Live and unplugged

I spent 4 absolutely glorious and magical days on 120 acres of the most beautiful and peaceful land around.

The minute you step out of your vehicle, you can feel your blood pressure drop and those burdens your weary shoulders carry fall to the ground. This little piece of “heaven” is a short drive from my home and worth every penny of gas money.

The best part of my weekend was in the being: being present, being together, being mindful, being unplugged.

My encouragement would be for you to find somewhere or something that allows you to do the same – wherever/whatever it is, just unplug and refresh.

One of the many pieces of art that adorn the outdoors.
Every evening was spent gathered around the firepit as we laughed and shared stories together
Bird watching off the deck with a cup of tea was first on the agenda each day.
The full moon made the scenery even more spectacular
Life bursts forth
Majestic sunsets
I could never grow weary looking at this view
The main house and art studio
Le sigh

Taking care of busine…YOU!

Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” and “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness “.

Making it a habit to practice self-care can be challenging. We all have busy schedules (with work, school, household, familial and social obligations) and let’s not forget the guilt. The “I should-be’s” can have very loud opinions.

How we should implement self-care into our lives:

1. I suggest trying to get enough sleep. How difficult is it to try to do anything when you’re exhausted? I know when I go through my seasons of PTSD nightmares, I can hardly function, let alone feel like caring for myself.

In order to set yourself up for success in the sleep department, my personal experience shows that (at least for me) routine and organization are key. Have a bedtime routine that shifts your mind from activity to preparing for sleep modes. One of the most helpful for me was making the bedroom a sanctuary….cozy colors, cozy blankets, soft lighting. Hygge the hell out of that space. Room darkening curtains are a must and consider removing electronics from your bedroom (cell phones, televisions, etc.

2. Practice the art of saying “no”. “No” is a complete sentence. If you have no time to give yourself at least 15 min, you don’t have time to add another bake sale, Susan.

3. Eat well to feel well. Practice mindfulness during your meals, truly savoring your food. Watch which types of food make you feel gross and sluggish and which make you feel great? Water, water, water…

4. If you are able, get a pet. Studies have shown that pets, especially a dog, help reduce stress, anxiety and high blood pressure. I’ve heard that people with PTSD are now using service dogs. I know for myself, although not a service dog, my dog has been a great asset in helping to calm and relax me – even going as far as waking me up from the nightmares that harass me and the dog will not leave my side when a panic attack sets in.

5. My personal favorite, get outside. Being outside reduces fatigue, burn-out and depression. For me, it nourishes my soul, especially when I am able to get away from the city, major bonus points when I can get out to enjoy a full moon or a sunset/rise…

6. Exercise daily

7. Get organized. Organize your space, your calendar, your routines. Organization reduces stress exponentially. Schedule your self-care so you reduce your chances of bailing on yourself.

8. Make time to read.

Life has shown me that self-care is a fundamental part of what we should do. How can we pour ourselves out for our loved ones if we feel there is nothing within us to give?

So, let’s take a look at our calendars, pick a day and schedule a nice, long walk, a hot bath, a leisurely meal with friends, even just waking up 15 minutes earlier to have an uninterrupted cuppa and some time for a little deep breathing.

Step-parents, this is especially important for us all. Hell, it’s important no matter what prefix is attached to parenting.

Surrounded by Beauty

Enjoying the beauty I am honored to live around – except today, today it is snowing. Yes, I know it won’t last long, but I’m just a smidge tired of snow and minus eleventy hundred (slight exaggeration) degrees Celsius.

Choosing to focus on positivity, I’m posting a picture or two from one of my many walks in this beautiful land I get to call home.

Making time

Beauty and “magic” are all around us just waiting to spark joy within our souls.

I think sometimes we are so busy rushing from task to task and day to day that we forget how amazing it was to explore as a child.

Looking for the little details in something (or someone) helps me to see the beauty in it (them). My grandparents always encouraged me to see the positives, to look for the helpers. I find their lessons have become my nature as, in the midst of tragedies, my focus is not on the chaos but on the helpers.

That mindset, of finding beauty, has followed me in many avenues of life. My walks, for example, I am continually looking – whether my eyes are to the sky or ground…seeking beauty.

I want to encourage us all to look for the beauty, even in those situations that seem endless and daunting…there is beauty there – somewhere… I truly find this act of mindfulness the best self care available to me.

Memories

As my granny had a huge part to play in raising me, living on the same farm and all, I think of her often.

Spring especially.

When I see and hear the birds coming back, the butterflies, the crocuses…she is one of the biggest reasons I have adored nature my entire life.

I enjoy these gorgeous symbols of a woman who was the epitome of bravery and strength – a woman, who at 9 years old, was tasked with raising her younger and older siblings, and care for the household after the death of her mother. Who had to quit school, at 9 years old, to do so. Who taught herself through reading, life and hard work. That, ladies and gentlemen, is strength.

This is for you, Grandma.

Slow down

I hope your week was as amazing as ours.

We slowed life down this week, stopped and enjoyed the little things and the discovery of said little things.

We walked barefoot (honestly, such a great way to keep yourself grounded; it is rare to see me in shoes once the weather gets nice, unless I have to be).

We played.

We stopped to watch bug activity.

We were simply mindful in each moment.