LIVE-ing for the Weekend- Waiting to Exhale

The week has been long. It has been full and heavy yet sprinkled softly and gingerly with moments of thanksgiving, peace, joy, and laughter. It has gifted me the opportunity to be still, not just in the early hours of the morning, not just on sweet Sunday, but within the ebb and flow of the 9-5 work week. Even now, back softly held by the grey comfy chair by the window of the coffee shop nestled in the middle of the small side street in Rittenhouse with a soy chai in hand, I am still. My inhales and exhales longer, my feet more aware of the ground beneath them, my thoughts set free from it’s captors- should, must, but what if- I am still.
It is the weekend and my plans to be in New York have changed. My plans to be in Philadelphia have changed. The busy and beauty of the city will be kept at bay. I instead will continue to enjoy the beauty of quiet, of being still, of plans changed, of learning to be content, of compassion and grace towards myself and others, of long inhales and long exhales. I invite you to do the same.  Until Monday! xxoo

stillweekend

Me Myself and The Lessons

Wednesday I shared I was beyond excited to attend The Yellow Conference. This morning I want to share that my excitement was worth it. It was an amazing time. I am still high fiving myself for attending. And, I really want to share some of the things that were great reminders and really resonated with me in hopes that they may do the same for you. I also really really really want to take this last day of the month to remind you to take care of yourself. You only get one you and you are worthy of the healthiest version of yourself that you can offer. You are worthy of your best energy, creativity, ideas, care, and love. Which is why I want to wrap this month by sending one of you some love from The Love Letter Library. Nicole Ahr, the founder of The Love Letter Library has a sweet collection of stationary, journals, pens, and totes, and they are all in the name of love. She has an even sweeter story about how she started her business about live, and it started by her leaving love letters for people reminding them of how loved and worthy of love they are.  So if you would like to receive a free “Love Is My Jam”  bundle from Nicole,  keep up the love for The Simply LIVED Life by not only reading the blog but joining the community by liking our Facebook page by clicking here or following @AhyanaJenise on Twitter. If you like or follow before noon EST Wednesday September 2nd, 2015 then you will have entered to win the bundle. Winner will be announced Friday at noon EST on Twitter and Facebook.

perfect is the enemy of good (4)

Words by Jocelyn Hefner

perfect is the enemy of good (6)

Words by Vik Harrison

perfect is the enemy of good (7)

Words by Jeff Shinbarger

perfect is the enemy of good

Words by Liz Forkin Bohannon

perfect is the enemy of good (1)

Wise Words This Wednesday

Hellooooo!! These words are sent to you on the eve of one of my better decisions to take care of myself. I am beyond excited to participate in The Yellow Conference- A conference for creative women who want to change the world. I’m also super excited to do it in a city (small towns like my new one has a purpose but I am a city girl). I promise I woke up smiling and had to hold myself back from dancing as opposed to walking to the office this morning. There will be some amazing women speaking their truths and wise words and today I want to leave you with a few wise words on making sure out keep getting comfortable with making you, your needs, dreams, goals, and purpose more of a priority. Don’t go full self centered narcissist on me, but don’t neglect your amazing self! xxoo

Photo courtesy of Pressed Juicery.com

Photo courtesy of Pressed Juicery.com

Photo courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen.com

Photo courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen.com

Photo courtesy of Positive Life Tips.com

Photo courtesy of Positive Life Tips.com

Photo courtesy of Kush and Wizdom

Photo courtesy of Kush and Wizdom

Photo courtesy of Sye of Relief

Photo courtesy of Sye of Relief

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

Photo courtesy of Fit Woman.com

Photo courtesy of Fit Woman.com

Me Myself and Forgiveness

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Perhaps a week ago I would have started this post by apologizing for being MIA last week. I’d apologize for being exhausted and thank you for your patience. But this is not a week ago. This is today and I am not apologizing. Not out of pride, but out of realizing the reason I didn’t post is because I was doing what I hope you have been doing what we’ve been talking about this month- self care. And so there is no need to apologize.

I want to sit with this whole apologizing thing for a second. It’s usually mentioned in tandem with forgiveness. And forgiveness is usually in tandem with other, as in forgiving someone other than yourself. Forgiving someone, anyone, and everyone else. Your spouse, your children, sibling, parents, ex boo thang, the kid who bullied you in middle school, the teacher who discriminated against you in college,the boss who treated you like you weren’t worth the concrete their Pradas click clacked on.  We forget about the power of forgiving ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I can be really tough on myself. The boundaries that I have, love, and was privileged to share with Founded Magazine recently, came at a price and a process. The price was a life I didn’t  like much  and a lie I bought into-  I was powerless to change . The process- recognizing the lie  for what it was and realizing that there wasn’t much that had happened in my life that I couldn’t make a comeback from. It would be a process,  and that process would start by me forgiving myself. It would be my letting myself off the hook for poor decisions whether it was in relationships, with finances, school, or work. It would be me sitting with the messes I made and not blaming myself, but gathering the broken pieces of my past and seeing them as that, broken pieces of my past. Not my future. It would be calling a mistake for what it was, a mistake. It would be pulling out the positives by all means necessary. Even in the most wretched situations there can be a powerful positive take away (and that usually comes with time removed from the situation).  The same way it is hard to care for yourself if you don’t take the time to know yourself, it can be hard to forgive yourself if you avoid sorting through the painful predicaments you’ve been lugging around (cue Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady).  It’s hard to forgive myself if I don’t acknowledge the ways in which I have not been gracious with or loving towards myself.

Photo courtesy of Healths Hire.com

Photo courtesy of Healths Hire.com

This past week was exhausting. I know that some of it comes with the transition of moving back across the country and gearing up for a new academic year at a new campus. I also know that some of the exhaustion comes from the work that I do. It’s inherent to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but make no mistakes I really do love the work and helping people build relationships cross culturally. The only thing I’d change is doing it as an employee of someone else as opposed to myself. But that will change :). I also know that some of that exhaustion comes from me trying to expedite my life to be like it was about two years ago. Things were calm, familiar, safe, predictable, comforting. I wouldn’t use those words to describe the last two years at all.

As I laid in bed after my morning nap I reached for my kindle to start rereading Fight Back with Joy by Margaret Feinberg. There is a part of the book where she talks specifically about the reality of a comeback. Party of that reality is time. It is the reality of time and honoring time to heal and to recreate the life you desire (hopefully one with no shortage of joy). I was pushing myself too hard. I was amping up everything- the “I got everything under control,” the longer  and more frequent work out routines at the gym, the unpacking, styling, attempts at writing/blogging, social media engaging, rounds of checking in with friends, and it wasn’t boding well because the reality was I still needed time to ease back into the things that bring me the most joy and doing then from a plaice of joy and not necessity, expectation, obligation, or fear.

Photo courtesy of 123 Inspiration.com

Photo courtesy of 123 Inspiration.com

I apologized to myself. It may sound silly, but I did. The apology was attached to me and the forgiveness is attached to me. The only way I can stay focused on taking care of myself is patiently and slowly moving forward. Patiently. Slowly. Moving. Forward. Period. Not telling myself it was my fault, get over it, let it go, and get it done. That doesn’t work. It really creates a false sense of denial, that allows you to kind of survive for a bit, but sooner or later you are exhausted as all get out for “no reason”. Besides survival serves a purpose but  life well LIVEd is on that is about thriving.

August is winding down and thus the intentional posts about taking care of yourself. I will always want you to take care of yourself. I will always be working towards creating a life where I take care of myself. I couldn’t end the month without taking a moment encourage you to apologize to yourself and forgive yourself. You had a cheat week on your diet instead of a cheat meal. It’s okay. You’ll get back on track. You hooked up again with the ex you know is not healthy for you. It’s okay. Really it is. Take a moment to think about what you needed, what made you acquiesce to the request to come over or go out. It’s fine to need whatever you needed, you just gotta figure out a different and healthier way to meet that need. You bought the $100.00 pair of shoes instead of the $50.00 ones and your budget really said this month you should have gotten the $35.00 ones. It’s okay. You may have to skip happy hour the next couple weeks to get back on track, or host happy hour at your home and wear those new shoes. The point is we are human. We, as in you and me. Not just the other people in our lives. We cant just let everyone else be human, forgive them, shrug off the offense and then hold ourselves hostage to our own mistakes. May you have one of the sweetest most gracious self forgiving good loving kind of weeks ever! xxoo

Photo courtesy of Bank Street Art Tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Bank Street Art Tumblr.com

Oh, and  this is the counselor in me- if the mistakes you are making or things you hare having a hard time forgiving yourself for include self destructive or abusive behaviors are ones, that’s gonna need more than this blog post, a bubble bath, and self reflection. Please seek professional help.

I

5 Ways to Love Yourself on a Lunch Break

Every day millions of Americans waste the almighty lunch break. Okay maybe not mullions. I don’t know the actual statistics, but I do know far too many of us don’t take a lunch break. We don’t even bother to eat lunch let alone actually break. Which I think is sad because believe it or not there is so much fruitfulness that could indeed come from your lunch break, whether it’s 30 minutes or 60 minutes. So today I thought I’d suggest 5 ways you can take care of yourself during your lunch break. OKay maybe six ways because some of yall might need to start by creating the habit of actually taking a lunch break. So look at number one as less of a suggestion and more of a foundation.

Photo courtesy of Mark Hunter

Photo courtesy of Mark Hunter

  1. Take a lunch break- You will get paid no more or no less if you take your lunch break. Even my hourly wage earners. Due to labor laws after a certain amount of time you must have a lunch break (and your employer is only obligated to allot you the break not pay you), so take the break. While you’re at it, please eat. Eat something. Might I suggest something on the healthier side that doesn’t come from a vending machine. If you want to be a good steward over your lunch break and your body, pack a lunch from home. This way you save time in terms of going some place to grab food and you control what is going into your body. Despite all the plastic surgery options, you still only get one body. Take care of it! 

    Photo courtesy of  Little Yogi Tumblr.com

    Photo courtesy of Little Yogi Tumblr.com

  2. Stretch- Chances are you are on of the many employed people nationally and globally who sit at their desk for the bulk of their day. Your lunch break is a great time to stretch. Many a times I have closed my office door, turned on a yoga video on YouTube, and done 20 to 30 minutes of yoga right in my office. It has been good for my body and my mind. Or gofor a walk. Get up and away from your desk and go for your a walk. Your body will thank you.

    Photo courtesy of Tony Anderson for Getty Images

    Photo courtesy of Tony Anderson for Getty Images

  3. Go for your goal- I am blessed with a 9-5 gig, well actually my new job is 8:30 to 4:30 and I get an hour for lunch. However I know that the only people I want to work for forever is Jesus and myself. So I use my lunch breaks to work towards my goals as a full time entrepreneur. Whether it’s researching, scheduling meetings, actually meeting, building my social media platforms to actually engage with others and not just post and throw information at others, or pin pictures on Pinterest that I want to use on my blogs, I use my lunch breaks front time to time to work on my goals. You can do the same. Let’s say your goal is to buy a house, Use your lunch break to research a realtor or the neighborhoods and schools you may want to move to. Or let’s say you want out of your current work situation bit want o work for another company, this is the time to search and apply (I might recommend that you search and save jobs on your phone and actually apply from your personal computer). Wanting to head to Paris in the Spring? (Me too btw.), but start researching places to stay, and things to see or do. Time to nurture your goals is time to nurture yourself. 

    Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

    Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

  4. Explore– One of the things I Ioved about working in downtown Philadelphia was that unless the weather was below freezing or melt your flesh, I’d take every opportunity to go out and explore. Sometimes it was a new park and other times it was a new store. Who am i kidding, most of the times it was a new store ans scoping out a new restaurant to go to for happy hour later. The point is, it was time that I would walk and wander. I’d meet new people, observer the rich architecture in the city (especially in older buildings), maybe stumble across a great sale, or just new ideas for how to style my clothes or home. I work in a small town now and I take  the time to explore the town and visit the boutiques that are just a few blocks away from my office. Don’t underestimate the ways in which allowing yourself to explore can renew your energy, creativity, and productivity.

    Photo courtesy of 33 ridges.com

    Photo courtesy of 33 ridges.com

  5. Connect- When I lived on the west coast the phone date was my friend and lunch time was a good time to call several folks who were wrapping up their day on the east coast. I was “company’ for several people’s commute home on the east coast. I enjoyed it because it was a way to tend to our relationship. Self care doesn’t have to be done by yourself. It can be a time where you connect with others who leave your soul feeling brighter and lighter. You can of course use this time to connect with people face to face as well. For my busy mom’s who usually can’t do a happy hour or dinner during the week, make use of lunch breaks to connect with your friends in other departments. For my financially savvy folks, brown bag that lunch and gather outside in the park, in the company cafeteria, or in someone’s office. Talk, laugh, and live (but don’t gossip, and for those in relationships, don’t vent about your partner. Leave the toxicity and negativity at the door. Talk to your partner instead of about them, that’s how many a relationship goes awry- unless the relationship is abusive. That is different).

    Photo courtesy of Full Start.com

    Photo courtesy of Full Start.com

  6. Get grounded- Whether you choose to pray, journal, meditate, listen to a sermon online, or ready a few of your favorite spiritual blogs, sometimes using the middle of the day to center yourself is really great way to love yourself. I will visit Redemption’s Beauty in a heartbeat for words that instantly remind me that God’s gt everything in control and i need to chill and let Him do His thing. I have also started carrying my journal to work, especially on the mornings where I didn’t journal before work, and reflect and write during my lunch break. Sometimes I will walk to the coffee shop, journal in hand, and grab a soy chai latte (or green tea latte if I hit up Starbucks) and connect with me, myself, and I.

So reader, it is Monday, this the “official” start of the work week, which means depending upon when you are reading this you have 5 or 4 lunch breaks on the horizon. Use them wisely and more importantly use them to LIVE well. xxoo

LIVE-ing for the Weekend- Me & We Time

The weekends are perfect times to tend to ourselves. I personally think the weekends wee designed for us to indulge- just a little bit anyway. Last week we talked about practical ways to self care over the weekend. From bubble baths to blowing bubbles I hope there was something you found yourself doing that tended to your needs. I also shared there was a giveaway of a self care kit and that goes to one of our readers- Shakirrah R.! I’m so happy to assist in her commitment to taking care of herself. I am also happy to share what that is looking like for me this weekend. While my new town is small, it is mighty when it comes to it’s town spirit and festivities. There’s legacy day, complete with  parade, drum line, jazz band, dancing, and honoring a historical ladmark- The Uptown Club that had all type of well known jazz musicians play its stage back in the day. Then there is a little day trip a few towns over with new fun fashionistas for some outlet shopping, and of course I’m still making my new space homey, and cooking. Sundays were made for cooking…and eating. So my self care this weekend, good music, company, shopping, and food. POW! What you got? #TSLLSelfcare Until Monday! xxoo

Photo courtesy of Vimeo.com

Photo courtesy of Vimeo.com

Photo courtesy of Verily.com

Photo courtesy of Vogue Italia

Photo courtesy of Vogue Italia

Photo courtesy of Britt + Co

Photo courtesy of Britt + Co

Photo courtesy of me- yup  made and ate that. yum!

Photo courtesy of me- yup made and ate that. Eggs, Tomatoes, Spinach, and Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses. yum!

Humor Me on a Hump Day

Welcome to Wednesday, affectionately referred to here in the US as hump day. I’m sending you some hump day you can do it vibes from some of my favorite funny women. Because you know what, one of the ways I take care of myself is laughing. Whether it’s watching Pitch Perfect or Coming to America for the umpteenth time, looking at old photos of me as a kid (Sometimes there is a mixture of anger- like who let me out the house looking like that? Then there is laughter) or visiting the humor page on Pinterest, laughter makes my whole body smile (And jiggle, even the thinnest of us jiggle when we laugh. Oh and maybe Kanye doesn’t jiggle, but does he laugh?). So do yourself a favor today, soak up these thoughtful words from these funny folks, but laugh a little too…or a lot! xxoo

Photo courtesy of  Pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of Levo.com

Photo courtesy of Levo.com

Photo courtesy of Ethan Miller

Photo courtesy of Ethan Miller

Photo courtesy of Pin Words.com

Photo courtesy of Pin Words.com

Photo courtesy of Monica Schipper

Photo courtesy of Monica Schipper

Me, Myself, and Mindy Kaling

Photo courtesy of Birchbox.com

Photo courtesy of Birchbox.com

Tuesday nights were my comedy nights. I’d make a big ol’ bowl of stove top popcorn, smother it in butter, pour a big ol’ glass of white wine, sit cross legged in the center of my couch,  and laugh my heart out at New Girl and The Mindy Project.  If you called or texted during those shows you didn’t exist to me. Granted I would check my text and voicemail to make sure no one died or was dying- no one ever died or was dying.

Watching the Mindy Project gave way to buying her book “Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me?”.  I started the book and could not put it down, except when I had to like to go to the bathroom, pay for the soy vanilla latte I wanted to sip on as I read, go to work, oh and sleep. Then of course you had Mindy on a series of talk shows where she was talking about being herself. But not like her Beyonce self, Brad Pitt self, or Sarah Jessica Parker self.No her real brown Indian not a size 2, 4, or 6 and I don’t need to be , no blonde hair and no Hollywood I’m not dying it blonde either, I like and eat sweets several times a week if  I want  self. It was somewhere between refreshing and revolutionary. Which is kind of sad if you think about it. A human being being a human being, not a version of a human being- mind blowing. Nonetheless Mindy was out there being all authentic and as someone who was feeling like she was losing her own authenticity I was beyond appreciative of all that Mindy was daring to put out into the world. That she was daring to continue putting herself out into the world, her not a fan of one night stands, believer in marriage and romance, knows the difference between men and boys (and by boys- grown men according to age but not lifestyle) and preferring men, has experienced rejection and lived to tell about it, hardworking, ridiculously humorous, and unapologetic self out there.

Photo courtesy of Style Caster.com

Photo courtesy of Style Caster.com

It’s hard to care for, love, nurture, and protect that which has become strange to us. It’s hard to recognize our thoughts, voice, hopes, and dreams, when they’ve been smudged by hardship and unexpected circumstances that we never bother to clean (aka process- make meaning of when possible, let go as often as necessary). It’s hard to convince others that we matter when we have stopped reminding ourselves that we matter.

Mindy Kaling could have written about any number of things but she chose to write about herself. And even then, she could have offered up a version of herself, the version that didn’t admit to enjoying doughnuts so much, the time things didn’t work out with a guy that she spent half a day and dropped some money on preparing to go to dinner with only for him to cancel via text, or that she has items in her closet from Forever 21 (or had anyway she totally left that jacket at a party she skipped out early  on), and the list goes on. Read the book, I’m not offering up cliff notes.

The point is watching the Mindy Project, as well as reading and rereading her book has been a great reminder that one of the best ways to take care of myself is to be myself. It is hard keeping up with a version of me. It’s much easier to be my authentic self and live in a way that honors that person. It makes for better and healthier relationships, decisions about how I spend my time, energy, and creativity, career and academic decisions. It allows my yes to be yes and my no to be no, for my boundaries to be in place and effective.

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed.com

I’ve had guys ask me what was the best date I went on and I don’t hesitate to share that it was going to a basketball game where we had amazing seats. Afterwards we went to his place and had pizza and wings.  The second best date, just going to his place and watching the game and having pizza and wings. Do you know why these dates stand out? Because I was so myself, not a version of myself.  My jeans, t shirt, and bomber style jacket and boots. My sloppy top knot and mascara and lip gloss only beauty regimented face. All of my trash talking and eating three slices of pizza and about half the wings  and not caring what he thought about a girl who….likes to eat pizza and wings self.  I was comfortable. I was bringing myself not a version of myself, not selling myself, just myself to these dates.  While things didn’t work out in the long run, it wasn’t because of the aspect of myself that I enjoyed basketball, pizza, and wings at his place. It was because of a different aspect of myself. But here’s the thing, I didn’t change that for him and I don’t regret that choice.

The jobs that I’ve enjoyed the most were jobs where I could show up, not a version of me that met my employers satisfaction.  The friendships that have lasted the longest are the ones where I could show up. In fact one of my friends is particularly amazing at making room for people to show up whether at their best or absolute worse.

Be your doughnut eating, forever 21 jacket wearing (read the book), three slices of pizza and half the wings with the guy on date number four eating,  calling out gender bias and discrimination in front of the administration, self. It is liberating. It’s hard to take care of prisoners, especially the self imprisoned.  And if you need some serious modeling of how to just be you grab your copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. Read, laugh, love yourself, be yourself, eat a doughnut, and repeat.

photo courtesy of Food52.com

photo courtesy of Food52.com

Ten Ways to Self Care This Weekend

Now, you need not do all 10 but I believe in options. So that’s what I am leaving you with this week. Ten wonderful ways to self care and for the most part I think you can do them on any budget, whether you are single or partnered up, child bearing, free, or have three kiddos, live in the city or a place outside the city, and well you catch my drift. They are pretty friendly and feasible ways for you to give yourself some good lovin’ this weekend. Oh and there are giveaways. So read on, comment below and tweet me @AhyanaJenise using #SelfcateTSLL10 to win a self care kit.  See how committed I am to helping you be good to you. Until Monday! xxoo

Photo courtesy of Matt Stanley

Photo courtesy of Matt Stanley

First Friday

City, town, or hamlet (ok maybe not hamlets) but city and towns alike across the US often have First Friday events that are anywhere from free to low cost and open  to everyone. Do yourself a favor and after you read this post, google to see what is going on in your city/town tonight, cause it’s First Friday.  A lot of these events have two things in common- art and good eats. If you like either or both treat yourself and get out there. My quaint new little town with about four traffic lights, no Starbucks, and all the stores close at 5pm- has First Friday festivities. So yours probably does too! Google it.

Photo courtesy of Corbis Images.com

Unplug

It is easier than you think. I know your eye just twitched at the word unplug but you really will be okay. If you are not on call for your job, have a loved one in critical condition at the hospital, or have to pick someone up from soccer, work, the train station or airport, unplug for a stretch of time. It doesn’t have to be the entire day, but give yourself an hour even. And by unplug, I don’t just mean your phone, but tv, laptop, ipad, and all your blessed social media platforms. Just be with yourself as a way of being good to yourself. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin’, Snapchat, will go on just fine without you.

Photo courtesy of Real Beauty Spot.com

Bathe

Please don’t be insulted. I am not suggesting that you are one who doesn’t but if you are like many folk, you shower as opposed to actually bathing, like getting in the bath tub and soaking in whatever you choose (sometimes I like lavender, sometimes I’m all about oatmeal). Sometimes I play music and sometime I don’t. Sometimes I light candles, and sometimes I don’t. I love an early morning bath but don’t mind indulging in one later in the evening either. Run the water and soak away the cares of the day. For you moms- seriously, just take one before the kids wake up or after you put them to bed. You will thank yourself. The 3 minutes to shower instead or extra time in bed will be tempting but resist.

Photo courtesy of I Am Beyonce.com

Get outside

Unless you live in a place that is in the middle of a serious hail storm or the temperature is set on melt human flesh, get yourself outside. There is something about fresh air that really works wonders for the body. You can do whatever you desire. Garden, sit on the porch and read, take a walk around your neighborhood or development, go downtown and walk around your city’s numerous outdoor sculptures, murals, or dedicated outdoor spaces. Just get out!

Photo courtesy of Forever 21

Photo courtesy of Forever 21

Trip

As in take one. If you can. Even if it is a day trip. That is what I seriously love about the eastern seaboard. In a day, depending where you start, you can easily be in a quaint town or busy city within two hours or sometimes less and just explore that area for the day.  A perk to my new town- in under two hours I can be in DC, Philly, or Baltimore. Sometimes physically getting out of a familiar space just reawakens our sense of self, wonder, our creativity, and helps us tune in to what’s going on with us a little better.

Photo courtesy of Tasty Kitchen.com

Photo courtesy of Tasty Kitchen.com

Eat

Not to sound like your momma or your auntie, but don’t underestimate how eating a good meal can make you feel and fuel you for whatever else lies ahead. Growing up Saturdays were for “big breakfasts,” aka not cereal like we ate during the week. My mom would make home fries, bacon, sausage, homemade biscuits, and eggs. Or there were pancakes or even French toast. All that to say- weekends are perfect times for slowing down your morning routine, foregoing the Starbucks, Dutch Bros., or Dunkin Donuts. They are perfect times to contemplate what you are putting in your body, making the decision to put something good for your body in your body, and then getting  busy in the kitchen…or someone else’s kitchen. There is no shame self caring via eating at a local restaurant.

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine

Dance

Sometimes I’m Beyonce. Sometimes I’m Janelle Monae. Sometimes I’m Michael Jackson. I really enjoy dancing, not for exercise. No you will not see me in anyone’s dance aerobics. But I do enjoy dancing around my house, sliding on my hardwood floors, and rocking out by myself. It’s exhilarating and I’ve never felt worse for it.

Photo courtesy of Dominique Bennett.com

Photo courtesy of Dominique Bennett.com

Write

I like writing. You know this because you read what I write. Thank you. I also keep a journal and sadly my current journal is coming to an end and I must get a new one. I know that seems less tragic tan I am making it but here’s the deal. I like journals without lines. I love the liberty of a lineless journal. Sometimes I write vertically and other times horizontally. Sometime I draw pictures and well the lines just jack all that up. Can I tell you how hard it is to find a decent lineless journal? The last one I got was on sale at Anthropologie in Seattle when I was visiting. But writing I have found to be the place where I find my voice and myself. It is unfiltered, uncensored, raw, vulnerable, passionate, 100% Ahyana. I highly recommend you sit down and write. Not text, tweet, type, but write. I also suggest getting yourself a nice journal to write in. There is power in words, putting them down on paper, and releasing them from our heads and hearts. 

Photo courtesy of Happy Day Out Tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Happy Day Out Tumblr.com

Play

I still have a bottle of bubbles my dad gave me a few birthdays ago. The car that came with it reminded me to make time to play. I am 31 years old as of yesterday and I giggle and smile every time I open those bubbles and blow them even if just for a few minutes. Bubbles are super cheap. Go by a bottle and blow them please and thank you. If that doesn’t suite your fancy just do something that awakens and engages your inner kiddo. Do a few cartwheels, jump rope, got to the park and swing on the swing set, get your kid, bff, or partner to play a board game with you.

Photo courtesy of Everyday Trifles Tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Everyday Trifles Tumblr.com

Rest

Don’t resist rest. Rest by the way is not necessarily sleeping or sitting and doing nothing but looking at your ceiling. Although it can be either or both of those things. Rest is really releasing the need to have to do any number of things. It is releasing al of the things on your to do list and taking in the moment and who you are in the moment. Okay that may be mindfulness. You catch my drift. Rest for me has been a nap. It’s been watching a movie and allowing myself to fall asleep if I so choose. It’s been drinking tea in my back yard and taking in the beautiful sky that the Pacific North West has trademarked (I really think it has), it’s been writing handwritten notes to friends, or creating corny cards to send to those who have a love/hate relationship with my corniness, it’s been curling up on the couch and reading a book. Our minds, bodies, souls need rest. If you really want to take care of yourself, rest.

Okay, so these are 10 things you could totally do this weekend to self care. And I am pretty sure that some of them, like bathe and eat you were going to do anyway. Why not do them with intention? And about that giveaway- oh I would love to send you a self care kit with goods to help you do a lot of the things on this list. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me which of these ten things you are going to try to do this weekend and send me a tweet @AhyanaJenise using #SelfcareTSLL10. Easy peasy and you are on your way to a lovely self care kit (stuff from my favorite shops to do just about everything on this list)  Just be sure to share by 11:59pm EST Sunday August 9th, 2015. Winners (there will b e two) announced next Friday on the blog!

Life In A #Hashtag

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sarna.com

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sarna.com

Part of why I’m glad to have this whole month to share about self care is because there are so many aspects to self care. Okay lies. There are two. Self and Care. But the self is pretty complex and there are so many different ways to care for ourselves depending on who we are, need, and desire. And, a lot of that is grounded in who we know and believe ourselves to be.  So today we are starting with the basics. Self 099 or as I posed the question to a few of you “What’s your life’s motto in a hashtag?” The way I see it, we all walk around with words we hold as truths, that motivate us, and shape our behaviors, and communicate what we value and believe.  Words are powerful and communicate who we are, what we care about (including ourselves), and where we are headed.  So these were some of the “My Life In A Hashtag responses people sent to me. Thanks for sharing!

Photo courtesy of Cuded.com

Photo courtesy of Cuded.com

#Betheexpectationsoffurexpectations and #Timewaitsfornoman- Barbie F.

#WhenIRiseWeRiseTogether and #ImLikeAPhoenixiRiseFromTheAshes- Sabine S.

#WorkHardPlayHarder and #LiveOutLoud- Caroline D.

#Daretobeextraordinary Madeline H.

#Workhardstayhumble- Camina H.

Photo courtesy of Miss Femme Xo Tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of Miss Femme Xo Tumblr.com

What’s your life’s motto in a hasthtag? #DaretoShare