Self-care ideas

Ideas and inspiration about the need to care for ones self

Cleaning House

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Have you had the experience of walking into someone’s home and feeling the peace of cleanliness and decision-making? {By that I mean there isn’t overwhelming clutter and commotion, but mostly calmness and order underneath the daily activities of cooking, creating and learning?} Maybe that describes your house!

I remember thinking that if you had young children you’d have to pick between having a clean house or a happy family.

In my mind, I thought that in order to keep a nice home you’d have to be grumpy all the time and constantly reminding people to take care of their stuff or not make messes!

A wise friend then pointed out to me that those two things were not mutually exclusive! Imagine that. You can keep order and be happy together. Children, even very young children, love to contribute to the work of the family and can be taught to not only put their own things away, but also to help with maintenance. I have learned a lot about that idea since then and I continue to learn more every day.

This is really a conversation about boundaries isn’t it? 

About practicing being kind, gentle, respectful and FIRM all at the same time.

{For me, it does take a great deal of practice!}

I am continually working to create a vision in my head of how I look and sound when I am upholding boundaries with respectful kindness, while also being very FIRM in my understanding of what boundaries are mine to make.

For instance, the boundary that is the perimeter of our home and property clearly marks “our” space; my spouse and I are in charge of making decisions for everything within that space. It’s like this:

If we decide that we want people to remove their shoes before entering, that expectation will somehow be stated and kindly enforced. Maybe there will be a sign posted by the door with a rack or basket for shoes.

Or if we would like coats to be hung on the laundry room coat hooks, then that will be made known and expected. {Hmm, I need to free up a few of those hooks!}

This space is ours. We can claim it and engineer it and love it and confidently share it!

On the flip side, if we don’t value our space; if we don’t make decisions and teach others how we want our space to be treated; if we don’t show by our actions {keeping our personal things in order, or having the right tools for the jobs we have to do, or speaking respectfully about our jobs,} that we value the work that we do in our homes, we’re not doing anyone any favors. Everyone, particularly children, deserve to be respectfully taught how to behave in ways that will help them to be respectful of the property of others and responsive and considerate to others’ needs.

Homemaking is an art, or it can be! Do you value the challenging and ultra-important work you do in your home every day? It is literally what makes the world go ’round. Making orderly and inviting spaces where people can fully function, feel loved and belong means more connections, and more connections can mean less despair, addiction, divisiveness and sorrow…and those connected individuals go out into the world and create more places of love and connection and your work ripples out to bless many! Yes! The work you are doing is at the heart of a functioning and healthy society.

I challenge you to value your contribution! Speak highly of your role! Create a vision for yourself that gives you the drive to learn, to make changes, to rise above the past, to excel in what matters most to you!

Much love to you for a great weekend!
Jacque

P.S. A note about tools: I’m in the process of trading in a rag mop that has reached the end of it’s usefulness, for a flat mop with removable pads and I’m trading in my cleaning rags for a microfiber glass cleaning cloth. {I’m so excited! My friend loaned her glass cleaning cloth to me for a few days and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made in all the reflective surfaces I cleaned with it! My stainless steel fridge has never looked so clean! Same amount of effort on my part, but a much better and longer lasting result.} And, I just traded in a wonderful old vacuum for a new, while inexpensive, awesome one that is simpler to use and more effective in getting at the details like woodwork, stairs and corners.

Think of it, if you cleaned houses for your profession, wouldn’t you invest in the right tools so that your work would be as efficient and effective as possible?

Boundaries For Balance

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Ever feel that you’re not sure if you should be pushing yourself to do more or if you should slow down and do less?

This is a daily question for we women, particularly mothers who are doing their best to cover the every day demands of a family such as planning and preparing meals, taking care of home maintenance, educating and training kids, supporting the development of talents and getting people where they need to be when they need to be there! (It’s a pretty amazing job isn’t it?)

So how’s it going and how do you decide if you’re getting close to a healthy balance?

Do you run, non-stop until you are exhausted and then drop? Or do pace yourself and stay pretty even-keeled? Or do you sometimes feel that you are lacking passion and challenge and need something new in your life?

Most likely, we all fluctuate somewhere on the line between too much to do and not enough going on. {Well, I don’t really know of anyone with not enough to do, but I’d guess it’s a real challenge for some!} Our personalities are unique and are expressed in ways that effect our daily balancing decisions, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to balance best!

Someone told me recently that they are usually deciding what they can be okay with leaving undone, and then using their time and energy to do the rest.

The thing I like about that thought is the calm acceptance tucked into it, the recognition that there are more things needing to be done than my friend can possibly do in a day, and so she doesn’t beat herself up about the fact, or pretend otherwise, but simply prioritizes her to-do list and then does what she can.

I personally want to get better and better at:
saying no to activities that divert my attention away from my most important relationships, goals and learning;
planning my work and working my plan;
keeping a little ahead of deadlines and assignments and
regularly taking breaks to renew myself.

One tried and true practice that gives consistent peace, on crazy days or kicked-back days, {whether you function as a soldier or as a spontaneous gypsy} is doing the most important things as early in the day as possible, particularly those practices that feed your soul. Prayer, scripture reading, journaling and meditating set us up for a day of knowing who we are, what we value most and that we can have heaven’s help in accomplishing the daily things that matter most!

Praying for inspiration to feel what God would have us do throughout our days is the best balancing practice I know.

His will is always for our growth and benefit, and we won’t go wrong in listening for that small voice that guides us in wisdom’s paths.

One day at a time, one prayer at a time. There’s balance.

Love,
Jacque

 

Eat For Balance!

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Sometimes we experience a complete disconnect between what we eat and how we feel. In fact, we can be so unaware at times that we don’t even recognize how we feel or what we ate or how some things effect us. Not just our weight or food allergy symptoms, but also our brain chemistry, gut health, liver function, and general gut health.

Here are a few tips (and maybe a little rant) about simple ways to improve our diets:

1 Try to eat something at each meal that is alive, and snack on living foods too.

Living food comes with it’s own enzymes to help us break them down and digest them well. Living food also comes in it’s own package which makes it enter our bodies in a more balanced way than processed food does. For instance, eating a whole apple gives you fiber at the same time you are getting fruit sugar, so it is absorbed more slowly than say, a fruit drink or even apple juice by itself. Along with enzymes, you could also think in terms of eating good bacteria too, such as un-sugared yogurt or cultured vegetables, grains or natural yeast bread.

2 Eat before you are desperately hungry.

Being proactive about feeding yourself (and your family) pays great dividends. When we are overly hungry we generally don’t make great food choices, and at that point we may have lost the blood sugar balance we need to maintain homeostasis, which can cause a cascade of imbalance in our chemistry. Knowing that meals are coming in a timely way certainly give kids (and adults) comfort, while also making it easier to maintain relationships. If you didn’t have to deal with a super-cranky, overly hungry toddler, or teenager, or your hungry self, wouldn’t that make your house more peaceful?

3 Stay clear of food additives.

Fresh food rots, so if you have a food product that can sit on a shelf for months or years, you know it is not in the realm of real. At that point it really isn’t food in my opinion. Food colorings and flavorings destroy healthy gut bacteria, can cause behavior problems, and are very addictive. Think whole and real and your body will thank you by staying more balanced, headache-free, addiction-free and your guts will be happier! Cucumbers, apples and real peanut butter; delicious salads; raw nuts and seeds; soaked, cooked grains; cultured vegetables; soup made from bone broth and vegetables; simple meats, like cooked, whole chicken; raw vegetables, steamed vegetables; and so on.

4 Decrease sugar intake.

This seems to be such a no-brainer, but the point doesn’t seem to make into our collective behavior. What is that about? Addiction? Most likely. And stupidity. Sorry, I just have to say that. Why are we handing kids candy every time they turn around? If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, weight issues, allergies, headaches, tooth decay, out-of-control kids, it surely would be worth the effort to make this shift. Sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies! It’s that simple. Stay away from it. At least, cut it down by degrees until you can do without it.

5 Drink better water more and more often.

Hydration is so important and so misunderstood. Often hunger, headache, irritability or even lethargy or feeling tired can really be signs that your body is dehydrated. It is estimated that 40% of adults are dehydrated on a regular basis. (Poor kidneys!) It’s a very simple thing to do: drink more water. Not more soda, not more juice, not more milk just clean water. (Chlorinated water kills good gut bacteria.) Get an app on your phone, keep a sticky note on the fridge, or do whatever it takes to remind yourself to drink more water. Every system in your body will work better if you do!

I surely hope you will have a wonderful holiday season and that you will be able to maintain a healthy balance. Here’s to your health! After all it is quite difficult to be our best selves without it.

Love,
Jacque

 

 

Your Needs Matter

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I want to invite you to share in a challenge I have set for myself, being as it is the week of Thanksgiving and the third month of seminar!

{This month’s step is on learning the rules of validation, which in essence is learning to have clear boundaries!}

The two-part challenge is this:

First, validate your own needs by pouring on the self-care! 

This is the time we need it most, during the holidays when we have more to do and it’s easier than ever to say, “I don’t have time for that!”

And I’m talking about really simple things! It might look like this…

When you are going out in the cold, wear proper clothing. The temperature outside may call for a coat and or a scarf, gloves, hat and maybe boots. Take care of yourself and wear them.

If or when you begin to feel exhaustion hit, take a break. Put your feet up. Make a warm cup of peppermint tea. Read a chapter in your book. Roll your shoulders. Stretch.

Take a few minutes when you can to disengage your mind from what is pressing you. Read your scriptural text. Meditate. Focus on your breathing.

Plug in the activity you need to give those stress hormones the boot! Go for a brisk walk, keep going to your exercise class, turn on some fun music and move!

Guard your sleep as much as possible for the stage of life you’re in. Unplug your brain from screen time at least an hour before bed, drink some Sleepytime tea in the evening, consider a magnesium supplement if you’re having a hard time relaxing.

These are boundaries. You may struggle with them as I have, but keep working! Our progress is real and our focused efforts can yield greater health and strength!

The second part of the challenge is this: practice gratitude daily. Expressing gratitude is one of the most energy giving, perspective shifting activities I know. Practice, practice, practice! Give thanks for the small, almost insignificant blessings you enjoy, along with gratitude for the challenging experiences that have made your growth possible and able to appreciate the goodness in your life–we need the contrast don’t we?

I’m sending you my love and best wishes for a wonderful holiday!

Love,
Jacque

P.S. We know it, but sometimes we forget: our daughters {and everyone we know} are watching how we are treating ourselves. The treatment we give ourselves will inform others how we expect to be treated. A little food for thought. Be well!

 

 

Think on Purpose

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“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”

Grenville Kleiser

Joy; calm; well-being; love; happiness; fulfillment; achievement; worthiness; sustenance; generosity; acceptance; creativity: we can think on these!

Happy Friday my friend!

Love,
Jacque