.”
  • Make a Money Journal: this can help serve as a place to dream and reflect on the positive steps you are taking in increasing your financial wellness!
    • Use one section for your goals and dreams. Use pictures that will give you a visual reminder of what you want your money to do for you!
    • Label another section for tracking your financial decisions. Pay close attention to how you were feeling when you made those decisions! Were you spending extra to make up for some negative emotion that you were experiencing? What did you purchase? How much did this cost you fiscally and emotionally?
    • Make a section for giving yourself an “Atta Girl” moments: have you decided not to spend and actually put that money into a savings account? Make sure you give yourself recognition for taking a step towards your savings goals. Give yourself some gold stars!
  • Reward Yourself! We have all been conditioned to be rewarded for doing something well. I am a strong believer in rewards! Find ways of rewarding yourself without sabotaging your budget or your goals! Make a list of affordable rewards so that you (and your family) can feel rewarded without derailing the positive steps you have been taking with your money.

Self-care is vital to a holistic approach to our lives! Financial self-care will enhance all areas of your life mind, body, and spirit! By incorporating these tips, you will feel an increased sense of optimism about your future, and new-found confidence in your financial wellbeing!

Releasing Anchors to Help You Soar

Releasing Anchors to Help You Soar

Do you want to soar in the New Year? As we say hello to a New Year, it’s a great time to release anchors and things that may be holding us back.  It’s a time to reflect upon the things we learned in the past year and the ways we grew.  A time to set new intentions and goals.  A time to forgive and leave some things in the past.  It’s a time to see what habits helped us and which ones did not serve us well.  It’s a time for cleansing, growth, and creation.

While on a business trip over the summer, one of my mentors referenced the concept of anchors and wings.  This stuck with me for a while and it’s something I’ve incorporated into my every day. Something I am focusing on more as we move into a New Year.  It’s the concept of those things that weigh us down and the ones that help us rise and soar.

Where in your life do you see anchors?  They can come in many forms.  It may be a toxic relationship or a bad habit that you haven’t let go of yet.  Maybe it’s the clutter or noise that comes into your personal space or your mindset.  It may be time wasted or time not spent well.  Holding onto those moments where someone hurt you or past failures may be another example.

When we think of nature, think of the reasons why birds are able to spread their wings and fly.  They are able to gracefully soar because they are light and don’t have things weighing them down.  Imagine if you could soar in 2019 with less weight on your back (or in your mind).

As you reflect on where you have come, where you are and where you want to go, think of changes and adjustments that may help you soar higher.

1. PERSPECTIVE

The things we think about often manifest into reality.  How would you view your perspective on life?  Do you find yourself being sucked into drama and negativity?  Do you choose to look at life with gratitude and joy?  The outcome of the two can deliver completely different results.  In 2018, my “one word” was JOY.  It helped me to view things from a different perspective throughout the year.  I also started each day with gratitude and wrote down things I was grateful for, who I would reach out to, how I wanted to serve and better show up in the world.  I recommend looking at how you receive things and what changes you can make to better serve you each day.

2. TIME

We all have the same hours in the day.  This is something we have heard many times and it’s true!  So, how are you spending your time?  Do you feel like you’re using it wisely?  Do you think there are adjustments that can be made to help you soar more?  Are you filling your time with things that are weighing you down?  Things that help you to find happiness, passion, fulfill your dreams and goals and also help you grow.

3. PAST

The past often runs into our present for many reasons.  This may be due to past choices that did not serve us well.  This may be a past relationship that hurt or someone you were with who wronged you.  Whatever it may be, forgiving, learning and moving forward will help you soar.  How we feel about people or experiences of our past can make for heavy anchors.  So many things happen for reasons and ones we sometimes don’t see.  As you move into 2019, what from your past can you let go of, forgive or consider as a lesson and tool to help you soar?

Looking for a resource to help you with the mind/body connection of healing?  This book may help: The Healing Code

4. RELATIONSHIPS

This is a big one and something that often can weigh us down.  Consider the people in your life right now.  Do you surround yourself with those who support you, encourage you to soar, help you to show up as the best version of yourself?  This is a big one that I learned in 2018.  I spent the past year cultivating healthy relationships, surrounding myself with GIANTS, created boundaries and said goodbye to things that were not serving me well.  Depending on your situation and relationship, making adjustments may be hard or easy.  Figure out what works for you.  If it’s not serving you well, maybe it’s time to say goodbye or at least create a healthy boundary.

5. LIFESTYLE

Our lifestyle plays a big part in how much we soar and show up.  I look at life and the wellness wheel from a holistic perspective.  Considering relationships, spirituality, career, movement and exercise, nutrition and nourishment.  Looking at your wellness wheel, what seems off-balanced?  Which category (or categories) can you nurture more to better serve you?  What bad habits and choices are a part of your world that may serve you better to let go of?

 6. HABITS

The start of a New Year is a great time to reflect on your habits.  Good and bad, we all have habits that are holding us back, weighing on our mind, creating unhealthy energy and don’t serve us well.  This could be anything from keeping clutter, hitting your snooze button many times, eating for unhealthy reasons, spending too much time on social media and more.  I encourage you to reflect on the habits in your life.  What can you let go of and which ones may serve you better?

7. FEAR

I want to focus on this topic because it’s something that affects so many and holds people back.  Fear is important for survival.  We have a fear of falling or being hurt.  Yet, fear holds us back and keeps us complacent for many reasons.  We fear failure, success, what people think and more.  Do you feel like you’re living to your potential?  Does fear hold you back from doing so?  Where can you discover ways to grow, be courageous and take chances?  This isn’t referring to being dangerous to the extent of hurting or harming yourself and others.  This is about living outside of your comfort zone, taking chances, learning and growing!

Looking for some additional motivation and mindset shifting?  I’ve always loved the videos on Motivation Grid

So, what changes can be made?  What bad habits and toxicity can be eliminated or distanced?  What better things can be replaced to help us soar and succeed? Change is uncomfortable and not always easy.  Yet, sometimes change is exactly what we need to flourish, grow, become a better version of ourselves and SOAR.

Where do you feel the need to make a change?  I welcome you to comment below or share in a private message.  If you feel like you need additional support or accountability, I welcome you to contact me.