Entries organized under Real Self-Care

My word for 2018: Golden

November 20, 2017

My word for 2018- Golden. Self-care tips and self-care practices for the new year. Plus sign up for the free self-care mini-course here! >> www.christytending.com

Past words of the year:

2015: Sacred Focus
2016: Fly
2017: Trust

When I sat down to choose a word for 2017, it was about what I knew I needed. No matter what, I knew that 2017 was going to bring a lot of changes. I wanted to be ready, and to have a word that would be an ally in that journey.

For 2017, I chose Trust.

At the time, I wrote:

When this word popped into my head, it was out of necessity. It was out of a deep craving for something solid and true and steadfast.

That sounds about right.

I wrote about trusting myself, trusting my wisdom and knowing (which evolved into my course on intuition), trusting the process, and becoming trustworthy. I wrote:

For me, trust is the choice to step into an experience of my own power.

And, honestly, Trust has been perfect. I have had to make some decisions that scared me. I have had to release things that I’d been holding onto tightly. Perhaps most notably, I became a parent.

(This has been both the greatest act and most profound process of learning to trust ever.)

Trust has served me well.

For 2018, I have something different in mind. It’s no longer about what I need, but about what I deeply crave. What I want is to stand in the light of what I’ve created. I want soft warmth, with glittering strands of magic woven through each day. I’ve spent the last few years in full-tilt hustle, in many ways. It’s been sacred and focused, but now I’m ready to bask in the goodness I’ve created.

I’m a little afraid to admit it, but I’m also ready for abundance in ways I haven’t experienced before.

What sums all of this up?

My word for 2018 is Golden.

It’s the quality of light before dusk, when everything is bathed in that soft glow. It’s the quiet of sitting in my glider with my sleeping kiddo in my lap, knowing that it’s the only place I have to be. It is sacred abundance; thoughtful, elegant simplicity; and wise, grounded brilliance.

I find the experience of Golden:

…sitting in silent meditation

…on luxuriously long walks on appointment-free afternoons

…when I open my closet and love the clothes in which I’m getting dressed (and don’t see the clutter of things that don’t fit/suit me, for whatever reason)

…in the act of holding space as a mentor, teacher, and healer and when I dare to own my expertise

…using all of the sacred tools I have at my disposal: tarot cards, stones, animal allies, plants, yoga asana and philosophy, poetry, meditation photography, and writing.

…when I show up with respect and devotion for whatever practice I’m in at the moment.

…doing one thing well at a time.

It feels like slow, light-drenched, devoted, and abundant.

It smells like butter and vanilla and lavender. Maybe it sounds like traditional Appalachian folk songs or 70’s funk (both mainstays of my current favorite Spotify playlist I’ve made). Its colors are gold (obviously), but also mink-grey, burnt umber, turquoise, and that plum-color of dusk. It feels like softness in all forms (but maybe especially cashmere?) and sunshine on my skin and sliding into a hot epsom salt bath. It tastes like turmeric tea and berry sauce.

How I’m taking action to bring more Golden to my life in 2018:

  • Asking for and receiving help. Some of my favorite help is childcare, supportive partnership, friendship, food, a sounding board, thoughtful feedback, and regular massages.
  • Bringing myself back to devotional practice. Right now, that’s my weekly writing class, meditation practice, my climate justice collective, and the work you see here.
  • Taking work-free family days, to tend to my home and spend time with my loves, without the sensation that there’s anything work related I’m “supposed” to be doing on those days.
  • Bringing older pieces of work into new, evolved forms. Making the experience of studying with me more luxurious, lush, and sacred-feeling. Putting more pauses into the work, so that my students can truly savor each bit.

What this means for you:

I’ll only be running Sacred Focus once in 2018. I’ll be closing Hella Metta on December 15th, and only opening it for registration twice next year. Your Magical Intuition will be coming back in late spring. I’m working on a brand-new, year-long program to debut in the second half of next year. (Stay tuned for that!)

 

I’m excited for all of the potential here for all the Golden has to offer. I’m ready for the rest, softness, brilliance, and fullness it has to offer. Mostly, I’m ready to stand in the light.

Want to join me? The best place to start is with my free self-care course, The Tiny Little Self-Care Class. Grab your seat!

Simple Self-Care Recipe Formula (mix ‘n match guide + free download)

October 9, 2017

For me, food is a huge part of self-care. Part creativity, part nourishment, part intuition. Over the years, I’ve experimented with a lot of ways of eating. What I’ve discovered is that my intuition is often my best guide for how my body wants to eat. This is the formula I’ve developed for meals supports that intuitive spark and feeds me and my family well.

For me, food is a huge part of self-care. Part creativity, part nourishment, part intuition. Over the years, I've experimented with a lot of ways of eating. What I've discovered is that my intuition is often my best guide for how my body wants to eat. Read my self-care recipe guide and download the free recipe pdf! >> www.christytending.com

Below, I’ve written out my guide for the go-to meal in the Tending household. We make up these nourishing bowls with what we have lying around. Less food is wasted, and we always have dinner ready to go. The bowls can be customized to any cuisine or palate, and can even be cobbled together from past leftovers!.

I make the grain in a rice cooker and often chop vegetables ahead of time and store them in the fridge.

HOW IT WORKS:

Simply mix and match from the categories on the next page to suit your mood. I’ve give you categories of food you may want to include in your meal. Pick one or more from each category to create delicious, simple, and nourishing meals.

This approach makes healthy dinners totally feasible. The choices here are just a start — get creative and do what is right for your body’s needs. This is a jumping off point.

May your meals be feasible, nourishing, and inspired.

Mix and Match Recipe Guide:

PROTEIN:

choose from:

  • baked tofu or tempeh
  • garbanzo or black beans
  • lentils (either dal or cooked French lentils)
  • sprouted almonds
  • hardboiled, poached or scrambled egg

GRAIN:

choose from:

  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • steel-cut oats (savory oatmeal is delicious!)
  • amaranth
  • farro
  • roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or delicata squash (not grain, but carbohydrates)

GREENS:

choose from:

  • sautéed kale, collard greens or swiss chard
  • steamed broccoli or asparagus
  • sugar snap peas
  • arugula or spinach
  • nori strips

FAT:

choose from:

  • avocado
  • ghee
  • plain yogurt
  • sesame or coconut oil

FLAVORFUL EXTRAS:

choose any of the following for added texture and flavor:

  • carrots (cut into matchsticks)
  • chopped red pepper
  • sliced green apple
  • sauerkraut or kimchee
  • cherry tomatoes
  • sriracha or other hot sauce
  • tahini
  • sunflower or hemp seeds

Finally:

I always finish my bowls with a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt and a huge splash of miso dressing, made from equal parts lemon (or grapefruit) juice, olive oil, and yellow (or white) miso; mix by shaking in a small lidded jar or whisking vigorously.

Combine all of these into your favorite bowl, and enjoy with glee.

*Before we get started, I’d like to note that I’m not a nutritionist. This works for me. I hope it’ll work for you. This is not, however, to be taken for medical advice.

What is Enough?

August 22, 2017

Ever feel like you work your ass off all day and it’s never enough? Read on. This one’s for you.

What is enough? You don't have to do it all. Instead, create awesome boundaries to avoid burnout. Sign up for the free self-care course here! >> www.christytending.com

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

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“Even if I work for 40, 50, 60, even 70 hours a week, there’s always more to do. I never feel like I’ve done enough.”

That statement you just read? It’s something I used to say to myself all the time.

The constant refrain of “never enough” echoed through my mind. It’s the first thing I’d say to myself every morning. It’s the last thing I’d think to myself every night.

It didn’t matter if I spent every single moment of my day working. Often, I’d still go to bed feeling disappointed in myself.

Even when my colleagues and I experienced a big victory, rather than pause to celebrate, I’d move quickly onto the next task. There was always something else.

Does that resonate? Are you stuck on the “never enough” hamster wheel, too? If so, here’s a question to consider:

What does “enough” mean for you?

Can you define “enough” in a sentence or two? (Be specific.) Can you describe how “enough” feels in your body?

So many people chase this elusive feeling of “enough.” We feel like we’ve never gotten “there.” And yet many of us don’t even know what we’re chasing, exactly.

Here’s how I currently define “enough”:

At the moment, my self-care looks like a hot shower, drinking plenty of water, and occasional yoga and walking. I read a poem every day. Right now, that’s enough. (Because even self-care can trap us in “never enough” if we let it.)

For me, those are realistic, feasible numbers.

For you, the numbers (and projects, and priorities) might be very different.

But for me, in this chapter of my life, those numbers feel like “enough.”

If I suddenly find myself worrying, “But should I do more…?” I can interrupt those thoughts and remind myself, “I did what I intended to do. And that’s enough.”

My definition of “enough” doesn’t have to be rigid. It can bend and flex.

I give myself the space and flexibility to adjust any/all of those numbers as needed, because I’m a human being, not a robot. Some months I have more bandwidth than others.

So, what does “enough” mean for you—at least, for right now? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Write it down.

If you notice yourself writing lofty and vague goals, consider re-wording that statement to make it more feasible and specific. End each statement with, “That’s enough.”

The work of caring and compassion is limitless. Our human lives are not.

Yes, there is great work to be done. But not all of it can or will be done today. More than anything, we need you for the long haul. Which means doing “enough” and doing it well.

That’s why it’s crucial to place boundaries around our time, and to be compassionate with ourselves about what “doing enough” means. (Instead of trying to “do it all” and half-ass-ing it.)

Look:

Urgency is not an invitation to burnout.

Breaking news does not automatically expand our capacity. Difficult times are really an invitation to go deeper with our practice and to fulfill our purpose with greater love and attention.

There has never been a more important time to bring love to both our work and ourselves. This starts with defining “enough.”

Once you’ve arrived in that place, there’s no need to strive for more. You’ve done your piece, wholeheartedly. And truly, that is plenty.

Light Up

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create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

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5 useful questions to craft awesome self-care

August 7, 2017

Not sure where to begin with self-care? These 5 simple questions will help you create awesome self-care. Plus grab your seat for a free self-care course inside! >> www.christytending.com

 

Light Up

A free tiny little self-care class for spirited beings who want to
create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

 

After bringing myself back from intense burnout ten years ago, I discovered that, unlike the myths I’d been sold, self-care is not a destination. It’s a journey. It’s an iterative process that we keep evolving. And it keeps evolving us in return.

While bubble baths and yoga are lovely, they alone do not create self-care.

(Ahem.)

I’ve actually found that my most powerful and important self-care tool and practice is one that’s not only totally free, but doesn’t require me to buy a thing. It’s one that I can employ any time, in any place, no matter what I’m doing or where I am in the world.

It never fails, and it grows with me.

What’s my self-care magic wand? Curiosity.

Getting into a headspace of receptivity, softness, and genuine curiosity is always the best way to create self-care on a moment-to-moment basis.

Why? Because self-care isn’t static. It’s never one thing. Different states require different care. Curiosity allows us to explore what we truly need, instead of becoming the dictators of our self-care. If you’re looking to create more self-care, I highly recommend developing this sense of playful experimentation.

Allow curiosity to be your guide. Allow the answers to come organically. You might be surprised. You might just learn something.

What is currently on your plate?

Developing awareness is the first step to creating more meaningful self-care. Noticing what’s on your plate can help point you toward what kind of self-care you need to create balance.

This information will also help to guide you in what’s possible in terms of self-care right now. It may also offer insight into what needs to shift in order for self-care or healing to be a greater part of your life.

What feels good?

Notice what takes your breath away. Become aware of moments where you experience wonder, pleasure, and relief. Those can point you in the direction of what self-care might look like for you.

Self-care doesn’t need to be a struggle or something that’s just good for you. It can be decadent or silly or feel-good sometimes. It’s okay to let loose and embrace what makes you feel awesome.

What do you want more of?

Is there anything missing right now? Pay attention to what you find yourself longing for or missing. People, experiences, places – all of this information can be a guide for what could support you well, if you were able to weave more of it into your life.

Begin to add more of these things in baby steps.  Offer yourself small tastes of self-care success, rather than heaping all of it onto your plate at once (and probably burning out on self-care, too). Experiment with little bites to make sure that this “more” is serving you well.

What do you want less of?

Where are the “shoulds” in your life? Are there places where more is actually too much? Be honest about what isn’t resonating, even if it once did. Even if you think it should feel rewarding and meaningful. Self-care is as much about creating boundaries and not-doing as it is about doing.

Sometimes, it’s not about adding pedicures, but about subtracting draining people or activities.

How do you want your everyday to feel?

In a perfect world, how would you feel moving through your life? What tone or quality would you embody? What’s needed to support that tone? Who supports you in feeling that way. When we begin to create this evolving self-care balance (a little more of this, a little less of that), it can be helpful to know the direction in which we’re pointing ourselves, ultimately.

What does that ideal everyday look and feel like? It may never actually become perfect, but aiming ourselves in that direction will certainly help us get closer.

 

Light Up

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create a life that's sacred lush and fierce.

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New self-care tips you may not have tried

June 26, 2017

Maternity leave has left me with a lot of time to think about self-care: what it means, what it looks like, and how it shifts over time. I am lucky, because I’m going into motherhood with a strong self-care foundation that I can draw on, even as my identity shifts dramatically, and as I’m going through a deep healing process. These self-care tips may offer you some of the insight I wish I’d had when I entered this process.

This is what I’ve been musing during long periods of rest and slow walks in the sun with my babe.

Behold: some new self-care tips (and lessons) you may not have tried before.

Brand-new self-care tips you may not have tried already. Fun self-care ideas to make your practice meaningful and healing. Plus explore the free self-care resource library! -- www.christytending.com

If self-love or self-care aren’t possible, try self-respect.

A few weeks ago, I wrote to my email list:

“In moments of overwhelm, we’re being clobbered with the message that we need to do it all – including offer ourselves aspirational self-care in every moment. The message goes something like: “We need to be doing it all, and anything less than that is not enough.”

This (surprise!) doesn’t actually reduce our overwhelm. In fact, it can make the self-care that we’re “supposed” to be giving ourselves feel far away.

This narrative was tough to shake when my self-care practice shifted to accommodate a new baby.

If I really cared, wouldn’t I be doing all the things?

As it turned out, no.

In this new season of my life, I’m discovering something else. This new companion is there when self-care can’t be. It is there in moments of not feeling like enough.

These days, I am practicing self-respect.

On a daily basis, I offer myself deep respect: for what I do, for what I have done, for what I give. Even on days when it feels like I didn’t do anything, I try to respect myself for what I did manage.

In your moments of overwhelm, I would like to invite you into a space of deep reverence for yourself. It’s decidedly less sexy than a manicure, and way less fun than a massage. It is tough, but important work.

It is also not easy to acknowledge our amazingness in a society that tells us we aren’t enough. But this act of sincere, reverent witnessing is powerful.

Self-respect honors all that you do, even when it doesn’t feel like enough. It is a permission slip to take up space. It is a reminder of our sincere efforts to make the world around us a little more kind – even when we don’t see results right away.

Today, I want to invite you to take just a moment to honor yourself and your efforts. It is not easy to show up in this world as a person who cares. I appreciate you for being willing to do that.”

Break it into the smallest pieces

Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming. It can be simple and brief, just so long as it’s intentional. Even just a few deep breaths might support you through your day. Taking baby steps is the key to awesome self-care.

In fact, I recommend against diving into a time-consuming complicated self-care practice when you’re first starting out. Go slow. Break it down into bite-sized pieces.

This will keep you out of a state of overwhelm, which will only discourage you from further self-care. And you’ll experience real success. Let this success build on itself slowly.

The fact is, self-care is a life-long practice. You can’t do it all in one day. So, proceed with gentleness and don’t add more to your plate than you can hand.

Three tips for making it a little more manageable:

  • Don’t try to do it all – and definitely don’t try to do it all at once

  • Claim the smallest “wins.”

  • Do those small things with great love and sincere attention.

     


Looking for more effective, doable self-care tips? Explore the Free Self-Care Resource Garden, and receive my weekly e-letter, full of resources, inspiration, and exclusive self-care tips and lessons from me.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Joy – and self-care – are acts of insurrection.

Embracing our joy can be an act of outright defiance and resistance.

Those who would seek to oppress others want to create suffering. Yes, suffering is a natural part of life. But we do not need to succumb, necessarily. We can dance and sing and be unapologetically ourselves. In the face of a government that would seek to make those selves “less than” – to hold ourselves up in our beauty and our joy is a wildly optimistic, rebellious act.

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.” – Rebecca Solnit

In Sacred Focus, I talk a lot about creating more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. Little by little, taking baby steps in the direction of what feels sacred to us. Joy does this on a subliminal level. It lights the way for us to create a new world.

Joy imagines the world in which we want to live.

Instead of only focusing on what we don’t want (which is important, too, but not the point of this post), we can take a more proactive approach. We can start building the world we want to live in by following where joy points us. It is a pre-figurative tool to create new models and a new world in which all people and beings are honored for who they are.

Intention orients us – and reorients us – toward our true north.

To make self-care meaningful, it needs to have intention behind it. Otherwise, we’re just going through the motions, adding more to our plates and following others’ “shoulds.” All of these defeat the purpose of self-care. Plus, when we’re in that place of “shoulds” or detachment, our self-care lacks resonance.

When we bring intention to our self-care – when we claim how we want to show up, even if only for a brief time – we create care that nourishes us. It heals us and brings us back to our true selves. Making self-care just another crappy thing on your to-do list? That takes you farther from yourself.

By aiming ourselves toward our highest intention, day after day or moment after moment, we keep ourselves aligned with what is meaningful, resonant, and true for us. When we’re in that spot, self-care is something we will be drawn back to, again and again.

Intention isn’t a goal. It’s about the tone and energy you want to embody. It’s how you show up and inhabit yourself and your life. Start there.


Looking for more effective, doable self-care tips? Explore the Free Self-Care Resource Garden, and receive my weekly e-letter, full of resources, inspiration, and exclusive self-care tips and lessons from me.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Your intuition is magic.

You are incredibly wise. To a great extent, you already know what to do. Don’t be afraid to check in with yourself and your intention on a regular basis.

This self-knowledge is not only self-care in and of itself, but it may pave the way for your self-care to be truly your own. The times when I’ve felt regret have been when I didn’t follow my gut/heart/intuition – rarely to never do I feel that way when I listen to my inner voice.

Learning to trust and believe in the magic of your intuition is a beautiful way to experience self-care. It is, ultimately, compassion for and faith in yourself.

Try this:

Close your eyes right now, take some deep breaths and ask yourself this question: “What would feel good right now?” Listen to the answer, then try to offer yourself some of that.

The answer you receive may surprise you. You may learn something new about what your body, mind, and spirit are craving. But this inner voice is to believed and trusted. This is what it means to be an expert in yourself.

Which leads me to…

Figure out what is essential for you.

A shower every day is essential… For me.
For you, it might be something else. But whatever it is, find your non-negotiable self-care practice and make it happen.
It might sound obvious, but self-care should be incredibly personal. It should be customized to suit your needs. Self-care doesn’t need to impress anyone else. But it should fill your well. Which means that it’s different for everyone.
Part of what I teach in Sacred Focus is figuring out what’s essential, necessary, and sacred for you – so that you can do more of it. When you know what nourishes you, heals you, and brings you joy, you can act accordingly. But first, you need to know yourself well enough to say what that is.
It may not be what everyone else is doing, but I guarantee that it will make your self-care so much more effective.

Looking for more effective, doable self-care tips? Explore the Free Self-Care Resource Garden, and receive my weekly e-letter, full of resources, inspiration, and exclusive self-care tips and lessons from me.
Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

How to create nourishing evening self-care rituals

June 5, 2017

Confession: I’m a worrier. I’m prone to anxiety and overthinking things. Like, a lot. So sleep hasn’t always been the easiest thing for me.  But I’ve developed some useful evening rituals that help me get more (and better) sleep.

Want to get better, more restful sleep. Start practicing these nourishing evening self-care rituals. I'll show you how. Plus, download your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

Before we dive into my evening rituals, there are four principles I follow when it comes to getting deep rest and restorative sleep. I learned these during my restorative yoga teacher training, and apply them in my everyday life. These four qualities soothe our nervous systems so that we can begin powering down (and staying out of “high alert” status).

 

Still

Slow yourself down.

Practice gentler movement or even do a little seated meditation to begin winding down.

Practice rituals that are slow and steady.

Single-task, rather than multi-tasking.

Quiet

Turn down any music and make sure that sounds are soothing and soft.

Let conversations be hushed or quieter.

Turn off any phone notifications.

 

Dark

Turn down the lights.

Turn off any devices with glowing screens, or at least set them aside.

Draw the shades.

Light candles or otherwise embrace softer light.

While sleeping, get blackout curtains, if necessary, to create a dark environment.

Warm

Make sure that you’re nice and toasty.

Have a cup of tea.

Use a hot water bottle by your feet.

 

On an average night, here are some of my evening rituals:

  • By 8:30pm, I’m usually starting to wind down my day: tidying the house, feeding the cats and any other evening chores. The overhead lights are off and the shades are drawn at this point.
  • Turn off my screens, usually by 9pm. Phone goes on airplane mode and is tucked away. I close my computer for the evening.
  • I do a little bit of gentle yoga, often in bed or standing to the side of the bed.
  • I drink a cup of tea and get a hot water bottle settled by my feet (9 months out of the year).
  • While I’m drinking my tea, I usually read. Favorite bedtime reading is poetry, books on meditation or dharma, or New Yorker articles my sweetie has saved for me. I stay away from anything stressful at this point.
  • Right before sleep, I usually give myself a hand or foot massage with a little cream or body oil.
  • At a certain point, we say our goodnights and turn out the light. Once I’m settled in with the lights out, I usually do a little breathing practice to ease myself into sleep.

 

My evening rituals are incredibly important to my self-care

How I end my day is just as important to me as how I begin it.

By creating ritual and supporting my nervous system to transition out of the day (and my thinking mind) and into a restful state, I get better quality sleep and feel more vibrant as a result.

It’s not always perfect, but this kind of attentive ritual is the aim. Above, you’ll notice that there’s something for each of my senses, and that I’m bringing the principles of still, quiet, dark and warm in whenever possible.

Rest isn’t lazy. It’s an incredibly powerful time for self-healing.

While we rest, our bodies are repairing themselves on a cellular level. Our immune, lymph, digestive, and respiratory systems all enjoy a boost. Our minds are able to integrate all of the input we offer during the day.

In a literal sense, we are healing ourselves as we sleep.

Supporting our nervous systems to get the best rest possible is key to supporting ourselves with self-care.

Evening rituals are for pulling inward and soothing anything that ruffled me during the day.

 

Related:

Morning Rituals to Spark Self-Care

Self-Care for Highly-Sensitive People

18 Simple Meditation Tips

Cultivating Intention to live a more sacred life

April 17, 2017

You can choose your inner state in any moment. Learn to cultivate clear intention to live a more sacred life. Plus, download your free self-care workbook inside! >> www.christytending.com

I believe that setting clear intention is one of the most powerful practices we can use to begin creating a life that feels more sacred. We can begin today. It doesn’t cost a thing. It doesn’t take any special training.

At the beginning of every workshop, I ask students to set their intention for the time we’re going to share. Intention is the tool I use instead of resolutions. I even think they’re more effective than goals at times.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Why intentions over goals? Because goals often rely on exterior circumstances.

Intention allows us to experience what we want to, on an interior level, regardless of what’s going on outside of us. They allow us to be present with ourselves, in integrity, without needing a particular outcome. So, regardless, we can remain our whole, grounded selves.

(Magnifique, non?)

So when it comes to creating a more sacred life, I don’t begin by reaching for the sage or the crystals.

I begin crafting more of what’s sacred from the inside out.

This is my best recipe for success.

First of all, what do I mean by “intention”?

Well, it’s not a goal. It’s not an outcome or a wish I’m hoping will come true.

Instead, it’s the tone that I’m setting for a particular phase of time. It’s the quality I want to embody. My intention is how I’m choosing to show up in a specific scenario, regardless of what happens. It’s how I ground myself and stay close to my heart.

Intention is the heart of integrity.

It keeps us rooted in our values and our truth. It doesn’t change. That intention is the spark for skillful response and action, no matter what. And blessedly, when we remember our intention, we can stay out of reactivity.

It lives independently of any contingency. It is ours to choose in any moment, at any time. If you want to live a life that feels more aligned, integrous, and sacred, begin with clear intention. It gives you a touchstone that you can return to, again and again, aiming yourself in the direction of what feels sacred to you.

So how do we create these intentions that lead to a more sacred life? For me, it is a process – an ongoing journey and practice.

Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

 

And, in my experience, this practice
has three main phases:

 

Setting your intention.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

Choose a single word or short phrase for how you want to show up in your body and in your life for the next hour. Maybe, after some practice, you stretch this out. Choose an intention for your day or week. Some people find value in choosing a word for the year.

The real action here is in the deciding. Your word or phrase doesn’t have to be perfect. Let it sum up the overall experience, but don’t worry about getting it just-so. We naturally refine our sacred vocabulary over time.

 

Matching and align yourself with your intention.

Throughout the time you’ve chosen, bring your mind back to your intention.

  • How is it going?
  • Are you aligned with that intention?
  • What could you say/do that would match the tone of the intention?
  • How could you bring more of its spirit into your words, choices, and actions?

No need to aim for perfection. Allow the intention to be a guiding light. Allow it to illuminate areas of unconsciousness or places where your life is out of alignment with what you find to be most sacred. This kind of feedback is meant to serve you and the sacredness you’re cultivating.

(No guilt or shame if you’re not 100% aligned out of the gate. You’re human.)

 

Refining your tone.

Once you’ve had some experience setting your intention and then matching that tone, begin to refine it. Maybe some words serve you better than others. Maybe some times of day feel more aligned for setting your intention.

Allow it to be an experiment. Invest in letting it be a process. Again, it’s not about the outcome, but continually bringing mindfulness and clear-hearted integrity to your daily life. Over time, you’ll develop an intention-setting practice that works for you.

It will point you in the direction that you want to go, until you get closer and closer to that which is most sacred to you.

 

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Browse the free self-care resource garden for workbooks, journals, planners, practice guides and more >> www.christytending.com

Real Self-Care: a digital toolkit to craft awesome self-care

April 3, 2017

Of everything I’ve created in my work, Real Self-Care, perhaps more than anything else, has been my baby. A labor of love. An expression of what I believe on my most heartfelt level: that self-care is possible for all.

Which is why I’m so proud to introduce it in its new form: a digital toolkit that’s robust, beautiful and actionable. So that you can create awesome self-care to support your important world-changing and healing work.

 

Already know you want the toolkit? Get it now!

 

The evolution of Real Self-Care: a timeline

September 2015: The Real Self-Care blog series debuts. 30 days of simple, sweet, and actionable posts to nurture my personal self-care practice and inspire my readers.

March 2016: Real Self-Care becomes an e-book – a 30-day manual with new practices added and plenty of space for journaling and reflection.

April 2016: I created my free Real Self-Care Planner, which has been downloaded more than 2,000 times!

September 2016: Real Self-Care gets an update. I add a bonus mini e-book with extra inspiration and a video training to create your self-care foundation.

Early 2017: Real Self-Care transforms into a robust digital toolkit, with videos, workbooks, and audio components. The toolkit now includes three modules: to set your foundation, gather inspiration, and make your self-care meaningful.

 

Why Real Self-Care?

I began writing this series to dissolve myths about self-care. I wanted to demonstrate that, even in the midst of a busy life, self-care is possible on a daily basis. This is my mission: for you to know that it’s possible.

There are four pillars of awesome self-care. It should be custom, intuitive, feasible, and kind. Real Self-Care aims to support you in creating that strong foundation of self-care so that you can access it in any moment. Inside, I’ve included doable practices that don’t require tons of time, new expertise, or extra stuff. Because self-care isn’t about bubble baths and yoga retreats in Bali. It’s about making it yours, so you can support your own heart.

Real Self-Care emerged from a desire to cut the crap when it comes to self-care. It doesn’t need to be lofty or luxurious to be nourishing. It doesn’t need to be expensive or even time-consuming to be effective.

 

Self-care is the act of consistently being your own best ally.

[bctt tweet=”Self-care is the act of consistently being your own best ally.” username=”ChristyTending”]

It’s really about getting as close to your own heart as possible. In our current culture, this is downright revolutionary.

I took myself through the same process that I now offer inside Real Self-Care. It began as a way to reflect on what self-care meant to be personally. Part experimentation, part walking my talk – I wanted to really immerse myself in one practice every day for a month.

It was challenging to keep up every day – a good reminder that even I need to slow down sometimes. But it left me feeling deeply nourished and with great food for thought when it came to how I wanted to offer self-care.

 

Since then, Real Self-Care has shifted a lot.

As you can see above, it has grown from blog series to book, with new bonuses added every few months, and reaching people all over the world along the way. In our small way, we are letting Real Self-Care become a people-powered revolution in how we conceptualize and act on our self-care.

I am so honored to have it touch so many peoples’ lives.

 

Now, Real Self-Care is shifting again.

It is becoming a multi-module digital toolkit, to set your foundation, gather inspiration, and make it meaningful. There are videos, workbooks, audios, and a super-fab resource guide. Plus bonus mini-ebooks.

As ever, the heart of Real Self-Care is the e-book and journal that started it all. Thirty days of practices. Thirty days of reflection pages. Enough empowerment, inspiration, and gusto to help you create an amazing self-care practice you’ll use the rest of your life.

I’m so proud. I hope you love it.

 

How it’s impacted people:

Olwen Wilson Testimonial for Real Self-Care

Ashley Beaudin Testimonial

Kelsey Baker Testimonial for Real Self-Care

 

Thank you for being here. Thank you for celebrating with me!

 

Dissolving Resistance to Create Awesome Self-Care

March 27, 2017

I hear a lot of self-care myths in my work. I know that sometimes self-care gets a bad rap – or that it seems just out of reach. Luckily for all of us, I know in my heart that not only is self-care possible – but that it can be amazing.

But before we can truly accept self-care as something of which we are deserving (and therefore make a truly nourishing experience), we need to dissolve some of our resistance to caring for ourselves.

There are a million self-care myths and so many narratives that reinforce the idea that self-care is selfish or out of reach. Dissolve your resistance to self-care in order to create truly awesome self-care. Plus, download your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

Let’s look at some of the myths about self-care and see if we can move them out of the way, shall we?

“I’m so busy!”

Self-care doesn’t need to be time-consuming. It can be simple and brief, just so long as it’s intentional. Even just a few deep breaths might support you through your day. Taking baby steps is the key to awesome self-care.

In fact, I recommend against diving into a time-consuming complicated self-care practice when you’re first starting out. Go slow. Break it down into bite-sized pieces.

This will keep you out of a state of overwhelm, which will only discourage you from further self-care. And you’ll experience real success. Let this success build on itself slowly.

The fact is, self-care is a life-long practice. You can’t do it all in one day. So, proceed with gentleness and don’t add more to your plate than you can hand.

“I can’t afford it!” or “I need more stuff before I can start!”

Um, no. (I’ll refer you to this blog post. And this one over here.)

It’s a myth that self-care is all bubble baths, overflowing bowls of bon-bons, or a Hawaiian vacation. But you can begin your self-care right here and now. Self-care begins as an interior experience: nothing fancy, just you and your heart.

You don’t even need to get off the couch. You can start with your interior narrative. It’s possible to start practicing self-care without spending a single dime. Because the heart of self-care is self-compassion and mindful presence.

“I don’t know where to start!” or “I don’t know how!”

You don’t need any kind of special training. Why? Because you are already the expert in your own experience. You might need a little inspiration, but no one knows you better than you. Which means you don’t need a guru.

You just need to be present.

Begin by setting an intention. Start with a few deep breaths. Have a glass of water. Whatever the smallest action is that you can think of that would feel good right now, do that.

The fact is, we are all the experts in our own experience. So often, we already know exactly what we need to feel good.

“I feel guilty!”

The truth is, you are inherently deserving of incredible self-care. In fact, self-care can often be the gateway to dissolving guilt.

Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s survival. In a world that supports so many systems of oppression, it can be difficult to remember that you are not as disposable as everything else it manufactures. You are not disposable at all. You are a precious human deserving of love.

(Ahh… does that feel better?)

I created The Real Self-Care Toolkit to dissolve these myths and empower you in your self-care so you can live a more mindful, joyful, and heart-felt life.

Look, I know.

Our culture loves to teach us that we aren’t good enough – that we don’t have enough, do enough, or exist perfectly enough.

But that’s a nasty lie. We are perfect and deserving exactly as we are. Self-care isn’t something you earn, it’s a birthright. We are all worthy of compassionate action on our own behalf.

No matter what the powers that be say, you can claim self-care any time you like.

I believe in that, and I believe in you.

It’s why I created The Real Self-Care Toolkit with you (and your actual life) in mind.

Or, start by downloading your free planner:

Creating Self-Care That’s Custom (not cookie-cutter)

March 20, 2017

Excellent self-care is self-care that's truly custom – never cookie-cutter. Learn how to create your own custom self-care plan. Plus grab your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

When I work with groups (usually in non-profit settings) to help them develop self-care, there are always a few skeptics in the room. “What if I’m not into ‘woo-woo’ things?” they ask. “What if I like going to the movies or dancing in clubs to unwind?” “What if I [they always get quiet] hate yoga and meditation?”

All good questions. And I will tell you, I’m never, ever offended, even though I’ve been a yoga and meditation practitioner my whole adult life. Why?

Because I know that my self-care won’t look like your self-care.

Self-care is different for everyone. In order to be self-care, it need to be custom, not cookie-cutter.

Different things that feel good and rightful for them.

Each of us has a different schedule, budget, source of inspiration. We have a different set of priorities, interests, and things that bring us joy and healing. We have different bodies and unique personalities that shape what feels nourishing, replenishing, and healing.

Custom self-care honors our unique selves with unique care.

So, when I’m teaching in groups, I never offer a self-care prescription. It’s more like a treasure hunt or a choose your own adventure. It’s not something that anyone can ever create for you.

For self-care do its true restorative work, it needs to be completely customized to you. Like a fingerprint.

Custom self-care honors your sacredness.

Cookie-cutter self-care only squelches your spirit.

Your custom self-care may not even look the same day to day, week to week, or season to season.

This is truly custom self-care: care that adapts itself to your ever-changing life and ever-evolving needs. Once you understand this, and how to create this customized self-care, you have a practice that will last you a lifetime. Because it’s never over. There is always an opportunity for that restorative healing to take place – whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.

If you’re looking to create custom self-care, I recommend beginning with these three questions:

(Seriously, take out a journal or notebook and answer each of these for yourself.)

What do I know?

You are already an intuitive expert in yourself. In fact: no one will ever know you as well as you already know yourself. Which means that you’re the person best positioned to be an advocate and champion of your self-care.

Write down: What do you already know about yourself? What information is already available to you?

What is my life actually like?

Not the life you wish you had. Not your Pinterest-perfect life. And not even your Instagram-filtered life.

Your real, actual life. No fixing or filtering.

This doesn’t mean you can’t make meaningful life changes. It just means that, for today, your self-care needs to meet your actual reality face-to-face in order to be effective and to feel joyful.

What are the circumstances that lead you to seek self-care? What are the limitations in your way? Finally: what is possible, right here and now? Begin there. Don’t be afraid to evolve, but be even less cautious about beginning.

What feels good?

This is important, and loops us back to those initial questions I get from my skeptics. What feels good for me, won’t necessarily feel good (or even be appropriate) for you. Which is totally okay!

It just means that you need to get really clear on what does feel good. What lights you up? When do you feel most yourself? What kinds of activities are you always glad you did?

Knowing yourself well enough to know what brings you pleasure is a deeply important dimension of self-care. While self-care can lead us to uncomfortable truths or through tough emotions, most of the time, it should be something that brings us comfort, joy, and a sense of well-being.

 

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