Entries organized under Self-Care

On generosity (aka: *all* the free self-care resources)

May 23, 2017

I wrote a while back about what dana (generosity in the Pali language) means to me.

For me, it’s an essential ingredient to the work that I do. It’s an intrinsic part of how I do business, conduct my relationships, and offer service in the world. Without the spirit of generosity, our burnout is assured.

When we move from a place of giving wholeheartedly, we can offer ourselves in a way that is well-boundaried, yet completely enthusiastic.

On generosity (aka: *all* the free self-care resources). Explore the Free Resource Garden, a treasure trove of workbooks, audio practices, video workshops, and other goodies to empower you and help you feel more embodied in your self-care. >> www.christytending.com

 

That’s where the magic happens – and part of how we avoid burnout.

Today, I want to take a little time to walk you through my Free Resource Garden, a totally-free collection of self-care resources designed to empower, inspire and nourish you.

 

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

 

In case you haven’t strolled through the garden recently, here’s what’s there,
to help you bloom:

Planners and checklists

The Retreat Planner & Checklist shows you, step-by-step, how to create your own self-care retreat.

The Real Self-Care Planner has been downloaded 2,000+ times and used by people all over the world. Inside, create a practice from scratch, no matter how busy you are.

Workbooks

My workbooks, Crafting Your Life, Care for Every Moment, and Setting Intention, are all designed to help you make your self-care truly custom.

Listen

Enjoy mp3s to feel more embodied and empowered through breath and meditation.

There’s also a Spotify playlist, with some of my favorite music – my go-to playlist for unwinding at the end of the day or while I’m making dinner.

Read

The Liberatory Self-Care Manifesto was my first articulation of what I think self-care should be: custom, intuitive, feasible. There’s also a meditation toolkit, walking you through how to get started with a practice that feels engaged and compassionate.

*New*: video workshops, on demand

Since I’m taking a break from teaching my live workshops this summer, I’ve put some of my favorites inside the garden for you to enjoy on-demand.

You’ll now find videos for Introduction to Awesome Self-Care and Meditation for Self-Care, each about an hour long, inside the garden.

Other inspiring goodies

There are community practices, desktop wallpapers, and resource guides – plus more coming soon! These resources include the actual, real-life things that I’m reading, watching, listening to, loving, and feeling inspired by in my own practice.

The Free Resource Garden beckons you.

This is how I incorporate generosity into my work: by giving away as much as possible for free. By delivering value and a clear sense of what it’s like to work with me – before you pay a dime.

This is part what justice looks like in my work. These resources are available to all.

Of course, this work is also how I support my family. But I always begin with this:

How can I give as generously as possible? What does wholehearted giving look like?

I move into the world from the answers that come. And I’ll say: it feels pretty good.

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

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.

 

Related:

Creating a Quiet Life in a Noisy World

March 13, 2017

Sometimes, life can be overwhelming. Learn how to create a quiet life (in the midst of a noisy world). Plus grab your seat for the free self-care mini-course inside! >> www.christytending.com

If you’re a quiet, sensitive person, it can feel like the world is SO LOUD sometimes. Like everyone is shouting, even over the Internet. If you’re drawn to create something big, it can be a challenge to do that in what feels like a maelstrom of input and sound and shouty-ness.

If you’re looking to create more quiet in your everyday life, start here.

Set intention

Why are you looking for more quiet?

What are you hoping to heal? What are you hoping to find?

Defining the purpose of the quieter life can be a huge gift. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel selfish or anti-social. There is intentionality accompanying the dream.

Of course, you never have to justify why you’re seeking more quiet and stillness, but knowing your intention can help you cultivate it with less drama. It can also be a nice guide for friends or family who can’t understand why you’re suddenly shushing them or switching off the TV at random. Know what you’re hoping to create in place of the noise.

Discover and trust your rhythm

When and where are you looking to create more quiet? What times of day make sense for you to be more quiet? Are there times when external stimuli seem to be more upsetting for your nervous system?

Notice and trust your natural rhythm.

For some, creating more quiet in the hour(s) before bedtime makes the most sense. Others prefer to wake slowly and make their way into the day more gently. Notice what works (or doesn’t) for you. Are there particular times or circumstances where you’re drawn to be more quiet, naturally?

Trust that information and allow your rhythms to guide you, rather than forcing your natural flow into an artificial pattern.

Create boundaries

Once you know your intention, and have a handle on your rhythms, you can begin to create a respectful container in which they can thrive.

This is highly personal. But notice: what kinds of boundaries do you need? Are they boundaries with others? Or is it more about internal boundaries and structure?

Offer yourself what you need. Boundaries can be your best friends, if you create them in a way that reflects your needs. Maybe it’s around certain times of day, certain people, or certain types of media. Maybe it’s limiting your exposure to social media, the news, or particular foods. No matter what boundaries you need, you don’t need to apologize.

Life can feel noisy, boundaries can dampen the sound and create a filter for what we’re consuming so that we can feel less overwhelmed.

Dedicate quiet time

I set aside time every week to be silent. This means that I’m also not accepting external input in the form of sound, either, aside from ambient natural sounds and sounds from my neighborhood. It’s a time to turn inward. There is silence, but the silence isn’t just there for me to fill.

It can exist for its own sake.

It can nourish in its own way.

I can accept the present moment, without needing to alter it with my words, with music, or with technology.

This time is sacred and gives my brain the opportunity to integrate all of the input it accepts on a daily (hourly, really) basis. Sometimes, I don’t use the time for anything in particular. Sometimes, I meditate. Other times, I’m struck with inspiration and spend the time journaling, sketching or teasing out the fragile details of my day dreams.

In that quiet space, I don’t get sidetracked, and my ideas have the space to germinate and grow.

Switch off everything that doesn’t need to be on

The lights.

The phone notifications.

The ready-alert instinct in your brain.

If you’re seeking more quiet, walk through your house (or your own mind) and look at what you can switch to off. When I disabled all of the notifications on my phone, life suddenly became so much more still and easeful. My attention could finally rest in the present, where I wanted it to be.

Not only was it literally less noisy, but I could also drop the vigilance that had become my default setting. I wasn’t constantly waiting for the next interruption. I could simply be in the moment.

Similarly, bright screens and overhead lights go off at 9pm in my house. I switch my phone to airplane mode. I am off-duty at that point. My time and energy and attention is truly my own.

 

Related:

What is your Sacred Focus?

Edit Your Schedule

On Devotion

 

The Golden Rules of Tending Myself

January 9, 2017

At the time this post goes live, I’ll be heading off on a seven-day silent meditation retreat. No phones, no talking, no outside communication. Just me, my brain, my body, and my practice. In honor of that, here’s what’s true for me. Remembering this is how I tend myself.

tending-myself

One of my all-time favorite things to do is podcast interviews. (Psst! ) It is so much fun to jam with like-minded, brilliant people about the nuances of self-care and how we bring it to life. Yum.

I’m asked a lot what I believe self-care is – and what my self-care practice looks like. While I talk a lot about what I believe self-care is (and a little about what it isn’t), I wanted to take a minute to break down what my gold standard for self-care is.

Without these guidelines in place, things start to wobble, and I start feeling like a hot mess.

This is how I have my own back. It’s what works for me. When I forget to keep these snugly in place, I suffer. When I try to make my life or flow look like someone else’s, that’s when things go off the rail.

If I’m really tending myself well, this is what happens. And in my heart, even when I think I don’t know what to do, this is what I works in my life.

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

Dear Christy,

Here’s what I know about you:

  • A hot shower fixes a lot. When things get tough, massage your scalp with hot water. And towel yourself off with something soft.
  • Stay political, involved, and fired-up. The cure of apathy or depression is not inaction. It seems hard, but getting off the couch and seeing your community for two hours and plotting how you’re going to change the world will leave you better than it found you.
  • Your family comes first always. Look up from your phone and kiss your husband. Put down your work and snuggle your cat. Call your mom. And so forth. You’re always glad you did.
  • Go see some trees. Like, today.
  • Walk a mile a day. Slowly, if needed.
  • Drink chai in the sun. Or drink chai while watching the rain.
  • Don’t ever stop drinking coffee in the mornings with your man. That shit is what life-long love is made of.
  • Take the time you need to just veg out and do nothing. Believe and respect your introversion enough to support it rather than change it.
  • Don’t compare your middle to their end. Or their anything.
  • Practice compersion or mudita or anything else you need to in order to stay out of a competition mindset. There is enough.
  • Similarly: make your own stuff. Make it the best it can be, pack it and ship it. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

When things feel tough:

  • Gossip less. Speak even more compassionately, if possible, when people are out of the room than when they’re in it.
  • If you’re feeling down on yourself, make something.
  • Be as generous as possible. Give it all away. Leave it all on the field.
  • Don’t forget your Sacred Focus. Every single day is a gift, so allow the magic in by holding close what matters most.
  • Embrace discomfort, growth, and the space of not-knowing. Try to learn something every day.
  • Respect how deeply your body is working to heal and be of service. Love it for that.
  • Go look at some mountains.
  • Find a way to be of service every single day. Be a vessel for healing.
  • Do other stuff, so you have more interesting things to talk about than your business.
  • Believe and respect your intuition.
  • Laugh, a lot.
  • Hustle does not mean hardship or suffering. Hustle when it’s light out, then pack it in.
  • When all else fails, give it all over to the universe or god or the infinite mystery. It really worked that one time, remember?

And finally…

  • No one asked you to be a martyr.
  • Read that article in the New Yorker than Dan recommended. It’s probably really good.
  • Unsubscribe to blogs and newsletters that don’t lift you up.
  • Phones in airplane mode after 9pm. Snuggle the cat or read poetry. Get off h*ckin’ Twitter.
  • Have dreams and goals and pursue them with reckless abandon and enthusiasm.
  • A yearly plan is good news.
  • Don’t be afraid of devotion.
  • Get cozy with your spirit and your spirit guides. Allow them the space and quiet to speak.
  • Get a massage once a month.
  • Eat avocados, pineapple, chocolate, berries, nettle tea, ginger, yogurt, kale, tofu, and sweet potatoes. And pasta with cream sauce when you feel like it. Eat according to your body’s own incredible wisdom.
  • Sleep however much you need to. Nap more. Go to sleep as early as you like, in a dark room and don’t set an alarm. Your body is doing remarkable healing and sleep is part of its medicine.
  • Keep your healing team warmed up.

It sounds like a lot, but…

This is how I have my back. This is how I best show up in my life, as my best self. Most of all, this is how I come home to myself. It’s what self-solidarity looks like in my life and how I walk my self-care talk.

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

You & Me: self-care, healing & revolution in 2017

January 2, 2017

I really like clarity and giving generously.

Do you also like clarity? Are you interested in connecting? (With me, even?) Great! Here’s the scoop on all of the self-care, healing, and revolution that will be happening here in 2017!

You can make 2017 your most amazing and meaningful year ever. Check out resources for self-care, healing, and revolution, and click here to download your free workbook! >> www.christytending.com

Since there are some big changes in the works for this coming year. I wanted to give you a sneak-peek at what’s afoot for 2017.

This includes awesome new things, magical shifts, and even spiffy things you may not have known that I offer. In addition to how we can work together, I also wanted to share a bit about how I’ll be working behinds the scenes this year, as well. As I welcome big changes into my life, I’m welcoming some evolution into my business as well.

You and me: self-care, healing and revolution.

This year ahead is going to test us all. We are going to need our self-care more than ever. We will need to deepen still our practices, our capacity for healing, and our vision for a compassionate world.

My goals for 2017 are really very simple:

Be of generous service.

Simplify.

Trust the process.

I’m honored to walk this path with you, and I’m humbled, as ever, to serve you. Below, I’m breaking down exactly how this is unfolding in my work, to give you a good sense of how we can connect in this coming year. I’m so looking forward the next steps!

(No spoilers, but skip down to “In the future…” for one of my big, shiny announcements!)

 

Sacred Focus

Sacred Focus is my flagship course.

As ever, I’m thrilled to be offering this course, in a more robust format than ever in 2017. It opens for registration a few times a year – you can get on the waitlist for early registration (and early-bird pricing!) right here.

In nine modules and nine video masterclasses, you’ll de-overwhelm your life and cultivate a self-care and spiritual practice that lights you up. You’ll also be invited to quarterly special events available *only* for my Sacred Focus students. (There’s a Spring Equinox day-long coming up on March 20th!)

This is my very best work and an accessible way to get lots of personal attention from me through quarterly small-group events.

 

Sign up for the waitlist to be the first to know when the course opens.

Self-Paced Courses and Toolkits

Looking to deepen your self-care? I offer self-care courses and toolkits that are available year-round. You don’t need to wait to dive into lovingkindness meditation with Hella Metta or a truly awesome self-care practice inside Real Self-Care.

All of these are available on demand and look deeply at the essential building blocks of my own self-care and self-healing practice.

 

The free self-care resource garden and my e-letter, Tending the Light

Every Tuesday, I send a sweet, encouraging letter that’s exclusive to folks on my list. I also include articles you might enjoy, extra resources, and even occasional discounts.

The best part? You get access to my free self-care resource garden. It’s always my aim to make my work as accessible as possible. As such, you’ll find a treasure trove of *totally free* self-care practices, workbooks, video workshops, and more. Want the secret password? Sign up right here.


Create more ease and fabulous self-care with the Crafting Your Life Workbook from Christy Tending. Grab yours here -- www.christytending.com (1)Want to get started with all kinds of amazing self-care for the new year?

Download Crafting Your Life, my free workbook with essential questions that will guide you in making 2017 an incredible year! >>

 

 


Live speaking events

Getting in front of a live audience lights me up like a Christmas tree. In the last year, I’ve spoken at conferences like Soil Not Oil and Powershift. I’ve led workshops for non-profit organizations’ retreats and at universities.

I would love to talk with you about speaking at your event, conference or organization. for my rates and to discuss what I can bring to your audience.

Live online workshops

I love teaching workshops online. Every month, I offer a couple of different (free, live) learning opportunities, where I dive deep into self-care and self-healing practices that you can bring into your real life.

There’s always plenty of time for Q&A with me, plus awesome exclusive bonuses for attending live. These are some of my favorite ways to share learning and to connect with you. Browse the workshop calendar here and grab your spot!

My blog

I write about self-care practices, healing burnout, and what’s worked for me in my own practice over on the blog. I share my favorite resources and my sacred routines. As I welcome January, the schedule looks something like: new blog posts on Mondays; a Collective Care interview on Wednesdays, and my Sacred Circle round-ups on Fridays.

This will likely shift to fewer posts as the year progresses. (More on that in a minute.)

There’s quite an archive over there.

In the Future

This is where it gets interesting.

Sometime in late April, my family will be expanding! I’m so excited to announce that a new baby will be joining me, my sweetie, and our cats, Dorothy & Harriet in all of our adventures. Yes, we are thrilled. Yes, I’m feeling great and am loving this new dimension of my self-care. No, I’m not sure the cats have any idea what’s going on.

What this means for our work together

I’m going to take some time off from being a full-time self-care mentor, between when our sweet peanut arrives in the spring and the beginning of August. During my maternity leave, I’ll be offering my weekly e-letter, as well as blogs on a more sporadic basis.

I plan to resume live workshops and other more active teaching later in the summer.

But part of the beauty of this space is that you can dive into (most of) my courses or toolkits at any time and work through them at your own pace.

 

It is always a joy and privilege to do this work and to share it. Thank you for being here. I look forward to connecting in the new year.


Create more ease and fabulous self-care with the Crafting Your Life Workbook from Christy Tending. Grab yours here -- www.christytending.com (1)Want to get started with all kinds of amazing self-care for the new year?

Download Crafting Your Life, my free workbook with essential questions that will guide you in making 2017 an incredible year! >>

 

Related:

Less (but Better)

Two Types of Busy

Magic and the Sacred Everyday

My word for 2017: Trust

December 21, 2016

I love choosing a word for the year.

Last year, I wrote about the word Fly as my word of the year. Since then, I’ve taken it to heart. Taking flight. Feathering my nest. Allowing myself to soar: to create, to take on new leadership roles, and to step into the unknown.

This year, I’ve chosen a new word. It’s one that meets my heart where it is now, and creates space for what I wish for the year to come.

This year, I choose Trust.

Allowing myself to trust – and more about my word for the year. Click here for free self-care resources! >> www.christytending.com

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. Here’s how I’m calling trust into my life this upcoming year:

To trust in myself:

In this coming year, I choose to trust myself. I place an active faith in myself and my ability to step into all of the roles I’ll inhabit. In 2017, I’ll be taking on some grand new challenges. My trust is not that everything will go smoothly, or that I will be perfect.

Instead, I trust myself to keep my word, stay compassionate, and do my best. That’s all any of us can do really. I choose to remember that I, myself, am a safe space and a good ally in my own healing and life.

To trust my wisdom and knowing:

After nearly 15 years of practicing yoga and meditation, and after devoting myself to self-care now for 10 years, I have some wisdom. I am a wise caretaker for my own body and being. In the coming year, I commit to believing myself and in that wisdom.

My boundaries are sacred, because I know myself well enough to set skillful ones. My needs are not selfish, but the wise and incredibly human longing for connection and healing. None of this is arbitrary. It comes from my hard-won experience and the sincere wisdom of being my own best expert.

To be trustworthy:

Much of what I’ve said so far relates to how I will choose to trust.

But a big piece of this commitment is that I want to be trustworthy in return.

I choose to speak kindly. My word will be my bond. I will show up in a spirit of service and generosity. More than anything, I want to be someone on whom others can rely. I want to provide a safe space, through my presence, for the beings in my life.

This year, I will be a force for fierce compassion and for trustworthiness.

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

 

To trust the process:

Nothing is ever final. There is no “done,” really.

I choose to trust the ellipsis of life and to be present with that which is unfinished.

Life is a process.

We are all works in progress.

I choose to trust that and be present with that, rather than shrinking from it or trying to cover it over.

To walk into the unknown in courage:

By choosing trust, I step into the flow of life willingly. There is much that is unknown. In these turbulent times, and in my own life. None of us can see around corners. Rather than hiding from it or trying to armor myself against it, I choose it.

I trust that I am safe and loved and held. Courage will be my cloak as I step into this new phase of life, as a healer, as an activist, and as a human.

To experience grace:

None of us is ever alone.

I have a remarkable community and family of beings surrounding me. Sometimes, it can be difficult to surrender and to experience the immensity of that. Being loved requires vulnerability. This year, I choose to allow myself to be loved, held, and supported – to experience grace – with a sense of trust.

This is mercy. It is interconnection. This experience is why we are here.

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

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

What is Collective Care?

November 30, 2016

What is Collective Care? (a reminder that you are not alone.) Click here for free self-care resources! And check out the interview series inside! >> www.christytending.com

Contrary to popular belief, self-care is not a solo activity. It’s not selfish or individualistic or even solely the responsibility of the individual. If we want to create movements of people based in compassion, we need to orient self-care in a way that doesn’t further isolate ourselves, our comrades, our students or our loved ones.

If you’re working to create a more compassionate world, you probably came to this work because you are a sensitive soul, on some level. You care about this world. This is what makes our work potent – and what makes us prone to burnout.

Believe it or not, those around you are feeling this deeply, too. Which means that in difficult times, we can’t afford to push each other away or to discount our collective need for self-care.

We can’t bring shame to our collective table.

Instead, we need to learn to nurture one another, in addition to rising up together.

We need care that brings us together instead of driving us apart again.

We need Collective Care.

What is collective care? It’s a new approach to self-care that is community-focused, that includes practices that are collaborative. It relies on our innate and unique genius and healing capacity, rather than outside forces or consumption. It’s a way of approaching well-being that is grounded in mutual aid and compassion.

Building a more compassionate world will take all of us.

That means that, in the same way that we build social movements, we must build movements of care. It’s time to take self-care out of its silo. It’s time to stop making it a solo practice.

My freedom is bound up in yours.

Which means that your self-care isn’t only your responsibility. It means that it’s in my best interest too for you to be well cared-for. Not only does it make for stronger, more effective movements when all of us are well and thriving, but in fact, it models the world in which I want to live.

I want to live in a world where we cook dinner together and make art and meditate and share skills. The world I envision is one where we share resources and knowledge and go for walks and talk all about our feels.

You are not alone. You don’t have to do your self-care alone, either.

It’s time for Collective Care.

In this spirit, I’m so thrilled to introduce a new interview series, Collective Care. In this series, you’ll get to meet incredible change-makers, healers, creatives, and caregivers who will talk about what care means to them, what it looks like in their lives, and how they resource themselves.

It begins December 1, 2016 – and my goal is to interview 100 incredible people and to share their stories with you over the course of the next year.

Check all of the interviews in the series over here!

Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People

November 23, 2016

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) need more – and different kinds – of self-care. If you’re highly sensitive, read on for effective self-care strategies and specific tips to manage your energy and take good care of yourself, no matter how sensitive you are.

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) need more – and different kinds – of self-care. If you're highly sensitive, learn effective self-care strategies to manage your energy: Self-Care for Highly Sensitive People. Click here to get free self-care workbooks! >> www.christytending.com

How do you know if you’re sensitive?

Oh, you probably know.

I mean. You’re sensitive.

But what “sensitive” means – and what it looks like in the real world varies greatly from person to person. For one person, loud sounds are too much. For others, crowds can be overwhelming. Some people are disproportionately affected by seeing horrific news stories or other beings suffering. Perhaps, it’s just having to be “on” around others for extended periods of time.

(On a personal note, any of the above could apply to me, on a given day.)

In general, though, I define sensitive people as those big-hearted folks who are deeply affected by input (sensory, social, etc.), stimuli, or secondary trauma.

So, what’s the problem? And what does this have to do with change-makers?

Over time, being exposed to that which elicits a sensitivity response on a consistent basis becomes waring. It might impact us physically, through pain response, sleep disruption, or immune system depression. Or it could affect our mental state, through anxiety, depression, PTSD or other mental illness. Still others experience it on more of an energetic, ethereal, or spiritual level.

The point is: exposure these sorts of stimuli, for a highly sensitive person, has real consequences.

Related:

For times of grief

When you feel triggered

So, what’s the solution?

(Spoiler alert: There is no one perfect solution.)

But nor does that mean you’re doomed to spend the rest of your days in your house, hanging out with your cat watching Gilmore Girls (although, that doesn’t sounds like the worst plan, either).

As a highly sensitive person who manages to live a full life, with friends, social engagements, political activity, fun, and even public speaking engagements, I’ve gotten pretty deft at navigating a traumatic world with a sensitive soul. The trick is never to try to outsmart myself. Instead, I develop clear strategies when I know that I’ll be in situations that demand a lot of my energy.

I take breaks. I communicate my boundaries. And I know that I need to build in recovery time. It’s an experiment. A dance. Never static.

Oh, and I never, ever approach myself as a “problem” to be “fixed.”

A useful analogy: Spoon Theory

In order to manage my energy, and to communicate the resources that I have available, I use what’s know in the disability community as, “Spoon Theory.”

The term originated in this post by Christine Miserandino.

I can’t do the concept any greater justice than her original post, and I highly encourage you to read it and digest it. Not just for yourself, but for your loved ones who may also be experiencing chronic illness, disability, or other factors that limit their energy.

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

Tips for protecting your energy:

This is what works for me. Part of protecting your energy as a sensitive soul is knowing yourself well. You’ll want to create a customized plan for yourself, perhaps using some of these ideas as a jumping off point. The intention here is not perfection or to put you in a bubble.

The intention is to help ourselves build good practices and tools to protect ourselves when we can. And the rest of the time? Having the mindfulness and awareness to know when something is affecting us, so that we can respond – meeting ourselves as we are – compassionately and appropriately.

Know thyself

The first step is to know what creates greater sensitivity or reaction from your system. With this information, you’re then empowered to make choices, create boundaries, and craft a container that honors this sensitivity as the gift it is. Experiment, lean on your intuition, and be as curios as possible about your inner state and how it reacts.

Aim to know yourself without judgment.

Believe and respect thyself

This is perhaps a bit more difficult than the first step. Once you have this wealth of information and wisdom about your interior realm, respect it. Not only that, but believe it to be a true reflection of your experience. Often sensitivity is dismissed or downplayed. Know that even if it seems out of proportion to what others experience, your response is true for you. Believe yourself. And then offer yourself some respect.

Respect not just the truth of your experience but your courage in facing it honestly.

White space

Give yourself some room. Some quiet. Some stillness. Create time when nothing is on your calendar. Creating this kind of “white space” or blank room is essential for sensitive folks. It gives us time to digest, integrate and process our experiences. By taking time with nothing on the agenda, we can allow our minds to wander, for our emotions to move through us, and for our energy to naturally replenish itself.

Boundaries

Once you know yourself, and once you recognize that what you’re experiencing is real, you may want some boundaries. Recognize what affects you negatively and then put some limits on your exposure to those things. This is part of knowing, respecting, and protecting yourself. What is too much? Who isn’t healthy for you? How might limiting your exposure to what feels toxic actually make you more effective in what you’re truly meant to do?

There’s never a reason to apologize for your boundaries. Simply own them, by being clear on what you are and are not willing to do. There’s no need to explain; a simple, “No, thanks.” usually does the trick.

Cleansing

If you have been in a situation that activates your sensitivity, or leaves you feeling raw, bruised or simply exhausted, remember to cleanse. Cleansing isn’t just getting clean – it’s removing anything from your energybody that doesn’t belong to you or that isn’t serving you.

For some, this might actually be a hot shower (they’re my favorite for cleansing energy, especially with a scalp massage). But you might also try putting your hands on a tree or your body on the earth, allowing the energy to be reabsorbed into the earth. You might smudge yourself with sage, palo santo, or sweetgrass. Once cleansed, try having a snack, to renourish yourself with something delicious and nutritious.

Recovery

Beyond the cleansing suggestions above, you may still need a little recovery, to fully bring yourself back to full strength. Take the time you need – and build this time into activities that you know have the tendency to stress your system. Take a nap. Veg out and binge watch something that makes you happy. Build yourself a cozy nest on the couch or in bed.Do some yoga or other gentle movement – or even meditate.

The point is: take your time before coming back to “the real world” and honor what you need. Discover your own pace for recovery and allow yourself to move in that way.

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

Related:

Newly Updated: Real Self-Care

Signature Workshops

You Are Not Disposable

November 14, 2016

You are precious and worthy and important. We need you. Not for what you’ll do, but for who you’ll be. For who you already are. And, to be honest, we don’t just need you. We need you in your full-hearted well-being.

You are not disposable. You are whole and worthy of love and care just as you are. Self-Care in the midst of oppression. Click here to get free self-care workbooks! >> www.christytending.com

But you don’t owe anyone anything.

Our needing you to show up full-heartedly? This is not to be confused with wellness. You do not owe anyone your wellness – or able-bodied-ness or invincibility.

You don’t owe anyone your productivity or an excuse for why you need rest. And, no matter what, you deserve to be able to show up in your full humanity without having to apologize.

Your need for self-care is not a short-coming.

You are a human being. Sometimes, you’ll hurt. Sometimes, you’ll need to rest. This is to be expected, and it is not weakness to admit it. It is not a short-coming to need self-care, no matter what form it takes.

And you get to decide what that self-care means for you.

It is not a failing to have needs. Nor is it selfish to meet them. The world can be a tough place and it isn’t unreasonable that you will occasionally need to recover from being a vulnerable human being in the world. Instead of powering on, as though you were a robot, take time to rest, digest, integrate, and heal.

From this place, you will be able to meet your important work in the world from a whole-hearted and powerful position.

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

Your productivity is not your worth.

Repeat that sentence as many times as you need to. Maybe every day. Maybe multiple times per day. Because this is not a lesson society wants us to know. It isn’t in the best interests of power-holders for us to know our own beauty and worth. Sometimes it seems like our beauty is hidden from us.

So we must remember on our own. Most of all, we must remind each other.

Self-care isn’t enough, sometimes.

I hate that I need to tell you this. But sometimes, it just hurts. Sometimes there is no self-care for the grief of what is happening to our planet and to fellow human beings. As a result of oppression in the world, we can be left with compassion fatigue.

This is the experience of being truly exhausted by caring deeply – to the point of burnout or apathy. Almost always this is a sign that you care deeply – not that you are ineffective or unworthy. Some days, the world just gets to us.

The key is: can we witness ourselves there, in that space? Can we summon some compassion or even just recognition there? Sometimes, there is no self-care practice that magically gets us back on our feet and into healer mode. Yet, this doesn’t have to mean giving up.

Self-care can be an act of resistance.

I’ve come to recognize self-care as an act of resistance. Not just in metaphorical sense, either. I see that self-care, in a true, literal sense, we are keeping ourselves alive and well – and engaged in compassionate action.

In addition, self-care is also an ally in combating the narratives of oppression that keep us separate. In the face of racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, et. al., we have internalized the notion that we are not enough. Furthermore, we have internalized the narrative that we are different and separate from one another.

As a result of embracing self-care, and by allowing ourselves to step into our power as self-healers, we destroy this narrative. We declare ourselves to be enough, to be worthy, to be whole, as we are. Without permission from those who seek to have power over us. Consequently, we take the juice out of any narrative that claims otherwise.

We can only truly be free together.

My freedom is bound up in yours (and vice versa). So I have a vested interest in all of us getting free together. We must take care with one another, and lift one another up. Encourage the people in your life to care for themselves well. Nurture and nourish your relationships and connections. And know that when you pause to tend to your own heart, you are offering that care to all of us.

May we all be free.

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

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