Problem-Solving, Self-Inquiry and Creative Living with Creative Expert Harper Marten

This episode features one of my oldest friends who also happens to be one of the most creative thinkers I know! Creativity expert Harper Marten has brought together her years of arts education with her path of spiritual self-inquiry to create a business of subscription creativity boxes that helps others connect and grow through fun, interactive art projects.  

During our time together, we spoke about why creativity is so dang important, why we need to practice it often (especially within the many problems in our world) and how the practice of self-inquiry fits into a creative lifestyle.  

As a special gift for Self Care with Gracy podcast listeners, Harper is offering a 25% discount on her creativity boxes through December 1st! Visit her website, click on "Shop" and to receive your discount, enter in coupon code: BeautifulLife

Wednesday Missive: Learn how I lost all my baby weight, met my soulmate and moved into the home of my dreams (and how you can too!)

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 Friends,

Wait, a sec. Did my headline today get your attention? If it did, you’re not alone. I click on those links more often than I care to admit!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing some challenging soul searching when it comes to the ways we market to each other, especially in the wellness/personal development industry. I feel like we are trying to sell each other a fantasy, one where we find the quick fix that solves all of our problems.

My critique of this kind of self-improvement thinking is being inspired by the very-important podcast called “The Dream.” “The Dream” exposes the corruption of multi-level marketing and the many people, usually financially struggling, this business structure exploits.

It’s made me think that we are all just trying to pass off a dream, the dream that we - as individuals and as a collective - are doing ok. It’s the dream that we could ever make the outside look perfect enough that we could end our inner loneliness.

(Want to learn more? Listen to the podcast I recorded with the incredible healing activist Richael Faithful where we break it down further).

Truly, the secret that has helped me feel like myself these days is compassionately dealing with my own trauma. This has been the self-care of letting go of numbing behavior and learning to feel my feelings. As I face my own trauma, I have more capacity to look at how we are suffering as a world.

Particularly, I’ve begun to really understand my country’s practice white supremacy and systematic racism it brings. Learning the real history of whiteness and capitalism is disturbing to say the least. Examining the ways I participate in and benefit from these systems is even more disturbing.

Luckily, I have control over the latter and I’m dedicated to using my time, energy and resources to bring care to all. I can do this healing activism while taking excellent care of myself and helping everyone I meet to do the same. This is the dream I believe in most and want to keep spreading for the rest of my days.

What about you dear one? What far-off dreams of self-improvement are you ready to trade in for the workable self-care of today? How can this self-care not only help you heal as a individual, but show up for the larger healing that is happening in our society?

Because this big healing is happening! It’s painful, but it’s happening. Let’s be part of it and healing in the process. Let’s find a deeper care for all. We can do this.

With care,
Gracy

Unpacking "The Dream" with Healing Activist Richael Faithful

Do you feel like you're working really hard to live "the dream" (and, despite all your hard work, it's still not happening?). You're definitely not alone.  

Inspired by "The Dream," a fascinating investigative series podcast that exposes the corruption within multi-level marketing businesses (everything from DoTerra to Rodan + Fields), I invited DC-based healing activist Richael Faithful (pronouns they/theirs/them) to explore how "the dream" sets us up to feel like failures in everything form our work and to our spiritual lives.  

Richael, sharing from their years of activist work and shamanic studies, offers a new vision of a collective dream. This tangible reality is steeped in spiritual practice and social justice, and can be attained by us all today. Listen to learn more!

Discover more about Richael's work, visit their:

Website  

Facebook

Instagram 

Wednesday Missive: Q&A with Sexy Self-Care Diva Reba Thomas

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,

I hope you’re doing ok on this post-election day in the United States. Personally, I’m feeling yesterday’s losses, especially in Florida and Texas (and holding my breath about Georgia’s gubernatorial race).

To me, these losses are a signal that we still have a lot of work to do in breaking down white supremacy in the United States and beyond. As a white person who benefits from this supremacy, I am responsible for breaking down this toxic system. I am more committed than ever to this work because I believe creating equity in our world is the ultimate form of self-care.

However, I’m also heartened by the many groundbreaking victories, including Amendment Four passing in Florida. 1.4 million people have been reenfranchised! Yay! Self-care is celebrating the victories as well as mourning the losses.

However you’re feeling, I invite you to take a pause. Our nervous systems have been through a lot during the build up to these elections. There have been so many ads, texts, phone calls! We need a few days to rest, regroup and recalibrate. From there, we can make a plan for moving forward in our work to create self-care for all people.

(Don’t live in the US? I’m curious how these self-care ideas resonate in your country’s political system. Please let me know!)

Want more regrouping inspiration? Learn how to practice self-care after a setback. Also, check out today’s Self-Care Q&A (now an ongoing monthly feature in my Wednesday missives) with Sexy Self-Care Diva Reba Thomas.

Reba has taught me the importance of practicing pleasure and I know she will inspire your sexy self-care too!

Also, make sure to sign up for Reba’s upcoming Sensual Self Care 101 class!

From Reba

1. Why do you think focusing on your self-care is important? 

Self-care is the ultimate act of self-love and, for me, it's the first step in showing myself more compassion. My self-care routine is what keeps me grounded and helps me cope with my anxiety. Without an intentional, regular focus on my self-care, I can be a hot, boiling mess!

2. Who has been a self-care role model for you and why?

My self-care role model has been my mom. She learned the value of self-care later in life and it seems like it really stuck for her. She's always holding me accountable when I neglect myself and leading by example. 

3. What self-care do you practice in the morning? Are there other self-care routines you use during your day?

Every morning I massage my feet with my favorite (read: entirely too expensive) lotion and slip on a pair of soft socks before I put on my slippers. This helps me feel firm and grounded before I start my day. I also have a cup of tea before I journal or plan out the rest of the day. Because I have kids, this is really the only time I have to myself and these are the only two rituals that I do regularly just for me and no one else.

3. What self-care helps your inner (mental/emotional/spiritual) well-being?

Journaling is so cathartic for me. Having a blank space to unleash and hash out my thoughts and emotions is critical to my inner well-being.

4. When you're having a really bad day, what is your go-to self-care?

I love a good oil massage and a bath. I put on my favorite jazz tunes, run a hot bath and while the tub is filling, I massage myself from head to toe with sesame oil scented with a few drops of lavender.

5. How do you use self-care to stay buoyant during these challenging political times?

Getting out the thoughts and feelings that come up for me through my journal has been key to helping me find ways to process and deal with the challenging emotions that I'm experiencing. Having my thoughts together also helps me articulate myself more clearly in conversations.

I also find it SUPER helpful to pay close attention to my body. When I start to feel anxious or stressed, I slow down, take a step back and check in with myself. Am I ok? And allowing the answer to sometimes be “no.”

6. Are there any new self-care offerings you'd like to share with us?  

Yes! I just launched my Sensual Self-Care 101 class. More info is here!

***

Reba Thomas is a sexuality educator, entertainer and full-time entrepreneur. In 2015 she founded Sexpert Consultants LLC, a company that is bridging the sexual health education gap through live events and online courses that teach adults about basic human sexual anatomy and sexual response cycles, promote sexual health and wellness, and improve communication around sexual desires and concerns.

***

Until next week!

XO,
Gracy

Kitchen Disasters, Hate Crimes and Halloween Frogs (Self-Care to Hold it All Together Right Now)

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Hello Dearhearts,

How are you doing? This past week has been a lot and I hope you’re taking extra good care of yourself. Personally, I’m putting one foot in front of the other when it comes to self-care and find this technique is pretty much working. 

I shared a bit of that process on social media today.  
In case you missed it…

There’s been such sweetness and such sadness over these last days.I’ve been holding space for Micah who is from Squirrel Hill and doing the ridiculously healthy act of allowing himself his feelings and really grieving this immense loss. I’m also holding space for this sweetheart of a Halloween frog and all the joy he brings (can you tell he loves his costume?).

Further, I’ve been writing letters with Vote Forward and about to start text banking for Amendment 4 in Florida (which would overturn a horribly racist and classist violation of voter rights), hoping these small acts might help turn the tide.

Within all of this, I’ve been feeling pretty efficient, present, functional. Then on Monday, while I was rushing around to get ready for a workshop, I made a mistake while cooking (I won’t go into too much detail, but just make sure the cooking bowl is actually in your instant pot before you pour a blender full of mac ‘n cheese sauce in there *face palm*).

Suddenly, I went from super functional to a hot mess of emotions. The world felt like it was going to fall apart at any moment and I wanted to park myself on the couch and escape. It took lots of deep breaths and a therapy session before I could see this mishap as a powerful lesson.

With perspective, I could see that both things are true: I’m thriving and I’m struggling. I can use self-care to be ok and use self-care to not be ok. Embracing both gives me a much deeper sense of security than working overtime to get everything right (and losing it when I inevitably can’t).

So, during these tender times can we help each other with that? Can we see thriving and falling apart as immense acts of strength? Can we embrace the Halloween frogs while crying for those who have been killed? Can we expand our vision of life to accept the present while working like hell to make positive change in our future? I think we can. I hope we can.

***

How are you holding it together right now? Are you giving yourself space to both thrive and struggle? What keeps you buoyant and supported? (Hint, do more of those things!).

Keep sleeping, keep eating meals, keep allowing your emotions. As you have time and energy, keep finding waysto support this last big push for the midterm elections in the United States. Keep believing that change is possible (because it is!)

Wishing you extra resiliency in the coming days.

With care,
Gracy

Slow, Oily, Warm, Heavy, Stable Self-Care (aka My Favorite Fall Practices)

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Happy full moon everyone!  

This week I’m back with my favorite fall self-care tips. To take better care of ourselves during these colder months of the year, we first have to understand the Ayurvedic concept of vata energy.  If you read last week’s newsletter, you already have a basic understanding of Ayurveda, yay!

Remember, Ayurveda teaches that if we want to be healthy, we have to stay balanced, or at least try to balance ourselves. Right now, if we live in the western hemisphere, we are entering into vata season. Thus, we need to learn the most effective way to balance excess vata energy.  

Balancing vata energy is not just important during the fall.  I’ve heard it said that more than 80% of all imbalances are caused by imbalanced vata and that vata is responsible for almost all mental illness and the ongoing effects of trauma.  Thus, it’s super duper important to pay attention to your vata.

With that, let’s dive in!

A review: The qualities of vata energy are dry, cold, light, quick, and unstable.  I love comparing vata to the thin layer of ice that forms over a frozen puddle. This little sheet of ice crystals can be oddly beautiful, and yet the veneer cracks the moment we apply pressure.  Vata is also a cold gust of wind or the deep, dark depths of outer space.

One of the most important aspects of vata is how quickly it changes.  Because it moves so fast, it’s challenging to consciously track how vata can throw us off balance. Suddenly, we just feel off. Also, vata energy is responsible for all transitions.  This means we are getting the double-whammy of vata during this transition from summer to fall.

Physically, too much vata energy gives me cold hands and feet, causes my back to ache, and makes my skin dry and flaky. Especially when I travel (which also imbalances vata), I get constipated and have trouble sleeping.  

Mentally/emotionally, I experience vata as the compulsion to change my outfit 10 times before leaving the house.  My imbalanced vata energy triggers my feelings of isolation, spurs overwhelm and brings out my social anxiety. After weeks of feeling pretty good about myself, my excess vata energy makes me suddenly doubt everything I’m working on.  

Too much vata makes me spin my mental, emotional and physical wheels.  When I’m in a vata tailspin, I’m exhausted but feel like I NEED TO DO SO MUCH MORE TO KEEP UP.  (I think imbalanced vata is always shouting.)

So, what do we do if we are experiencing cold feet, dry skin, frantic thoughts and other sorts of vata-infused instability?

Well, my dear, we must search for balance. And to balance vata, we simply need to give ourselves the opposite of the vata qualities.  

This means we need to find self-care that is oily, warm, heavy, slow and stable.

How do we do that?  

Here are a few balancing examples:

Oily self-care:  Add a drizzle of nice olive oil to your soup or give yourself an oily foot rub.

Warm self-care:  Place a hot water bottle by your feet or make sure you are properly bundled up in and out of your house (I keep extra throw blankets in each room so it’s easy to add a layer).

Heavy self-care:  Trade in your lunchtime salads for heavier cooked foods (I love this tomatoey, cheesy recipe) or do grounding restorative yoga with sandbags as props.

Slow self-care: Commit to slowing down your pace for the five minutes before you leave the house or give yourself twice as long to do any stressful task.

Stable self-care:  Eat your breakfast and lunch at the same time everyday (bonus points if you can create a consistent dinner time too) and spend time with friends who make you feel relaxed.

***

This is the essential balancing practice: Whenever you feel out of balance, try to name the quality of the imbalance (too fast, too heavy, too exciting, etc).  Then, name the opposite of that quality (slower, lighter, more boring). After, find a self-care practice that promotes that opposite quality (scheduling fewer dates, eating more vegetables, spending time with less dramatic friends).

Do you get the gist?  If you’re stumped, write me with an example of where you feel out of balance in your self-care.  I’ll write back with my best guess at the opposite quality and a self-care practice to help you stay balanced.

I believe our world would be a better place if we all made more of an effort to balance our vata energy, especially during the fall seasonal shift and during our other big life transitions.  I see so many of our collective scarcity fears - and the ways that these fears are manipulated by people in power - fueled by too much vata energy. When we are anxious, isolated and running around without focus, we aren’t much help to anyone.

Balancing our vata means living a life that is grounded in reality, steeped with self-trust and committed to our own ongoing healing.  When we are doing our best to balance our vata, we stay committed to our values, find creative solutions for our problems and realize that we are good enough as we actually are.

With that, I wish you a most oily, warm, heavy, slow and stable transition to fall!  We need you to be cultivating these balancing qualities - first in your own life and then out in the greater world.

With care,
Gracy

How to Change Your Mindset with Health Coach Gretchen Gegg

Everything we do in our lives is affected by our mindset. And yet, learning how to change our own attitudes and beliefs is rarely ever talked about! 

Health coach Gretchen Gegg was struggling in early motherhood until she learned the power of observing her own mind. 

Not only did she learn to change her mindset, but she has dedicated herself to helping other people do the same. 

In our conversation, Gretchen shares her story and the many ways it applies to living a life of self-care. 


To learn more about Gretchen's work, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

The One Place You'll Get Stuck While Learning Ayurveda

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Hello All,

First thing:  I’m writing another book!  It’s called Selfcarefully and it’s a collaboration with the lovely team at Thick Press and my dear friend Maria Habib (also a brilliant illustrator/designer).  This limited-edition risograph-printed book will hold all the self-care wisdom we’ve gained over the years and show how to use self-care as a lens for all things (from setting boundaries to eating lunch to talking about racism). We are still putting the book together - the process has been slow and fruitful - but we’ll hopefully have something for you to hold in your hands in early 2019, and I’ll be sharing bits and pieces along the way.

(Some of you may be wondering about my first book. Yes, I finished it a while back, but honestly, I still haven’t figured out how to publish it + promote it while raising a toddler and running my self-care coaching programs. I’d love to hear any advice on publishing during a busy phase of life!  I think the book’s message on cultivating leadership through self-care is more important than ever.)

And now today…

Fall is now upon us on the east coast.   I feel this seasonal transition more intensely than any other.  As soon as it gets colder, I go from my late-summer steady, productive energy to feeling scattered and slightly anxious.  My skin starts to crack, my back gets achey and I begin silently counting the days until spring.

Fortunately, learning about self-care, particularly the self-care of Ayurveda, helps me weather this transition with grace.  With practice, I’ve learned to keep my balance steady enough to actually enjoy this seasonal shift from summer to fall (except for the cold feet - I don’t think I’ll ever love those).

I want to share this special seasonal self-care with you.  But while I’d love to just launch into my favorite fall Ayurvedic self-care tips, I know these practices will be so much richer with just a little background in Ayurvedic theory.  

For this, today I’m giving a basic lesson in Ayurveda, and next Wednesday, I’ll be back with all the fall self-care goodness.  

If you’ve never studied Ayurveda, I invite you to keep an open mind.  This ancient science is both very complex and also quite simple. There will be things we can probably never understand, especially as westerners, and concepts that will feel immediately applicable.  One thing I’ve learned about Ayurveda is that you cannot talk too much about the basics. Even though I’ve studied it for years, everytime I hear someone discuss the essential theories and practices, I learn something new.

With our beginner’s mind, let’s dive in!  I’ll begin by sharing basic doshic theory - where all Ayurvedic students must start - and then explain the one place you can get eternally stuck while cultivating your Ayurvedic practice.  

Ayurvedic scriptures (some of which date back more than 5,000 years) teach that the essence of all things is consciousness itself.  This consciousness is formless, timeless and has infinite potential. And from that formless consciousness arises form. (I know this is pretty abstract stuff but stay with me.)

Form is everything that makes up matter.  It’s all the things we can see with our eyes and feel with our hands like mountains, bodies, and cars. It’s also all the things we can’t see and feel like teeny particulars of matter.  

Ayurveda teaches that all this matter is comprised of three different energies called the doshas. Very basically, the doshas are:

Vata:  The energy of air and ether, responsible for the end of things.  The qualities of vata are dry, cold, light, unstable, and fast-moving. Vata brings movement of all kinds.  In our bodies, vata rules our circulation, speech and much of our nervous system function. Seasonally, the energy of vata is strongest during the fall when the world is drying out and getting colder. (I’m going to talk a lot more about this next week).

Pitta:  The energy of fire and water, responsible for the middle part of things. The qualities of pitta are quick, light, hot, oily, and penetrating.  Pitta is our metabolism and other forms of transformation. In our bodies, pitta rules our digestion, not just through our stomachs but also what we mentally consume. We eat in many ways - not just food!  Seasonally, pitta is strongest during the summer when the harvest is growing abundant and the sun shines bright.

Kapha:  The energy of earth and water, responsible for beginnings.  The qualities of kapha are heavy, slow, cold, thick, and stable. Kapha is the most stable of the doshas.  Kapha, which makes up our skeleton, keep us steady and grounded. Seasonally, kapha is strongest during late winter/spring when the snow is melting and we are getting ready to begin planting.

We need all three doshas. To stay balanced, we have to make sure we have enough stability, enough metabolism and enough connected movement. Ayurveda teaches that keeping our balance is natural.  The doshas - these building blocks of life - are meant to stay in balance, both within ourselves and out in the world.

How do we know when we go out of balance?  We feel off and/or we get sick. The longer we stay imbalanced, the harder it is to get back into balance because we actually start to crave the imbalance.  (This is when you can’t get off the couch when you’re feeling depressed or schedule more when you’re already overwhelmed). However, once we find a pretty good balance in ourselves, it’s usually not as hard to maintain it because balance also craves balance. (Yay!)

I hope this is all feeling fairly simple and applicable to your own life.  Ayurveda is just telling us to pay attention to how we feel, and if we feel off, to try to make things feel better.

This brings me to the one thing that can absolutely derail this simplicity.  If you give into it, you can miss learning the full goodness of Ayurveda. And it seems like no one - myself included - can escape it at first.

The place we can get stuck is that everyone wants to discover “their” dosha.

Because yes, it’s true. Ayurveda teaches that each of us has our own makeup of the three doshas within us.  Usually, one of the doshas is predominant, one is secondary and one affects us a little less. (I’ve heard it’s incredibly rare for anyone to be completely tri-doshic).  

This desire to know your dosha is rooted in a lot of the modern Ayurvedic resources out there.  In many books and websites, you are told to take a test, discover your dosha and then care for yourself according to the standard recommendations.  From there, you know all the rules. Pitta-types are told to avoid tomatoes, kaphas need more exercise and vatas should sleep in extra late. Etc etc etc.

These rules are fine, but I’ve found it’s incredibly difficult to discover your actual dosha.  I won’t go into too much detail here, but there are just so many factors that influence your essential dosha, including your stage of life, the season, the time of day, any previous trauma you’ve had in your life.  Figuring it out is so complex!

(A little personal example here.  After years of studying Ayurveda and never quite being sure if I was more vata or more pitta, I finally made it to an Ayurvedic clinic in India.  As soon as I could see him, I asked the doctor, a very learned man, if he could tell me my dosha. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Pitta? Vata? It’s very hard to tell.”  Honestly, I still don’t know.)

The problem is that when we can’t figure out our dosha, we may get discouraged and stop learning.  Because Ayurveda can feel way too complex in this beginning step, we may think it isn’t for us at all.   

With that, I’m here to say that you can get an amazing amount of self-care knowledge from Ayurveda without knowing your dosha.  Personally, learning this baseline Ayurvedic wisdom has transformed my life and that of my clients, many of whom still don’t know their doshas.

Next week, I’ll go into that knowledge and the very special ways it applies to this time of year.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

Until then, take extra good care of yourself!

XO,
Gracy

Want to Thrive After a Setback? Learn These Four Self-Care Jedi Moves

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 Dear,

How are you doing?  It’s been a huge couple of weeks in the news and I’ve been thinking of you all.  Watching the crazytown of the Kavanaugh hearings as we relived a myriad of sexual traumas has been challenging, to say the least.

I want you to hear this.  If you raged when you saw Kavanaugh being ushered onto the Supreme Court without any real accountability or felt grief over the incredible vulnerability of Dr. Ford’s story, you are not alone.  

This week has been an immense loss for many of us.  It’s brought all the difficult emotions - our rage, our grief and our powerlessness - right up to the surface.  Once these emotions come up, it’s almost impossible to tamp them back down. Once we see something, we can’t unsee it.  Shaken and exhausted, we must figure out how to move forward.

Accepting a new reality can feel totally disempowering - it certainly does for me in moments - but I also see that the finality of a decision can offer much-needed relief.  We can finally take a pause from the onslaught of emotional disruption.

However, in order to make the most of the pauses that come after our setbacks, we need to practice a certain kind of self-care.  Practicing intentional self-care after a setback will not only help you personally recover, but it will also help regenerate our collective energies.  Regenerated and cared for, we can keep going in our journey to create a more fair and just society for all.

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of powerful female leaders on their self-care.  I’ve seen these awesome women use intentional self-care to move through some seriously challenging setbacks into unprecedented thriving. This kind of self-care isn’t sexy, but it’s incredible effective. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Here are the tried-and-true self-care Jedi moves that will turn a setback into an opportunity for greatness:

1. Go easy.  Recovering from a setback is not the moment to push yourself in your self-care.  Boot camp classes, sugar detoxes and doing the Whole 30 can definitely be forms of self-care.  However, these willpower-based initiatives take a lot of energy and momentum to execute successfully.  When you are healing from a hard moment in life, it’s not the time to take on completely new way of eating or exercising.  During these stressful times, choosing such strict forms of self-care can actually be a form of masochism, unconsciously done as a way to avoid the tender work of healing.  

As you recover, choose self-care that feels immediately nourishing and easy to implement.  This is the time for epsom salt baths, walks in nature, and watching funny movies. Once you are internally and externally restored, you can decide whether you need to practice a more extreme form of self-care.

2. Recommit to your routines.  Emotionally intense experiences are disruptive. Perhaps you took time away from your normal gym routine to watch the hearings, or missed a few meals because you didn’t feel like eating after you heard about the final vote.  All of this is valid. However, once the dust has settled, you have the choice to continue a haphazard way of going through your days or recommit to your self-care routines. In Ayurveda, the Vedic science of well-being, strong daily routines are not only essential for your physical well-being, they are also vital for your emotional balance.  Anxiety and depression can be triggered when there is too much variability in our days. (Think of toddlers here. They emotionally freak out if they miss a meal or stay up too late. On some level us adults are the same.)

Start with a fairly consistent time to go to bed and wake up in the morning.  Then add in three regular meal times. Give yourself bonus points if you can cook or one two of these meals everyday (yes, scrambled eggs count).  Once these routines feel stable, create a small morning ritual for yourself. Taking three deep breaths upon waking can make a big difference in how you show up for the rest of your day.

3. Find your community.  You are not suffering alone.  No matter what you are feeling, others around you probably feel the same way.  The more you can join with others who are hurting, the more you can use the power of empathy to regain your balance.  Because we live in a society that often tells us to brush our emotions away, it can still be hard to speak openly about the places we are hurting, even when we know it’s good for us to talk about our traumas.  For this reason, it can be extraordinarily healing - for ourselves as individuals and for us as a society - to engage in spaces where we can be supported in sharing our whole, messy truth.

When finding your community, it’s important to choose people who are at a similar level of emotional development.  Not everyone is comfortable with vulnerability, and some people can unknowingly shame us for sharing what’s really happening inside.  Choose to open up with people who are capable of speaking about the hard parts of their lives. When we engage in a mutual exchange of vulnerability, we gain a special kind of resilience and strength.  We remember we’re not alone, and this mutuality helps us pick up the pieces and keep going.

4. Take leadership.  Once you have regenerated your energy, committed to your daily routines and engaged with a supportive community, chances are that you now feel grounded enough to take on new tasks.  With you full energy intact, take stock of where you can be most effective in making change.

Do you want to organize a letter-writing campaign with Vote Forward so you can influence the midterm elections?  

Do you want to learn more about bystander training so you can disrupt future sexual assaults?

Are you interested in supporting DC’s homeless population this Saturday? (Ok, shameless plug, but I’d love to see you at Thrive DC’s annual 5K this Saturday! I’ve volunteered with Thrive for over 9 years and serve on the board because I think they do amazing work caring for some of DC’s most vulnerable populations.)

Take it one action at a time.  Ask your friends to join you. Share your thoughts on social media.  You never know who you can influence. Celebrate your wins and grieve your losses.  When feel overextended, come back to the basics of self-care. Mindfully caring for yourself is the necessary root work for growing strong, fruitful branches.  This is why it’s essential to take advantage of the time after a big setback to increase your self-care. When you utilize this time to restore yourself, you can keep focused on your goals and continue showing up to create the world you wish to live in.

I’m curious!  Which of these four steps feels most important for you right now?  Do you need to go easy on yourself, reestablish your daily routines, find a support network or take leadership?  Hit “reply” and let me know. I can’t wait to read your responses.

With care,
Gracy

Self-Care Untruth #3: You Have to Do Your Self-Care Alone

This week, I'm finishing up my series on debunking the self-care untruths that keep us from:

1) practicing authentic self-care in our lives; and
2) using this self-care to help fix the broken parts of our world. 

In this episode, I discuss why authentic self-care must be practiced within a supportive community, and how letting others into our self-care can disrupt our toxic addiction to individualism.

Plus, sign up is now open for the Beautiful Life Collective (but it closes September 30th)!

Learn more and sign up here!