Treat Yourself to a Retreat

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Remember my Top 100 List (of ways to pamper myself)? I just added going on a retreat to that list.

I recently returned from a women’s retreat in Minnesota where twelve women came together from across the U.S. and Canada to delve more deeply into self compassion, our strengths and our purpose. For four days we challenged ourselves to look at how we showed up in this world while experiencing giving back, supporting one another, and giving ourselves this time to retreat. It was four precious days for all of us to put aside our very full lives and do something just for us; a time to relax, reflect and feel rejuvenated.

We also celebrated each other for all sorts of accomplishments: one of us turned fifty over the weekend, a few women declared they would start looking for new jobs, one woman was singing in an off-Broadway musical the following week. We rejoiced in who we are, not who we think others want us to be. I was lifted up by these amazingly courageous women. I was reminded that I am enough despite the gremlins in my head who tell me otherwise. I was also reminded of the healing power that comes with gathering with like-minded women.

This Sunday, my friend Harumi and I will conduct our next Fuzzy Red Socks Workshop and I am so looking forward to making the space for women to gather for four hours of sacred quietude with yoga, meditation and SoulCollage. It’s only four hours, not four days, but even in that short amount of time, the soul can be quieted and the spirit can be lifted. In fact, I have been known to feel refreshed and full of new energy with just four minutes of meditation.

I invite you to find some time today to treat yourself to a retreat – no need to fly across the country, just have coffee with a friend, share a spa day with your sister, or sit quietly in meditation for a few minutes. Let the warmth of friendship, the pampering, the dedicated time for SELF wash over you so you can relax, reflect, and feel rejuvenated.

Top 100 List http://fuzzyredsocks.com/2014/06/05/top-100-list/
SoulCollage http://www.soulcollage.com/
Harumi Yoga+ http://harumihealinghouse.com/

Watching the Clock

Clock

I know something’s up when I check my watch in Yoga Class and say to myself, “When will it be OVER?” I know I’m sliding down a slippery slope when I am going over my to-do list while in downward dog. And then the next day I choose to skip yoga all together. This past week has been like this. I realized I was losing focus while meditating. So I just chose to not meditate at all – add to that eating poorly including too much sugar and skipping lunches. By the end of the week I spent an entire day feeling lethargic and wanted to do nothing but crawl back into bed. At 10 a.m. I wished it was bedtime so I could go to sleep and start over the next day.

These dark days sneak up on me usually because I have stopped doing the things I do for self care – the things I know allow me to rest, reflect and feel rejuvenated. That’s when depression hits and even the bright Arizona sun can’t help me get out of the funk.

I’m getting better at recognizing these days and have a plan for them. If I’m lucky and they happen on a weekend with no appointments or commitments, I put on my fuzzy red socks, make a cup of tea, and curl up with a good book on my comfy couch. I get out my Top 100 Things to Pamper Myself List and pick one or two. This week, once I realized what was going on, I chose to take a walk after dinner with my husband. I immediately felt better. Then I made a list for what I’d do the next day to make sure the darkness didn’t return. I went to the grocery store and bought salad makings for a healthy lunch, I made plans for the evening to do something fun, and I got back to my writing with this post. Eventually, I forgot what time it was and started to feel like myself again.

Today I feel the cloud cover is gone and I have my mojo back. Once again, taking care of myself got me back on track and made me feel whole. In fact, I think today I’m not even going to wear my watch.

The Huge Hug

Hugs Are Healthy

Hugs Are Healthy

We’ve all observed them: the exuberant embraces between two people at the airport baggage claim that tell a story of long separation and aching hearts soothed. I love watching them happen while traveling, but often I’m too involved with my own search for my suitcases or worrying about finding the car in the airport parking lot, that I miss out on just what those huge hugs are all about.

Then it happened to me.

My twenty-year-old daughter was finally coming home after six months studying abroad, and I was waiting for her at the baggage claim in the Phoenix Airport. She didn’t see me at first so I sneaked up behind her. She looked to the left and then to the right probably wondering where her mother was – and then it happened. We squealed with excitement as we embraced each other not caring who was watching our special moment. And she didn’t let go after the usual few seconds, but remained fully enveloped in her mother’s arms. No words needed to be spoken to let me know she truly missed me and was so excited to see me. Ahhh, I’m still feeling the effects from the huge hug.

According to HuffPost Healthy Living “The simple act of a hug isn’t just felt on our arms. When we embrace someone, oxytocin (also known as “the cuddle hormone”) is released, making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The chemical has also been linked to social bonding. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” DePauw University psychologist Matt Hertenstein told NPR. “It really lays the biological foundation and structure for connecting to other people.””

Hug someone today and don’t let go. That huge hug will have huge health benefits for you both.

Read more about the benefits of hugs at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/health-benefits-of-huggin_n_5008616.html

Who Are You Really?

I often struggle with trying to fit in and making everyone else happy. I’m a people pleaser and it has taken me years to figure out my light is brightest when I am just being me rather than who I think people want me to be.

I love finding new blogs to follow and The Happiness Bank in Australia (don’t you just love that name?) is a goldmine filled with lots of great information, ideas, and insight into ways to care for ourselves and be more mindful. Please enjoy Claire’s latest post about who we really are – complete with a video of excellent visuals for imagining the layers we take on over the years of labels we need no longer accept about ourselves. Isn’t it time to shed those old tapes of who we think we should be and start being the person we want to be?

I say, “Yes!”

Thank you Claire for allowing me to share this link.

http://www.happinessbank.com.au/who-are-you-really/