SumMEr of ME

©Ann Marie ~ 2012

My friend Renee Burke, of HappilyEverAfter, put together this great summer series of artists who are sharing their self-care tips and words of wisdom for keeping it all together - mind, body, spirit - in blog posts and then Renee is sharing them bit by bit.  I was asked to participate and of course said YES!  Cause how could I ever turn Renee down.... and, because I'm all about self-care.  It took me years (years) to learn to take good care of myself, but now I do it without a second thought.

Renee suggested a few topics for us to consider so I just went with that.  Below are my thoughts on these areas of taking care of number one, so that we can better take care of those we love.

Diet/Health/Exercise:  80% vegan diet + green juice + Yoga + Being in Nature = Good Health!
Nuf said.

Body Image:  Learn to at least "like" what you have.  I've realized after years of not liking my body type and worrying about how others feel about it, that I could never change enough about it through natural, or artificial, means to make a difference so grand that it would actually make my life better.  Sure, there are things about my body I would love to change (and someday might) but with age came the knowing that how I look on the outside will not determine how good my life is lived.  My heart and soul make my life good, not my boobs!  

Participation in Workshops/E-Courses/Self-Improvement Classes: I love, love to learn new things.  This has long been a self-aware biggie for me.  I get bored very quickly with the same old song.  I need a lot of stimulation, and one way that I've found to get this and to keep my mind engaged, is to take on learning something new.  It can be small things or bigger, long-term learning, but the point is that I need to learn something new often.  Years ago, I proclaimed to learn at least one new thing a year.  Case in point: the first year my husband and I were together, he taught me how to rock climb.  Am I a rock climber today?  Heck no!  It scared the crap out of me, but I learned to do it.  Learned something totally foreign to me.  Never, ever stop learning.  Exploring something new through classes, workshops or from friends and family.  Even if you don't end up using this new found knowledge, or keep doing the thing you learned, you still walk away smarter, more enlightened and I guarantee, more proud of yourself.

Rituals and Routines:  I'll admit that I'm not much of a ritual person, but do adhere to some routines.  My one big ritual/routine is to make Sundays a day of rest and play and enjoyment.  Not even sure when I started to set aside this day each week for free thought and carefree time, but it was long, long ago.  I found that I just don't deal well with the new week, if my Sunday is filled with work, stress, and any type of chores.  Give yourself Sundays.  It does the soul good.

Word of the Year:  Mine is forgiveness.  I work at each day.  That is all we can do.  Believe in it and give it our best.

Quiet Time - Reflections/Gratitude:  Early morning and late evening.  A little or a lot.  Whatever you need.  Take it.  My life got so much easier when I shifted into gratitude. I'm a contemplative person by nature. Sometimes I think too much.  Learning to be still and quiet brought calm, which in turn opened up more space for creativity.  Funny how that worked, but it did.

Standing Firm in Self-Care:  To some people, self-care might be natural.  They never feel a need to apologize for taking good care of themselves.  It did not however come natural to me.  I had to learn to care enough about myself to even recognize how and when to take care of my mind, body, spirit needs.    Massages and facials are great, but I much prefer the benefits from types of self-care that include hiking trails, reading a good book, turning up the tunes and dancing in the kitchen, yoga practice, lazing in the grass with my dog, spending time with friends, making art, and in general just making sure that I stay aware of my needs for care, kindness and love.

Make sure to include a little self-care in your days.
It will help you...