Popular Self-Care Tip Posts

Woman stressed and frustratedHave you ever spent hours jumping from one web link to another trying to gather relevant self-care tip posts only to find yourself in a maze of information overload?

I have and I know just how time-consuming and frustrating that can be.

Don’t you sometimes wish you had a handy reference guide put together with several articles about your specific search topic all in one place?

Now you do…

Periodically I will publish a list of previously posted popular self-care tips and strategies that I’ve rounded up from various sources on the web to make it easier for you to get self-care tips and more all in one place.   Here’s the list:

15 Self-Care Tips for Anyone Who Works Too Much
Nichole Liloia on MindBodyGreen
Choose from these 15 self-care tips to make self-care a part of your regular practice so that you feel good about taking care of yourself (and you get a break from your work!).

The Absolute Worst Things To Do When You’re Stressed Out
Jena Pincott on Oprah.com
When life comes at you fast and furious, the last thing you want to do is make things even harder on yourself. Start by avoiding these 8 stress  traps

Girl on a Ledge – Moving Past Your Fears 
Marisa Leighon on Huffington Post
Girl on a ledge describes perfectly that feeling we have when fear keeps us stuck in the same old patterns, trying to decide how to make the transition from fearful to courageous.

How to Build Self Confidence
Zorka Hereford on Essential Life Skill.net
How we see ourselves is more important than how anyone else sees us. If we don’t work at loving and accepting ourselves, nothing anyone else thinks matters.

Four Ways to Deal With Stress
Posted by the American Heart Association
Use these four simple techniques to combat stress

How Fear Keeps us Stuck (and what to do about it) – Posted on Unstuck.com
9 tips to help you get unstuck and move past the fear

What’s in Your Tool Kit?
Posted on CoachforYourDreams.com/blog
Just as you use physical tools to complete tasks and projects, you also have tools that help you maintain your self-care. To stay organized, focused, accountable and inspired, use these tools from your self-care tool kit.

If you enjoyed these popular self-care tip posts, please leave a comment to let me know what resonates with you and what other topic you would like me to pull together for you.

In the meantime, for more self-care tips and insights, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

What picture are you painting?

What Picture Are You Painting

What picture are you painting in your mind about yourself?

Anytime we paint a picture in our mind that’s not authentic or represent who we really are, it leaves an indelible imprint.  It’s an image that we constantly try to emulate, assimilate and redefine based on someone else’s picture.

Recently I attended a paint party.  Paint parties are popping up all over the United States.  They are sometimes held in restaurants, bars and private homes.  Wherever they are held, the atmosphere is jovial and there is always plenty to eat and drink.  The whole idea of a paint party is to have fun while a professional artist guides novices (like me) in creating our own unique work of art.

Like anything we try that’s new, I was apprehensive and didn’t know quite what to expect. In other words, I almost let fear keep me from a fun experience.

As the room filled and everyone takes their place in front of an already set up easel with an attached canvass to start our masterpiece, the artist announces confidently, “our project today is a sunflower”.  As she distributes the various size paint brushes, paper plates to hold and mix the paint, I’m feeling less and less confident.  When the instructor passes out the aprons, I assume this is so we don’t go home looking like we’ve been in a paint fight with a 5-year old.

Of course, the instructor had her sunflower prominently displayed so we all could see what a real sunflower looks like. And, like most of the large group of women (and a couple of men) in the room, I tried my darnedest to follow her instructions and imitate her painting of a sunflower. And for a moment, I thought I might be successful until I noticed my masterpiece had taken on a life of its own.  While the instructor’s sunflower was dead center on the canvass with vibrant colors and perfectly formed leaves, my sunflower looked much like the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa, known worldwide for is unintended tilt.  My leaves were a little misshapen and drooped casually along the side of the sunflower.  What I intended to be a bright yellow had somehow morphed into a yellowish/orange.

Unlike the instructor, I don’t have years (or even minutes) of painting experience. Nor do I have a natural talent for painting or even a plausible knowledge about mixing paint. Nevertheless, here I am ready to paint my masterpiece!

I’m keenly aware of my strengths and my limitations.  Painting is not one of my strengths.

So, why in the world did I sign up for a painting class when the only thing I’ve ever painted was a wall?

It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging in the Smithsonian. It was about:

  • pushing through the fear of “getting it right” to experience something new and exciting
  • acceptance (being okay with who I am and what I can do)
  • breaking free of self imposed limitations (e,g,, “I can’t paint”...)
  • letting go of negative self talk (“it won’t be good enough” – good enough for who? -see acceptance above)
  • another chance to get closer to living fearlessly.

Here is what I took away from that painting class –

I don’t have to create like anyone else and I don’t have to be or do anything like anyone else.  I only need to show up as authentically, unabashedly ME!

When I shoved aside my fear, judgment and self-doubt and let go of what I thought the other people in the class would think of my feeble attempt at painting, I created my own unique sunflower (tilted and off-color). My painting may never win me an award or hang in a museum but I got something much more valuable than recognition.

I got self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I experienced yet another opportunity to show up as my authentic, creative, divine self without judgment or self-doubt. And, I had fun doing it.

Now, you can’t put that on canvass!

Is the picture you have in your mind representative of who you really are?

What picture are you painting?

Please take a moment to share comments about your unique picture.

And for more ways to suspend fear, self-doubt and criticism, you may want to read my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

7 Warning Signs of Depression

7 Warning Signs of DepressionThe world was saddened this week by the death of Mr. Robin Williams, an iconic comedian, beloved American legend and accomplished actor. Mr. Williams reportedly suffered from severe depression. He appears to have taken his own life.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family. Depression is an insidious mental health disease affecting millions of people every year. Severely depressed individuals are at high risk of suicide.

Symptoms of depression can be tough to detect in someone close to you and even harder to detect in yourself. On occasion, most people feel a little sad, anxious or gloomy. These feelings are quite common when they are the result of a significant life change (e.g., loss of job, divorce, illness, work stress, etc.) and usually last a short time. But, when you or someone you know feels sad and hopeless most of the day, these and other symptoms persist for extended periods of time and effect daily functioning, serious depression may exist and the help of an experienced mental health professional may be needed.

Here are some key areas where depression may lead to diminished functioning and suicide:

  • Extreme changes in sleep habits. On occasion, most people may have a day or two when they either wake up too early, have difficulty getting to sleep or wake up sometime during the night. People experiencing depression will sleep excessively or sleep very little
  • Overeating or appetite loss. Often people who are extremely depressed find themselves eating much more than normal or snacking excessively or having little or no appetite for foods they previously enjoyed.
  • Difficulty staying focused. The inability to think clearly and/or make simple decisions is a frightening part of severe depression. Making major decisions is often intolerable for a depressed person. This lack of concentration leads to increased anxiety, and feelings worthlessness, and/or helplessness.
  • Diminished energy. You may notice that you or a depressed individual moves and speaks at a reduced rate and often complains of being tired without any evidence of physical exertion.
  • Lack of interest.  Depressed individuals have diminished energy and/or no desire to engage in routine activities or hobbies they once found pleasurable.
  • Low self-esteem. During periods of depression, people may dwell on failures and losses and experience feelings of excessive guilt and helplessness. Thoughts of suicide may occur when these feelings persist.
  • Thoughts of suicide/suicide attempt. People who are depressed may say such things as “I wish I wasn’t here”, “what good am I”.

This post is by no means an attempt to diagnose or treat depression.  If you are concerned about depression and/or suicide for yourself or someone else, please use the following resources to get immediate help:

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

If you are hearing impaired, there are several ways to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • To chat with a Lifeline counselor from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday (Eastern Standard Time), click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

If you are hearing impaired, and a veteran, service member, or any person concerned about one, there are several ways to contact the Veterans Crisis Line.

  • To text with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, send a text message to 838255.
  • To chat with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)  or  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you or someone you know experience any of the warning signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts or intentions, please take it as very, very serious and seek immediate help.

Listening Well

Listening WellMost of us have experienced the frustration of having someone not listen to us or felt that same frustration when someone says you’re not listening to him or her.   But, before we get all bent out of shape and accuse someone of not listening, we must first ask ourselves the question, “how well do I listen”?

You must learn to be a good listener if you want others to listen to you.  That means putting down the smartphone and giving the other person your undivided attention.

A smartphone is no substitute for meaningful connection

Listening is so much more than hearing the words that are spoken. Listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, taking note of the tone of voice, gestures, body language and making eye contact.

We are so accustomed to speaking in shorthand – e.g., OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc., that real communication easily gets lost.  A “smart” device is no substitute for meaningful, connected interaction between two or more people.  Smart devices and shortcut speech is just another way for us to avoid connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Before you send your next text, email or instant message, ask yourself:

How well do I listen?

How does my commuication connect me to him/her?

And to further hone up on your listening skills,  keep these tips in mind to remind you to become a better listener.

1) Look the person speaking in the eye as they talk to you. This shows that you are paying attention. Don’t fidget, survey the surrounding scenery or check email.

2) Nod your head occasionally, say, “tell me more”, or ask questions when appropriate to indicate your interest.

3) Don’t interrupt the person speaking to complete her thoughts in your mind before she has the opportunity to finish speaking.

4) Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. When we focused only on the words being said, we often miss important physical cues that would clarify and give us a better understanding of what is really being said.

5) Remember to ask questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”. You want to ask questions that promote more conversation and clarity.

For more listening and communication tips, you may want to order my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You

I’m Back From My Fear Trip

Plane Landing

I’m Back From My Fear Trip!

You’re probably wondering what’s a “fear trip”?

A fear trip is one of those trips that mires you in inertia, keeps you from moving forward and creates an atmosphere of doubt and deception.  It’s like being stuck in your own personal time warp and you have the key but can’t open the lock.

A funny thing about fear – you can go along thinking you’ve conquered it and bam! It rears its ugly head when you least expect it.

I thought I was long over the fear of sharing my writing or speaking in a public forum.

So, what happened?

I won’t bore you with all the details but family, illnesses, “anything that gets-in-the-way-of-writing mishaps” and other related incidents kept me off course for months.

In reality, after such a long absence, fear stealthy moved in while I was busy doing other things.

Have you ever let that happen to you?

I’ve overcome other fears before. I put my first blog post out there in 2009, wrote numerous posts since then, published a book, and spoken to many groups. So, why have I allowed fear to keep me from writing for so long?

The truth is, the longer I stayed away, the wider the opening for fear to sneak in and give me room to create a story that I had no evidence to support.

My story was that I would write and no one would be there to read what I wrote and that you would have moved on to read someone else’s blog. That was my story and I stuck to it!

How could I possibly know that?  Can I peek over your shoulder and see what’s on your computer screen?

Remember, FEAR is “False Expectations Appearing Real” and like  most fears – mine were rooted in false expectations without any proof to support my story.

Once I got brutally honest about the real reason I neglected my blog for so long, I was able to dismiss the false “story” I created.

Fear can make a person see something that is not there, or hear something that is not said – Iyanla Vanzant

Does writing this post mean I’ve overcome the fear that no one will ever read my blog posts?

I don’t know…

I do know that one of the ways to overcome fear is to do the thing you fear.

I also know that, at this moment, I’m not fearful. I am taking a risk that you haven’t abandoned me and will let me know you read this by leaving a comment.

Just say hello, I’m still here.

Until next time …(yes, there will be a next time).

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