Posts Tagged ‘Self Care’

Self-care Saturday: Is Instant Gratification Getting a Bad Rap?

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I hope you all got lots of treats for Halloween. You deserve them. We all do. I am a big believer that every day is a special occasion not just holidays or our birthday. I never save the good china just for Christmas. We drink out of Reidel wine glasses in my office just for sparkling water. My family uses real napkins that are washed and ironed for our daily meals. It’s these little things that make me feel happy and nurtured.


And this gets me to thinking about the idea of instant gratification. There is so much talk about our “instant gratification society”. We have been hearing for a decade that no one is willing to work for things, they want it now. And believe me, I understand this concept so well. In fact I think my parents may have ingrained working a bit too hard in my mind. There is nothing that I REALLY want in life that I am not willing to work hard for and be patient. A hard worker is really who I am at the core. But I think sometimes work-a-holics like me need to take a lesson from some of those instant gratification lovers out there.  We can be happy along the way if we allow some pleasure to come in. As they say “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life” and “Don’t look for Happiness, Create it!” I don’t know about you but there are some things that give me instant gratification AND instant happiness. And I think I need a bit more of them in my life.


Sometimes it’s saying no that gives us instant gratification, right? Saying no to some people and some things that really aren’t moving us any closer to our goals or making us happy. Sometimes we’d be better off without them and making a change or removing that item from our list gives us instant relief. It’s like a one hundred pound weight has been lifted not by doing something but by NOT doing something. Like instant gratification, quitting isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s the very thing that makes us happy. In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington said one of the most important things she ever did was to finally admit a lot of the things on her bucket list she didn’t really want–learning to ski, to paint, to play the piano–and just crossing them off her list made all the difference. WOW, talk about instant gratification!


Other times it’s that we know what makes us feel good and happy but we don’t think we deserve it or we feel guilty buying it or doing it. A day off work just because, an afternoon at the spa, buying a new bag or pair of shoes, getting a sitter for our kids while we take a yoga class. Instant gratification with no guilt–now that’s real pleasure, isn’t it? And it can really give us a boost we need to be a better mom, wife, employee, boss. I think this is the good side of instant gratification that no one is talking about. One hour of self-care=instant gratification=more productivity for an entire week=happy!


It’s the simple things in life, right? We know this and it’s exactly what I’m talking about. A Bike ride on a Fall day–instant gratification!


Or listening to a Spring Rain with the Windows Open while you work from home instead of going into the busy office–instant gratification!


Or a night at home with family, cooking a big Southern meal, cuddling in your P.J’s and watching a movie instead of going to that swanky society event–instant gratification!


I think we should reconsider our opinion of Instant Gratification. It’s not all bad. It’s like everything else, isn’t it. It’s about balance. Everything in moderation including instant gratification. A healthy mix of hard work for those things that take time and instant pleasure from things that don’t is an ideal equation for a happy, healthy and prosperous life. And I for one think I could learn something from the great architectural and furniture designer Charles Eames who said “Take Your Pleasure Seriously”.


I don’t know about you but a cream leather Eames Lounge Chair, an Hermes Blanket and a monogrammed Goyard Bag could bring me a WHOLE lot of instant gratification.

So on this self-care Saturday, I hope you’ll rethink instant gratification a bit. It’s not all bad. And today I will be indulging in lots of instant gratification–a quiet walk on this first chilly, November day, a girls lunch and holiday shopping with my mom, sister-in-law, niece and daughter at the Junior Leagues’s Holiday Market, and then a fun-filled family night watching the Razorbacks take on #1 Missippi State in Football (Go Hogs!), eating Bar-B-Que and playing games with the kids.

What will you do for pleasure today? Whatever it is enjoy it with no guilt. Instant Gratification is A-ok!


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Self-care Saturday: Gratitude 365 Days of the Year

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gratitudeI believe in gratitude as a practice. I believe in writing down what I’m grateful for daily. Around this time last year I read an article about keeping a gratitude journal numbered sequentially for the entire year, so I started that habit in January. And it’s pretty neat to see that as of August my list includes over 800 things I have been grateful for this year.


I also use gratitude as a tool when I am stressed or anxious about something that I am wishing to come to fruition. By listing all the things I am currently grateful for instead worrying about something that I am hoping to happen, I stay calm and happy. And the great thing is that when I have an attitude of gratitude, it seems like more things I want, fall into place naturally.

good things in life

So on this self-care Saturday, are you willing to adopt a gratitude practice? How many things do you think you can be grateful for between now and the end of the year. I bet you will be surprised. I typically have 10-20 things on my list each day.

gratitude begins

Adopting a gratitude practice brings joy to your life each day. It’s a great form of self-care so give it a try!

Happy Saturday. xo,

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Self-Care Saturday: Push Yourself…It’s Self-Care at Its Best!

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if it were easy

I think sometimes we confuse self-care with doing nothing. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when total rest and sleep are the self-care we need. But I think more often than not, the best self-care for us is active. It’s exercising, or pushing ourselves to eat better or it’s even organizing our house so we can have less stress and clutter. Sometimes it’s even pushing ourselves at work because we need to complete tasks that are holding us or our companies back and the pressure is really draining us physically. Self-care is not always passive or mindless. And yes, sometimes self-care is a job. A job that takes discipline and dedication.

hard quote

I know, I know. We’ve got plenty of jobs already and the one thing we don’t need is one more. But I find when I am most happy and fulfilled is when I have routines in place. When I am walking EVERY day, when I am eating the way I know my body works best, and when I am working hard at my job and getting things knocked off my list so I don’t spend every other moment feeling the pressure of all the things I haven’t done. And being that dedicated to both work and self-care isn’t easy. But it’s also not impossible even though we often try to tell ourselves that it is.

how you carry it

I’ll admit, my need for self-care in the first place is usually because I have fallen back into my workaholic tendencies. But it is also my love of work that fulfills me more often than not. So I, like many of us, am always looking for balance between work and self-care. But I think I’m looking in the wrong place. I think it is more about just doing them both; 100% commitment to each, not a 50-50 split. And I think it’s about melding them together throughout your day, not working until you crash and then medicating yourself with self-care. It’s the extremes that really break us, that wear us down. But be careful, trying to avoid the “extreme”, can give you an excuse for slacking and procrastinating.


Many would say I am obsessed with work but I think I’m filled with passion. Yes I work way more hours than not. I am definitely a “live to work” sort of girl. But working and self-care aren’t mutually exclusive. In the past, this equation of work and self-care was an either-or for me. That’s what I mean by extreme. I was only a “real worker” if I could push through a 14-hour day without a break which left no room or energy for exercise.  I was only an “exerciser” if I could run for more than 30 minutes every single day and some days work commitments didn’t allow for this, so a few days off the exercise wagon and I’d just give the whole thing up totally exasperated! But I am now learning that working an 8- to 10-hour day and walking, not running, at a nice pace but doing it every single day that I possibly can (which even with work obligations usually means 5-6 times per week) is the best of both worlds.


I’ve also learned that discipline in both work and self-care are a must. Because trust me, there are days that even I, the work-a-holic, don’t feel like working. But things have to be done. And there are many days when I just “don’t feel” like self-care like yoga or walking. But you know what, following my moods undermines everything including my job and my health. And being consistent, regardless of my mood, is the perfect routine for my ultimate happiness, profitability, and health.

if you want it

So I’ve changed my attitude. I no longer ask myself questions like “Why can I never stay (insert your favorite word here like thin, profitable, healthy, energized, rested, ahead of my massive to do list)?” I realize that nothing and no ones stays anywhere. Change is inevitable. And questions and negative thoughts like these only undermine my success. My goal now isn’t staying the same, it’s progress. So as long as I am making progress towards self-care, towards work or anything else that is important to me, that’s all that matters. My litmus test for success and joy is now asking  “Am I better in at least one area of my life than I was yesterday?” And the good news is that the answer is always yes. Even is the answer is “I’m more RESTED than I was yesterday because I spent the day in my Pj’s binge watching House of Cards on Netflix”- then I am still a success.

I refuse

And even when I fall off the wagon whether at work or with my diet or exercise or with yoga and meditation, I don’t beat myself up anymore. I just calmly and happily get back on the wagon. I am grateful that I noticed that I was off track and am thankful I am back on track sooner than all the times before. But I have stopped the drama. I have stopped the negative thoughts and feelings. And I don’t give up on myself. I don’t think “WHY AM I HERE AGAIN?!”  I think “well here I am again which means I’m about to learn an all new exciting life lesson”. And you know what? I always do…learn that is.

raise hell

Here’s what I leave you with today. Yes, I have learned to stay calm and it’s adding years to my life, for sure. But it’s a calm attitude in the midst of 100% commitment to both work and self-care. I am hell-bent on changing the world with my work, my words, and my actions and I’m committed to self-care so I have the stamina to keep on working harder than ever.

So tell me this? Are you confusing self-care with inactivity on a regular basis? If so, that may be what’s keeping you from accomplishing your goals and finding joy. Or on the other hand, are you working to an extreme and completely ignoring self-care? If so, you’re going to crash and burn sooner than you may think. And finally, are you constantly looking for balance and starting to believe that it doesn’t exist? Can you consider active self-care mixed with work for a win-win routine that can help you be happy, healthy, and profitable? I think it may just be the equation you need for success. It certainly works for me.

Happy Saturday, friends. I encourage you to do something today – work or self-care – that will really make your life better than it was yesterday!


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Self-Care Saturday: Living Your Truth

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So you know those days or weeks that are like roller coasters? One minute you’re up, the next not so much. One minute a client thinks you hung the moon, the next minute a different client thinks not so much. We all have those times in our lives, right? And we start thinking what’s the deal? Is there a full-moon or is Mercury back in retrograde? Or am I just crazy? or worse….Am I stupid?


Well I’ve been in one of those periods. And the good news is that this means that there are a ton of “Ups” in my life right now to go with the downs. In fact, things are hopping and happening in my life and career like never before.


So much of what I have been working towards for the past 15 years is falling into place. But that means the stakes are higher than ever and there’s no room for error. My team and I must be on our A-game. No time for under-delivering. This isn’t putting pressure on ourselves, this is the truth. It’s make it or break it time. And at the same time, I must enjoy the journey now, while it’s happening, because in the blink of an eye, these amazing things will be in my past.


And on top of my work expectations, I want to be at my best personally now more than ever. I have worked hard to get healthy and now that I am getting uber-busy with more and more new clients, new partnerships and new business endeavors, I can’t just throw my health and my routines to the wind. I know this because I can see into my trusty crystal ball. Even if I get all these amazing work successes that seem to be lining up and that I’ve wished for, if at the end of them I am back in a place of overworked and overweight, I will be neither healthy or happy.


So then comes the difficult balance of keeping ALL the balls in the air–personal and professional. Why does this work-life balance thing KEEP rearing it’s head? It’s a never-ending challenge right? Right! And it drives me mad.


It’s like this week…One day I rocked a design presentation for some favorite clients who just returned to me 7 years after we did their entire house, sweet right? Well yes until I walked out of the presentation to find another client’s dining table was shipped and installed in the wrong color. CRUD! Then I knock it out of the park in my design workroom on a client’s design for a large Dallas project, so I’m feeling like a design super-star only to come out to find that there’s a problem with my vacation property that I booked a year ago and my vacation is only 6 weeks away. I’ve been depending on that R & R to make it through all this work. But it’s actually the little things, like then sitting down to eat and seeing that my veggie burger is slathered in mayonnaise. That one made me officially melt down. It’s the little things that make me want to go take my daughter to a 9-year-old’s birthday party later that afternoon and push all the girls out of the way and eat the entire cake by myself. You’ve been there, right?


Thankfully, I didn’t eat the cake, ha!  And I know these are all minor things in the grand scheme of life especially compared to those in Arkansas, Alabama and Florida who lost their homes and some lost their loved ones to Tornados and floods this week. We must keep things in perspective. I don’t compare these minor challenges of mine to such devastating circumstances as natural disasters. I am not having a pity party. Or even depressed. I just think “enough with the roller-coaster already”. Why can’t things be easier? Why all the emotional ups and downs? Why does everything seem harder than it should be?


I then I realized I needed an attitude adjustment. I needed to get to my gratitude journal pronto and start focusing on all the GREAT in my life because there is SO much of it. And thankfully one of my favorite teachers, Mastin Kipp, swooped in at that very moment with this great video about “Living Your Truth”.


So one of Mastin’s readers asked “Why is it so hard to live your truth?” And that’s what we’re talking about here, right?–Living our own personal truth. I am asking the Universe why does it seem so challenging to bring my gifts and talents to the world while living in a way I know is right for my health and my happiness? Why is MY truth so hard? And thankfully Mastin gave me a big ole SMACK upside the head. Here’s what he said…”Why do you think it’s supposed to be easy?”


AH-HA! Epiphany! Eureka! Why do we think it’s supposed to be easy? Nothing worth having is ever easy. I don’t even DO easy. Easy to me is boring. Is anything I ever attempt easy? Not really. I am a master at tackling the hard. I am drawn to the things no one else has ever thought of. Or that no ones else wants to try.


I want a challenge. I want to be driven to do more, be more, achieve more than is possible. I am willing to get up an hour earlier (or several) if that’s what it takes. I want to be inspired, required and to perspire to make things happen. If there’s no blood, sweat and tears for me, I’m frankly over it before I’ve ever started. So what in the world made me suddenly want easy? Did someone sneak in while I was sleeping and give me a lobotomy?

Seriously, why don’t I bring that same philosophy “it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it” to staying fit and eating right, to daily responsibilities and ongoing maintenance of client projects and office operations–not just to my GIANT entrepreneurial ideas? In fact it’s more important to have this attitude with the little things, because those little things are really the biggest challenges sometimes right? They are those proverbial straws that break the camel’s back.


Well you know what? I heard Mastin, the Universe, God and my Truth all screaming at me loud and clear. I got it! Nothing is easy. Nothing. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth working hard for. And I’m the genius who dreamed up and committed to these things anyway. I am the one who needs to calm down. To get ahold of myself. To settle in because this is the long and winding road. And I decided to take it. I am in the driver’s seat.


My attitude is changed. I am inspired to meet work-life balance head on. I am challenged to kick work-life balance in it’s big, stinking butt! I am not asking for hand-outs. I am not wishing for easy. I am embracing the “I don’t need a WISH bone, I need a BACK bone” mentality. I am tackling this head-on. And nothing makes me more determined than a good personal challenge. Come on back bone, don’t break on me now!

So “bring it” work-life balance. “Bring it” little annoying daily issues and set-backs. I WILL win. I WILL take you down. I WILL pummel you. I WILL be victorious. Work-life balance say goodbye to having a hold over me. Your days of power are over and I’m in charge now! There will be no should, would, could. I am living my truth and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. ROAR!!!!!


Want to start today living your truth? Join me in the fight. It’s the good fight. It’s worth it. Let’s start today. It’s the epitome of self-care.




Self-Care Saturday: Are you Overwhelmed or Underwhelmed?

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3abb2f9731cc463e99b37a8b6a4b21d8So I have a question for you. Are you overwhelmed in your life right now? Is there too much to possibly get done and no time to do it? Do you feel the stress of deadlines? Is everyone pulling at you from clients to employees/co-workers/your boss to your family and friends? Are you lacking sleep and rest and relaxation? And is there no light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon?


Now I have another question for you. Are you sure it’s OVERwhelm that you’re feeling? Or is it possible that you are UNDERwhelmed with too many things? Here’s what I mean. I am not questioning that you have more on your plate than you could possibly get done. But here’s the difference…


Being overwhelmed but passionate about all the things on your plate is one state of being. And for the most part that’s what my days look like right now. There are so many exciting clients and partnerships taking place in my life right now that I am a bit worn down trying to keep up with it all. But I am overly excited about the possibilities of it all in a good way. I am having trouble sleeping because so many big ideas are running through my head and I am pinching myself on a regular basis to make sure all these amazing things are really happening.


And then there are the things on my plate that feel like chores. That feel like a J-O-B. That I dread and try to hide from. And the moments, days, weeks that there are more of those than anything else, or maybe even only those things, that’s where the rubber meets the road for me. Thats when I bring this baby to a screeching halt and reorganize, re-prioritize, and eliminate anything and everything that isn’t A.) making me happy and B.) making me money.

So on this self-care Saturday I ask you this. Are you overwhelmed or underwhelmed by your life? Overwhelm is hard on you but with passion behind it all, it can actually move you more quickly to your goals. I don’t know about you but when I have more to do than I can do, but I’m passionate about what’s on my to-do list, then I get more done than I can imagine. So having a lot on my plate can be a great motivator for me.


But nothing is worse than being underwhelmed with too many things. No one should have to work that hard and be uninspired and possibly underpaid too.


Some of the most important self-care involves permitting self awareness in your life. Being honest with yourself about whether you are happy doing all the things on your plate each day. And if you’re not, be kind to yourself and make a change no matter what other people think. If you are going to work as hard as we all have to they days, you should love your work. And if you love what you do, the money will follow.


Happy Saturday friends. Life is short so don’t spend this weekend being underwhelmed.


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