Self Care

Spring 2016

This year has been focused on healing for the body, soul and spirit.  My journey has been surrounded by new friends and new adventures.  I have gone on at least one retreat a month, completing my yoga teacher training certification, teaching yoga classes and speaking regularly about self care.  I'm currently preparing for a vacation this summer with some old friends and excited to meet some new ones.  I'm also reading several books, which I never "have time" to do, and learning and growing with each one.  I'm in the middle of both Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer and 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn't Quit by Nicki Koziarz.  I started both of these as a part of an online bible study, but "stuff" got in the way.  So, I decided to pick them back up again because what I gleaned from them was so very valuable.  This is all a part of my self-care plan.  I'm looking forward to the days ahead and sharing it all with you. 

Spring 2015

Everyone who knows me or follows my blog knows that I love going on retreats, whether it is for one day or a week, I enjoy getting away and reconnecting.  Well, I went to a personal retreat in February and it was quite an adventure, a type I had never experienced before.  This was a retreat that focused on Ayurveda and mindfulness.  It was guided by an awesome instructor, Leslie and focused us on why we needed a “personal retreat”, how we can take care of our body and what could help us to take the retreat with us when we leave (so to speak).

We started with yoga stretches and a discussion about why we were there.  It was a small group so we were able to share without a strict time frame, which of course for a retreat where the goal is to relax, this was great.  We talked about challenges we had in life (personal, professional, physical and emotional); we wrote down the reason why this retreat was destined for us at that moment, we chatted about our future and the plans we had for ourselves, we hydrated with water and fennel and fresh fruit and then relaxed and stretched some more. 

Later we cooked an Ayurvedic vegetarian meal which was scrumptious… I learned some great techniques I can share later.  We all helped prepare the meal while getting tips on where to purchase fresh products, to which spices work best with different oils, to how to pluck fresh cilantro and mint from the garden (which I did with delight and a little guidance from Leslie).  Then after the meal and time of fellowship and reflecting, we took a walk to be present with nature.  Although it was a little drizzly, we walked and talked about the leaves, the berries, the flowers, the lake, and practiced our breathing and mindfulness. 

After our walk we relaxed and stretched and breathed, and chatted a little more and then made plans to get together again for another retreat soon.

It was a wonderful experience for me, being introduced to Ayurveda on a basic level, meeting great people from all walks of life, taking time to breathe while listening to the rain outside, and actually “naming” why I was there and what I hoped to get from the retreat.  Sometimes we go and say we need to get away, but what does that look like and what do we want the end result to be? 

One of my take-aways from this retreat is to start taking more time to breathe, setting aside about 20 minutes during the day to just be mindful and present with nature.  Another one is to shop at more farmer’s markets and get fresh fruit and vegetables every week instead of buying too much and allowing it to pile up and go to waste.  I also learned to cook with a lot of different spices and oils and hope to integrate this into my cooking regimen every week.

So, taking care of yourself can look like a lot of things and sometimes a lot all at once, but it's important for your daily life and interactions at work, with family and especially during stressful always have something to reflect back on when the time comes.  

Summer 2014 

During my time off this summer, I managed to travel a little bit and experience some amazing cuisine.  Usually when I travel, I try some things I wouldn't normally try, i.e. riding on a double-decker tour bus, walking on a historical tour in the rain, finding the cutest thrift and vintage shops or trying new eateries that are usually just for the locals.  

I was able to check out little diners for breakfast, local coffee shops for midday snacks and dinners were usually recommendations.  I happened upon a little restaurant that many of the locals frequented according to the guide and was pleasantly surprised by the owner who checked on me often, and the scrumptious meal. If I can find this place again, it is a must to visit the next time I'm in the South.  

Enjoyed a little South African cuisine while outside of Atlanta.  

Spring 2014

Comfort Food

I have friends that I go to brunch with on a regular basis, we keep each other grounded.  We share our ups and downs, and although we do it throughout the week we cherish the time we share over food.  I am a big advocate of taking care of yourself and treating yourself to something nice every once in a while.  I tend to treat myself with massages, pedicures, shopping and food, lots of comfort food.  That’s probably why I’m about to take up training again for my first 5K.  Well, I digress.  However you feel you need to take care of yourself, please do so because there is only one of you.  I encourage you today to be selfish once in a while and think of yourself.  I cherish the times with my friends and years ago, people used to take a pie or a cake or a “plate” to someone they visited.  Communities have for centuries bonded over food and as you’re sipping that glass of tea or cutting into the pie, you laugh and talk, cry and share, bond and build relationships.  Be good to yourself and as you can see, recently I was.  

Comfort Food

Fall 2013

Pictures speak louder than words... :-)

Fried green tomatoes at my November retreat

More shrimp and grits...can you tell that's one of my favs?

Summer 2013

Sometimes there are just not enough words... :-)

I was so ready to eat, I forgot to take the picture before I started in on them.

Spring 2013

Create Balance

I have a friend who taught me something years ago that I hold close to my heart every day and share with others as much as I can. One of the keys to taking care of yourself is keeping yourself in balance. Creating balance is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for God. One way to honor God is to have balance. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and only have a few minutes to talk to God, then that’s giving God your leftovers. Never give God your leftovers, he deserves your First Fruits. In Leviticus 23, it speaks about giving God your best. If your plate is full, so that you’re running around at 100 mph you won’t have time to enjoy peace in the presence of God. It can be so refreshing to have that conversation with God, not just telling him a few things you need and then going on about your business. We need to take time to meditate on his word, pray to him, share our thoughts and concerns as well as listening to him. “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pains we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.”

If we feel out of balance, the best thing to do is to talk about it, not necessarily to every person you come in contact with, but someone who can hold you accountable. Having someone who can counsel with you in love is a good relationship to have. Some people don’t have anyone who can hold them accountable for behavior, but it’s so crucial to our walk with God. This person can show you where you may need to devote more time, or use the "Gift of No" in order to create time in the midst of a chaotic day. It's also important to let God know your struggle and he will help bring you into alignment with his word.

I will continue to talk about balance because I feel that it’s so important. You will know when you’re out of balance because you become frazzled, tired, short-tempered, sick, and irritable. We don’t want to wait until it gets to that point before we do something about it. Pray about balance until next time…

Spring 2013

My Purpose Driven Life

I’m in the midst of a 40 day prayer and fast that I began on Valentine’s Day, a gift to myself and a showing of love to God.  What an eye-opening experience this has been…I’m learning a lot about God and a lot about myself.  I very much enjoy setting aside multiple “40 days” during the year just to hear from God, worship Him and honor Him.  During this time, I decided to read “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, and although I’ve started and stopped it several times over the past few years, I’ve been able to be faithful during this time.  I’m enjoying the journey!

Fall 2013

Do things you like doing, like spending time with friends, yoga, eating a little sushi or taking a nice, long walk just to grab a hold of something that makes you smile....

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