What If You Devoted This Year To Loving Yourself More?

What if you put aside excuses and self-loathing? What if you stopped giving yourself leftovers? What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?

what if you devoted this year to loving yourself more
Photos courtesy of Unsplash

The Big Question

I have a question for you. As we depart from 2019 and make our way into the new year that lies ahead, I want to ask you something.

What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?

Mary Lentz

Now let me be clear. I don’t mean that in a self-centered way. I’m not suggesting that we inflate our ego or shirk our responsibilities. I’m talking about our attitude. How we treat ourselves. How we talk to ourselves. Whether or not we accept who we are, flaws and all.

I’m going to be completely vulnerable with you. I am mean to myself. It’s true. I say things to myself, I’d never say to anyone else. Here are just some of the ways I’m unkind to myself.

  • I used to never leave the house without makeup. I have barely worn it in the last three years because I’m fat and don’t think I’m worthy of wearing makeup.
  • I feel unattractive and therefore don’t groom or dress myself the way I once did
  • I feel old and tired
  • I make excuses about losing weight
  • I tell myself I’m failing as a mother
  • I base my self-worth on accomplishments and what others think of me
  • I tell myself no one wants to be my friend and seclude myself at home so I can’t be rejected.
  • I can’t receive a compliment without putting myself down in some way
  • I can’t forgive myself for a mistake I made last year
  • I tell myself that my dreams surrounding this blog are a silly fantasy
  • I hold myself to rigorous, impossible standards (perfectionism)
  • I tell myself I’m not enough (e.g. good enough, talented enough, pretty enough, young enough, etc.)
  • I tell myself the house needs to look perfect so I feel valuable as a stay-at-home mom

Does any of this sound familiar? Maybe you don’t say these exact things, but something tells me you can be harsh with yourself. What unkind things do you say and do to yourself? Take a piece of paper and write them down. I’ll wait.

Now, ask yourself – “What if you devoted this year to loving yourself more?” What might that look like? Let’s talk about it.

Be Compassionate With Yourself

Has a friend ever come to you looking for reassurance after they’ve completely failed? Of course! At some point, a friend of ours said, “I need to talk,” then sobbed to us about how they totally blew it. He or she needed a pep talk and a helping hand to get their butt out of the trenches. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about supporting my friends when they are down and out. And yet, I struggle to do that with myself. Something tells me you can be that way too. We all can! But what if, over this next year, you made a commitment to yourself to be your own best friend? That is, to treat yourself as lovingly as you would your most loved companion.

Negative Self Talk

Let’s start talking to ourselves the way we would a good friend. Encourage yourself, but most of all we need to make a habit of comforting ourselves.

For example, when it comes to body image, accepting your flaws isn’t giving up on improving yourself. Instead, it’s being approving of yourself even if you aren’t exactly where you want to be. You aren’t denying your body has flaws. This isn’t about denial or even justification. It’s about learning to love the journey your on, with all its ups and downs. Big picture. It’s about learning that our body changes, ages, gets sick and goes through trauma. No matter how good you think someone else looks, they too have insecurities and flaws. It’s about remembering that no body is perfect, no matter what the fashion magazines say. Friends, love yourself. Embrace the curves, the mom pouch, the less than toned arms. Love yourself, no matter what shape you are. And if you are choosing to eat right and exercise, do it because you love your body, not because you hate it.

Let me ask you, and think about this deeply. “What would happen if you made changes because you love yourself, not because you hate that about yourself? What would happen if you become your own personal cheerleader?

Quit Perfectionism

Quitting perfectionism isn’t about giving up. Nor is it about not trying to be better. Rather, it’s about realizing you are on an ever-changing journey. One that never really ends until we leave this earth. It’s about knowing we will always be flawed to some degree and that we are still worthy of love even while we are imperfect.

You may not think of yourself as a perfectionist. But I’m willing to bet that in some area of your life, you impose rigorous, nearly impossible standards for yourself. Maybe it’s around your body image, at your job, or surrounding a relationship, but we all have some area in our life where we can’t stand to fail.

What if you readjusted your standards? What gave yourself more time and space to grow? How much happier would you be if you learned not to be so harsh with yourself? What would that look like?

what if you devoted this year to loving yourself more

Failure is the Best Teacher

I’m a failure. I failed at my first marriage. I failed as an actress. I failed at publishing my first magazine. Last year, I failed as a friend. I have failed at a lot of things in my life. Failure hurts. Falling on your face in front of everyone – hurts! But rising up afterward is one of the best feelings in the world. If you fall down, don’t stay down. Failure helps shape us and mold us. It helps to teach us. It forges us and makes us stronger.

Embrace your failure. It has made you who you are today. You are stronger, wiser, more competent because of your failures. Failure isn’t final, but then neither is success. Fear of failure makes dreams impossible. It snuffs hope out. Push past that fear. Learn from mistakes and move on.

Thomas Edison

Don’t Be a Fascimile

You know, when I first started this blog, I had lots of seasoned bloggers tell me that what I was doing was wrong. They told me that as a mom blog, I shouldn’t have Happy Planner posts and a mod podge of recipes, crafts, and homeschooling. They told me to pick one of those topics and stick to it. They also told me I was too serious. I needed to be funnier, sillier, more entertaining. But you know what? My blog is about finding my own voice. Would I make more money if I narrowed my niche and made people laugh more? Probably. But I don’t want to be a facsimile of what everyone else is doing. I love Rachel Hollis, but I don’t want to copy her as tempting as that may be at times. When I started this blog, I vowed to be authentic and genuine. I promise to always be myself. I promise to filter my photos, but never my words.

Friend, if you are trying to be like someone else, stop! Seriously. The world needs who you were made to be. Not a copy of someone else and especially not a substitute for someone else. No, it needs you. Whether you believe you are special or not doesn’t matter. I’m telling you, you are! You have something no one else has and you don’t need the world’s validation to approve of yourself. You are enough. You are qualified. You are made different on purpose, for a purpose. Now go out there and be you!

You Aren’t Too Old or Too Young

We’ve all heard that age is just a number, but is it? Is your age stopping you from enjoying life to the fullest and seeking out your dreams? In case you are unfamiliar there is a famous vlogger named Ryan who is only eight years old. The little tyke now has his own line of toys and novelty items. He (and his parents) have made more than twenty million dollars in the last few years doing nothing more than filming toy reviews on YouTube. Now you and I may wonder if his parents are exploiting him, but my point is that no one cared that the reviews were coming from an eight-year-old. Quite the opposite. People wanted reviews from an actual child that used them – not adults! You may think you are too young or old for something, but I promise you there is a niche for your knowledge, wisdom, or talents. Somewhere, someone needs what only you have!

Maybe you think you are too old or it’s too late to start something. Wrong! There are so many people who succeeded after 40. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t become famous until he was 46 in the movie Pulp Fiction. Henry Ford was an engineer under Thomas Edison, but he didn’t start his Ford Motor Company until his 40s. Ronald Reagan had a career in Hollywood, but he only entered the political arena in 1964 when he was 53. Even the queen of crafts and domestic living, Martha Stewart didn’t become successful until her 40s.

What would happen if you chose not to limit yourself because of your age? What if, you stopped waiting for tomorrow, for more money, for more time, for more experience and instead just started where you are right now? If you start towards your goals right now, will your dreams come true? I don’t know. But if you don’t start, they never will! That is a guarantee.

Make Time for “Me Time”

I remember when I was a teenager and I wanted a summer job at my dad’s laboratory. He said no because “once you start working, you’ll never stop.” To some degree he was right. Once you step up and take some responsibility, it never lets go of you. There are bills to be paid, chores to be done, obligations to meet and all are never-ending. There will never be a time when your job is done. Work will always be calling you. That’s why you need to set boundaries. Believe me, I learned that the hard way. You can only burn the candle at both ends for so long.

If you search this blog, you’ll notice I’m enthusiastic about self-care. That’s because I have learned through my mistakes that recharging mentally, physically, and spiritually is immensely important. Seriously, take time for yourself. Before you become too burnt out to function. There lots of ways to do that. In the past, I created a 30-day digital detox challenge and a 30-day Self-Care / Wellness Challenge.

You’ll need to make it a priority like anything else that is important to you. Just like work, church or a doctor’s appointment. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it. Vow not to give yourself crumbs anymore.

How Will Loving Yourself Change You

I’d love you to join me in devoting the next year to loving yourself more in the ways I’ve described. I’ll be documenting this journey on my Instagram account and I’d love for you to join me and share your journey too.

flowers

Find Me on Instagram

Follow my personal adventures

10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Are you struggling to manage your stress levels? There are ways to help you manage it properly. Here are 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress.

10 healthy ways to cope with stress

Pressure has a way of finding us. It doesn’t matter if you are working or not – in fact, being out of work can actually be quite stressful. Throughout life, we will be forced to endure stressful times and situations. But there is a way to way to manage it on your own. Here are 10 healthy ways to help cope with stress.

Set Boundaries

In my twenties, I was working 60-hour work weeks at an already stressful job. It really began to take a toll on me. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and when I discussed it with my therapist he asked me who was to blame. “Well, my company of course. They force me to work all these hours.” But as he pointed out the fault was mine for not having set boundaries. In a sense, I never said “no.” I just kept taking whatever crap they threw at me. We decide when enough is enough.

Boundaries clearly set how much of something (or someone) you will tolerate. Boundaries are essential to staying healthy. They keep you honest about your limits and they stop toxic people from having intimate access to your life and your emotions.

It’s a shame, but sometimes you need to set boundaries on people too. I don’t think people always mean to be toxic, but there are people out there who are overly critical, jealous, and petty. People who are constantly overstepping their welcome in your life. For these bullies, you need to set some serious concrete boundaries. You’re in control of who you let in your life. It may mean cutting someone out of your life or at least an area of your life. You don’t need to apologize for it. Choose peace. Learn to say “no.”

Arts & Crafts

Arts and crafts is probably my way of relieving stress but it is for many others as well. Art can be used as a form of free expression where emotions might be displayed. But it is also simply a way to relax. Art often has repetitiveness like brush strokes (painting), scribbling, making loops (crocheting/knitting). Repetitiveness can be relaxing.

Don’t worry. I hear some of you. Some of you might not think you’re creative and that doing art actually causes stress when it doesn’t look the way you want. Even if you aren’t artistic, something soothing like adult color books may be helpful.

Exercise

In my youth, I loved using exercise as an outlet for stress. I know lots of people who prefer running for getting out stress or anxiety. For me, I loved kickboxing style aerobics. There was nothing more therapeutic to me that pretend to beat the crap out of something! Yoga was always a great way to feel centered and balanced again. I found it particularly relaxing to hear my own breath.

I remember there were times that doing it by myself was very relaxing, but I also recall that sometimes, doing it with a group was also a stress-buster. We sit afterwards and talk and that was always a nice way to finish that time. When you’re stressed go beat up a punching bag or pound some pavement. That can sometimes help.

Go Outside

As I write this, it is Texas summertime with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. And while I think braving the excessive heat can be depressing, I still think that being outside can reduce stress. I love to wake up before my kids and sit on my porch with a cup of coffee. I sit there and watch the sun come up and pray over my family. It’s refreshing to be outdoors.

There is something therapeutic about being outdoors. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few minutes can be refreshing. You may not realize it, but being cooped up indoors can add to stress. Enjoy some tea on a porch, take a walk, go to a beach, take a camping trip, but spend sometime getting reacquainted with the sunlight and air. The change of scenery will do you some good.

Journal

I think journaling will always be one of my main ways of coping with stress. We are emotional creatures. Part of growing up is learning self-control over emotions, but as adults we either have adult sized tantrums or we pendulum swing over to bottling them up entirely. Really we need to process those emotions and get them out, just in a healthy way.

That’s why I recommend journaling. It’s non-destructive and yet it still allows you to say what you’re really feeling. More often than not, journaling has also helped me explore and figure out what I’m feeling. I’m always a little surprised when unknown feelings, fears, and thoughts begin to surface. I’ve learned a lot about myself!

I know there are a lot of people out there who hate to write. I understand, but I still encourage you to give it a try. Although, keeping a paper journal is custom, these days, there are so many electronic alternatives. I personally love the Day One app. It’s available on the App Store for both devices and computers.

If you need some inspiration to get started, take a look at some of my journaling prompts.

Letter Write

This might be a new concept, especially if you aren’t a journal junkie, like me, but I chose to include it separately from journaling because I think it holds a lot of merit. Something that has always helped me, is letter writing. This is similar to journaling in that you will be writing out your thoughts – just in a different way,

Instead of writing to yourself, write to whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Haven’t you ever wanted to tell someone off? There’s always the same problem with doing that – consequences. You always risk permanently severing the relationship or situation if you do. So in this instance you’ll be writing it for your own benefit. Sometimes what causes stress is simply the bottling up of emotions.

Use paper or type it out. Tell off whatever or whomever is upsetting you. Don’t hold back. Tell them how you really feel. Rip them a new one! Get it all out. Then you can do one of two things: destroy the letter or mail it to “God” via the post office.

Talk to Someone

Talking something out can be incredibly helpful and therapeutic. It can give us an opportunity to hear some of our thoughts out loud. I’m an avid advocate for professional therapy (duh, my degree is in Psychology), but it’s because I think it is incredibly helpful to talk things out. You hear yourself express feelings you might not have realized were there and you get constructive feedback.

I would caution you. Confidants should be chosen wisely. Some close people in your life, may not be the best ones from which to seek advice. I have two criteria for choosing a listening friend: they have to be able to listen to me (hearing me out and constructive feedback) and they have to have their own shit together. Yes, I cursed. I did that on purpose. That’s because everybody has shit in their life – the muddy, icky crap that is hard to clean up and deal with. But some people are doing a great job at handling it. Don’t go to someone whose own life is a screw up. You don’t want their advice.

Good places to start? A trusted elder, a pastor, a professional counselor, a parent, a sibling, a close friend. Nobody has it all together, but go to someone who has some semblance of it, someone who will impart wisdom.

Hug It Out

As human beings we were designed to be loved through touch. When moms and babies hold one another, pheromones are actually released. The same is true for adults. Ocytocin is released thereby reducing blood pressure.

Sometimes, when I am an stressed I have to recalibrate my human touch experience. Stop and ask yourself. “How long has it been since I cuddled with someone?” Or maybe even more specifically, “how long has it been since someone cuddled with me.?” That may sound sappy and saccharine, but what you’re looking for is meaningful touch.

The human touch can be powerful. If you don’t have someone to hug it out with, I strongly recommend getting a massage. Massage isn’t just about applying pressure, it’s about receiving human touch which in turn, relieves tension in muscles.

Positive Self Talk

Can we be honest for a second? We stress ourselves out a lot of the time. Meaning we have a habit of predicting catastrophe in our lives even though it may be without any merit.

We may find ourselves fantasizing and worrying over things which may never happen. We might be overly critical with our performance or hold ourselves to overly rigorous standards or ideals. Perhaps, we may be pursing perfectionism and give ourselves little grace. In short, we may be adding to our own stress. This is where we need to recalibrate our own actions.

Here is what I mean when I say positive self-talk

  • Imagining / role playing the positive outcome
  • Telling yourself to remain calm
  • Telling yourself things will work out
  • Focusing on gratitude
  • Nix harsh self-criticism and self-doubt
  • Spend time in prayer or calming meditation

Pray or Meditate

Prayer or meditation can be a great way of relieving stress. Prayer can be a way of practicing both meditation and talking it out. I recommend also spending some moments in silence and breathing in and out deeply. Give yourself permission to set your troubles aside for a moment and relax.

I know some people are weary of meditation because of racing thoughts. When I first started to practice meditation, I found myself struggling to focus. My mind would get distracted and go off on mental tangents. That is where guided meditation can help. These days there are apps and websites that can help you focus by listening to someone else’s voice instead of your own.

Storms Don’t Last

I think it’s very important to remember that storms don’t last. Stressful times don’t last either. Eventually something will change the status quo and ease the tension. If you find you’re struggling to manage it on your own, there is no shame in seeking out professional help.

Thanks for reading, 10 Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress. Before you go, share or pin this post and please subscribe to my blog.

Sign up to get subscriber only giveaways, freebies and your FREE menu planner

How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner

Take control of your emotional, mental, and physical health. Today, I’m going to show you how to use the Wellness Happy Planner.

how to use the wellness happy planner

Hey there, friend! Do you struggle to look after yourself? I know I did. As a mama of two, I was always on the back burner. But then I found the Wellness Happy Planner! I was already an avid Happy Planner, but finding this helped me schedule and prioritize, much needed “me time.” Today I’m going to show you how to use a Wellness Happy Planner ® to practice self-care.

To learn more about wellness and how to care for yourself, I encourage you to read my prior post 30 Day Wellness Challenge. In that post, I provide a FREE printable to help you get ideas for emotional, mental and physical wellness.

Also, in lieu of reading this post, you can watch a video on How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner.

What is a Wellness Planner

The question I get asked a lot is, “what is the difference between a fitness and a wellness Happy Planner?” The fitness Happy Planner is designed to track diet and exercise. The wellness planner can certainly track diet and fitness if desired, but it really offers a deeper health check of body, mind, and soul.

Available Sizes

The Wellness Happy Planner is available as an 18-month planner.

Layout

Right now the Wellness Happy Planner is a vertical format. Like the typical vertical layout, it has three boxes. However, the last box has a journal prompt with a a square grid space. You certainly don’t have to use this space for journaling. It is very easy to cover up with stickers.

how to use a wellness happy planner

The planner has monthly tabs as well as monthly spreads. The weekly side bar includes a exercise habit tracker, a small prompt and a “currently.” section. See my video below for a flip through of the new 2019-2020 Big Wellness Happy Planner.

How To Use the Wellness Happy Planner

There are endless ways to use the wellness Planner. Personally, I use it as part journal, part planner and part memory planner. I use it to express thoughts and work through emotions like a journal. I also use it to actually plan and make time for self-care. Lastly, I use it retroactively to record good things that happen to me as well as gratitude. I think of it as my own authored book of inspiration. If you are struggling with what to record or plan in your planner, here are a few ideas to help get you started.

Body

  • More water
  • Exercise routine
  • Taking walks
  • Food journaling
  • Accountability / Accountability partner
  • Sleep goals
  • Weight loss journey
  • Rest / relaxation goals
  • Spa time / Long baths
  • Skin care routines
  • Vitamins / medicine

Mind

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Unplugging from electronics
  • Being mindful
  • Play an instrument
  • Writing
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Taking a class
  • Decluttering
  • Play an instrument
  • Hobbies / crafts

Soul

30 Day Wellness Challenge

It’s easy to get so wrapped in our busyness, that we forget or neglect to take care of ourselves. Self-care is a vital part of maintaining balance in our life. Stop giving yourselves crumbs and make yourself a priority. Take the 30-day Wellness challenge!

30 day wellness challenge
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

In 2009, I was going through a really rough time. I was overworked and completely burnt out. I basically had a full-on nervous breakdown, which sadly was witnessed by some co-workers. The result, was a sabbatical from work and re-examining my work/life balance.

I sat there in my therapist’s office and complained. Complained about my responsibilities and workload. I talked about pressure, stress, and deadlines. It was the rude customers and domineering bosses who kept piling on demands. It was crushing my soul. I was joyless. “Whose fault is that,” he asked. ” My employer, of course,” I retorted. “No,” he continued. “That is your fault because you don’t set boundaries. You are joyless, because you don’t do things that bring you joy.” I’m pretty sure I stared at him for five strait minutes. My fault?

Set Boundaries

He was right. Boundaries are crucial in life. They are, for all intents and purposes, imaginary lines in the sand of what you will and will not accept. Most people avoid setting boundaries for one simple reason: it means saying “no” and saying “no” risks disappointing someone. If you’re a people pleaser, this can be exceptionally hard. But if you’re a “giver”, you must set limits because “takers” never do.

Today, I’m inviting you to take the 30 Day Wellness Challenge. This means putting yourself first. For 30 days, try practicing some self-care. It doesn’t matter if it’s aimed at your body, mind, or soul. The point is to be deliberate and consistent in “being kind to yourself.” This was something with which I’ve always struggled. Sometimes self-care is simply saying “no” to activities, things, or people that bring stress, strife, or anxiety.

What Self-care Looks Like

I’d like you to try a quick exercise. Write down things that bring you peace, balance, and joy. Perhaps it is being outside in nature or maybe it’s a fun night out. Discovering what actually makes you happy is crucial. What restores you? Write down as many things as you can think of. Then spread the activities out over a month. Start with just one thing a day. If you need help, I’ve provided the free printable 30 Day Wellness Challenge to get you started. It’s packed with self-care ideas.

Self-care can include a lot of things, butI suggest trying to satisfy the replenishing of body, mind, and soul. For example, things that might be good for your soul are:

  • Unplugging from social media
  • Prayer / meditation
  • Working through forgiveness
  • Journaling
  • Gratitude
  • Listen to music
  • Feed yourself positive thoughts
  • Do something creative

Make You A Priority

It’s not just about practicing self-care. It’s about prioritizing it. This means not saving it until the end of the day when you’re depleted. Rather, it’s about making it one of the most important things you do today. For example, one of the things that brings me restoration is prayer and meditation. I almost never had time for it with kids. I would save it until the end of the day when I couldn’t focus on a single thought. Although sleep is important to me, I started getting up just 30 minutes before the children. I’d have a cup of coffee while it was actually still hot and spend 20 mins in prayer. It brought me so much peace starting off the day that way. Don’t give yourself the crumbs. You deserve better.

Looking for other tips on Wellness? Learn more and take the 30 Day Facebook Detox