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stress reduction

Self Care For The Busy Summer Bee!

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Self Care For The Busy Summer Bee!

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Summer is busy! This seems to be a topic of conversation with whoever I talk to lately. With the beautiful weather and so much going on, we can try to pack more into the few months of summer than we do all year. Plans every weekend, trips, extra events to attend during the week, and the draw to be more active outside, on top of our regular schedules. Yes, many of the things that keep us busy in summer are fun, but still can have a tendency to lead to some feelings of burn out, drained, tiredness, and generally feeling like we are constantly buzzing around like a busy bee! Whether it's summer time, or anytime we feel caught up in the whirlwind of life, it's such a good thing to remember how important self care is. We all know the basics. Eating healthy and getting adequate sleep & exercise are important to feel good in order to keep up with life. Being a busy bee can be fun, and all the summer fun can nourish us in great ways, but are you doing things to relax? Rejuvenate? Treat yourself & your body? What things are you doing to 'fill your cup'? What kind of things are you doing that allow some down time to feed the energy you need to keep up with the busyness life?

I've been feeling a bit caught up in the whirlwind of life lately myself, and have been hearing from so many people about how they have been as well. With this in mind, I thought I'd share with you today a list of ways that you can step out of the busy whirlwind of summer, stop your buzzing around for periods of time,  and take some rejuvenating time for self care. Making the time for some of these self care practices can make a huge positive difference in how you feel. When you are doing things to keep your cup full, everything else seems much easier to manage, and your can find yourself enjoying the busy summer life more.

If you've been feeling the buzz, and know you could benefit from taking some time for self care, the 10 tips below are for you! Pick one that you feel drawn to and start there! Making a little time to take good care of yourself can help the busy buzzing around of summer feel so much more enjoyable, and less exhausting!

Wishing you wellness!

Shelly

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10 Self Care Tips For The Busy Summer Bee:

  1. Take some time to care for your body. Maybe it's a long bath or spa night at home. Maybe it's going to a spa for a treatment or relaxing afternoon. It could be a massage or acupuncture session. Choose what feels best for you. Whatever it is, create some quiet time to give your body some love, so it feels rejuvenated!
  2. Cloud watching or start gazing! Summer is a great time to throw  blanket on the ground or find a cozy hammock to nestle into and take some time to just stare at the sky. Taking a few minutes to just sit still and soak up some sun rays can be a wonderful break too.
  3. Work on being more present with your normal routines of the day like brushing your teeth, getting ready for your day, and eating your breakfast. Allowing yourself to be fully present with the normal mundane tasks of your day, rather than rushing through them while thinking about everything else you need to do with the rest of your day allows you to own that time as yours. Starting your day by doing the tasks of your morning routine being fully present helps it to feel more relaxing and could turn it into 'you time' rather than time where your brain is consumed with all the other on-goings of your day & your life.
  4. Take some time to meditate, even if only for a short while. Starting your day with even a short meditation can set the tone for your whole day mentally and emotionally. It can also start your day off with a feeling of having some of your own time before you head into a full & busy day. Taking a couple of minutes to meditate in the middle of your busy day can really help to reset you as well, and leave you feeling recharged. In the middle of your busy day, take a minute to just close your eyes, and check in with yourself on your thoughts & feelings on the day. Take a minute to check in with how your body is feeling and know if there is anything that it needs. Then just take a minute to breathe and focus on your breath. Taking these 3 minutes in the middle of the day can work wonders. Try it and see!
  5. Unplug from electronics and social media for periods of time. Depending on your usage and work, maybe this means checking out  from electronics for a certain time of the day, or creating a healthy morning routine that involves not checking in online for the first hour or two of your day. It could mean taking weekends off of social media, or an entire week off. Whatever you can make work for you. Most of us have a tendency to be too attached here, and giving yourself intentional breaks is wonderful and recharging! It's not until you give yourself a break, that you really realize how much of your time & energy these things can consume you.
  6. Take yourself on a date and do something that is very relaxing for you. Maybe it is going to a movie, sitting in the park with a good book and a great lunch, or antique store perusing....whatever you find most relaxing on your own. Make a little time to just relax and treat yourself in this way.
  7. Take some time to journal. Use this time however it will best serve you. Write out things that have been bothering you,  celebrate the things that are going great for you, journal about what you are grateful for, use it as a tool to make a decision you are having a hard time with, or simply just write about whatever comes up. Journaling can be beneficial in so many ways, and is great time to stop and be introspective.
  8. Take some time to just 'be'. Curl up on the couch with a good book. Sit on your porch and listen to the birds sing. Sit on a park bench and people watch. Bring a floating device to a lake and just float.  If you are someone who struggles with constantly moving and being busy, making just a little bit of time here can really help to recharge  and calm you. If you are a really busy bee, be patient with yourself here. It may take a little time to relax about taking time to relax!
  9. Say 'NO' more often. We don't have to say yes to everything. Recognize when you are feeling tired, busy, or overwhelmed, and have the ability to say no to things, events, favors, or whatever is being asked of you. Many of us have a hard time saying 'no'. It  can take practice to have this become an easier thing, so start practicing! Ease up on the pressure you put on yourself in this way, and know that when you say 'no' to things, you are saying 'yes' to yourself by protecting your time, your energy, and taking good care of yourself. We can't be everything for everyone, attend everything, or do everything that is presented to us, or we would end up being depleted. This is an important thing to learn, and a huge gift to yourself.
  10. Especially when you are really busy, make a point to do at least one thing a day just for you. Just one nice thing for yourself. Treat yourself to something nurturing or rejuvenating...Even if it is just a little break in the day. You may not feel like you have the time on busy days, but make the time. We make time for so many things that are important in life. We can make the time for ourselves. It's the most important thing.

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Does Indecisiveness Make You Crazy?

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Does Indecisiveness Make You Crazy?

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What is it? Something you can’t make a decision on? Can’t figure out what to do? Maybe you aren’t sure how to navigate a certain relationship? Or perhaps you are trying to make a decision on which job to go for? Where to take a vacation? How to hold your child accountable? Whatever it is... you are struggling with this thing, and you can’t figure out the best way to handle it....What to decide?

A lot of things cause stress. For some of us, decisions can one of those things. Indecisiveness can make me crazy sometimes, and I know I'm not alone here.

I’ve been there. A lot. I recently made a joke that indecisiveness maybe a genetic thing in my family, as we all seem to be plagued by it!

Life is full. It’s full of decisions. Full of complications. Full of details to consider before making complicated decisions. Especially in our often fast paced life it can feel challenging to get clear on things, as sometimes it feels like we don’t even have the time to stop and really figure out what’s going on.

When we find ourselves in a situation like this, it’s easy to overthink things. It’s easy to attach too much emotion to our decisions, and be unclear about what we are doing and why. Many of us have a tendency to base decisions in our life on how it will affect other people more than ourselves, or simply get jumbled in why we are doing what.

I have a trick I’d like to share with you that works wonders if you are feeling plagued by indecision. It’s like magic I tell you!

I call it the movie theatre trick.

All it requires is a little imagination.

You know how when you are watching a movie…..if it’s a good movie, you get really invested in the characters? You start to feel a part of their situation, and you find yourself trying to tell the character in the film what to do?

Give a horror film for example….you find yourself yelling at the screen….”No! No! Don’t go outside damn it! He’s out there! What are you thinking?!"

Or in a Romantic drama you may find yourself saying something to the character along the lines of….”don’t do it! Don’t go back to him! He doesn't love you!” or the opposite “What are you thinking? don’t walk away from love like that! Why would you walk away?"

It's easier from the outside of a situation to bark orders of what should be happening right? So, how about looking at your own situation where you are struggling with a decision, and try to view it from an outside perspective?

Here’s the trick:

Sit or lay down for a few minutes. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself in a movie theatre. Feel yourself in the seat. Smell the popcorn. Really use your imagination to put yourself there.

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Now, the big screen comes on, and it’s showing your life. Your situation that you are struggling with. To the best of your ability, in your mind's eye, view yourself as a character on the screen, looking in on this situation in your life.

Watch the storyline that lead up to this moment in time. See all the details, everything that has happened, everything that is relevant to what you are trying to figure out. Do your best to see all of this from an outsider's view. From a different perspective. Remember….you are watching a character on the screen!

Now, you’ve got the storyline down. You've seen it all. You know the character and the situation......and now the current scene is that situation that you’ve been struggling with knowing what to do. From this outsider point of view, tell your character what to do. What do you want to be shouting at the screen? Are you saying “No No! Don’t do it!” Or “Yes! Go for it”. What is the advice you are wanting to give that character? Talk to the character on the screen as if you would any other character.....tell her (or him) what you think she should do. Tell her why you think she should do that. Break it down.....dish out advice to your character.

I swear this visualization can be magical.

Why is this such a magical trick?

Because if you can successfully bring your mind out of the situation, and look in from the outside, you end up with a totally different perspective. Sometimes all we need to get clear on a situation is to take a step back. Step out of the story we've been telling ourselves about it, and look at it with new eyes, a new perspective.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life this has helped me out.

From big decisions to small. A little different perspective can go a long way!

So are you one of those people (like me) that struggles with indecision? Do you have a tendency to get wrapped up in the details of your own story and make decisions complicated? If so, I invite you to utilize my movie theatre trick. And let me know how it goes!

Wishing you Wellness!

Shelly

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The Habit of Positivity

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The Habit of Positivity

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I invite you to take a moment. Close your eyes, and picture a cup sitting in front of you filled to the halfway mark. How do you see it? Be honest with yourself….Do you have a tendency towards the glass half empty or the glass half full feeling?
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Positivity, like many things in life, is a habit. Negativity is habit as well. Regardless of what kind of influences we had growing up, or what kind of circumstances we've faced in our lives, positivity and negativity are still habits.
Habits are things we have control over. They can sometimes take a lot of effort to change, but they are totally changeable if we have the desire to do so.
There’s a quote by Charles Swindle that I remind myself of often:
“We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
The ability to hold a ‘glass half full’ attitude can change how everything feels in life. It can  take a multitude of shitty situations feel like opportunities for growth, and blessings in disguise. Research has clearly shown that a negative outlook on life can contribute to everything from depression to heart disease to lowered immune system function. It can affect sleep, weight maintenance, the quality of your relationships, your social life, and even your ability to hold a job.
I could write a book about this subject here, but my intention in writing this today is simply 2 things.
First, I’d like you to take a good look at yourself and really ask yourself how you are doing in this area? On a scale of 1-10, how positive would you say you are? Where do you struggle with keeping your attitude positive?
Secondly, I want to offer some practices that you can incorporate into your life, to create a habit of positivity. Even if you  do feel like you are someone who is mostly on the positive side, how can you bring that to a 10? Life is a continual learning process, and I’m all about continual positive personal growth.
So, how can we foster more positivity in our lives? Here are some suggestions, and things to ponder:
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Every evening list at least 5 things that you were grateful for in your day. Gratitude creates happiness & positivity.
  2. Practice giving compliments! Give them away freely. Purposely look for the good in others. Praise the people you interact with. Give strangers compliments! Be sure these are genuine compliments, but give them away freely! Make a point to do so several times daily.
  3. Share good news. Have something good going on? Tell people about it! Studies show that sharing happy events bring more happiness! On the flip side of that, ask the people in your life what's good with them? We can all have a tendency towards wanting to share the things we are struggling with. Practice focusing more on the positives in your conversations.
  4. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. This includes the conversations and the daydreams you have all day!
  5. Purposefully spend more time around others that have glass half full attitudes, and restrict your time with those that have a glass half empty attitude. Just as you are what you eat, to a certain degree, you are who you spend time with as well!
  6. Practice correcting negative thoughts. Try to commit to this for a day or a week to start, and build on it. Whenever you find yourself thinking a negative thought, try to flip it around. Find the blessing in disguise, or the lesson in the struggle, or something positive surrounding whatever you are feeling negative about. Perhaps something awful happened in your day. Maybe losing your job creates the space for you to explore a career you’ve been to afraid to make the leap towards? There is a positive side to everything. Find it. Flip it.
maintaining a positive attitude takes practice. Like anything else that takes practice, the more you do it, the more easy it becomes. Positivity becoming second nature for you, creates a life that is healthier and happier. So yes, it’s absolutely worth the effort!

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Redefining Relaxation

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Redefining Relaxation

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Recently, I had a conversation with someone that sparked me to think about what we view as relaxation these days. I say these days because I think that culturally it has changed a lot. In our current fast paced world where we are running non stop and taking in information constantly, our view of relaxation is kind of skewed.
I was speaking to a woman that considers herself an introvert, so someone who naturally needs some quiet down time to themselves to recharge. When I asked her what she did for relaxation, what she named was working out, running, dance class, and even food shopping on her own, as she has 3 kiddos that are usually with her.
I found myself asking….are these things really relaxation? Are our lives just moving so fast these days, that exercise and grocery shopping is viewed as relaxation? What happened to the days of sitting on the porch swing watching the world go by? As a society has our definition of relaxation skewed? I personally think so.
Please don’t get me wrong….I don’t discredit exercise, dance, or any other activities that you enjoy one bit. They are amazing for your health, wellness, and happiness! They have great benefits that can be similar, like stress reduction, and mood boosting. You may feel really relaxed after you have exercised, and grocery shopping may feel relaxing compared to the rest of your busy day.  I’m just saying that exercise or grocery shopping is not actually relaxation in my opinion.
Why is relaxation important? Because it helps us recharge. It allows our bodies & brains that are so used to moving a million miles a minute in our fast paced culture to take a break. It benefits our immune system & reduces stress which affects all areas of our health, and our mood. For me, when I am truly relaxing, that is when I get to daydream about my life. I get to ponder the things that I don’t have time to ponder otherwise, and this is when inspiration flows in. It’s important time to me. It recharges me, and gives me time to connect with myself and play with those daydreams of mine. I believe that we are all creative creatures, and having that time to daydream and allow inspiration to flow at free will is so beneficial!
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What do I think real relaxation looks like? I know it can be different for everyone, but I’ll leave you with a few ideas that I like.
Maybe it means taking a slow stroll in the woods or through your neighborhood where you are taking in all the colors and textures around you and thinking about what you are grateful for in life, rather than running or hiking fast for exercise, or checking your email on your phone.  Maybe it's just sitting on the couch and cuddling your pet without taking in TV at the same time. It could be sitting on the beach and just staring at the water and daydreaming rather than running or reading a book while you are there. Just sit there and be. Maybe it looks like having a hammock in your backyard so you have a special place to go sometimes to just rest & listen to the birds. Maybe it’s laying on your bed listening to a favorite album. Maybe it is lighting a candle & taking a long bath. It could be sitting at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte or tea and just watching the world go by. I could go on for a long time with these I’m sure!
What is relaxation for you? Could you benefit by redefining what it means for you?
Whatever it is for you, it should be in an environment that you feel calm in, and free of distractions that could make you feel like you should be doing something else. I know….to some of you that may seem like a fairytale land, but we are creative people. When something is important in life, we make it work. We carve out a little time to make things happen that we view as priorities. Is getting a little bit of true relaxation in your life a priority? How much do you think it could benefit you?
So if you are willing,  I challenge you to take a little time for yourself to relax. Try it on. Make it a priority. You don’t need to carve out a huge chunk of time. Maybe it’s only 20 minutes, maybe it’s a couple of hours. If it’s hard for you, know that everything takes practice, even relaxing. Know that you deserve it, and that it’s good for you. Let your mind wander. Soak it up. Soak up the details around you and just breathe. Know that you don’t have to be filling every second of your day with busyness. With a little effort, before you know it, you could master the art of relaxation, and it could make a really positive effect on your stress levels, your health, and how you deal with everything in life. Giving yourself the gift of relaxation can help you feel more clear, and energized to deal with the rest of life. It also feels really good, and you deserve that kind of time.
Cheers to a little relaxation!
Shelly

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