Treat Yo Self. Enrich Your Life.

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Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite shows.  And while Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson are neck and neck as being my favorite characters, Donna and Tom Haverford are close seconds.  Those two…are a mess.  But well put together, happy messes, if you ask me.  And I like that.  I wanna be like that–a well put together, happy mess.

I need to treat myself!  Or as I see it, enrich my life.

One thing that I admire about Tom and Donna besides their willingness to just be who they are, is their … self love.  Can we just admit that the two are just a little bit self-obsessed?  And now can we all admit that we kinda, secretly love it?  During the episode where the phrase “treat yo self” was coined, I sat there thinking, “Why don’t we all just treat ourselves on the daily?  Like, wouldn’t that make life just a little less shitty?”

So I decided to treat myself.  Or enrich my life.

I joined a few young professional groups in the area.

I started walking and drinking more water and eating less fat.

I cleaned, organized and decorated my apartment, now my home.

I gave myself permission to feel however it is that I’m feeling and come out better on the other side.

I gave up trying to make my daughter into who I wanted to be her to be.

I opened myself up and let a few people in.

I let go of the scarcity mindset and made my money work for me.

I stopped letting fear dictate my actions and inactions and started living by my desires and needs.

I became less selfish and more selfish all at once.

I know yall are thinking, “You did all that in a few weeks?”  And I have to be honest and say that I haven’t.  I wrote this list to figure out what I needed to do to “treat myself.”  What I needed in order to be the best version of me.  Now that I have it, I’m ready to roll.

Welcome to the Treat Myself Series.

What do you need to do to treat yo self?

 

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17 Ways to Be Your Own Valentine

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I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day for myself.  I never really understood the whole “be your own valentine” thing because I had nil understanding of self-care.  My thought process was that Valentine’s Day meant celebrating someone else. Or having someone else celebrate me.  It was a day to show love and give gifts…to someone else.  But what about showing love and giving gifts to yourself?  With this new found commitment to my self-care and on putting myself first, this Valentine’s Day–in addition to celebrating my husband–I’m also celebrating me.

I kick ass on a regular basis.  

My confidence is growing and every day, I’m leaning more and more into who I am. This is the time (but not the only time) to show myself some love. And I know I’m not the only one.

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We should all be celebrating ourselves regularly.  Valentine’s Day, however, gives us an opportunity to take it up a notch.

Here are a 17 ways to be your own valentine and show yourself some love.

  • Take yourself out to dinner
  • Get a massage
  • Disconnect from social media, email, and turn your phone off
  • Buy yourself some flowers
  • Take a long, hot bath
  • Remove negative people from your life
  • Invest in something that makes you happy or something that you need

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  • Prepare your favorite meal.  Don’t feel the need to accommodate those who don’t like it.
  • Take a “mental health day” from work
  • Sleep
  • Set your phone alarm to say something makes you want to rise and shine.  For example, when my alarm goes off every morning it says, “Wake up and be awesome!”
  • Wake up naturally, with no alarm clock
  • Listen to your favorite song over and over
  • Do something that involves giving back
  • Write a letter to someone who has made your life better and tell them why. You don’t have to send this letter, but the benefits of writing and showing gratitude are vast.
  • Read for pleasure
  • Pay attention to how people, places, things, and situations make you feel
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How an Oil Change and a Clean Car Saved My Sanity + Clean Car Tips for Busy Moms (Free Printable)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#DropShopAndOil #CollectiveBias

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If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know that I tend to talk about my cars from time to time.  Between the two of them, they’ve gotten me through some tough stuff.  I love my babies–Cali and Bonnie–and because of that, I try to do my best when it comes to taking care of them.  But truth be told, most of the time I suck at this.  Like recently, when I happened to glance up at the sticker on my windshield and found out that it had been over 5 months since Cali’s last oil change.  That, and the fact that I’d driven more than 1000 miles over her last oil change limit, had me feeling like I was neglecting my baby.  Not to mention the atrocity that was her inside.  Yuck.  Moms, you know what I’m talking about.  My backseat is forever the place of no return.

Now, I don’t know about you, but clutter, dirtiness, and disorder disrupt my zen like nothing else.  When my home or car is cluttered, so is my mind and so are my emotions.  I can’t deal!!  So, in an attempt to save myself (and my family) from myself, I contacted my local Walmart’s Automotive Care Center to schedule an oil change.

Once I was all scheduled, and before leaving Cali in the (I’m sure) capable hands of the attendant, I specified that I needed Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle oil (for cars with over 75,000 miles) because well, Cali is on the road A LOT.  My road trip baby, she and I will hit the road at the drop of a dime.  So I have to make sure that she’s always road ready.  This means that the oil she gets completely protects her engine, cleans out the sludge from lesser oils, and provides enough lubrication to protect from metal on metal friction.  Plus, it needs to allow me to drive a little bit longer, like 550 miles longer…because I’m never on time with these maintenance things.  And you guessed it…Pennzoil does all of that.  So yeah…Pennzoil it was.

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The good thing about having your car serviced at Walmart is the fact that you can get so much done at one time.  While my car was being pampered, I decided that I would pamper myself and get a pedicure.  Kudos to the Walmarts with nail salons!  While the technician slathered lotion and massaged my feet, before painting them Easter purple, I had time to think.  Even with Pennzoil’s High Mileage Vehicle oil, which is designed for high mileage vehicles, I needed to do more to keep my car in good running condition.  Under the hood, that meant regular (and on-time) oil changes, but inside the car, it meant keeping it clean…even with a sticky-handed 6 year-old in it.  So while getting my feet worked on, I made a list of a few things I could do to keep my car clean.

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A Busy Mom’s Tips/Tricks/Hacks for Keeping Your Car Clean

  1. Keep a small bag or container in your car for trash
  2. Consider a glove box organizer for your insurance card, registration, and other important paperwork
  3. When pumping gas or going through the drive thru at fast food joints, use that as a time to get rid of any loose trash like receipts, wrappers, or cups.
  4. If you have to sit in the “after school pick up line” like I do on some days, use that time to wipe down the dashboard, steering wheel, cup holders, radio deck, etc.
  5. Institute an “in with you, out with you” rule.  If you bring it in the car, you’re responsible for taking it out.  No more toys, books, or basketball shoes left in my car.  I’m looking at you, Hubz.
  6. Keep it organized.

Keeping my car organized is, by far, the most difficult thing on this list for me.  That’s especially the case for my trunk since I drive a hatchback.  But I’m working on it and right now, it’s looking good.

Now, my car is clean,  has some fresh oil running through it, and is organized.  And I got a pedicure.  Sanity saved.

Wanna save your sanity?  Check out this free printable with clean car tips for busy moms. Don’t forget to pin it!

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What tips and tricks can you offer for keeping your car clean? Do you think NASCAR cars are clean in the inside?  Check out this giveaway for a chance to win the opportunity to ride in a real NASCAR car that stimulates real NASCAR driving.

Prizes:
3 lucky winners will each win a trip to one of theRichard Petty Driving Experiences (each trip valued at $1,100).  That means they get to climb into a NASCAR car for an adrenaline-pumping experience that simulates real NASCAR driving.

Pennzoil Richard Petty Driving School “Experience of a Lifetime” Giveaway

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Why I’m Doing a Goodreads Reading Challenge + January’s Books (Video)

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This year I’ve decided to jump back into reading and I’m taking the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  For the last couple of years, I’ve struggled to read like I used to when I was younger. Back in the day, I read a book a day.  Or a day and a half, if it was kind of long.  Nowadays, I’m lucky to get through a book in a few months.  With everything that I’ve got going on and other just random stuff, I’ve lost the ability to focus.  Adult ADHD is a thing, people.  Since I like to read, that’s a big problem for me.  Like a huge problem.  So this year, I set a goal to read 100 books by the year’s end.  Not 5, not 50, but 100 books.  I’m using Goodreads (feel free to click the link so we can be friends) to track my progress and to figure out what to read next.  Check out the video below for more info on the challenge, how I’m doing it and what I plan to read for January!

How many books are you planning to read this year?  Do you use Goodreads? Are you taking the Goodreads Reading Challenge?

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Back to Life + Tips on Practicing Self-Care During a Tragedy

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It’s been kind of quiet around here for the last few days. I haven’t felt like writing and to me it seemed that anything I wrote would be inauthentic if I didn’t write about a particular subject: Michael Brown and Ferguson, MO.

Like most of you, whether you’re interested or disinterested, I’m aware of the decision not to indict the officer that killed Michael Brown.  Now, I won’t pull any punches or beat around the bush on this matter, so it’s important to know that the verdict really put me in a bad place.  This time, what I was feeling went beyond anger and got right down to pain and sorrow.  I cursed, questioned humanity and bawled my eyes out over yet another tragedy involving our Black children.  And honestly, I expected that to be the end of it.  I expected to pray for peace for Michael Brown’s family and have deep conversations with my husband, friends and family about what we could do, if anything.

But that didn’t happen.  Instead, I stayed in this weird space between sheer rage and unexplainable sadness.  I was dragging. Energy depleted. No good to no one.  I watched and listened to commentary from people I thought I knew.  The terms “thug” and “criminal” were thrown around so much and so passionately that I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I was missing something here.  Folks that I had known for years were, in essence, showing their true colors.  Emotionally drained would have been an understatement.

Today, I’m a little better. The pain that I feel for Michael Brown’s family and the absolute despair that I feel for this country continues to weigh heavily on me, but I’ve been doing my best to practice self-care through it all.

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Tips on Practicing Self-Care During a Tragedy

  1. Feel whatever it is that you feel–Whether it’s anger, sadness, pain or even joy, you have a right to feel however it is that you feel.  Too many times, we think (or people tell us) that we’re supposed to feel a certain way when something happens. Or better yet, that we should have no feelings at all. Or that what we’re feeling is somehow wrong. Nope, not the case.  As a living, breathing, feeling human being, feel what’s there and embrace that. It’s the only way that you can actually go deeper to a level of analysis and eventual acceptance.
  2. Know your limits. Impose your limits.–As someone who already has a limit on the amount of social media that she can take in, I’ve had to be especially mindful of my limits for the last few days.  No matter how much I wanted to respond to the detractors, the folks who felt that it was okay to morph #blacklivesmatter into #alllivesmatter, and the folks hollering, “What about Black on Black crime,” I knew that doing so would have pushed me beyond my limits and only made me feel worse.  So I shared where I could, educated when possible and deleted when necessary. Do the same.
  3. Do what makes you feel better–When you’re in a really, really bad place, it can seem like there is literally nothing that can pull you from that. It’s like you can smile, but what’s the point if your insides are crying.  I know because I’ve been there.  And I’ve figured out that a lot of the reason why I’ve been there (and stayed there for so long) is because I’ve tried to get happy, instead of getting better.  While grabbing and reading a book may not make me “happy,” it does make me better and puts me in a better place than when I started.
  4. Don’t do what makes you feel worse–This one is tough on several levels, as there are things that we’re obligated to do that make us feel worse about everything we’re going through.  I loathed dragging myself into work on the Tuesday after it was decided that Michael Brown’s killer wouldn’t be held accountable.  I had  no patience for “just another day.”  I had to do it though.  What I didn’t have to do was entertain racist people and entertain their racist commentary.  What I didn’t have to do was attend events for the sake of obligation, if I knew that doing so would cause me more hurt than healing.  One of the best ways to practice self-care is to practice self-preservation.

How do you practice self-care during a tragedy?

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Find Peace with a Pedicure: Creating a Self-Care Kit

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This #RespectUrFeet shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

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When I was nearing the end of my social work career, I was a hot mess.  I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating more poorly than usual and my body was breaking down on me.  The constant migraines, the excessive acne and the days spent crying uncontrollably were evidence of the breakdown.  Not to mention the depression, both seasonal and regular.  Honestly, I was a walking billboard for the importance of self-care.  Allowing myself to get to that point, being that far gone, was a HUGE no-no.  In the helping profession, we’re taught in school, the importance of taking care of ourselves.  So I devised a plan to do just that and create my own self-care kit with everything I needed to self-soothe.  That’s the books, the journal, the at home pedicure and plenty more.  Here’s how I did it.

Creating a self-care kit goes beyond just throwing “happy things” in a box.  In all honesty, it really comes down to knowing yourself and what works for you.  Pretty things are good, but what do they mean to you? Really think on this and figure out what moves you, what makes you feel good, what brings you back from the brink of anger, sadness, despair, etc.

After assessing your self-care  needs, the next thing to do is to figure out what you will “house” your kit essentials in.  Some people use bags, shoe boxes, even baskets.  It’s up to you and depends on what floats your boat, but this is an often neglected step.  To me, it matters what I store my essentials in.

I don’t want something that’s easily accessible because I have a nosy family.

I don’t want something that can easily tear or become damaged if it gets wet.

I do want something that is secure.

I do want something that I can decorate and really make mine.

With all of the above in mind, I chose an old, wooden lock box.

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Choosing the contents

What you choose to put in your kit is a personal choice that should be a choice that you and only you should make.  Here is what I chose for my box + why it works for me.

1. Amopé Pedi Perfect and foot cream: These are new products that I got from the foot care aisle at Target.  The gadget, along with the foot cream, adds moisture for healthier feet, which is important to me, as I’ve noticed that the care of my feet, or lack thereof, are instant indicators of how I’m feeling about myself.  When my feet are baby soft, my toenails are clipped and painted pretty, I feel like a force to be reckoned with.  I’m confident and taking pride in my appearance.  When they’re not, well, it’s just the opposite.

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2. A good book: While the book changes, depending on what I’m reading or how I’m feeling at the time, I make sure to keep some soul-stirring books in my box.  These are not how-to books or books on business or anything like that.  These books awaken your soul by challenging your thinking and helping you get back to a place of balance and contentment.

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3. Something that smells good: Smell is so important when it comes to self-care.  Scents like lavender have a calming effect and help reduce stress.  Other scents such as Jasmine and Rosemary have uplifting capabilities that produce feelings of confidence and help to fight mental exhaustion.  I use my favorite hand lotions or body butters to create the scent that I’m looking for.  I’ve also used candles and even fabric softener sheets.

5. Music: For me, this may be the most important item in my self-care kit. There are certain songs that serve as the soundtrack to my life and in order to really get into my feelings and feel whatever it is that I’m feeling, I need to hear those songs.  I use music streaming websites for this, but you could also use CDs or something else.

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4. A journal, markers and a pen: This is self-explanatory, but I’m a huge proponent of writing for self-care.  Free writing, in particular (just writing continuously and generating raw, unedited, grammatically incorrect material), is a favorite of mine for identifying flawed thinking and overcoming self-criticism.  In addition to writing, I like to draw and color because it allows me to create freely and gives my analytic and critical left brain a rest.

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From here, it’s just a matter of putting everything together and having it ready for when you need it.

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For women, mothers, people with depression, and so on and on, self-care has to become a priority and a topic of discussion.  Getting to know yourself and creating your own self-care kit is the starting point for self-preservation, which we all should be striving for.

If you were to create a self-care kit (and I hope you do), what would be in it?

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