Entries organized under Summertime Series

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.


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:


choose from:

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


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)


choose from:

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


choose from:

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


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


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.

Even more amazing self-care books

June 19, 2017

One of my all-time most popular posts is my reading list of essential self-care books. You can find that post here. But since I devour books, I have a bunch more to add. Thus, even more amazing self-care books! This is what I’ve been loving lately – and I hope these inspire you too.


Even more amazing self-care books (part two in a series). Plus download the free self-care planner! >> www.christytending.com




Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice

Gorgeous, sumptuous, flavorful and classic recipes for every phase of the moon, the year, and your life. I loved the fat-making moon chapter, as well as the egg moon. This book is so lovely and has so many incredibly useful and nourishing recipes to form the backbone of your nutrition and well-being.

Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman

The second cookbook from my very favorite food blog. At the moment this blog goes live, this book is only available for pre-order. But trust me, if it’s half as amazing as her first cookbook, Deb has a real treat in store for us. Run, don’t walk.

Body of Work by Pamela Slim

I loved this book. As someone who is navigating multiple passions in a single life, I really appreciated this book’s approach to viewing one’s very life as a body of work. I also got a lot out of examining the through-lines of my work and purpose.

What are the things that tie it all together? What has each phase of my life had in common with the others? How can I incorporate all of my life’s experience to create something that is uniquely of me?

If you’re looking to make an impact, this book offers deep insight into how you can make a big impact in your own unique way.

The Woman’s Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden

A total classic, and one that I hadn’t read from cover to cover until last year. Loads of incredibly actionable and doable self-care practices, as well as good advice on how to incorporate self-care into your life. This was one of the books that jumpstarted the conversation about self-care for women, and it continues to shine a bright light.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

One of the very best books on trauma out there, and a bedrock of many trauma-informed programs these days. A good primer for understanding how trauma lives in us, not just on the emotional or mental level, but on the physical level as well.



In my first post on self-care books, I listed a number of poets I love. Those folks are modern classics, as far as I’m concerned. But poetry in the last couple of years has become even more interesting than ever, as far as I’m concerned. A number of new poets, many young women of color, have exploded in popularity, thanks, in part, to Instagram of all places.

Here’s what I’m reading right now:

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire

bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

salt. by nayyirah waheed


Self-Care Books For New Moms:

The First 40 Days by by Heng Ou and Amely Greeven

My absolute favorite book on the postpartum period. The recipes are amazing (though I vegetarianized a number of them, in order to make them applicable for me). But the real heart of this book is it’s message: go slow in this tender, incredibly precious time in your and your baby’s life.

Let this be a time of turning inward. This is not just about birthing your baby, but yourself as a mother. Let this time be sweet and healing, as much as possible. Stay close to home and nurture yourself and your new little one.

Natural Health After Birth by Aviva Romm

More comprehensive than above, this book is full of super-practical advice on every dimension of the postpartum experience. I found this book particularly helpful on the subject of physical changes right after birth, as well as the section on postpartum mood. The chapter on the first year is also a necessary piece left out of most books on postpartum experience. The book does a lovely job of approaching every dimension of care and healing during this time: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, existential.


Pregnancy Self-Care Essentials Resource Guide

April 7, 2017

Sacred Circle: pregnancy self-care essentials – books, nourishment, recipes, and more. Plus, sign up to receive the free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com


In the spirit of my Sacred Circle round-ups, and in honor of my maternity leave, I’ve assembled all of my favorite self-care resources and practices from my pregnancy. This list is meant to be representative of what worked for me, only. As ever, please check with your practitioner before using any of these, especially if you’re pregnant. (And congratulations!)

~ Christy


Helpful Books:

Mindful Birthing

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

Childbirth Without Fear

My sweetie read The Birth Partner and got a lot out of it.

I also, in general, read a lot on meditation and metta during my pregnancy, especially books by Sylvia Boorstein.

Also, Big Magic. Not a pregnancy book, but beyond good and super-inspiring.


Food and Nourishment:

New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin

I drank copious amounts of the prenatal tea blends from Traditional Medicinals and Homestead Apothecary

Cookbooks: Love Soup | Smitten Kitchen

General food practices:

One of the most common questions I’ve received while pregnant was about food cravings. I really haven’t craved many strange foods (unless you count the copious Tums I inhaled for my heartburn in the second trimester).

Foods I’ve been eating a lot, though, include: pineapple, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, vegetable soups, anything leafy and dark green, ginger kombucha, white beans

More than ever, making big batches of healthy recipes and eating them over the course of several days. Adding cooked greens or salad and maybe a little cold tofu where necessary. But not having to cook from scratch every single day has been a blessing.



These face masks from alba botanical

Honest Company’s belly balm

This lip balm is my all-time favorite.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee leg creamCook’s Organics foot cream.

Pre-natal massage at Glow Oakland

For warmth (because I never really got the overheating thing that some pregnant mamas do): Microwave buckwheat heat pillows   |   Hot water bottles for my feet at night.   |   This super-lux wrap for chilly mornings.



Physical and mindfulness practice:

In my sixth month, I went on an 8-day, 7-night silent meditation retreat, where I immersed myself in the practice of metta. I cannot recommend taking time away by yourself during pregnancy more. I absolutely loved my experience. Metta has supported me in myriad ways during my pregnancy, and is one of my most vital self-care practices.

Simple, mindful breathing practices like this one.

Pre-natal yoga, walking whenever possible, and being in nature.

Life practice:

Many, many date nights.

Staying off message boards.

Not reading too many books or making it overly cerebral.

Taking a handful of classes, but mostly trusting my own instincts and my practitioners.


For Travel While Pregnant:

Compression socks from Sockwell

This eyemask

My trusty Kleen Kanteen to stay hydrated

Justin’s individual almond butter packs = Life. Saver.

Bringing my own tea, so that I have caffeine-free options on the plane.

Getting foot or hand massages, once I reach my destination. Also, I got a cute haircut when we were traveling in Tokyo that came with an awesome scalp massage and really boosted my mood.


For the Baby:

Quite honestly, we haven’t bought a bunch of baby things. We’ve been fortunate recipients of a lot of hand-me-downs. There are a handful of things I’m loving, though:

Kim Krans’ books are divine.

I love anything from the company Milkbarn. Everything they make is so cute.

These wooden toys.

I’m also loving my glider – kind of like a rocking chair, but with more gentle movement. I bought mine new, but I’m sure you can find a used one on the cheap.


* None of this is meant to diagnose, treat, or (in any way, shape or form) recommend something that may not be right for you. Please check with your provider before attempting any of this. This list of resources is reflective only of my experience and what worked for me.

My summer retreat

August 3, 2016

As you may know, I took a mini-retreat in July. It was glorious. Here’s what happened:

Want to take your own retreat? Jump in right over here – I’m hosting a day-long online retreat!

My summer retreat was full of sunshine, popsicles, hikes in the woods, new recipes and long afternoons reading great books. Want to learn to create your own self-retreat? Get my free retreat planner and checklist inside! >> www.christytending.com

What Happened on Retreat

I spent the month of July stepping away from my business to a certain degree in order to focus on fewer things at once and gain some clarity. The cravings had become intense: I needed some time with myself, some silence in the noise, some clarity in what had begun to feel like confusion.

First of all, it was fairly marvelous. I squished my toes in the sand at the beach, dyed my hair purple, and ate really delicious gluten-free sour cream chocolate cake.

What I learned is that I need to seriously unplug sometimes.

I need to rediscover my boundaries and even my Sacred Focus. Beginner’s mind is a fabulous place to be and I’m committing to spending more time there. Beginner’s mind is full of possibility, of creativity, and of exuberance. Because there are no preconceived notions there. Yet there is so much receptivity.

(Want to read about why I did a retreat? You can do that here.)

So what did I do?

I took a break from blogging and my e-letter (mostly) and turned my attention to other projects that had been calling for my attention for a while. This meant more sunshine and hiking and movement. I wanted to explore and enjoy summer. I wanted to lose myself in books and begin to flesh out some work that feels meaningful but had been neglected.

Also, I wanted to reconnect with the people in my life and to experience being in the world, to a certain extent.

In the middle, I took a mini-retreat within a retreat in the form of a writing workshop. I am planning to move house this coming month. I am pulling apart the fragile tendrils of what’s next. Breathing, in silence.

So, what happened?

The short version is that it didn’t yield what I thought it would. But I learned that these things are never what we expect.

(Want to read about why I did a retreat? You can do that here.)

Honestly? I didn’t get the depth I was expecting.

I had a really hard time taking a break and allowing myself to move away from my work in the meaningful way that I craved. I gave myself busy work — or more work than was necessary.

A lot of unexpected emotion came up — in part due to deeply upsetting world events that would not (at least in my heart) be ignored. Which meant that while I could step away from this space, stepping away from activist work wasn’t as much an option.

(I wrote about that here. And over here.)

This created a rift that really challenged my core beliefs — that you are inherently worthy; that self-care is most needed in times of tragedy and difficulty; that you are not your productivity. That is at the core of my beliefs. I believe that we need to be there for ourselves and one another when things are hard.

This time challenged me to walk my talk in new ways.

I realized that what I need is not to try to eat it all in one bite. A month-long retreat isn’t really enough to shift the toxic culture of capitalism and productivity and not-enoughness. I need to participate in shifting those norms in my own life and work every day.

As it turns out, my intuition is deeply wise.

I just need to listen to it, because that’s when things get really interesting and generative.

So here’s my new approach to work:

My expectations will be realistic. They will let me stay in integrity. I will allow myself to be done, when I’m done.

I will treat myself with respect, in my words and my actions, because I am inherently deserving of that. I will hold my own name with gentleness and honor.

My work will align with and support my dignity — because I have that luxury. I will choose in any moment not to replicate the unhealthy patterns of our culture of work just because I haven’t seen a different framework.

Thus, I declare a truce on myself.

So, what was great?

  • Began my next book.
  • Thought deeply about how I want to serve.
  • Expanded my outlook on my courses — what’s up and what could come next.
  • Decided on some areas where I want to cut back.

All of that feels vibrant and nourishing.

What else?

  • Dyed my hair purple.
  • Visited the tiny town in Oklahoma where my grandmother was born.
  • Dropped gluten for a month.
  • Decided to move house and began the process of imagining that new place — how I want to curate it and live into it.
  • Went for long walks.

What’s next?

I also gained clarity about what I want. That kind of clarity feels *good*. In plumbing the depths and mining new clarity, I learned…

I want more: cat snuggles, green vegetables, walks in the sun, novels, comedy shows, hot baths, altar-building, and hot tubs with friends. I want more fresh air.

It’s time for me to deepen into and spend my time in spiritual practice, which is to say:

I want to make everything a prayer, in my own way.

The meals I cook, the steps I take, the words I say. I also want to feel the preciousness of this life, tangibly.

I still crave stillness and silence. More room for tarot, for meditation, for yoga and for reading things that are not the Internet. Time outdoors and nesting in my new home. More time with the quality people in my life and with my own heart.

I also want to reorient myself around this concept of enough — of worth — in a way that feels more satisfying.

Next, I’m willing to be a bit more personal here on the blog. Which may mean blogging less often. It may mean not having a whole lot to say always, since the words may need more simmering. But I know that this is how I want to serve, at least for now. Speaking from my experience feels rightful and it seems like the way to point the work, at least for now.


The intention, always, is to stay curious and to be of service from my heart, because this is all I really know how to do.

Finally, I am so grateful to serve you and look forward to continuing to do that here.

Want to take your own self-care retreat? Sign up for my upcoming day-long retreat here!

retreat planner + checklist - christy tending - www.christytending.com


Want to create your own custom self-care? Grab your free self-care retreat planner and checklist! >>

This is the checklist and planner that I used to create my own self-care retreat and plan my time away. It’s robust enough to give yourself some structure and make it feel like a real retreat. But it’s flexible enough to make it truly *yours*.



Learn how to create your own self-retreat!

June 28, 2016

A self-care retreat is a glorious thing. Yes, I believe in the everyday magic of self-care in the midst of our lives. But sometimes, something more is called for. Sometimes, it’s time to peel back the layers, pare down the doing and slip away on a fabulous self-retreat. Get your free retreat planner here!

Sometimes, you just need to get away to heal, rest, and rejuvenate. Learn how to create your own self-care retreat. I'm revealing the exact process I use to create my own retreats. Plus get your free retreat planner and checklist inside! >> www.christytending.com

What is a retreat?

It can be as short as an afternoon and as long as years (yup, there are some folks who go away on years-long meditation retreats). For this retreat, I’m aiming for something in the middle. A retreat is either a guided or self-guided stepping away from everyday life.

Sometimes, it’s silent. Other times, not. It might be spiritual or involve a cleanse or include deep contemplation or deep work on a particular project. Or not.

A retreat is really what you make of it. A retreat should be restorative and illuminating. How you reach that end result is up to you.

Why I’m doing it

I believe in the restorative power of retreats. I believe in unplugging and offering nurturing care to your sweet self. I also realized that I needed this kind of self-care retreat for myself, as a fellow worldchanger and healer.

I think that every once in a while, we reach the end of being of our highest service. At that point, it’s time to pull back. It’s appropriate to give ourselves some space to be in our lives and to dream.

I know that I want to continue to be of high service for a long time to come. So right now, it’s time for me to step away and go to be in my life. It’s time for me to fill my own cup, so that I can offer healing and sustenance again. I have to give to myself for a short while, so that I may continue to give to others.

And this time, I’m doing it before the burnout. Not during or after.

What I’ll be doing on my self-care retreat:

What I’ll be up to will fall into four main themes:

1. Deep work, reading and inquiry, instead of skimming and busy work.

I’m interested in what’s underneath – and I have a feeling that something truly great lies at the heart of things. I’m taking some time to explore what that looks like for me.

I’ll be taking the month to read the books that I’ve been meaning to, instead of skimming blogs. I’ll be engaging with some of the big questions and themes that are coming up in my work and life. I’ll be dreaming big and thinking about the architecture of what’s next. I’ll be wrangling some of the big ideas into being, and taking my time. (See also: What is your Sacred Focus?)

2. Personal wellbeing.

I’ll be going inward with myself, attending to my health, my wellbeing, my body, and my mind. More time for movement and nourishment and naps and massage.

And perhaps a new hair-do. 😉 (Do people still say hair-do?) (See also: Real Self-Care: intuitive movement)

3. My home.

Using the metaphor from Sacred Focus, my home and family are one of my big rocks. I’ll be devoting some time to getting my space in order. I’m looking forward to getting some quality time with my sweetie, the cats, my community.

Deep cleaning is in order. So is stretching my creativity with some new recipes and homemade goodness. It feels like time to do some nesting and some shedding of what doesn’t serve any longer. (See also: Real Self-Care: food from scratch)

4. Being outside.

This is where I tend to my spirit. I’m looking forward to unplugging and untethering. It’s time to re-wild myself a bit. To play in the dirt and dance in the sunshine and bask in the moonlight and dip my toes in the rivers.

I am so deeply in love with this world, and it’s time for me to explore and to notice. It’s time for listening to the birds sing and the trees rustle in the breeze. (See also: Real Self-Care: nature)

What to expect and where to find me:

I’ll be dipping out of the blog for the month of July. Regular Monday posts and Friday Circle Roundups will resume in August. In the meantime, you can browse through the Summertime Favorites Series for plenty of goodies to keep you until then.

I will also be teaching my free monthly workshop. Grab your seat for workshops here.

Finally, I will be sending quick updates each week. These will short and sweet updates, packed with self-care inspiration. Find out what I’m up to in my own practice and enjoy exclusive discounts and goodies. If you’re not on the list, subscribe here!

Want to create your own self-care retreat?

I’m so glad you asked!

As soon as I decided that I wanted to embark on this retreat, I knew that this would be something that could serve others too. If you’re thinking of creating your own self-retreat, you could simply design it yourself.

Or you could use my new Retreat Planner and Checklist! It’s totally free, and will help to guide you in your retreat journey.

This is the exact process that I used to decide to take my retreat and to design it from the ground up. It’s not just about stepping away, but being deeply intentional about what I want to get out of that time with myself. Plus, I’m using the checklist to assemble everything I need to make my self-care retreat deliciously lovely.

Whether you’re looking to dive in deep on a project, or just take a little bit of technology-free time for self-reflection, this guide will help you make it happen.

Whether you’re taking a self-care retreat now or in the future, I wish you good nourishment. I look forward to seeing you here again soon.


retreat planner + checklist - christy tending - www.christytending.com

Want to create your own custom self-care? Grab your free self-care retreat planner and checklist! >>


P.S. Free self-care workshops and If you’re stuck… and Four Pillars of Awesome Self-Care

Videos to Inspire Self-Care

June 27, 2016

When you hear “self-care videos” you might think of either dour how-to’s or just silly cat videos. But video can tell powerful stories, and sometimes those stories can be a catalyst for healing. Yes, I’ve included some yoga video and some fuzzy goats.

But really, these videos are about connection. Remembering that we are not alone. Remembering that we are a part of everything. Activating this remembrance is a key piece of self-care and healing. Even when you can’t leave the house, you can still feel plugged in. You can still have the experience of, “Yes! Me too.”

Videos are a powerful storytelling mechanism to help us feel more connected. They give us the experience of "me too!" a healing and comforting experience, even when we're alone. Peek inside for the best self-care videos and get your free retreat planner! >> www.christytending.com

I truly hope that this non-exhaustive list of some of my go-to videos for self-care serves you well.

Brené Brown on Empathy


Brené Brown on Boundaries


Yoga with Adriene – Yoga Camp



Leonie Dawson on Stopping the Comparisons


Alexandra Franzen on Coming Out Twice


Susan Cain on the Power of Introverts


Goats in pajamas on, well, being goats.


P.S. The rest of the Summertime Series of Awesome Self-Care

My Self-Care Playlist

June 27, 2016

A bit about my self-care playlist before we begin: I love music. It’s an essential ingredient for my self-care. It creates a mood. It transports me. And it can create a real shift in my being whether I’m listening to music that’s soothing, uplifting, or connected with memories.

It’s one of the reasons that I created bonus playlists for both Hella Metta and Sacred Focus. Not because those practices demand music inherently, but because music can support us on our journey.

From Beyonce to Bluegrass: the best music for sweet self-care, to uplift, inspire and heal. Plus grab your free retreat planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

I’ll admit, music for self-care is entirely subjective. You have your own preferences, associations, and memories. But in honor of this summertime series of awesome self-care resources, I offer up what constitutes musical self-care for me.

Here are some of the songs and bands that support my self-care on the regular.

The songs that cheer me up. The ones that give me hope. The ones that help me focus. The ones I know all the words to. The ones that capture my imagination.

Rising Appalachia



Deva Premal

Gayatri Mantra


Garth Stevenson





A Little Bit Sometimes


Nahko and Medicine for the People

Black as the Night

(This one makes me extra happy because of how many of my friends are in this video!)


Lindsey Stirling



Avett Brothers



Cat Power

Living Proof


Also: Beyonce


(I couldn’t find a video for this one, but you should just go buy Lemonade and watch this piece in particular. It’s so, so good.)

And Also:

Anything that Kathleen Hanna has touched, including Le Tigre’s album, This Island, and The Julie Ruin’s latest album.

Oh, and I’ve been listening to the Dixie Chicks a lot, lately, since they are incredibly charming and wonderful.


P.S. Podcasts for Self-Care and Real Self-Care: Music

Self-Care goodies on the cheap

June 22, 2016

I believe in making self-care accessible. Part of this is by breaking down the pre-conceptions of what self-care is. It means dissolving our capitalist society’s conception of who deserves self-care and how it happens. Making self-care accessible means broadening our notions of what it looks like, who receives it, and how.

Want to feel inspired by your self-care? Sometimes, it's about creating self-care yourself. And sometimes, you gotta treat yo' self. Here are inspired self-care goodies, but on a budget. Click here to get your free self-care planner! >> www.christytending.com

But another big part of making self-care accessible is finding the right tools for your budget at the right time. Sometimes, it means indulging a little bit. It means offering yourself a small token, an object that takes on more than its original meaning.

Because our sacred objects’ purpose is to heal.


This white noise app (here)

This free audio breathing meditation (here)

An *adorable* video game (here)

All the cat videos you can handle

Podcasts for self-care (here)

Many museums have a free day!

Read more: Real Self-Care Poetry

under $5

Bath salts – for long soaks in the tub (here)

Tennis balls – for self-massage (here)

Nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals (here)

A square of really awesome, fair trade, organic chocolate

A bottle of cheap red wine, shared with a friend

Renting a movie (do people still do that?) that’s super comforting. My favorite self-care movie is Spirited Away.

Read more: the myth of bubble baths (oh, the irony!)

under $20

Some fancy cheese and a baguette

A hot water bottle (here)

A Yoga Glo subscription (here)

This eye mask for long flights (here)

My favorite pens for coloring books (here)

Juniper Ridge incense (here)

Read more: Real Self-Care: Sacred Objects

under $50

All of these books for self-care (here)

Aveda cosmetology schools offer haircuts under $50, including scalp massage (!)

Foam core pillows (here)

A Lonely Planet guide, to start planning your next adventure. 🙂

Real Self-Care toolkit (here)



Best Books for Self-Care

June 20, 2016

Okay, so I’m a nerd. But as I’ve been reflecting on my own self-care journey, so much of it has been bound up in my favorite books. Here, I’m sharing my highly-curated reading list to inspire you in your self-care practice.

Books are a core part of my self-care practice. Here are some of the best books for a self-care and healing practice. Get the list, plus a free resource guide inside! >> www.christytending.com


Trauma Stewardship

by Laura van dernoot Lipsky

I was working part-time in a clothing boutique many years ago now, when I ran into an old friend from my former yoga studio. I was cobbling together work as a yoga teacher and shop girl, and trying to be an activist at the same time. When I told my friend, also a yoga teacher and an escapee of the non-profit world, about the interior struggles I was experiencing, she told me to read this book.

In fact, she insisted that I read this book, and the rest is history. If you are hurting at seeing the world in pain, this book is for you. I can (almost) promise that it will rock your world.

This book is why this site exists.

Renaissance Soul

by Margaret Lobenstine

If you struggle with too many commitments, feeling scattered, or being put down by others for not having enough focus, please read this book.

It is sweet and simple and will help you feel less alone in pursuing your many passions, potentials, and purposes. You do not need to only do one thing in this life. You can follow your whole heart.


by Greg McKeown

Hoo, boy. This book is so freakin’ good.

Grab a highlighter and dive in. If you’re looking to simplify. If you’re looking to de-overwhelm. Or if you’re looking for fresh perspective on what does and doesn’t matter – and the tools to help you decide which is which – run don’t walk.

Another book I relied on while I was creating Sacred Focus, I simply adore this book and believe it should be required reading. While the book is mainly aimed at work and family, you could just as easily apply these lessons to your personal well-being, spiritual practice, or anything else that feels essential to you.

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

The Desire Map

by Danielle LaPorte

This book has gotten a lot of love over the years, but it’s worth mentioning. I still use many of the exercises in the book to make sure that my life is pointing itself in the right direction. It helps me make moment to moment decisions on my own behalf. It helps me make sure my whole life is feeling the way I want it to. I highly recommend it.

It is a gem.

It was partly responsible for the evolution of some of the workbooks inside the Free Resource Garden.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

For me, self-care is one part adding activities, items, and practices that feel nurturing, and two parts stripping away what doesn’t belong. Marie Kondo’s work has helped millions clear out what doesn’t serve them and what doesn’t spark joy, on the physical realm.

It was one of the inspirations behind my course, Sacred Focus.


from Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Wendell Berry, Joy Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, Rumi, and Hafiz

I was a poetry major in college. Did you know that? For my senior thesis, I wrote a collection of forty poems.

Poetry is still a touchstone for me. I rarely write poetry anymore, though its sensibilities infuse what I write, I’m sure. But I still take enormous delight in reading poetry, escaping into a sliver of a moment or an experience, as captured by one of the fine poets I’ve listed above. There are more whom I’m sure that I’m forgetting, but these are on constant rotation around my house.

Further reading: Real Self-Care: Poetry

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

Active Hope or World as Lover, World as Self

by Joanna Macy

A Buddhist teacher and environmental activist, Joanna offers deep insight on the ways that environmental destruction and other forms of oppression create grief in our culture. She also holds workshops for activists to create better practices for themselves in their work.

Her compassionate approach is lovely, and she is a brilliant knower of humanity and what we’re up against in social change. I would press these books into your hand with compassionate insistence, were you to visit me in my home.

Joanna’s teachings inspired the shape of Hella Metta, and I owe her a debt of gratitude for all of her inspiration.

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

I read this book on the beach in Mexico over New Year’s Eve this past winter, and found it more profound and inspiring than I was expecting it would be. I enjoyed her novel, The Signature of All Things, on my trip to Vietnam in 2015, so I was excited to read more of her non-fiction/memoir.

This books inspired me greatly, and was the catalyst for my sharing all that I am now. It was while reading the books that I got the idea for Hella Metta – and realized that meditation needed to be a bigger part of what I do here in my work.

Daring Greatly

by Brené Brown

Brené is a genius. Her TED talks are remarkable. Her interviews are magical. She is an all-around brilliant person when it comes to how we can tend to our inner realms with great care in order to live happier, more fulfilled, more effective lives. However we define that.

If you’re not familiar with her work, I recommend that you dive in the next time you’re looking to binge of whole-heartedly supportive, brilliant content. Plus it’s backed up by rigorous research.

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



The best apps for self-care (that don’t run on shame)

June 16, 2016

I love the advent of the smartphone. It helps to keep me super-connected with people I love and helps me to experience the world in amazing ways. It also provides me with the ability to “Introvert Out” a bit, as my husband puts it, when the “real” world feels a bit overstimulating.

Smartphones give us access to wellness like never before – but so many apps run on shame to keep us motivated. here are my favorite apps for self-care – guilt-free! Plus grab your free self-care planner inside! >> www.christytending.com

I love to read books on my phone. I love to take photos on my phone. And I love to listen to podcasts.

I say this, with total transparency as a self-care mentor and healer: I *love* my phone.

Of course, I know all about technology addiction and the sleep-disruptive effects of bright screens and endless scrolling. Of course, I know. I also know that unplugging is highly beneficial. It’s good for your brain, your mood, your sleep. It’s good to experience what’s around you in the present moment.

If you haven’t unplugged in a while, you should try it. So, I love my phone. And I simultaneously understand why it’s good to unplug. I contain multitudes.

One of the benefits of this new technology is that it gives us access to wellness, often for free. This creates more egalitarian access to wellness programs and education that might not have been previously available.

But what we’re also not talking about is…

The shame that goes along with so many apps that claim “wellness” as part of their beat.

So many apps that are theoretically designed to create a greater sense of well-being, more luminous health, or a greater feeling of interconnection do exactly the opposite. They flood us with shame or use unhelpful metrics.


Culturally, we’re up against enough BS when it comes to our wellness and our practice of well-being. We don’t need to add any moral weight to it through shame or guilt. We just need the simplest tools that let us rock our practice in peace.



Here, I’ve rounded up my favorite apps that I use in my self-care practice – that don’t run on your guilt or shame.

(Your mileage may, of course, vary. If one of these doesn’t feel great, stop using it and delete. Easy-peasy!)

Timer app

Fun fact: I don’t really use any meditation apps.

I don’t need all the bells and whistles, and I’m guessing you don’t either. You just need your own self and your presence. You just need a willingness to show up. All that mystical music and flowy UX or those fancy “progress trackers.”

Just put your butt on the cushion and start with 5 minutes on the timer that’s already built in.

Moon Phase

Oh, yes.

This one is free and it will help you track where the moon is in its cycle, if you’re digging that sort of thing. Get a handle on your planning, in according to the cycle of the moon. By keeping track with this app, you’ll be able to notice how different phases of the moon, you’ll be able to see how it impacts you. This one is simple and supports your intuition beautifully.

Get it here.

(Read more: Real Self-Care: Full Moon)


This is another that came with my iPhone.

Podcasts have really been a huge game-changer for the way I consume information. I particularly like conversational podcasts, with guests and interesting discussions about the big topics that we face as humans. I can keep my phone in my pocket and not have to stare at my screen while listening.

(Ahhh. So relaxed.)

And I can binge-listen without getting overwhelmed or feeling like I’m falling behind (like I sometimes do with blogs or books).

(Read more: The best podcasts for self-care)


Hands-down my favorite cycle tracker. It’s got a ton of functionality, and you can track symptoms, intercourse, heaviness of flow, and way more. If you’re looking for a way to track your cycle for fertility, contraception, or a whole range of other factors, this is the one I recommend.

What it doesn’t have (but that no cycle tracker has, as far as I know) is the ability to track multiple partners, which is needed if you’re dating multiple people for any of the wide range of reasons that a person might be dating multiple people.

Get it here.


YogaGlo uses what I think is a pretty out-dated and unhelpful system of “levels” (1 through 3). But wait!

YogaGlo actually does have some phenomenally awesome practices, ranging from vigorous power vinyasa to restorative yoga and meditations. There are even discussions of yogic philosophy, so often missing from studio yoga classes. Plus, you’ll get to practice in your own home where no one will care what you’re wearing or if you fall over in tree pose. (Because, sheesh! We all fall over in tree pose sometimes!)

There is a tracking feature, but feel free to ignore it. Just find the practices and teachers that feel awesome to you, and rock your practice.

Get it here.

P.S. Unconditional self-care and Loving Myself Extra