Tag Archives: self love

Montana reminded me the importance of self – love

This past week I went on a yoga retreat in Montana, right outside Glacier National Park. I’m not really certain what my expectations were going into the trip, but now that the experience has came and passed, I’m sure it exceeded any possible expectations. 

Montana is quite possibly one of the most tranquil, gorgeous states I’ve ever visited. The mountains roll for miles and the color schemes surpass every possible palate imaginable.

I didn’t know anyone else going on this trip when I signed up. I was slightly nervous about that, but I make friends easily – connecting with people is something that comes very naturally to me. The people – it turned out – were all so incredible. We bonded through laughter, sweat, tears, chill bumps, and our love of yoga. 

On the trip, we packed a lot into a quick week. We biked, hiked, cold plunged, enjoyed a homemade sauna, ate delicious, nutritious food, while soaking up the refreshing Montana air. The whole experience truly feels like a fairy tale dream. 

I got to really unplug, soak up nature, and get into my body and outta my head – which is a reality I consistently strive for. Certain experiences have the power to ground me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. 

I journaled a lot – I bought a new journal on the first day of my trip and almost filled it completely up. Journaling is a meditative and grounding experience that I keep coming back to. Filling page after page with my thoughts and ideas has always soothed me. 

Some of my main take aways from my trip are:

The world is abundant. Life is about meeting new faces and seeing new places. I want to always step out of my comfort zone to experience new things. I am never, ever stuck. No matter if it feels like that some days. I have the power to explore and roam and soak up the beauty this earth has to offer. 

Self love is the most precious gift I have to offer. It allows my light to shine bright and positively impact those around me. Even when I don’t like everything about myself and my thoughts veer towards deprecating, I have the desire to fully and unconditionally love and accept myself exactly how I am. That thought process – I believe – is rare and something I hope to always come back to. 

I don’t have to always “go with the flow”. I am the author of my story; I am the creator of my reality. At any given moment, I have the power to pivot and start a new chapter. At any given moment, I have the power to shift the direction of my life.

Being outside is vital for my health. I need space, air, and room to explore and grow. Since living in a metropolitan city, this has taken a backseat. I’ve always known it was necessary for me to be outdoors, but this week really confirmed just how important it is to soak up fresh air and be submerged in nature. 

I feel very appreciative of all the growth I’ve endured in the past year since moving alone during a pandemic. It’s been a bumpy road, but I’m content with this path I’m on. I truly love who I am becoming and I know that each chapter is important and worthy of being present for. 

Manifestations are real! Manifesting is the first step to achieving my goals and accomplishing my dreams. I will, I can, I am. Journaling my manifestations are going to become part of my weekly routine and I’m so excited to see how things shift in my life. 

I am strong. I am capable. I am determined.

Having role models is important. The owner of the retreat I went to easily and quickly became one of my role models. She bought this big, beautiful home in Montana and turned it into a yoga studio. She spends a couple months of the year out there and opens it up for others to come and enjoy and practice yoga at. Can you say GOALS? 

This life goes by extremely fast. It’s too damn short to not enjoy it. Too short to not seek out the things that excite me and bring me joy. This could all be ripped away in an instant. Don’t take anything fore- granted.  

Onward, friend, always onward. 

Work in Progress

I’ve been trying to be content where I am, to sit with what comes along, to accept things as they are and to take things as they come, all while letting go of things when I feel they’re ready to be released. I’ve been thinking a lot about Divine Timing and really trying to surrender myself to this concept.

Oftentimes, we get so caught up looking toward the future, toward some significant event, and we forget that this journey we’re on itself is the fun part. We forget that no matter how much we strive and strain we will always be a work in progress, constantly shifting and growing and evolving.

Onward.

Spiritual Wellness

This is the last post in my Self-Care Series! It’s been an interesting time. When I started this series I was in a much better headspace. Work and life have been exhausting and my time management has been pretty poor. I haven’t been making a whole lot of time to do the things that fill me up and ground me. But I guess self care is like cleaning the kitchen – it has to be done regularly in order to be effective.

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The only goal I had going into 2021 was to be gentle with myself. I even called it The Year of Being Gentle. And four months into this year, I still have to be mindful every single day to be gentle with myself.

To conclude my self-care series, I will be focusing on my Spiritual Wellness. According to SAMSHA’S definition spiritual wellness is “Expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life”.

I saved this aspect of my wellness for the last post because I was the most excited to write it. I knew that if I waited to focus on my spiritual wellness until the very end then I would surely finish the series. And here I am, finishing what I started several months ago.

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To focus on my spiritual wellness, I did a Reiki session. Reiki is a form of energy therapy and can help individuals work through anxiety, depression, and other emotional states.

The first time I heard anyone talk about their experience with Reiki, I got really emotional listening their story, which was strange for me because I’m not usually an outwardly emotional person. But for some reason, when I heard about Reiki, I felt something inside of me shift and I knew I had to learn more about this practice. I put it off for a couple of months, but I had another friend do a session and she raved about it so much, I knew it was time to schedule my own Reiki experience.

My session was really beneficial. I talked about how I had moved alone during a pandemic and I was struggling to feel settled and grounded and find a balance in my life between work, socializing, and everything else.

The Reiki master had me relax and do lots of deep breathing until I finally got in touch with my subconscious and attempted to connect with my higher self and some of the angels/spirits that guide and protect me.

I got really frustrated at one point because I was having a hard time picturing a lot of what she told me to, but afterwards, she assured me that was normal.

I realized that a lot of my frustration comes from stressors in my life that prohibit me from constantly feeling at peace. Another reason why I feel frustrated with myself is because I’m just not satisfied with where I am in my life, for some reason.

Why can’t you just be content where you are!?! my subconscious demanded to know, but I had no answers.

Two of the biggest lessons I took from my session was to trust the process and to let go of all negative talk.

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Easier said than done, I know, but I kept coming back to those two phrases my subconscious was repeating.

Another important thing that I took from my session was that making time to exercise is extremely vital for me. I’ve always been an active person, but the past couple of months, I haven’t been able to force myself to get into the gym. My body is tired and I haven’t been making it a priority. But I still need to somehow stay active and healthy, so I’ve decided to start practicing more yoga. I’ve done yoga off and on for a years now, but I’ve never really dedicated myself to a practice and stuck with it.

Since my Reiki session, I’ve been trying out local studios in my area. The first one I went to was a Yoga and Barre studio. It was a cool space and I got a good flow and stretch in.

The second studio that I found is hot yoga! This was the most I’ve sweat in so long. I was drenched in sweat, my mat was slippery, and several times throughout the class my muscles were BURNING! Not only was it a great workout, it was also a really nice flow and stretch.

To keep working on my spiritual wellness, I’m going to make hot yoga a regular part of my day.

Now, almost a week after my session, I’m working to consistently shift my perspective and be grateful for this season of my life. I believe this period of my life is strengthening my work ethic and teaching me to enjoy my own company.

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If you’ve followed along with my Self-Care Series I hope it’s inspired you to provide some self care for yourself. Loving yourself is one of those things that you constantly have to keep in check. It’s so easy for it to take a backseat and then one day you wake up and wonder how long you’ve been neglecting yourself.

Take care of yourself, love yourself, and remember to trust the process. You are not alone.

Physical Wellness

This week in my long-drawn out Self-Care Series I will be focusing on my physical wellness.

Physical wellness, according to SAMHSA’s eight dimensions of wellness, is:

“Recognizing the need for physical activity, diet, sleep, and nutrition.”

Notice how it isn’t simply being in the gym every day?

My physical wellness fluctuates a lot. There are months when I will be in the gym every single day, my nutrition will be dialed in, and I’ll be passing out early at night from physical exhaustion. But then, I get burnt out, and I step back from my routine and un-prioritize going to the gym. And I’m starting to realize that it is okay! Don’t get me wrong though, I think exercise is very important. It produces endorphins, it stabilizes moods, it creates a feeling of accomplishment, and it shows us just how much our bodies are capable of when we push past mental blockers. But physical wellness is not JUST exercise.

Focusing on my physical wellness is going to look different than I imagined it would. For this aspect of my wellness, I’ve recognized the need to dial in my nutrition and sleep schedule.

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Our food is our fuel. If we constantly eat fast food and consume large amounts of sugar we will feel sluggish and tired. But if we fill our bodies with nutrient-dense food and good carbs then we’ll not only have more energy but we’ll also feel full longer.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been ordering all my lunches from a local meal prepping company called Eat Well Nashville. If you’re in this area, I recommend giving their food a try. I order what meals I want on Thursday night and then Sunday evening they’re dropped off in a cooler on my front porch. All I have to do is stick them into the fridge until I’m ready to eat them. Then, all they need is to be warmed up for a minute and a half in the microwave. They’re convenient, healthy, and tasty.

Here are some of my meals from this company:

Keto flank with jalapeño cream is absolutely delicious! I ordered two of these for this week.
Chipotle chicken power bowl! I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m really excited to.

Even if you don’t have access to a meal prepping company like this, there are still many other ways you can focus on your nutrition. Do some research for healthy, grab n go companies in your area, or checkout delivery services like HelloFresh or HomeChef. Or maybe you have your own healthy recipes you enjoy making. Do whatever works best for you and your lifestyle.

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In addition to focusing on my nutrition this week, I’m also focusing on my sleep. I think our sleeping habits impact our moods and state of minds way more than we even realize. When we sleep, our bodies recover and recharge. When we routinely get enough sleep, our bodies feel rested and ready to fully function throughout the day, but when we get into the habit of neglecting a consistent, regular sleep schedule our bodies go into a flight or fight mode, having to pick and choose what it can spend energy on since we’re having to conserve a lot of it.

So this week, while focusing on my physical wellness, I’m going to make an effort to get eight hours of sleep every night, to go to bed with a glass of water instead of wine, and to minimize my screen time once I’m laying down.

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Focusing on physical wellness will likely look different for everyone, depending on what’s going on in your life. The key is to “recognize the need” by listening to what your body tells you. Self care can be difficult. Some days it can be a natural instinct to give yourself some TLC, while other days it’s like wrestling a bear to simply be kind to yourself. Healing is not linear and self care is not black and white.

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Enjoying my Self-Care Series? Stay tuned for my next post as I wrap up the series with Spiritual Wellness!

Here’s the previous posts in my series:

Environmental Wellness

Financial Wellness

Intellectual Wellness

Occupational Wellness

Social Wellness

Emotional Wellness

Hemp Oil for the WIN!

I’ve wanted to review products on my blog for a while, to share some of the things I enjoy using and that have benefited me. I’ve decided to start by reviewing some of my favorite products that contain hemp oil.

Let’s get one thing straight. Hemp oil is not marijuana. Yes, hemp oil is found in marijuana but hemp oil itself is not marijuana. Hemp oil contains amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats – unsaturated fats that our bodies use to build proteins. Hemp oil also reduces stress and inflammation. It’s in a lot of everyday products nowadays.

I don’t actively seek out products that contain hemp oil, but I realized that some of my favorite, everyday essentials contain hemp oil.

Here’s links to some daily products I love that contain hemp oil:

Calming Hemp Cat Treats

I discovered these magical treats when I had to take my cat to the vet for a nasty cut on her stomach. She hates the vet – I think mostly because of other animals’ smells, but she had to be looked at. So I was browsing PetSmart, looking for something that would calm her down long enough for a vet to examine her sliced belly when I found these.

The vet trip went AMAZING! She let the vet examine her cut, no hissing, no scratching, no biting. I think she even purred when the vet picked her up and shaved some fur to examine the cut. I was shocked. My high-energy, sassy cat was completely chill.

Now these “treats” are part of our daily routine. I cut them up and mix them with tuna to get her to eat them, but she always eats them. I give them to her when she wants to go outside but can’t due to bad weather or it being nighttime. I give them to her when I have company over and I know she will feel anxious or overwhelmed. They’ve really helped calm her down and I will forever include these hemp seed bites in her diet.

Milk Makeup Mascara

My best friend got me hooked on this mascara almost two years ago. I will never use another mascara again. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than your typical drug store brand. But this mascara is well worth it. The hemp oil in it conditions my lashes and never makes them feel stiff and caked. If (when) I fall asleep with this mascara still on, it doesn’t leave huge black circles under my eyes that are impossible to wipe clean. Sure there are some black marks from it, but it’s really easy to wipe off.

Not to mention, my eyelashes have gotten longer and fuller since using this mascara. I frequently get compliments on my eyelashes and have been asked a couple of times if they’re real. I can’t recommend this product enough.

Face Primer – No more Red

I found this product browsing at Ulta one day. I needed a new primer and thought this would be a good one. I like it because not only does it have hemp oil in it to reduce puffiness on my face, but it is also green which combats redness. Sometimes after washing my face and immediately putting lotion it, my faces get red. This primer is amazing and very reasonably priced!

*This post uses Amazon associates links. I will make a percentage of the sale from all products purchased via these links*

Social Wellness

Last week I started my self-care series based on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) eight dimensions of wellness. Check out the intro here: Self-Care Series. I kicked it off by focusing on my emotional-wellbeing. Check that out here: Emotional Wellness: Week One

It went okay.. I felt a lot of emotions. My job required a lot of my attention and my body was exhausted from the gym. But I did find myself pausing more throughout my day and trying to understand what my body was telling me. I will admit, I didn’t feel great most of last week, but instead of dismissing that, I tried to lean into the feelings and understand why I was feeling that way.

I had a conversation with a friend last night about how social media has forced us to feel like we can only share our “highlight reel”. If something is wrong or not going great, we feel like we should keep it to ourselves because admitting when you’re struggling can be awkward or even embarrassing. But it’s all part of the journey. Allow yourself to grieve just as you allow yourself to celebrate.

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This week I’ll be focusing on my social well-being.

SAMHSA defines social well-being as:

Developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a well-developed support system.”

My social well-being has been a roller coaster lately. It was really tough to move two hours away from my friends. I was incredibly lonely the first few months. But I’ve been making new friends and learning how to navigate long-distance friendships.

I know that my family will always be there supporting me – no matter what. It’s been interesting transitioning from a college student to an “adult” in the workforce, but my family is always there.

One of my grandfathers recently mailed me a letter with the lyrics of Rascal Flatt’s song “My Wish” written out. It was one of the sweetest, most sincere things I’ve ever opened. I know that I will treasure that letter for a very long time.

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To focus on my social well-being this week I am going to make a list of all the supportive people in my life. Family, friends (old and new), coworkers, acquaintances, anyone that supports me in some way or another.

I also plan to reach out to at least one family member or friend each day just to check on them and see how their day is going. You get out what you put into relationships.

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When my friends and I cook our weekly dinner meal together, I am going to suggest ignoring our phones while we cook and eat. Being present during quality time is so important to me.

Stay tuned for next week when I focus on my occupational wellness! Occupational Wellness: Week Three

Emotional Wellness

Over the next eight weeks, I will be focusing on one aspect of wellness from SAMHSA’s wellness dimensions. Check out the intro here: Self-Care Series

This week I will be focusing on my emotional wellness.

I’ve decided to start with emotional wellness because it’s always been tricky for me. It’s so much easier to stuff my feelings under the rug and keep pushing onward. But doing this usually results in a big blow up. I’ve had my fair share of blow-ups and let me tell you they weren’t pretty.

SAMHSA defines emotional well-being as:

“Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken to improve my emotional well-being was buying the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” I wrote about it here: My Lack of Emotional Intelligence

When I got the book and took the emotional intelligence scoring quiz, I was embarrassed how low my score was since I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Since purchasing this book in June, I’ve read it several times and taken a lot of notes that I can quickly revisit. This week, while focusing on my emotional well-being, I plan on revisiting this book and the strategies it offers.

Another way I’m focusing on my emotional well-being is journaling my feelings / emotions every day this week. I do this frequently anyways because I believe journaling is such a healthy outlet, but this week I want to make an effort to do it everyday.

One of my favorite things about regularly journaling is being able to keep a tangible record of my emotions. I periodically flip through old journal entries and reread what I was going through at the time. It gives me comfort to see that things eventually work themselves out.

My best friend got me a new journal for Christmas and I’ve been obsessed with it because the pages are huge, it’s hardback, and I can conveniently circle the date at the top of the page. The first step in actively keeping a journal is finding one that you actually enjoy writing in.

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I also plan to continue doing my daily affirmations every morning after I brush my teeth. This sets a positive tone for my day and assures me that no matter what happens throughout my day, I can trust my instinct and intuition. I wrote a post with some daily affirmations that I frequently use. You can check that out here: I am Light

I plan on writing some more daily affirmations that I think I need to hear right now.

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Lastly, I want to honestly, openly communicate my emotions. I think this week will be the perfect time to get into this habit. I know it won’t always be comfortable or easy, but I think it will benefit not only my emotional well-being, but also the bonds in my relationships.

Check out week two when I focus on my social well-being: Social Wellness: Week Two

Be Impeccable with your Word

The power of our words is astounding. When we speak something aloud, it becomes our reality. I had a basketball coach who would chastise my teammates and me whenever we’d talk negatively. If we’d say, “I can’t make a shot,” he would agree and say, “yeah, now you definitely won’t make one because that’s what you believe.” And it was true. Once you articulate something, you manifest it.

This is true for both negative affirmations and positive affirmations.

I recently started reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word”. Our words shape our lives. Therefore, I believe positive self-talk is such a beautiful way to show self-love.

Recently, my life coach gave me an exercise: look at your reflection for three minutes and write down every single thought you have.

I procrastinated doing this for a couple days until one morning I caught a glimpse of my reflection and decided it was a good enough time as any to do the exercise.

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So I stared at myself for three whole minutes. At first, I was apprehensive. Nothing came to my mind for the first minute and a half. Then, a Glennon Doyle quote popped into my head:

“Make sure when you look into your eyes, you’re looking into the eyes of someone you trust.”

After that, my thoughts mainly concerned my physical features: wild eyebrow hairs, unruly, unwashed hair, and blemishes where my mask rubs against my skin. Then the anxiety came. “I’m doing this wrong! I’m supposed to be having profound thoughts!” But I wasn’t. There was no blueprint or guidelines, just me and my reflection.

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I sent my list of random, scattered thoughts to my life coach afterward, and she turned these thoughts into affirmations for me.

Read silently. Then read aloud. Then read aloud while looking in the mirror.

I love trusting myself.

I love my skin. I love my eyebrows.

I love how my body knows just how to take care of itself.

I inhale the breath of life. I exhale ease. (Do this)

I love how my instincts guide me.

I love the person I am.

I Started a Book Club!!

As an English major, my college career involved a lot of well.. English. I constantly had my nose crammed in a book and I always kept around a journal to be able to jot down potential story ideas. I was obsessed. My classes involved a lot of discussing what we were reading and I absolutely loved this. I enjoyed being able to give my opinion and point of view and then get to hear what everyone else got from the text.

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Post-graduation itself is a weird, uncertain time. But during a pandemic? Yikes. Not only was I ripped out of the academic world, I also moved cities all on my own. Talk about a completely different chapter.

But I kept reading and writing through all of it. It has kept my grounded and sane. But it obviously wasn’t the same as being in a classroom setting. No one around to keep me accountable or make sure I was staying on track.

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I started talking to my cousin about this transition – she’s currently pursuing an English degree online – and we talked about how much we missed face to face interaction discussing books. So, we decided to start a book club together – via Zoom of course! The first book we read was Followers by Megan Angelo. It was a science fiction novel that touched on the complexities of the advancements of social media and how dangerous it can be to display your entire life online. It was so fun to read and discuss every week. We even roped a couple of other people into reading it with us.

And now, after we’ve finished that book, we’ve decided to keep the train rolling and read another book together! The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is currently en route to my home. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s a little excerpt from it:

“Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?”

Yay for staying connected in the literary community!