Wednesday Missive - "Holidaze" Spending" How To Find Balance

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello All, 

Wow, we’re in the thick of it right now, aren’t we?  The “holidaze” are in full swing and by now, we may be feeling the effects: We’re extra tired, overwhelmed to the core and generally feel like a great, big overextended mess.

Last week, I discussed how self-care can be an effective tool to combat holiday overscheduling (the week before that I talked about self-care and holiday overeating).  

This week, I’ve promised to discuss holiday overspending.  I know it’s something many of us struggle with and I know self-care can offer important relief.  But as I thought through how to break this one down, I’ve honestly been feeling a bit stuck.

The issue is that I err on the other side: I underspend during the holidays to the point where I can feel a bit Scrooge-like at times.  While I do my best to maintain some holiday cheer, internally, I scoff that we’ve made the beautiful solstice holidays about consumerism.  While others shop and shop, I secretly count the days until the season is over.  

My bank account may stay stable, but I know I often miss out on the merriment that comes with the season.  In a moment of extreme darkness, we come together to share generosity.  This is a lovely thing, and something I cherished as a child and see in the eyes of others as they carefully select their gifts. Yet, because I often choose to abstain, I don’t fully join into the uplifted energy of the holiday season.

Others out there find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. They love the gift-giving of the holidays.  They spend extra time, energy and money finding the perfect thing for everyone in their lives.  Sometimes their generosity is reciprocated and sometimes it isn’t (perhaps by someone like me!).

But by the new year, they often feel overdrawn in a few different ways.  Once again, they’ve gone overboard and given too much. Now, they have to face the coming year trying to dig themselves out of debt, whether financial or energetic or both.

Regardless of where we land on the gift-giving spectrum, we can all use a little extra loving self-care to help us find our appropriate balance of being generous and responsible.  If you’re struggling with either overspending or underspending, use this self-love script to come back to the center that helps you enjoy this season authentically.
 

Self-Love Script for “Holidaze” Spending:

"Ok, it’s this time of year again.  There’s a lot of pressure on me to buy presents.  The commercials are screaming that caring equals spending, and I just know my family has gone overboard on buying gifts again.  Let me take a deep breath and sit for a moment to figure out how I feel about giving gifts this holiday. In my heart, I know that giving lots of presents doesn’t make me a good person, and likewise, choosing to give fewer presents doesn’t make me a good person.  What I can do is trust in how much feels right to give.  Maybe I want to get my mom something amazing this year but will skip giving gifts to my coworkers.  Perhaps I want to go overboard with everyone and enjoy the feeling of it all.  Or I could skip all the presents and give a big gift to charity. Or maybe I want to do nothing at all and feel ok about it. The most important thing is to take all the shame out of my actions. I deserve self-love, whether or not I go into debt or seem stingy to others. The holidays are an interesting moment of time to observe my inclinations toward spending. When I meet these instincts with gentle awareness, I can learn about myself and find a way to be generous this holiday in a way that feels authentic to me."
 

Self Care 101 Nudge:

Do you have trouble setting limits around giving to others? Do you turn to online shopping when you’ve had a hard day? Or, do you worry that you’re a bad person because giving to others is so hard for you?

Spending, just like any other activity, can be used in a fulfilling way or it can turn into a form of compulsion.  Buying something or choosing to deny ourselves something can both unlock a powerful hit of dopamine (a pleasure chemical) in our brains.

Unlike other compulsion, like eating or drinking, we don’t really have a vocabulary for the addictive feeling that spending money can evoke.

When these compulsions do arise, we can feel like we’re suffering alone.  We think something is broken in our relationship with money, and deeper than that, in ourselves.

In order to find the right balance in our material life, we have to find the right balance inside of ourselves.  If we don’t feel good about ourselves as people, we may try to overcompensate with material goods. This could mean buying way too much, or conversely, getting rid of our material possessions as a way to feel better.

Real self-care helps us find a balanced relationship inside of ourselves so we can create a healthy relationship with spending money.  It shows us the inherent goodness at our core and teaches us how to spend responsibly from this place.  Without self-care, setting healthy limits in our spending can feel almost impossible.

If you’re craving these healthy limits, Self Care 101 will help you. This winter, 20 amazing women will take 10 weeks to create a real transformation. Together, we will cheer each other on to greater balance - both internally and externally.

Want to learn more about practicing self-care in a supportive community?  Fill out this application to connect with me about joining the next course.   

***

That’s all for now! Next week, I’ll share my secrets for dealing with difficult family dynamics during the holidays.  Yes, self-care can even help you with that incredibly hard one: caring too much for the people we love.

Be well ‘til then!

XO,
Gracy

***

Self-Care Inspiration

1. For overspenders:  Watch this great documentary on the art of gleaning.  See how a thrifty subset of people around the world prefer to do more with less.  Learning about gleaning has helped me understanding my relationship with consumption and take pride in my preference for thrifting my way through life.

2. For underspenders:  Splurge a little!  I suggest checking out this beautiful Swedish line of body-positive, gorgeous clothing.  I particularly love their take on creating simple, cozy holiday cheer.  Even if you don’t purchase anything, browsing through their website will indulge your senses.

3. If you need a zero-waste gift, I suggest these yummy-smelling shampoo barsfrom my other favorite company: Lush.  They come in reusable tins and last almost as long as a plastic bottle of shampoo.

4. I also love this fascinating Netflix documentary about comedians Jim Carrey and the late, brilliant Andy Kaufman. It goes deeper than comedy to help unravel the big questions of identity and purpose.

5. Just before I gave birth to Jonah, someone suggested I check out respectful parenting coach Janet Lansbury.  I’ve grown to love her philosophies on how to teach our children healthy boundaries by using our own thriving example.  Her piece on parental self-care is a good one for all of us.  Even if we don’t have children, learning to treat everyone in our lives from a place of self-care will help us all create more satisfying boundaries with the world.

***

Self Care 101 Announcement 

Are you ready to change? Do you thrive in groups? Is this your moment?

If so, I want you to join the next round of Self Care 101.  Starting on January 7th, twenty amazing women will work together to create a lifestyle of self-care and a community of support.  I've taken over 200 women through this process and have seen the wonders it will work in your life.  Yes, even you who thinks that you'll never be able to change.  Let's get started. 

Do you want to learn more? Oh goodie!  Please fill out this application and we’ll talk, commitment-free, to see if it’s a good fit.

UPDATE: Seven amazing ladies have already signed up!  This round is going to be really good!

***

A Final Thought

A good philosophy to use when dealing with our children or anyone who is challenging us:

"Feelings flow more easily if we don’t take them on as our work. We don’t need to fix every problem or even work our children through them. It’s exhausting. Instead, all that’s needed is to accept, acknowledge, and let the feelings be. Shifting into this mindset can certainly be challenging at first (when most of us have the instinct to do something to make the feelings pass), but it’s more positive and a relief for all concerned when we simply breathe, observe and trust." Janet Lansbury

Wednesday Missive: Holiday Overscheduling: How to Find Relief

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Hello Darling, 

I hope you’ve been having a good week!  Hopefully you’re going easy on yourself about your holiday indulgences and finding your own comfort level of cheer.  As for me, I’ve never been much of a seasonal decorator - I haven’t had a tree in years - but with the little one, this year will be different. Micah and I are getting a tree next weekend and looking forward to forming our own holiday family traditions.

As I mentioned last week, for the next month, as we lead up to the winter round of Self Care 101 starting on January 7th, I’m creating a special series: Self-Care for the “Holidaze.”  Each week, I’ll discuss a common self-care pitfall that you may experience during the beautiful, and often-imbalancing, holiday season, and offer a self-care script to help you treat yourself with more compassion and love during these moments.

Also, I’ll add in a reason why joining Self Care 101 could help you find long-term peace with your self-care in this area (and so many others!).

This week we’re talking about holiday overscheduling. It’s super easy to do right now.  Happy hours, holiday parties, office lunches - it seems like everyone wants to celebrate with you!

In the abstract, all these plans sound great. You’re going to have so much fun this season. You’ll be so busy that there won’t be any time for the winter blues that have knocked on your door in the past.

But when the time comes to actually attend all those back-to-back celebrations, the holiday fantasy bubble begins to deflate. Night after night of socializing and other merriment begins to take its toll as you lose your energy to keep up with your calendar.

Soon, you begin to crave a night in to cozy up in your PJs and go to bed early.  You need some time off.  However, you’ve already committed yourself and feel so bad about canceling. So, you show up and just feel off - you’re tired, you don’t like your outfit and you want out of every conversation you get yourself into.

You wish you could just find a way to get the most out of life and feel like a bit of a loser that you can’t.  Why are the holidays never as shiny and happy as you wish they could be?  Why aren’t you as shiny and happy as you wish you could be?  Why does this season always start so promising but always end with such a let down?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The holidays can be an intoxicating moment for us all. This may be our one time of year to get in some quality time with the people we love, and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make the most of it.

But, since the vast majority of us aren’t hard-wired to be energetic and happy all the time, thinking that we could be constantly upbeat during the holiday season is not only unrealistic but it actually sets us up for consistent disappointment. When we do surrender to downtime, we feel like failures.

Our achievement-oriented minds put pressure on us to keep pushing through, partying on and deal with the aftermath come January 1st. But this year, what if you could check in with yourself sooner and arrive in 2018 feeling refreshed for the new year ahead?  

If you’re ready to break the cycle, use this self-love script to help you slow down. With love, you can begin to discern you actual self-care needs during this holiday season and gather the energy to really put that self-care into practice.

Self-Love Script:

“Wow, look at my calendar.  I have four parties this weekend. Whew, this is a crazy time of year.  Ok, deep breath. How am I actually feeling? You know, it’s been a hard week at work and I feel like I’m getting sick.  What do I really need right now? I want to get under my comforter, drink a big cup of Throat Coat tea and snuggle up with my cat. But what about my friend who is throwing her annual holiday party tonight? I’m afraid of making her upset. Ok, let’s think this through. Yeah, she may be upset. This party means a lot to her. It’s ok to cancel and let her have her feelings. But if she can’t eventually get over them, if she doesn’t understand that I’m burned out and need to take a night off, then I may need to examine our friendship. I didn’t get upset with her the last time she canceled plans because she didn’t feel well. I don’t need to put all that pressure on myself to be perfect. I deserve to surround myself with people who respect my need for self-care. That’s my goal for 2018 - to cultivate my self-care support network. And yes, if I don’t go to the party, I might get a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out), but truly that’s just in my head. If I take care of myself, then I will probably enjoy the hell out of the party on Saturday evening. If I take care of myself, I never really miss out, because I enjoy wherever I am. Being with myself is important, and being with others is important. Self-care, and the self-love that comes from it, helps me find the right balance to thrive in my life.”

Self Care 101 Nudge:

Are you constantly overscheduling yourself?  Do you struggle with the fear of being alone and yet get overwhelmed by always being social?  Are you scared of disappointing others so you can take care of yourself?

Real self-care begins by cultivating a real relationship with yourself. This means learning to deal with other people’s feelings in a healthy way, and lifting the heavy expectations you put on yourself to always show up with a smile on your face, even when you’re struggling inside.  (This is perfectionism, and only makes you feel more alone in the end!)

It’s difficult to find this authentic self-love on our own. Changing our self-care means pulling away from familiar, and often toxic, social structures. Since our human need to belong is paramount, we often will sabotage our self-care efforts in order to avoid the loneliness that can come with personal growth.

But what if you could change in a community? What if you could go through all the sticky and ungraceful transitions of growth alongside others who are also searching for a real relationship with themselves?

Self Care 101 is exactly this. Twenty amazing women take 10 weeks to create a real transformation. We cry our tears, celebrate our gains and cheer each other on to greater and greater self-care.

Want to learn more about practicing self-care in a supportive community?  Fill out this application to connect with me about joining the next course.  

“I was drawn to working with Gracy because years of ‘trying to fix’ myself had never really seemed to yield deep and sustainable results. I would feel better for a short while, and then fall back into the same destructive patterns. I first expected to learn improved eating habits, a daily routine that would keep me feeling refreshed, and more about the philosophy underlying yoga, but I have gained so much more. Yes, I certainly now am equipped with an arsenal of knowledge about how to eat, rest, play, and exercise that makes me feel more focused at work and has translated to better skin, happier days, and less sleepless nights. But I have so much more. I have a sustained daily practice that nourishes my body and soul; I have deepened my relationships with friends and family, and made new ones along the way; I have gotten to know myself and am more empowered to pursue my dreams.” -- Sarina, Self Care 101 Fall 2015

***

Ok, buttercups, party on with your loved ones!  Or stay inside and enjoy a decadent night alone.  Both can be forms of self-care, if you treat yourself with the internal self-love you deserve.

Next week, I’ll be back with a few self-care thoughts on holiday overspending.  With self-care, we can figure out the difference between true generosity and a broken bank account.

Until, then take extra good care of yourself!  

XO,
Gracy

***

Podcast Alert!

Rebecca had been dabbling in self-care for a while before joining Self Care 101. Working on her self-care habits in a more concentrated way not only helped her feel healthier in her body, but also opened the door to a whole new level of authenticity in her work and relationships.

Listen to our conversation and learn how Rebecca used her daily habits to get honest about her deeper needs and desires. Be inspired to discover your own truth and use self-care to start sharing it with the world!

This is part of the ongoing podcast series on self-love and self-care I’m hosting this fall. Listen and learn how to use self-care to stop looking everywhere for love (because you’ve finally found it in yourself).

Listen to the full podcast here on the Self Care with Gracy Blog

(Or check out past episodes and subscribe on iTunes!)

***

Self-Care Inspiration 

1. One of my favorite parts of being alive is getting to share the planet with RuPaul. Watching a season of RuPaul’s Drag Race always uplifts my spirit and educates me on the liberation of gender-bending. This podcast from the New York City Public Library reveals more of her genius and why we should all consider some form of drag in our lives.

2. As I transition between sizes, these leggings are saving my life.  They’re super soft, hug in the right places and are long enough for my 5’10” frame.

3. This weeknight pumpkin curry from the newly redesigned website of Why Food Works with Sarah (my brother’s girlfriend, my friend and the talented chef of each Self Care 101 opening lunch). Sign up for her monthly newsletter to get easy, seasonal and healthy recipes in your inbox.

4. The second cookbook from Smitten Kitchen author Deb Perelman.  The first one has been such a go-to for me (baked huevos racheros, yum) and so far this second one is pretty amazing, too (mushroom parmesan dutch baby, oh yeah).  

5. I love this piece on the real meaning of self-care that’s been making its rounds on the internet.  It captures a lot of what I’ve learned through helping women with their self-care over these past years. Particularly, it captures how hard it is to practice authentic self-care, i.e. saying “no” to other people in order to honor your own well-being.

***

Self Care 101 Announcement 

Are you ready to change? Do you thrive in groups? Is this your moment?

If so, I want you to join the next round of Self Care 101.  Starting on January 7th, twenty amazing women will work together to create a lifestyle of self-care and a community of support.  I've taken over 200 women through this process and have seen the wonders it will work in your life.  Yes, even you who thinks that you'll never be able to change.  Let's get started. 

Do you want to learn more? Oh goodie!  Please fill out this application and we’ll talk, commitment-free, to see if it’s a good fit.

UPDATE: Seven amazing ladies have already signed up!  This round is going to be really good!

***

A Final Thought

"It (self-care) often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t." -Brianna Wiest

How Self-Care Creates Authenticity: Testimonial from Rebecca H.

Rebecca had been dabbling in self-care for a while before joining Self Care 101. Working on her self-care habits in a more concentrated way not only helped her feel healthier in her body, but also opened the door to a whole new level of authenticity in her work and relationships.

Listen to our conversation and learn how Rebecca used her daily habits to get honest about her deeper needs and desires. Be inspired to discover your own truth and use self-care to start sharing it with the world!

Wednesday Missive: The Real Reason You Can't Stop "Holidaze" Overeating

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

Oh, the love I feel for this boy!  But that love is heavy sometimes too. Read more here.


Hello All, 

I hope you had a warm and festive Thanksgiving weekend! I spent mine traveling to Pittsburgh to meet Micah’s (my partner) extended family.  Not only did we eat two Thanksgiving dinners (complete with pie + whipped cream!), we also found out that Jonah can handle a road trip.  Overall, I’d call our first full family trip a success.

Now, we are moving into the holiday season. For the next month, as a lead up to the winter round of Self Care 101 starting on January 7th, I’m creating a special series of Self Care for the “Holidaze.”  Each week, I’ll discuss a common self-care pitfall that you may experience during the beautiful and often-imbalancing holiday season, and offer a self-care script to help you treat yourself with more compassion and love.

Also, I’ll add in a reason why joining Self Care 101 could help you find long-term peace with your self-care in this area (and many others).

This week, we’re talking about overeating during the holidays.  So many of us struggle with this -- I know I do.  We are surrounded by flaky pies, colorful cookies, big slabs of baked brie and tall glasses of sparkling wine. It’s festive, it’s fun and it’s so yummy.  Something in you wants it so badly. It feels almost impossible to say “no.”

A night of this isn’t a big deal, but it goes on and on.  Soon you feel the effects. Your wake up feeling soggy in the morning, your pants start to fit a bit differently and your skin looks a bit gray when you look in the mirror.  

Internally, you get down on yourself.  Did you really have to eat five cookies? Why did you go back for seconds?  Is your self-control broken?  Do you have to go through this every year?

I wish I could offer you a simple three-step solution to combat holiday overeating.  I could tell you to eat more protein, switch to seltzer, or up your time at the gym.  But you know that already. Why can’t you just do it?

The problem is that we don’t fully understand the problem.  We think we need to fix our out-of-control eating and lack of self-control and finally GET IT TOGETHER.

But what if that’s not true?  What if the only thing we need to fix is our relationship with ourselves?  

These past years of helping women with their self-care have taught me a lot.  I’ve learned that none of our best self-care tips and tricks will work if we don’t start with a baseline of self-love.

We can work really hard to change ourselves, but without self-love we will just be spinning our wheels and drowning in our same struggles. Without self-love we will continue to miss out on enjoying our lives.

  Read when your pants are feeling too tight or when you wake up in the morning angry at yourself again. My hope is that it will help you remember that self-care only works when administered from a kind place in ourselves.

Self-Love Script for Overeating:  

"Ok, I did it again.  I ate too much and I don’t feel good.  Now, I’m beating myself up about it.  I did it because all of those cookies looked so good.  And, you know what?  They tasted pretty good, too.  Really, I couldn’t stop myself because I didn’t want to stop myself. I wanted to eat those good-tasting cookies. Honestly, I’m so stressed out right now.  Cookies make me feel better sometimes. I know I have this idea in my head that I should have better self-control but sometimes I need to eat the cookies.  Also, I feel like I should be thinner.  But what if that isn’t true?  Does being thinner really make my life go better? I remember that time in college after I studied abroad that I lost all that weight.  Did that make all of my problems go away?  Hmmm...no, I remember still having problems. I know that we vilify overeating and gaining weight in our capitalist culture of perfectionism. This is a rough way to live our lives. I could spend the rest of my life trying to live up to an unattainable ideal of eating “clean” or staying skinny or other forms of perfectionism.  Or I could enjoy myself and go easy on myself when I overindulge. We all overeat, especially around the holidays. Eating too many cookies doesn’t make me a bad person.  I know that that no choice I make could EVER affect my true self-worth.  I’ll resolve to love myself no matter what, and love every cookie I decide to eat. It’s only from this place that I can create a life of real health, inside and out."

Self Care 101 Nudge:

Do you continually struggle with beating yourself up for eating too much?  One of the first things we do in Self Care 101 is understand the difference between “self-improvement” and “self-care.”  So many of us are fighting a losing battle to improve ourselves, which only increases ourself-judgment.  

Automatically beating ourselves up for eating too much = self-improvement  
Taking the time to understand why we make the choices we do and going easy on ourselves in the process = self-care

Self-care is different.  To practice it, we start with our current state of mind and body.  It’s only from that place of accepting ourselves as we are that we invite a sustainable transformation. In Self Care 101, I will guide you away from the struggles of self-improvement and into genuine self-care.  It’s like a sigh of a relief and a warm hug wrapped up in one.  

Want to learn more about how to practice real self-care?  Fill out this application to learn more about joining the next course.  Want to hear a real life testimonial?  Listen to Ruth Ann’s story here.

***

Ok, that’s all for now, dear!  I wish you unprecedented self-love during this upcoming week of holiday season build-up.  I’ll be back next week with a few ideas on how to use self-love to get a grip on your chronic overscheduling during this time of year.  

With care,
Gracy

***

Podcast Alert!

Arielle, who was in my pilot group for Self Care 101, was one of the first ladies who showed me the incredible connection between self-care and self-love.  

Listen to the journey of this yoga teacher and working mother and learn her gentle + curious approach to caring for herself and her family. I was buzzing from inspiration after we finished our conversation!

This is part of the ongoing podcast series on self-love and self-care I’m hosting this fall. Listen and learn how to use self-care to stop looking everywhere for love (because you’ve finally found it in yourself).

Listen to the full podcast here on the Self Care with Gracy Blog

(Or check out past episodes and subscribe on iTunes!)

***

Self-Care for Overeating/Healthy Body Image Inspiration 

1. I can’t recommend this book and this book by Geneen Roth enough.  Her philosophies on emotional eating have changed my relationship with food and life itself.

2. Max Daniels is a sensible lifestyle coach who helps people stop compulsive eating for good.  I love her weekly newsletter and was honored to record this podcast about dignified eating with her. 

3. This eating philosophy is based on cross-cultural nutritional research by a dentist in the 1930s. It turns out that great dental health and solid nutrition have gone hand-in-hand together throughout space and time. His findings provide a great baseline diet to return to when I dive too deeply into holiday sweets.

4. This body-positive Instagram feed that reminds me that people of all shapes and sizes are beautiful if they make the decision to own their greatness.

5. This inspiring documentary reminds women how truly beautiful they are when they accept their amazing bodies and live life to the fullest.


***

Self Care 101 Announcement 

Are you ready to change? Do you thrive in groups? Is this your moment?

If so, I want you to join the next round of Self Care 101.  Starting on January 7th, twenty amazing women will work together to create a lifestyle of self-care and a community of support.  I've taken over 200 women through this process and have seen the wonders it will work in your life.  Yes, even you who thinks that you'll never be able to change.  Let's get started. 

Do you want to learn more? Oh goodie!  Please fill out this application and we’ll talk, commitment-free, to see if it’s a good fit.

UPDATE: Five amazing ladies have already signed up!  This round is going to be really good!

***

A Final Thought

“It's never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels. We don't want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves." - Geneen Roth

A Deeper Meaning of Self Care: Testimonial from Arielle M.

Arielle, who was in my pilot group for Self Care 101, was one of the first ladies who showed me the incredible connection between self-care and self-love.  

Listen to the journey of this yoga teacher and working mother and learn her gentle + curious approach to caring for herself and her family. I was buzzing from inspiration after we finished our conversation!

This is part of the ongoing series on self-love and self-care I’m hosting this fall. Listen and learn how to use self-care to stop looking everywhere for love (because you’ve finally found it in yourself).

It's Here! The Next Self Care 101 Starts in January 2018

“I was drawn to working with Gracy because years of ‘trying to fix’ myself had never really seemed to yield deep and sustainable results. I would feel better for a short while, and then fall back into the same destructive patterns. I first expected to learn improved eating habits, a daily routine that would keep me feeling refreshed, and more about the philosophy underlying yoga, but I have gained so much more. Yes, I certainly now am equipped with an arsenal of knowledge about how to eat, rest, play, and exercise that makes me feel more focused at work and has translated to better skin, happier days, and less sleepless nights. But I have so much more. I have a sustained daily practice that nourishes my body and soul; I have deepened my relationships with friends and family, and made new ones along the way; I have gotten to know myself and am more empowered to pursue my dreams.” -- Sarina A.; Self Care 101 Fall 2015, BLC Spring - Summer 2016

***

Hello everyone!  

I can't think of a better time to start our next round of Self Care 101.  This chilly January, we will begin our tenth session of group self-care work.  We'll bring 20 more amazing women into our thriving self-care community.  

This dark winter, we'll work together.  We'll support each other through the hard moments of change. Using this support, we'll finally live the lives we have been craving for so long. 

This will be my first session where I will be a leader and a mother.  Becoming a mother has not only been a lot of wonky sleep, changing diapers and baby soothing. It's also been a huge identity shift for me.  Although I have spent the past 11 weeks caring for a baby, I still feel way more like the single lady business woman I was than the mama I am becoming.  

In my hardest moments, self-care is what brings me back to myself and whispers that I am strong enough to weather this change. 

I believe I can change because I have seen my clients do it so often.  I've watched over 200 women go through Self Care 101.  After finishing the course, these ladies have taken promotions, changed cities, started nonprofits, and become the leaders of their own lives. They have transformed into the women they've always dreamed they could be. 

Along the way, I've watched women support each other through the ups and downs of transformation. Tears needed to be cried, stories had to be told, and their healing had to be witnessed.  They could no longer go it alone. 

This kind of change has to be done in a community.  In order to truly transform, we must know that we are supported. This is the deepest self-care that I know. 

***

"Gracy's self care course helped inspire me to develop enriching and stress-free morning and nighttime rituals, to practice mindful eating, to enjoy moderate exercise and, most importantly, to give myself a well-deserved break. I started the course after a recent pregnancy loss, and I felt the course let me grieve the loss and begin to heal. The self care practices I learned throughout the program also gave me the confidence to pursue a long-term dream: to become a yoga teacher." --Elissa F.,  Self Care 101 Winter 2015/16

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In this self-care work, I talk to so many women who feel stuck in their lives.  They don't like their jobs.  They aren't sure if they want to start families or are nervous to care for ill parents.  They feel like their health is slipping away from them but aren't sure how to feel better. 

These women work hard to be their best.  Yet, so many of them aren't in touch with what they really want in life.  They are still trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of their own joy.   

They are trying to do it all perfectly but still feel like failures.  They are exhausted and not sure what to do next.  

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Does this sound like you?  If so, there is real relief.  Your breakthrough isn't far away. I'd like to help you get there. 

This winter, I am leading a ten week habit change program designed to help you build a life based on real self-care.  A group of 20 women will journey together, share their stories and help each other create the lives of their dreams.

Along the way, you will learn inspired self-care and how to make it happen within your overly busy life.  Yes, even you can do it.  Really, truly, absolutely. 

After taking over 200 women through this program, I can attest that it really works. Yet it's best to hear it from my someone who has gone through the experience. (Listen to Erin B.'s amazing journey here). 

Would you like to join this next group?  It starts on January 7th and goes through March 11th.  Together, we will move through the darkness of winter and learn the self-care habits to give us an inspired spring.  

We'll learn to replace our perfectionism with imperfect, yet powerful steps in the right direction.  We'll learn the true spirit of generosity - how to be nicer to ourselves and trust our instincts.  We'll make some amazing friends along the way. 

For this round, I am looking for people who are really ready to get unstuck and finally begin living for themselves.

Could that be you? Are you ready to go? If you are saying "yes!" inside, then this is your moment.  

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“I am so happy I took Self Care 101. I was feeling the stress of getting older, being single, trying to figure out what is next in life. This course helped me to see that I am where I am supposed to be and that I am not alone in my search for more in life. It also helped me to care for myself in ways I had not heard in many many years. The simple habits are not simple and when taught with the love and guidance of Gracy, it really changed how I see myself. The self exploration that this self care course gave me has allowed me to be stronger, emotionally, better taken care of physically and so much less tired.”
--Saahir B., Self Care 101 Spring 2016

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To learn more, please fill out this application, schedule a free 30 minute chat with me and we can see if it would be a good fit for you to join.  Of course, there is no obligation to sign up if we talk.  Sometimes the conversation will plant important seeds for the future.

If it’s not right for you then I’m guessing you know someone who needs a clear pathway to greater self-care.  Please pass this along to that person.  You never know whose life you can change.

To make real change, we must dig deeper into what we want and examine why we are so afraid to get it.  We must find real self-care skills to carry us along the path and a community to support us through the hard parts.  

Please know that you 100% deserve it - the self-care, the support, the life of your dreams.  Realizing this and taking action is what creates all the magic of this world. 

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“Gracy’s Self Care 101 Course came highly recommended by a close friend who I’ve known for almost 20 years. She said the course was “life-changing” and told me she thought I was in the right place and time to give it a try. For years I’d struggled with consistent routines… exercise, food, weight loss, been in unhealthy relationships… and self care was a concept I couldn’t even wrap my head around! I was too busy caring for others to care for myself.

For me, Gracy’s course truly was life changing. I’ve developed a consistent morning routine that allows me to start my day refreshed, calm, and energized. I’ve learned to listen to my body regarding hunger and sleep and due to that listening and thinking of exercise as nourishment rather than punishment, I dropped around 20 lbs during the ten week course! Gracy’s course and the incredible support I received from the women in the group definitely played a large role in my weight loss and my continued education about  how to care for myself, set boundaries, and work towards the life I want!” - Erin M.; Self Care 101, Spring 2016

 

Achieving Your Big Dreams Through Self-Care: A Testimonial From Erin B.

Years ago, my good friend Erin B. signed up for Self Care 101 to help her achieve a very big life dream. Years later she made it a reality (yay!), although the path to her goal had way more ups and downs than she could even imagine. Learn more about her dream, how she made it happen in the midst of big life challenges and the self-care skills that helped her along the way. 

The Connection Between Self-Care And Self-Love

When I first created my self-care programs, I was still operating from perfectionism and thus suffering inside. Then my clients taught me the real definition of self-care: self-love.  

In this podcast, I explain how my clients breakthroughs changed my perspective on real self-care. Plus, I reveal the upcoming fall series of self-love podcasts with interviews from those very clients! 

Self-Care For When You've Been Ghosted

Last month, someone close to me shared how a budding romantic relationship had ended.  Her last partner passed away a few years ago and she recently decided to dip her toes into online dating.  Right away, she met a guy who she really liked and who told her that he liked her back.  They ate food together and laughed a lot.  She felt chemistry - it was really exciting!

Then, after more dates than you can count on one hand and a few weeks of texting multiple times a day, he just never responded to her last text.  When she inquired if he was ok, he never wrote back to that.

Just silence….

Of course, he could have been in a horrible accident-induced coma.  However, most likely, my dear loved one got ghosted.

When she told me, I got so angry.  I was angry for her and for the times I had been ghosted.  I remembered a similar experience when I was fresh out of the Peace Corps.  I had been dating a guy for over a month and thought it was going well.  My impression was that he felt the same way, too.  He let me borrow a sweatshirt and convinced me to take his lucky Gumby doll home. It smelled a bit like a relationship.

Then after I went out of town for a weekend, he stopped calling me.  Because I am proud, I waited two weeks before getting in touch.  When I asked him what happened, he sheepishly apologized about the pause and admitted that he didn’t think we were compatible.  

Despite my anger, I knew that I wasn’t innocent.  From early on in my romantic relationships, I have ghosted people, too. It wasn’t that I wanted to leave them hanging.  Rather, I just didn’t know how to express that I didn’t see our dates turning into a relationship, or really didn’t want to hang out anymore.  

Mostly, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.  So I avoided responding to a message for a few hours, which turned into a few days, which eventually turned into never.  It wasn’t my intention to disappear, but my nonaction turned into exactly that.

The root cause of why we ghost probably comes from a fear of disappointing people.  It’s painful to be broken up with or told we are no longer desirable. However, from experience, we know how much more being ghosted hurts than the pain of someone being direct with us.

Direct rejection may sting in the moment, but at least we are able to heal from it.  With ghosting, we may forever wonder what happened and keep pining for the good moments.  It triggers old, often inexplicable wounds of abandonment that can fester for a good long time.

Being ghosted often might give us the message that we aren’t worthy of communication.  We wonder if we are tragically flawed. This makes us terrified of opening ourselves up in our next relationship.  If we never open up, we never get to experience true intimacy (which is an essential part of having the healthy relationship we are craving).

What’s scary is how much ghosting has become part of our culture.  With our swipe-happy fingers, we can easily dehumanize the people who come into our lives.  If we don’t like one, we just have to try another and another and another….until we meet the perfect one who satisfies all of our needs.  (Hint: Sadly, this person doesn’t exist. Even people we like are deeply imperfect, and staying in a relationship with them can require a lot of work.)

If culturally we think ghosting is a decent way to interact with each other, it might just enforce the message that people are a commodity that exists to serve us.  Not only is this a super dangerous justification that has helped people engage in immoral practices such as slavery, it also makes us feel empty on the inside.  We wonder why we are still so alone when we have so many options.  We withdraw deeper and deeper into ourselves and get lost in a sea of shame.

Yikes, that’s a bleak picture!  So what do we do?  How can we work with ghosting when it happens to us or we catch ourselves doing it to others?

My idea is to practice very intentional self-care around ghosting, perhaps starting with these internal scripts...

Self-Care Script for the Ghosted:

“Wow, I just got ghosted!  How rude!  First, even if every part of my brain is telling me differently, I truly know this has nothing to do with me. That person must really be afraid of something to not get back in touch with me.  I’m so lucky to have dodged the bullet and didn’t begin a dysfunctional relationship with this person.But ugh, it still really hurts.  It’s allowed to hurt.  It’s hurtful when I begin to open myself up to someone and then they pull away.  This could be triggering abandonment issues from way back when.  I’ll dig into that with my therapist when I see her next. But before that, I’m just going to breathe with my hurt for a little while.  It’s tender and needs a little TLC.  Then I’m going to call my friend who gets me. I’ll ask her to repeat my great qualities and share her own ghosting experiences.  This sucks, but I’m going to feel this, take care of myself and emerge stronger, because that is who I am.”

 

Self-Care Script for Those Who Are Ghosting:

 

“Hmm...it’s been a few days since I responded to that text.  I guess I’m really not that interested.  I think I’ve been avoiding writing back because I am afraid to end it.  I don’t want to hurt anyone and I’m not sure how to say what I feel.  But you know what?  It’s probably hurting this person more because I’m ghosting. I don’t want that. Ok, this is hard and I’ll do it imperfectly but I’m going to write back.  I’m going to be direct and kind.  I’ll say that our relationship is no longer working for me.  If I feel safe enough to say why, I will, and if it doesn’t seem like a good idea, I won’t.  I’ll end by saying thank you for the time spent together and wish them the very best.  If they respond with a mean message, I’ll know there are other  issues.  Ok, I did it, and I feel strangely sad.  Did I do the right thing? Deep breaths.   Yeah, it was right.  It’s just sad to end things, even if it’s for the best. I’ll just feel sad and take myself out to the movies. Then I’ll call a friend who will help me see that I’ve done a healthy thing.  I actually feel pretty good about how I handled that.  I’m acting like the person I want to be.”

***

Of course, edit these scripts so they fit your voice.  Repeat them over and over so they drown out the sh*tty voice in your head that wants you to feel like the worst person in the world.

Don’t worry if you wake up the next morning still feeling guilty for having ended it cleanly or bad that someone you liked never called you back.  Relationships touch us in such a sensitive spot.  There is no “off” switch to make these feelings stop.  This may be one of the hardest and most beautiful parts of being human.

Remember that you have the power to care for yourself during these tough spots of transition.  Self-care means living with integrity and not taking on other people’s issues as your own.  Working consciously through the experience of ghosting will help you in both arenas.  

Believing in the inherent worth of yourself and others is not easy work, especially in a culture that wants to convince us otherwise.  Everything that has value is usually an uphill climb.  Luckily, we have the power to remember this and the energy to keep going.

Grateful for Loneliness

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Baby carrying is essential! After weeks of healing from the birth, I notice myself getting more itchy to be outdoors. Jonah’s nervous system is also stronger and he seems like to like being out too (he’s so curious!).

Another layer is that so far, this moment of motherhood is kind of lonely. Although he has wrangled his paternity leave to have four day weekends until the end of the year, the days that Micah is back at work are hard. Jonah needs quiet to nap but too much laying in bed makes me feel off and disconnected from the world.

It’s funny, when I was single and having my lonely moments, I assumed motherhood would be the escape from any inkling of isolation. I’d say half of the time that’s true - there’s just so much contact in motherhood - and the other half I feel real separation. This is about the split I’ve felt my whole life (perhaps we all do?). Why would this phase feel any different?

What I know now is that it’s futile to escape lonely feelings. They are built into the human experience and I think have real value. When I stop desperately trying to escape them and instead meet them with awareness, they really do soften my heart. I so need this genuine compassion to navigate motherhood, so yeah I’ll say I’m grateful for loneliness too.