Self Care Box

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self care boxLife seems so busy lately.  I typed this around midnight last night because I didn’t have a chance to do it earlier in the day.  I even fell asleep while typing.

After working on my website, helping out a friend, shopping and lift schemes, I put supper on the stove and felt exhausted.  I knew that what I needed most was to lie down but did I have the time?  It was 7:30 p.m.

I realised that what I needed most at that moment was self care.  This is something I am learning to do for myself more and more.  Putting others first is my default.

So I switched off the lights (and weirdly enough the dogs stopped wrestling), lay down, closed my eyes and just breathed for 10 minutes.

Afterwards I showered and felt so much better. By the time I went to check on the food it was ready.

What I see from the women in my life is that they are always doing for others and hardly ever take time to do for themselves**.  I know that I can still be up late at night, letting the pets out and waiting for them to come back inside, locking up, checking on the kids, making sure all the lights are off etc. while everyone else has been sleeping for over an hour already.

I don’t know what you are like when you don’t give yourself enough self care but I can get irritable, resentful, hungry for junk food, tired, fed up.

So here’s a cool and ready-to-use idea to remind you about self care when you find you need it.

Create a Self Care Box which is  box of things which make you feel loved and nurtured.

grunge texture, distressed funky backgroundThese are some things that I would put in my box.  Personalise your own.

  • A list of all the things you can do for yourself when you feel tired or crabby (e.g. have a bath, lie down, go for a walk, play with the pets, dance to your favourite song, lie under a tree, walk on the grass, etc.).
  • A favourite book that you like dipping into
  • Aromatherapy oil
  • A soft piece of fabric or a plush toy that you like to touch
  • Hand cream
  • A small chocolate
  • Bath salts
  • Face mask
  • A journal with perhaps some writing prompts
  • A pen and drawing equipment
  • Some favourite photos
  • Positive affirmations
  • A USB drive with photos and videos and/or music
  • An inspirational coffee mug
  • A hot water bottle
  • Cotton socks
  • Headphones
  • A tea bag
  • A crystal
  • Tissues
  • A phone number of someone you can call for support

Keep the box somewhere where you can see it.  Open it whenever you feel a bit down or irritable or out-of-kilter or once a day!  Most of the time you will find that just doing something caring for yourself even if it’s for 15 minutes will go a long way to changing your mood and your energy.

You are valuable and worthy of self care and time for yourself.
With love
Eve

**To my male readers, let me know if this is different for you. 

p.s. I’ve updated my website, I would love it if you would have a look.

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Better an Oops

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DSC_0759 (2)The Joburg photowalkers are a group of people (I found them on Facebook) who regularly go out and take photos together. I joined their page a few months ago but have never actually joined them on an outing until last Sunday. Usually I hum and hah and procrastinate and then don’t go. Why you ask? Hmm maybe it’s because I am too stuck in my comfort zone doing nothing or maybe it’s because I will have to meet new people or maybe I am afraid that I’m not that good at taking photos or fear of the new or of going on my own? So many possible reasons I guess. Who knows, I didn’t really ask myself that question before, I just didn’t go.

Last Sunday though I decided to go because they were all meeting up at the old Alhambra Theatre in Doornfontein which has not been used for 20 years apparently. My hubby and I used to go there in our 20’s. They will be turning it into an art and creativity centre for children, which sounds amazing and this was the last weekend before it would be changed forever.

In any case, on Sunday I kept feeling uncomfortable about going on the photowalk and was wondering why I booked to go in the first place. Eventually I decided to stop my nonsense and just go. Better an Oops than a What If.

On the way there I suddenly felt jubilant because I realised I was taking a risk, doing something out of my comfort zone. I got lost on the way there but not too lost and found myself with my camera and tripod inside the theatre with an hour to play. I couldn’t believe how fast an hour went. I was having such fun, experimenting and playing with my camera, seeing my old haunt. I got to stay for an extra hour as some people didn’t arrive and I had the best time.

I have posted a few of my shots on Instagram and am still loading them on as our wifi has been very slow the last few days. If you want to see any of them you can click here. My Instagram account is eve.marks so feel free to follow me.

This story is about taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones and having fun. I could have missed this opportunity (which believe me I have done in the past) and instead I risked. Martha Beck (a famous Life Coach) suggests taking one risk a day – and giving yourself a treat for each risk you take.

So if taking one risk a day seems too risky, take one risk this week and see how exhilarating it is.

With love
Eve

Who to thank?

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sunflowrThere are people who do things for us all the time but do we always notice it?

I wrote a letter to my coach this morning, she is an amazing woman who has helped me grow tremendously this year.  Yes, even a coach needs a coach. I am so grateful to her for all she has done, her generous spirit, her love, humour and acceptance.  I am also grateful to G-d for the syncronisity in putting us together.  It has really been a wonderful (and sometimes daunting) experience and so worthwhile.   My coach is taking an extended break and so our time together is over for now and I wanted her to know how valuable she has been to me.

There is someone in your life who you may want to express your thanks to.  It may be someone who quietly changes your life for the better.  It may be someone who makes you happy just by being in their presence.  It may be someone who loves you exactly as you are.  It may be someone who brightens up your day.  It may be someone who you can confide in, someone who you feel safe with.  It may be someone who does the same thing every day without you asking.

Let them know.

With love
Eve

The Magic of CNI

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consistencyI am currently listening to a Tony Robbins podcast and he speaks about the importance of CNI in becoming successful in anything we do.  Whether it’s career, an exercise regime, losing weight, having good relationships – it doesn’t matter what area of life you are working on.

CNI (sounds like Kanai) stands for Constant Neverending Improvement.  This means constantly doing something everyday towards your goal.

The steps can be tiny incremental steps but each day in order to succeed in our goals we should be making some improvement.

He also says that If you decide – “okay, I’m going to improve my fitness and that’s what I will focus on” – that other things you are working on will fall by the wayside so you should be making small improving steps in all areas of your life.

What I have noticed is that if you do something small every day you will see and feel the success each time.

bingingIf you love chocolate but you know that eating a chocolate every day is not helping  your health goals then start off by eating half a chocolate or only having it once every two days for a week or two and then increase the size of the goal by only having it every three days (for example).  If you decide to stop chocolates forever, two weeks later after having suffered immense stress (and a possible nervous breakdown – only kidding) every time you go shopping and forcing yourself to “have willpower” you will land up binging on chocolates and then giving up completely.  If you take it one step at a time every day your chances of success are greatly improved.

Consistency is a huge key in succeeding with your goals.

Tony (excuse me using his first name as if I know him personally haha), tells a story of a someone he knows who runs marathons.  This guy started off his running by jogging from his gate to the nearest street light which was about 20 meters away and that’s all he could manage.  Each day he increased his own goal.  That’s how it works.

What are your thoughts on this?

Take it one step at a time this week and have lots of little successes.

With love

Eve

When life gives you crumbs

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positive thinking - feed the birds

Sometimes upsetting things happen.  That’s the way things are and we can’t avoid them.  We can however make things better.

The other day I had a confrontation with a person who was quite nasty to me.  I was extremely upset afterwards and sat staring into space, totally focused on the incident.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

After a while my phone alarm went off.  The ringer is an upbeat song.  I decided to stand up and dance, shaking out the negativity that my body was holding from the incident through my fingertips.  At the end of the song, I felt a lot better and I also realised that I was thankful that this is my problem rather than anything else.  In fact I felt blessed.

This thought process completely turned my mood around and I was able to get on with my day.

If it wasn’t for the song breaking into my reverie and choosing to dance it out, I may have dwelled on my problem for the whole day.  By shaking it out, I changed my mood.

I hope that you find a way to feed the birds when you get crumbs.

With love
Eve

The Power of a Hug

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Hugs are amazing things, really.  They melt away tension and can help heal a person who is ill or depressed.  Hugs release stress which help a person’s heart to beat slower which is good for longevity.

Hugs boost the chemical oxytocin in your brain.  Oxytocin has many functions, one of them being anti anxiety.  Hugs relax your muscles.

Holding a hug for an extended period of time lifts serotonin levels, elevating your mood and even helps your digestive system.  Hugging your older child or teenager for six seconds reminds them of being held as a baby (unless they explicitly say they hate it when you hug them, then don’t force it).

Hugging is one way to strengthen the immune system.  When you are happy your body stays healthier, when you are stressed, angry or depressed your immune system is weakened.  Another way is laughter so if you don’t have anyone to hug find a way to laugh more.

A hug Boosts self esteem – we feel special when receiving a hug which we associate with our early childhood when we were given hugs by our parents.  It also makes us feel safe like it did then.  This has been seen when children hug a teddy or a blanket.  We continue to carry the feeling of being hugged in our cell memory.

Hugs teach us about giving and receiving.  Giving a hug without expecting anything in return is very generous.    It is however important to receive hugs as well, you deserve good stuff too.

Hugs teach us to let go and be in the moment.  When you step into a hug time stands still.  If you are uncomfortable with hugs time might stand too still 😉.   Use your intuition about when to let go. Swaying fast from side to side while hugging can take away from being in the present moment.  Personally I prefer sill hugs.

When we hug the people we love we are investing in the relationship.  If you feel empathy for someone you feel their pain, so you may need a hug just as much as they do.

When hugging, make sure that it is platonic and nurturing.  Just be there for the other person and let them be there for you.  This builds trust and allows the person to just be.

Many people don’t get touched often especially the elderly or those that live alone.  If you know someone like that give them the gift of a hug.

To respect someone’s boundaries I usually ask the person permission.  Not everyone likes hugs or is used to them.  If someone didn’t get much trustworthy touch in childhood they may feel fearful when hugged.

Timing is important.  Hugging someone who is in a bad mood with you may be counterproductive.

Don’t squeeze too tight unless you know for a fact the other person likes that.  A sore hug is not that enjoyable.

At the end of a hug, make eye contact which will make you both smile.

If you are not a natural hugger then practise it slowly with people you love and trust.

I asked my children what it feels like to be hugged and they said: beautiful, safe, warm, cared for and caring for (exchange of care).

I hope you give and get those things this week.

With love
Eve

3 Important Things

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communication-phones.jpg

I sat working at the coffee shop and watched a father and two boys who I assumed were his sons walk in.  They sat together at a table, the father hunched over his phone, not looking up.  The two young boys had a phone between them and were playing a game on it.  Neither the boys nor the father acknowledged each other.  The manager came over to greet them.  The child holding the phone didn’t even look up.  They were there for about 15 or 20 minutes, collecting takeaways and then they left.  In all that time they didn’t interact.

Most of us are guilty of this to some extent.

If we keep in mind the things that are important to us, we will put our phones down, close our laptops early and switch off the tv.

What 3 things are most important to you?

When you identify what they are remember them when living your day to day life.  There’s a good chance it will feel satisfying and connecting.

With love

Eve