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Love Yourself – A Week of Hacking Self-Care – Implementing Change

Love Yourself – A Week of Hacking Self-Care – Implementing Change

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

Welcome to Day 7! I very much hope that you have enjoyed exploring and hacking self-care. What an amazing way to honor yourself. Thus far we have explored what self-care means to you, why gratitude is an integral part of self-care, how sleep is critical to all things, that FUN is a necessary part of life and that planning time for it all is what helps us make habit changes. The last factor to consider in making your new self-care habits stick is implementing them consistently.

First – Write it down – This goes back to yesterdays tip on planning. You have to write out the self-care you are implementing, the fun, the gratitude. List out what self-care you want to accomplish for the week and connect with why you are making this change. Really think about where you could end up if you don’t take care of yourself. If you feel like it’s selfish, or that you don’t have time to set aside this time for yourself, consider how much time an illness or injury would take up. I am a perfect example of this. I didn’t slow down, or take care of myself because ‘I don’t have time’. Well two back surgeries later I have learned to slow down and make time for myself and the things that are important to me.

Second – Get support – You can always connect with me for accountability on Facebook or Instagram! I am changing my habits little by little to! I also encourage you to share your goals with friends and family who will be supportive. Tell them what your new habits are and when you will be doing them so that you have support and accountability. Put it out there that you are doing a ‘challenge’ and want to accomplish 30, 60 or 90 days of self-care. Because guess what we are starting 2-20-17? That’s right. 30 Days of Self-Care.

Third- Create Space- Literally, make the time and space for your habits. Decide where and when you will engage in your self-care. For me I like to do an evening meditation after having a cup of Detox Tea. It Looks like this….my cell phone evening alarm (it sounds like crickets) goes off at 9:30 and I go make tea, as it’s cooling I wash my face and straighten up what I had been working on so it’s all wrapped up. I sit down and have my tea with my planner and go over the top three priorities for the next day. When I finish my tea I grab my Muse brain wave scanning meditation band and settle into a corner of the couch to meditate. The lights are turned down and this helps me really quiet my mind before bed. When I finish my time I brush my teeth and head to bed. Sometimes I read or listen to an audio book, sometimes I just head to sleep, sometimes its time for my husband and I to chat and catch up. This is my ideal evening, sometimes the kids aren’t feeling well and aren’t sleeping, sometimes work has to be completed, the point is not to be perfect but to always have that routine to get back to even if you miss a day or two.

Bonus– Join the 30 Days of Self-Care challenge! Starting on 2-20-17 we will be doing a 30 days of self-care challenge. What do you have to do for the challenge? Pick 3 Daily Self-Care Habits you want to complete each day, then pick 3 weekly  Self-Care habits that you want to complete each week and track them. What you will have at the end of the 30 Days are some awesome new habits that you can feel awesome about completing. Download the Tracker or track in your Planner.  Check in on Facebook with how you are doing and for Tips, Tricks and Hacks to keep you going!!! I will also be doing Facebook Lives to help support this challenge on Thursdays! Lets hack some Self-Care to create your better life.

Love Yourself -A Week of  Hacking Self-Care – Day 6 – Planning

Love Yourself -A Week of Hacking Self-Care – Day 6 – Planning

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! – Benjamin Franklin

Well done this week. You have decided which forms of self care you are going to implement into your everyday routine. You are dedicating yourself to building your own resilience and combating the negative effects of stress though gratitude. You are working on sleeping better and infusing your weeks with some fun. Look at the steps you have taken towards creating a better life. Frankly, you ROCK! So now that we are embracing these new habits and making meaningful changes in our self-care how are we making sure we succeed? Planning.

The weekend is my favorite time to sit down and plan. Whenever you can carve out about an hour and look at your week is the perfect time to plan. Sunday night or Saturday morning before activities begin, it doesn’t matter as long as it gets done. I am a totally planner nerd. I had been a cell phone & electronic planner for a long time but once I was managing my court calendar, my kids and spouses calendar and my life/home calendar it was too much. I now use my phone for appointments and reminders and do all my planning and weekly To-Do’s in my Erin Condren Life Planner.  They are 30% off right now by the way.

First- Schedule in all necessary appointments – This is everything, every kid activity, meetings, appointments all the things that require you to do something at a set time. Get all of these plotted out in your week. This includes setting aside time to plan. So block out when you are planning next week now.

Second- Break out your top three categories for your critical to-do’s. I suggest Self-Care, Professional, Family/Social- Then list the top three or four things you would like to accomplish in each of these categories and schedule them in like an appointment. If you want to add meditation to your routine, figure out what time each day you are going to carve out for it and schedule that commitment. If you want to go hiking with the kids pick where it will fit in the weekend.

Third – Make a rough meal plan – the thing I hate the most is “what’s for dinner”. If this doesn’t stress you out, skip it. If you hate this question too then take a minute and figure it out. I save new cooking adventures for Friday and Saturday. My kids have activities on Monday night, so we either pick up dinner or have Sunday leftovers. Once your weekly commitments are down you can see what nights dinner is already accounted for, which nights are a time crunch and when you can cook.

Fourth – Leave some space for the week – Every-night I set out my top 3 activities that need to be accomplished the next day. I put these in the top box of my planner.  This way there is some flexibility in my day and time for me to handle things that crop up, because it comes up. These don’t have to be massive projects. Some days it’s as simple as 1-Defrost meat for dinner 2 – Drop off returns, 3 – Return phone call to XYZ

BONUS – Have fun with it. Planning is a great productivity tool but it shouldn’t be a chore. Get some pens you love. Throw in some stickers. I have a number of Youtube videos  about planning, how I plan and what I use to plan. Make it fun.

Tomorrow we will be talking about how to keep up with your routine! Be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram as I frequently post my planner on how I am planning for the week!

Love Yourself – A week of Hacking Self-Care- Day 5 – FUN

Love Yourself – A week of Hacking Self-Care- Day 5 – FUN

The other ‘F’ word

FUN! Fun is a integral part of self-care and something that adults don’t do enough of. We don’t play, we don’t choose to do things just for fun, and we don’t prioritize having fun each day.  Kids are pro’s at seeking fun above all else, they don’t care if they are bathed, or have eaten dinner, or done homework if they are engaged in something fun they are transfixed.  Note – if you consider scrolling social media as your fun…..stop it- that is not your fun- you can do better. We are going to dive in to add some real fun to our weeks as part of our self care.

Just like when we evaluated what self-care ritual may work best for us on day 1, we fist need to decide what is fun for us. What makes you giddy with excitement to do? What have you stopped doing that you used to enjoy? What have you been curious about? These activities could be something quiet like coloring or painting, or something loud and exciting like dancing or even something silly like video games, or mobile gaming like Pokémon Go {Gen 2 out now.gotta catch em all}. Do you have one thing in mind? Let’s move forward from there.

FirstSchedule space for fun. Put aside a few hours a week for your activity or activities. Even if they are broken up into 30 minute stints. I really enjoy dancing {when I am not playing Pokémon} so I make sure I do a few of ‘The Fitness Marshall’s’  workout/dance videos because they are silly fun….so is Just Dance on the Wii. Put these commitments into your phone or your planner and treat it like you would a commitment to a boss, friend, or your kids. This time is non-negotiable. One of the best ways to make sure you do it is to schedule that time in the morning before life can sidetrack you. If you are worried about how to plan your week we are talking about Planning tomorrow!

Second – Explore your options for fun. Have you been a tourist in your town or a neighboring one? You should. Novelty can spark a lot of fun and bring something different. Start a list of things in your area you wan to explore. Hiking trails, parks, restaurants, music venues, clubs, museums.  A town to the south of us has a large arcade area on a Pier. Ski-ball, old school pin ball etc. I saw a recent article about how this arcade was going to be closing and realized that this treasure, 15 minutes from my home, is somewhere I have never taken my kids….WHAT? On the list it went.  Give yourself 15 minutes and list all the things or categories of things you want to try and then start to add one thing at a time into your weekends!

ThirdInfuse fun – aside from our targeted, dedicated fun efforts, we also need to infuse fun into our everyday. Do you have a long commute? Is that an opportunity for fun? YES! Get a great audio book, or listen to some comedy performances. There are tons of them are on Apple Music and Pandora, I love Jim Gaffigan. What about household chores and dishes….same thing, put some fun into it. Take a minute and think about what opportunities for fun you have in your daily routine.

Play is a way we explore our world, I am not sure when the responsibilities of life takeover play, but it’s time to take it back. Bring back the play even if its in small increments. A commitment to have some Fun every day is non negotiable.

If you don’t play Pokémon Go…..seriously, it’s time to consider walking around where you live catching adorable little Pokémon, battling gyms and meeting  new people. It will bring some fun and exercise into your life. If mobile gaming makes you want to claw your eyes out maybe it’s not for you but give it a try! Go team MYSTIC!!!

Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 4- Sleep

Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 4- Sleep

Let’s talk about sleep, Baby.

How are you doing with your self-care? We are more than halfway though our week of loving yourself and I hope you are loving it. The key to self-care is consistency. While I love a good day of self-care, it’s the daily habits that really keep you going long term. So if the key to self-care is consistency, what is the key to consistency? SLEEP! Sleep is the start of all things good and evil. Sleep is the key to effective stress management, weight loss, muscle recovery, memory….shall I go on…not being a dick all the time, ok you get the picture. SLEEP is key. This is where you are likely thinking, ‘but I don’t have time to sleep more’, or ‘but I sleep fine’. Well how do you know?

The critical first step to understanding your sleep is looking at it. As they say, if you track it, you can change it.  First, You have to track your sleep.  There are a number of great apps and products on the market to help you track your sleep. I use the Oura Ring and Beddit, but for sleep tracking without a device and simply on you phone you can use apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Better. I like that Sleep Better can be used in Airplane mode. Along with tracking you have to start looking at the data or have a Bulletproof Coach (like me) help you interpret the data and further hack your sleep.

Second, limit blue light exposure. This is covered more in my Facebook Live on Sleep (2-16-17). In short blue light suppresses melatonin (our sleepy time hormone) because our body is still receiving ‘it’s daytime’ signals from the environment. So limit blue light. This means turn the lights in your house red, orange, or dim if that is all you can do. Turn on NIGHT SHIFT (how to use nightshift). Put F.lux (it’s free) on your computer to block blue light. Turn off the TV or wear blue light blocking glasses.

Third, pay attention to what you eat and drink at night. This is such an important and easy hack. If you are struggling with GERD, you aren’ going to sleep well, and it’s likely something you are eating that is causing it. If you are eating a lot of sugar, your body is actively trying to use and store that energy. If you drink alcohol and night it may make you feel sleepy initially but inhibits deep sleep and can wake you up in the middle of the night. Start looking at what you have eaten and what your tracked sleep looks like. For some people it’s the opposite and they are very active and fairly low carb and their bodies need a little extra fuel at night, so some raw honey or sweet potato may be what is needed. This is where you get to actively start hacking your sleep by seeing the cause and effect. If you are struggling with sleep and not seeing the results you like it may be the right time to work with a coach to help you out.

In my Facebook live video, which is below, I talk about some products that I have found tremendously helpful.

Swanwick Sleep Blue Light Blocking Glasses: These are a great option if you cannot make some of the other environmental changes and are really cost effective.

The Eye Mask I love because sleeping in the dark is critical

Magnesium Spray to help hack getting to sleep

Colloidal Silver Nose Spray – to help with breathing at night, because if you can’t breath you won’t get deep sleep. Another option for nose spray is Xylitol Nose Spray

Arbonne Sleep Spray- This is a tremendous and versatile product. If you have a consultant contact them. If not I am happy to help you order or answer any questions about our sleep spray

*this is not a sponsored post but  does contain affiliate links

Our living room in the evening. All that red light. If you can’t change out all your lights a lamp is a great way to add a Hue Bulb and get started with some awesome sleep.

We added a lamp in the hallway too so the whole house could be turned down in the evening.

Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 3- Gratitude

Love Yourself – Hacking Self-Care Day 3- Gratitude

Today, let us swim wildly, joyously in gratitude. – Rumi

Day 3 is upon us. Have you felt yourself shift? Whether you have or you haven’t, gratitude is always a game changer. If you already have a gratitude practice, that is awesome, and lets see if we can add to it.

Why do we need to embrace and practice gratitude? Gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier, yup..SCIENE.  Through gratitude you can actually wire your brain for happiness. When we build gratitude into our brain we set our default state of being to be happier and more resilient to stress. Building stress resilience alone is a tremendous benefit because when you are resilient the negative effects of stress aren’t as severe. Are you thinking that it’s too late for you? Guess what, it isn’t. Neuroscience has found in the recent decade that Neuroplasticity exists. This means through practice and regular habit you can rewire connections, or even create new connections in the brain!

Lets add some gratitude to our Self-Care! First- Add gratitude to your evening routine. This can be sharing the three things you are grateful for with your spouse, family, kids or friends…..or grab a gratitude buddy and text or voice message them. Each evening reflect on the three things you were grateful for that day, big or small, no matter how simple. Second – Feel your gratitude. While you are expressing your three things take a moment for each thing and feel the emotion of gratitude, let yourself connect with that feeling for each thing. Associating the gratitude and the feeling in your body is a powerful combo. Third – Wake up grateful. Practice gratitude in the morning for one thing that is going to happen in the day that will be awesome. This takes a little faith because you have to believe that the awesome is going to happen and then be grateful for something that hasn’t happened yet. This is also a really powerful combination of setting your mindset for a good day. So take the leap and be grateful for the presentation you are going to rock, the dinner you are going to make, the workout you are going to crush or the parking spot you are going to snag. It can be anything.

Bonus – Challenge Yourself – If things are not going as you want them to in life, if there is a negative experience that has been holding you back, or that you are going through right now, try to be grateful for the negative experience even if you can’t see why it has happened or how it can possibly serve you. This is something I work on in my meditations and something I find difficult but life changing.  Being grateful for a negative experience or circumstance, before you can see the lesson, or the strength that has given you, puts you in a more resilient place to overcome this and future adversity.

When my oldest son was born 2 months premature it was a difficult and scary time. I was sick, he was in the NICU, we hadn’t finished the nursery yet. I was devastated, heartbroken and scared. There was no way to know what the future held. I tried to focus on being grateful that everyone was healthy, everyone was alive and we would go from there. What I realized later was that because my son had a true knot in his umbilical cord, and the way it was situated, if he had been full term he likely wouldn’t have survived. There was no way for us to know there was a knot and no way to prevent it. The early delivery saved us both, and that is a negative experience I am deeply grateful for.

Adding Gratitude before bed will also become a part of your winding down routine before bed, which is perfect because tomorrow we are talking about one of my favorite subjects – SLEEP!! See you tomorrow.

Love Yourself, Hacking Self-Care Day 2 – Free Yourself

Love Yourself, Hacking Self-Care Day 2 – Free Yourself

Happy Valentines Day!

I am so excited that you started a new self-care habit yesterday! That is awesome. We are going to build on our foundation today. One of the things that holds us back or sets us back in loving ourselves unconditionally is comparison. Comparison is the C word. When we use what others show us as a yard stick for our own lives, success or happiness it is going to be damaging. Comparison is sneaky though. Sometimes it’s blatant and you can catch yourself. Other times it’s sneaky and you don’t realize this is what happened until (or if) you evaluate your reaction and feelings at a later point.

It is easy to spot when you are looking at all the gifts someone on Instagram was purchased for Valentines day and you grumble about it (just me?). In that case you can say, I am comparing, I am happy for them and what is happening in their life doesn’t affect my life. It’s harder when the comparison isn’t so clear, you just kinda feel bad based on something you observed, and then have to take a minute and ask yourself why your mood changed. 

Comparison crops up in a lot of ways. Has this ever happened to you….. you are completely content with your day, your outfit, yourself…and then you are online and see something someone else is doing and suddenly you feel sad, or that you should be doing something differently, or that you need to lose 10-20-50lbs or shouldn’t be wearing those shoes? Right. Me too, and I hate it. But here is the good news. Comparison is all about you. No matter what other people choose to project outward towards us, we are in full control of how we react. So yes, comparison is something you can eliminate from your mindset. Isn’t that great news.

How do we eliminate comparison? First, recognize when it’s happening. When you catch yourself it gives you an opportunity to explore what it was that made you compare, and why you felt a certain way. Then you can let that feeling go. Second, remember that you don’t know what is going on in anyone else life and that thought they may have a giant pile of presents, they might have been though some really tough things that makes this holiday significant, or the bags may be staged, or they may be in mounds of credit card debt and feel trapped. Third, focus back on you, make a mental note of your accomplishments, joys and values and be happy in that.  

Bonus action – Its time to let go. If there is someone in your life, either IRL or online, that only shows you the highlight reel….let them go. Today we choosing to not let those influences in. On Facebook you can just unfollow someone so their seemingly Pinterest perfect life doesn’t invade your news feed. On Instagram they won’t know if you unfollow them either. Pick a few that don’t bring anything to the table for you and let it go. Because Instagram is my favorite social media (@EmilyDBakerEsq) you can search a # of something you love like… #GoldenRetriever and find some accounts that share adorable puppies….follow them like @goldens_ofInstagram. 

I also want to note that loving yourself where you are is key to this. It’s ok if there are things you want to work on, or change. It’s ok if you are working towards the best version of you and your better life. But there isn’t room for those amazing things if you don’t first love where you are. We are talking all about gratitude tomorrow and how to love where you are at right this moment! 

Let me know how this exercise pops up in your day and how it makes a difference. Have a wonderful Valentines, love yourself and I will see you tomorrow.