Entries organized under Self-Care

Try this: a strategy to dissolve shame

March 27, 2018

Try this: a strategy to dissolve shame. Hint: it's connection. Sign up for self-care workshops and self-care tips inside! >> www.christytending.com

There is something predictable that happens when I feel shame. Maybe some (or all) of this sounds familiar…

I get very quiet at first. My face flushes, my palms sweat, and my shoulders hunch inward. My mind races and my heart speeds up. Sometimes I close my eyes, trying to visually shut out the experience. The first instinct is to reach for anything to make the sensation stop…

To distract, to numb. In the past, it’s been food or my phone or even taking action on something to make myself feel less helpless. Anything to not feel that shame.

In my body, shame and trauma land virtually the same way.

When shame creeps in, there is a veritable buffet of fight, flight and freeze instincts that arise. And I can’t help but scoop some of each onto my metaphorical plate.

No matter how hard I try to numb or run away, that sensation of shame remains in my body until I’ve properly processed it. As Bessel van der Kolk, a trauma specialist says, the body keeps the score.

Shame can feel so utterly personal. Yet my (perhaps, our?) response to shame so often is to detach.

What I propose instead is connection.

Compassionately, tenderly, come home to your experience. Note what is happening in your body, in your mind, in your heart, in your energy. When you are intimately connected with present-moment experience, you can then move from your wise intuition, rather than fear.

In our society, shame is often met with more shame.

“Don’t take it personally!” they cry, as though it is our response (and not the shame itself) that is out of place. But what if we refused to let shame rob us of our connection to what is often deeply personal? What if we chose compassion and connection in those moments?

If we did, we could stay close to that intuitive, loving energy, following (and trusting) its guidance, instead of numbing out or following shame away from our hearts’ calling?

Here’s the kernel of truth in all of this: it’s personal.

My business is me. My activist work is my community. My child is of me. My whole life comes from my heart. None of it isn’t personal.

This makes it all the more vulnerable.

But it also makes it all the more necessary not to let shame win, not to shut down, not to numb out. So I choose to stay with what is in the moment and meet it, as I would meet anything else, with tremendous love.

Try this with me: the next time that shame creeps in – in front of the mirror, in front of your boss, in front of your kids, or in that pesky negative self-talk – hold your own hand. (I hold my left thumb with my right hand.) Feel that connection.

This is the heart of self-care: that willingness to be compassionately present with yourself even when things suck.

I wish this for all of us.

With care,
Christy


NEW WORKSHOPS!

In this spirit, I’m offering two live workshops in April, each designed to support this idea: to eradicate shame, connect to our compassionate hearts, and deepen into our intuitive brilliance.

Join me:

Resilience Practice: whole-hearted action for difficult times. I’m bringing back one of my most popular workshops; we’ll explore strategies for claiming your power and developing resilience through a blend of skillful action and deep rest.

Creating a Vessel for Magic: body-based practices for intuitive brilliance. In this brand new workshop, I’m getting back to my yoga-teacher roots with movement, breath, and chakra practices for any body.

How to Plan Your Sacred Year

January 8, 2018

I love New Years Eve. It’s also true that I used to really dislike it. There were loads of expectations around having the more glamorous time ever, going to the best parties, and generally having the most fun. It always felt like a let-down.

I’ve also always had a bee in my bonnet about goals and new years resolutions. (Neither ever resonated for me the way they were supposed to.)

But over the years, I’ve honed some New Years rituals that feel meaningful and set me up for joy, intentionality, and deep love at this time of year.

The result? My Complete Guide to How to Plan Your Sacred Year: rituals to create intentionality, self-care, and compassion in your year ahead. I hope you love it, and that if you’re looking for more you join me for the Plan Your Sacred Year workshop on January 18th or check out my signature course, Sacred Focus, where we dive super-deep into all of this.

Setting the stage

One of my most important New Years rituals is spending the holiday with people I love. I’ve spent most New Years with (roughly) the same crew of people for the last ten years. There have been some skipped years and the cast of characters rotates slightly.

For the turn of the year, I aim to be in a beautiful place with people I love. That’s it. It’s not about the best parties, but about the people and natural beauty.

Tools of the trade

Make sure that you have some sacred items around. They could be family heirlooms, some objects from nature, or however else you define “sacred”.

I usually bring with me a few crystals, gather some beautiful objects from wherever I find myself (e.g. seashells in Mexico, pinecones at Lake Tahoe, stones from Joshua Tree), my journal and a pen, plus a tarot (or oracle card) deck.

Ground yourself

I usually use the The Wild Unknown deck to do a Year Ahead spread. Place one card in the middle for your year’s theme, then select a card for each month in the year ahead.

You might also do some meditation, journaling or walking in nature. I do all of these, since they’re part of my foundational self-care. You could also incorporate the natural elements into your practice. I like a good soak in hot water, myself.

 

Planning Your Sacred Year

Want to join me for planning your sacred year ahead? Sign up for the live workshop on January 18th!

Rather than setting pie-in-the-sky or numbers-based goals, I break my year planning down into something more intuitive (link) and self-compassionate. For me, goals and resolutions don’t tend to have the same resonance.

Instead, I focus on three main areas when it comes to my year-ahead planning:

  1. A word of the year

  2. Intentions for the year ahead

  3. Sacred Focus

 

A word of the year

Using Susannah Conway’s Word of the Year course (which is free!), I spend time as early as November figuring out what my word for the coming year will be. In short, my word for the year is a combination of:

  1. How I want to feel during the year ahead

  2. What I need — this could be comfort or a kick in the pants

  3. What I want to embody in my everyday

This helps envision what I want the year to be. From there, I can fill in the details. The what, the who, the where, and so on — until I build a year ahead that feels like my word. This word often leads me to more questions — and a phase of intention-setting. (Want to know how intentions are different from goals? Read my post about that over here.)

 

My word for 2018 is GOLDEN.

Here’s what that means to me:

You can read my past word of the year posts here:

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

 

Intentions for the year ahead

Again, this is not about what I intend to accomplish. It’s not about numbers in my business or any kind of quantifiable outcome. This is about how and where I want to show up. My intentions? They’re really about attention.

They answer the questions: What do I want more of? What am I ready to release? How do I want to respond to what has happened in my past and greet what will happen in the future?

Which means that I’m really asking: How will I take care of my heart?

My intentions are about my word in action. They provide the map for where my word could take me — and how I’m willing to let that word transform me. These provide a useful foundation where we can start to build the themes of our year.

I find that intentions are a more compassionate and flexible approach to envisioning the year ahead. No matter what curveballs life throws at us, we can return to our intentions.

My intentions for the year ahead:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last, but certainly not least: Sacred Focus

Sacred Focus was my first word/phrase of the year that I ever chose. Or rather, it chose me. It landed in my lap like a puff of dandelion pollen and I’ve never been the same.

If you’re new to the concept, Sacred Focus is the 3-5 areas of life where you’re placing your most heartfelt attention in any given phase of life. This is where we choose to show up excellently.

Your Sacred Focus, once you choose it, is the heart of your life. This is where our intentions and our energy are funneled into impact.

Sacred Focus needs both of its pieces always. It’s not just about the sacred piece, where magic randomly comes into our life. It requires the practice, devotion, and discernment of Focus. Nor is it all focus. It asks for spirit to guide us.

My Sacred Focus for 2018*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Although I take myself through the Sacred Focus process at least twice a year, this is what I’m currently focused on for the year ahead.

 

Want more resources to plan your sacred year ahead?
Grab your seat for my live workshop on January 18th!

 

Want more of the inside scoop of how I plan my year and craft a life that feels sacred? Follow me on Instagram!

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How to practice: candle-gazing meditation

November 30, 2017

Learn to meditate. In this post, learn how to practice candle-gazing meditation. Plus grab your free meditation toolkit! >> www.christytending.com

There are so many forms of meditation that it can be tough to know where to start. Today, I’m offering simple instructions for candle-gazing meditation, a form of concentration practice. The concept is simple: during meditation practice to focus one’s attention on the flame of a candle.

Also called Trataka meditation, this practice is said to relieve stress, enhance memory and concentration, and provide deep relaxation.

Choosing your candles:

I recommend choosing unscented 100% soy or beeswax candles. Many candles contain toxic chemicals, and many perfumes or added scents also contain unhealthy ingredients.As they burn, you will be breathing in the candles’ vapors. Best to find candles with the fewest ingredients, colors, scents or additives.

Finding a comfortable seat:

Choose either a cushion on the floor or a chair.

If on the floor, make sure that your knees can easily drape down below the bowl of your pelvis. Ensure that your spine can stretch long and upright. If either of these is a challenge, use additional cushioning underneath your seat.

If in a chair, I recommend sitting on the edge of the chair. Again, the spine should be long and upright. Feet should be flat on the floor.

Place your hands in your lap or on your thighs, your choice of whether to have your palms facing up or down.

Set up  your space:

Choose a quiet, somewhat dark or dim place. If you need additional warmth, add a sweater or shawl. (Your body temperature will drop after you’ve been sitting for a while.) Turn off and set aside any devices or distractions.

Place a small table three to four feet in front of where you will be seated, and place a candle on the flat surface, so that it is at or just below eye level. Light the candle. Ensure that there are no cross-breezes that could disturb the flame as you practice.

Practice:

Find your comfortable seat. Relax the space around your eyes. Breathe softly and easefully – allow the breath to lengthen as you settle your body and mind.

Place your gaze on the candle’s flame (rather than the candle itself or the wick). Bring your full attention there, allowing thoughts, outside sensations or movements to settle and cease. If you do find yourself distracted by a thought or emotion, gently bring your attention back to the candle’s flame.

If your eyes get tired, allow yourself to blink. Do not strain your eyes.

At the conclusion of your meditation, close your eyes for a few moments and breathe deeply. At this point, you may either open your eyes and allow yourself to come back into the room fully – or continue with a different form of meditation, such as lovingkindness or mindfulness meditation.

 

Related:

 

The Lovingkindness Toolkit: because meditation can feel kind, compassionate and revolutionary. Download the free mini-toolkit to begin your practice today! >> www.christytending.com

Self-Care is Detective Work

October 12, 2017

Self-care isn't always straight forward. Good self-care requires detective work sometimes. Plus get your free intuition worksheet here! >> www.christytending.com

I refer to self-care as a practice a lot.  What I mean by this is that it is not finite. It doesn’t really end. We simply refine it over time. We hone it.

I could also call it a dance or an experiment.

Really, self-care is all of those things.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about self-care as detective work.

Except, rather than trying to solve a case, we are sleuthing around our own healing.

We collect evidence. We interview witnesses. Out of endless data and what may, at times, feel like chaos, we work to make sense of things.

Like detectives, we ignore nothing. There is no piece of information too trivial. Eventually, patterns emerge. Sometimes, we hit dead ends. Other times, we discover an uncomfortable truth.

Self-care is really the act of becoming more and more familiar with ourselves.

Like detectives, we ask the tough questions. We examine every angle. We pursue our quest for justice and healing relentlessly.

Which means that self-care isn’t all sunshine, all the time. It means tracking it into the shadows, into dark alleyways.

The aim is not always to feel good but to come face to face with our being.

This takes courageous detective work. Not to find the easy answers, but to reveal the truth: of what it means to be ourselves, of what it means to be human, of what healing and self-care look like for each of us.

This detective work is specific: it’s never about generalities, but instead the tiny details and idiosynchrasies of our particular case. Self-care is just this: becoming fascinated in examining our lives and selves so that we can move toward lightness and well-being.

This is why one-size-fits-all self-care doesn’t work.

When we become detectives, we learn quickly:

When I eat this, I feel this way. I like this type of movement, but not that type. I need this many hours of sleep and this kind of free time. My batteries feel recharged when I do a particular set of activities.

These are the people who lift me up. My soul is happy when I am in this special place. And so on.

We ask: “What would feel good right now?” and follow the trail, like any good detective would.

It’s why our intuition is essential to self-care.

A good detective might just go down a laundry list and call it a day.

Great detectives follow their instincts, even when they seem zany. They collect the details that others gloss over. They use all of their senses.

It becomes an intuitive process, rather than something rote or by the book. They use every tool at their disposal, including all ways of knowing into solving the case.

If you’re looking to amplify your self-care, begin here: with your intuition and commit yourself to this kind of detective work.

Free resources to amplify your intuition:

Intuition audio meditation

Intuition worksheet

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.

Japanese Forest Bathing

September 27, 2017

I made you a new (totally free) class! Grab your seat here.

Feeling burned out? Looking for a great self-care practice? Try Japanese Forest Bathing. Plus sign up for the free self-care course here! >> www.christytending.com

I spent some time in Japan this past summer to mark my husband’s grandmother’s one hundredth birthday (and to introduce the new baby!). While there, we spent a bit of time in Tokyo, before heading to Kyushu.

Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite self-care practices: Japanese forest bathing.

One of my favorite places in Tokyo is Meiji Jingu, a Shinto shrine complex in the middle of the Harajuku neighborhood. In the middle of a city of 40 million people, it is a respite. Inside the beautifully wooded park, dotted with torii (shrine gates, like the one above), you can only hear the chatter of other visitors, birds chirping, and the breeze blowing through the trees.

I love the feeling of the breeze on my face. I love the way the light filters through the branches and leaves. Escaping to this little bit of nature in the middle of a bustling city calms me.

Japanese forest bathing is powerful.

Plus, for most of us, it’s free. It’s simple. It takes only a few minutes to absorb its benefits.

It’s some of my favorite medicine. And when I’ve been in the city too long, it feels like sloughing off tension and energy that has been keeping me stuck. Being in the trees helps me to feel free.

Just a few minutes looking up at the trees makes my soul feel a little bit more quiet and at ease.

In Japan, there’s a term for this kind of medicine: shinrin-yoku. It means forest bathing. Some doctors prescribe Japanese forest bathing to their patients because it’s been proven to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and so many other good things.

Isn’t it interesting how the tiniest actions—like taking one deep breath, or drinking one glass of water, or stepping into nature for a few minutes—can make such a big difference to our health and wellbeing?

Our self-care does not have to be big and showy.

Quiet action on our own behalf can be deeply powerful.

And speaking of tiny, powerful things…

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I recently released a new class. It’s free. It’s called The Tiny Little Self-Care Class. Get all the details and sign up here.

The class includes simple, realistic ideas on how to de-stress, reclaim time for the priorities that matter to you, take good care of yourself, and simply have a better day.

Busy parents, creative entrepreneurs, healers, activists, and world-changers… People who give, give, give, and do, do, do… this class is my gift for you.

I hope you’ll find a way to refill your well sometime today, too. Maybe a forest bath–or a bubble bath. Or a bus ride without your phone in your hands. Or listening to Harry Potter audiobooks while you chop carrots for dinner.

Whatever sounds like “a relief,” like “coming home,” please give that gift to yourself.

Self-care is something you can do today to refuel, focus, strengthen, and prepare yourself for the work that needs to be handled tomorrow. It’s amazing what even the quietest actions can do.

 


Now Enrolling:

Also on the blog:

 

The Tiny Little Self-Care Class

July 17, 2017

 

Announcing: The Tiny Little Self-Care Class

A free course for people who feel seriously burned out—and need immediate relief.

[START THE CLASS]

 

The Tiny Little Self-Care Class- a free course for people who feel seriously burnt out and need immediate relief. Sign up for free here! >> www.christytending.com

“I feel so overwhelmed.”

That’s a phrase that I hear from nearly all of my clients—along with, “I’m completely exhausted,” “Once I put out one fire, there’s always another one to deal with,” “I’m barely holding it together,” “I’m so depleted,” and “I just don’t feel good.”

That’s why I created The Tiny Little Self-Care Class: a free course for people who feel seriously burned out—and need immediate relief.

In this class, you’ll find simple, realistic ideas on how to reduce stress and anxiety, reclaim time for the commitments that matter to you, feel calmer and stronger, and just… have a better day.

Busy parents, creative entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, community organizers, activists, and world-changers… People who give, give, give, and do, do, do… this class is my gift for you.

 

[START THE CLASS]

 

— How to take the class —

Sign up here for the Tiny Little Self-Care Class and you’ll receive a series of 7 emails: 1 welcome note, 5 self-care ideas, and 1 farewell note with a few more ideas and resources.

Each email is comforting and uplifting, and includes an audio recording if you’d prefer to listen rather than read.

 

— No time pressure —

Once you sign up you’ll receive 7 emails over the course of 7 days. But you don’t have to read everything right away. You can keep these emails in your inbox and peek at them whenever you want. There’s no rush.

 

 

[START THE CLASS]

 

— About the creator of this class —

Hi, I’m Christy! I’m the creator of this website, and I’m thrilled to be your guide from burnout, numbness and overwhelm to effective, joyful, impactful change-making.
I became a social justice activist when I was still in high school. By the time I reached my mid-20s, I’d logged thousands of hours of organizing work across North and South America: rallies, fundraisers, marches, protests, and non-violence trainings (and yes, I’ve been arrested once or twice.)

It took a full-on physical/emotional breakdown at 24 to realize, “Oh. Right. I’m a human being with a human body, not a machine. I have to learn how to refill my own well… or I won’t be able to continue doing the work that matters to me.”

Today, I’m still a passionate climate justice and Indigenous rights activist—but I’m equally passionate about self-care. I write articles on self-care for places like Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen, and Annapurna Living, I speak on podcasts, I facilitate self-care trainings for non-profit groups and conferences, and I create classes to help people heal from burn-out, find their Sacred Focus, and feel vibrant and strong.

I hope that my newest class—The Tiny Little Self-Care Class—helps you to smile, exhale, and feel a bit lighter as you move about your day. Sign up here, and I’ll meet you in your inbox! Love, support, and relief is on the way…

Christy

 

The Tiny Little Self-Care Class

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A free course for people who feel seriously burnt out—and need immediate relief.

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The Power of Journaling – plus 10 prompts to get you started

July 10, 2017

Journaling is an incredibly powerful tool for self-care and self-knowledge. I haven’t always kept a journal. And often my “journaling” takes other forms than something that begins, “Dear Diary.” But it is an essential part of my self-care, my creative process, even my business. It’s how I begin every year and every new project. Journaling is part of how I connect with myself and my intuition.

Journaling is Powerful. Plus plus 10 journaling prompts to help you tap into your intuition and get you started! Find all 10 here! >> www.christytending.com

Journaling helps me tap into what’s going on right here, right now.

Journaling, for me, is first and foremost a mindfulness tool. It helps me connect with the present moment and be in the now, unapologetically. It helps me to know what’s going on with me in this moment here.

Even at my most frazzled or anxiety-filled, I’m able to connect with my inner state, once I start to put pen to paper. Instead of projecting into the past or future, I am able to see the present clearly. Journaling slows me down so that this can happen. Otherwise, sometimes I can wind up simply racing to the next moment without that check-in.

Journaling clears the cobwebs.

If I’m feeling stuck, unsure of what to say or what to do next, or if I’m unable to focus, journaling clears the cobwebs. Once I start that check-in I mentioned above, the brain fog seems to dissipate. It clears out the mental and emotional cobwebs. It leaves me feeling fresh and awake.

Much like taking some deep breaths, journaling gets the blood flowing and once I’ve begun, the rest seems to flow easily.

Journaling dissolves the overwhelm.

Journaling helps me to focus on one thing at a time. When I’m in that space, I can only do that one thing. It helps me to single-task and bring myself fully into the process.

Once I’m there, things feel solvable. In fact, I can chew over the same problem for days – and when I start to journal about it? The solution presents itself easily. If I’m overwhelmed with too many projects, tasks or thoughts, journaling helps to sort them out.

I actually use to-do lists as a form of journaling. Instead of trying to remember everything in my head, and stressing myself out, journaling gives me a place to put everything that’s on my mind. That way I don’t have to carry those thoughts around with me. They’re right there in my journal.

Journaling helps me to remember – my own wisdom, my most heartfelt beliefs, and what is most important.

Journaling is ultimately a way for me to engage with my highest self and my truest inner voice. It’s a way for me to be in touch with my intuition – and to remember the big picture. I’m able to clear the cobwebs and overwhelm of minutiae and to find myself again. Journaling isn’t about self-indulgence.

It’s an act of self-knowledge and self-care. Tending to the parts of myself that I might otherwise ignore or forget. Journaling is an act of remembrance again and again. No matter how long I’ve forgotten, journaling helps me to remember my inner wisdom.

Journaling is part of how I engage with self-care, beginning with a good check-in.

In order to bring my whole self more fully into my self-care, it helps to know where I stand. If I’m out of sorts, if I’m high energy, if I’m longing to create. Journaling helps to give me that information and insight on myself.

My journal is also a neutral and safe place to put my thoughts: to vent, to question, to dream. No pressure, no expectations. There’s no need to “fix” anything. It doesn’t get wrapped up in a neat bow. It’s just my way of knowing what the weather looks like in my own atmosphere.

10 self-care journal prompts to tap into your intuition. Get more free self-care resources right here! >> www.christytending.comWant to get started with journaling? Here are 10 prompts to get you started:

What do I know to be true in this moment?

Start with “I” statements and felt experiences.

What is happening in my body, right now?

Notice the sensations, experiences, memories, or patterns that are arising.

What will tomorrow look like?

In a perfect world, how would it go? Write it all in the affirmative and in the past tense – as though it has already happened.

What do I want more of in my life?

And what am I ready to let go of?

Who and what am I grateful for – and *why*?

What do I most want to say to someone?

Write that person a letter. It could be about them, or it could just be your way of connecting and sharing your heart with them. No need to send it, naturally.

What’s my high and low?

Your best moment and your toughest moment from today, this week, this year. Get in touch with and really feel both of those moments. Honor yourself in both your good and difficult times.

What questions am I facing right now?

Write out any decisions you have to make, anything you’re unsure of, and any questions you’re grappling with at the moment. You don’t need to answer them, just get them all out on paper and acknowledge the uncertainty with tenderness.

What does my intuition say?

About those big questions – or about any area of your life, really. What does that little voice inside say about it?

Sometimes Quitting is the Best Self-Care

July 6, 2017

Sometimes quitting is the best self-care. You don't have to stay in a rotten situation to make an impact. Learn how >> www.christytending.com

You know that old story about the guy who was hitting himself with a hammer:

“Why are you hitting yourself with a hammer?,” asks his friend.

“Because it feels so good when I stop.”

Good lord.

That’s a brutal story, but it cuts to the heart of what I think we do so often, as people who want to make a difference, want to make the world a better place, want to heal. We make ourselves small, hurt, less-than, all for the cause.

This is something that took me forever to learn, but I know to be incredibly true:

Sometimes Quitting is the Best Self-Care.

I’m not talking about flaking here. Quitting well has a nobility that ghosting lacks. When offered with integrity, quitting can be freedom, and it can be self-care, in its purest definition. It can lead to healing, sacred action, and deeper impact.

But all the same, I want you to know that sticking it out indefinitely, in a bad situation, is not what your life was meant to be.

I have two stories that prove this point.

  1. I got a job that I thought was my dream job. It actually was my dream job. But the specifics of being in the day-to-day reality of the job made it a not-great fit. I was crushed. I felt like I was doing good work and I was learning a lot. The work itself was varied, challenging and impactful.But being in the job itself, with its very specific constellation of characters, was… not good. I started having anxiety attacks, dreading going to work, and booking myself into windowless conference rooms to escape the reality of being at the office. It was a bad scene.

    The worst part? I knew I wasn’t being as effective as I could be, because I was going through the motions with a hearty mix of stress and indifference.

  2. I had a relationship with someone I cared for deeply. Except he didn’t care about me at all. AT ALL.It was this strange pendulum swing of “I love you/go away” that I held onto for more than two years.

    I really have nothing more to add to that than: YIKES.

 

Quitting isn’t easy.

In both of these situations, I resisted quitting. I wondered who I would be without the piece of my identity attached to each of these: job, relationship. I wondered if I would be just as miserable out on my own. It’s in my molecular makeup to stick it out, try to make it work, and muscle my way through to a solution that works.

But in both cases, quitting (with grace, with kindness, and with clear communication) was the healthiest, best thing I could have given myself. Often in work that’s geared toward healing and making change, we trick ourselves (or others trick us) into thinking that if we really cared, we’d put up with anything.

We’re bamboozled into thinking that making a difference needs to be hard. We think that if we quit one job, one project, one relationship, that we just don’t care enough. But I think it’s the opposite:

 

Quitting lets us devote ourselves to what truly matters to us.

It lets us find our real dream job. Our actual right-fit relationship. We find the place where we can truly dig in and make the positive impact we were meant to.

This is what my signature program, Sacred Focus, is all about. Saying no so that we can bring more of our phenomenal, precious attention to what truly matters. In that place, we amplify our impact and love our lives more.

 

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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