Self-Care Sunday

Sometimes you have to intentionally create the atmosphere and environment you want to be in. That’s why I love my Self-Care Sundays.

Self-care is so important because how can you take care of others who need your 100% if you aren’t taking care of yourself? 

I think I got the Self-Care Sunday idea from celebrity stylist June Ambrose who has different themes for each day of the week. She posts on her social media accounts based on these themes. Maverick Monday, Talk Tuesday, Wow Wednesday, Think Thursday, Forecast Friday, Sober Saturday and Sacred Sunday for example are her daily themes for the week. I’m adding Self-Care Sunday to June’s toolbox of great phrases.

For me Self-Care Sunday is about ushering in calm and peace to begin the week. I love lighting candles and turning on music to chill out. I usually do an at-home spa routine complete with a facial, scrub (Skye Renee Body Scrub is a fave. All-natural and homemade. Product created by Tiffany Jeanty in Atlanta), foot soak and nail care. I also spend a little time playing in my hair care and beauty products. I’ll blog on that another day since I often get asked about my favorite products. I sample lots of products so I love sharing what works well. 

Here are two of my own Spotify playlists for bringing on the good lyrical vibes…my mellow or 2016 Trinidad Carnivale Soca are my regular playing favorites. 

Three months ago I subscribed to Calmbox

“Calmbox is a monthly box inspiring positivity, peace, and calm in everyday life. 

Every calmbox is packed full of mindfully curated items like music, books, candles, personal care items, yummy snacks, motivational reminders, and so much more, to help you unwind and relax.

We find a new theme every month (like meditation, stress relief, or living in the moment) and deliver a box to your door to help you live a calmer, more peaceful life. A portion of proceeds of every box are donated to charity.”

Some of my favorite Calmbox goodies have been:

  1. Flying Bird Botanicals Peace of Mind Tea
  2. Everyday Positive Thinking. I take pics of different quotes regularly and text them out to friends. 
  3. Frisky Fish Chill Aromatherapy Roll-On. This is small enough to slip in your pocket and roll-on anytime during the day you just need some aromatherapy. 
  4. Motivational Tattoos – The Cute Set
  5. Valentina’s Soul Detox Mineral Bath Salts
  6. Chimes Peppermint Ginger Chews

Right now I am also getting back on track with my book list. Before bed, I try to read a few pages of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Self-care is wholistic in nature. Well it should be. 

Every Sunday I spend time writing and blogging so it helps me to mentally relax and get some thoughts in my never-resting brain out to the world. 

All of these things are key to having a toolkit of what helps me minimize or eliminate stress. When I take good care of me, those around me benefit greatly. 

Self-care is also not just a Sunday thing. It should be happening as often as you need it. If starting with just one day or hour that’s about getting your own self in order, that is perfect. We can build from there but it has to start somewhere. 
What are your go-to’s for self-care? I’d love to hear from you! 

My Gym Romance

For the past couples months I have been pretty faithfully attending the gym. It’s shocking really. I have done so faithfully because my boyfriend pushes me and trains me when we get there.

On days when I just want to go out and order a dozen buffalo wings and chill in front of a tv, I balance with days at the gym or getting some workout in. It has not been easy all the time but so worth it.

I choose to step out on my tv nights to build my love affair with the gym. My boyfriend has been incredibly supportive on this journey. It feels good to pick a healthy activity together to make ourselves better. 

We used to do our own things in the gym and he would leave exhausted and I wouldn’t even be sweating. I wasn’t challenging myself and building up any kind of endurance. I was more than happy with 20 half-assed minutes on an elliptical while watching some ridiculous show. 

Now having an accountability partner, I am building muscle and endurance, helping my heart, mind and body get stronger all the time. I literally do every thing he already planned to do on his own, just at a lighter weight. We have different days to focus on different muscles and some days are the hardest thing ever. That feeling though to push past what you think you can do, is the most liberating feeling. 

Getting all that excess energy out is a stress reliever. It slows down the brain busyness because I have to concentrate on not hurting myself or dying in the gym. It’s perfect for draining me to get a good night’s sleep. 

I am not good at everything though so I also learn lessons in being patient with myself.

I used to be nervous I was holding my guy back in the gym and I would look goofy holding 2 or 5 lb weights doing my thing but I focus on myself and him only. He taught me to track my progress and I have seen true change in my appetite for more. Now I can push the limits and it feels good.

Our gym routine is also another great positive way for us to build our connection with one another. A couple that works out and sweats together can learn to conquer so many other things in life together. We lean on and trust each other as we mold our weakness into strength and share vulnerability in our health and wellness journey. 

I used to tell people that I refused to pay for a gym membership for things I can do at home. Before my guy moved to Chicago, I used to do more workouts on my own. I would pull up YouTube on my tv and do yoga right in my living room. Whatever works is worth it if you work it. 

If you have been telling yourself you need to work on getting fit or back in the gym, start as soon as you can. If you don’t think you will stick to it alone, find yourself an accountability partner like I did. 

Now I force myself to take more opportunities during the day to walk. Instead of taking the bus home which is closer, I often walk to the train which is a few blocks further and gets my heart pumping. As a city girl, I walk fast so more activity is better to really get my blood flowing. 

Life is simply too fragile and short not to take care of ourselves. My next step is really examining my diet because I LOVE to eat and 83% is not healthy lol. 

For now I will continue my love affair with the gym. 

Cry It Out

When was the last time you had a good cry? 

It could have been a result of pent up frustration, stress or sadness. I even cry sometimes when I’m happy or overwhelmed with emotions because of something really touching I see or hear. 

Sometimes shedding a tear is the only way you can express what’s going on, when there are no words. Of course, don’t take the extreme and cry all the time at every drop of a hat. 

Sunday morning I spent some time at church…but first I strugggggled. 

I woke up groggy and congested. I had to wake up earlier than usual because I committed to attending an orientation about opportunities to volunteer. The bus was going to make me late so I tried hailing a cab which wasn’t working so I called an Uber but canceled at the last second because a cab did come. I didn’t feel like going to church. I didn’t feel like doing anything but catch up on more sleep. I didn’t want to go at all. At all. 

This morning because I woke up on a side of the bed feeling some kind of way, I decided to Spotify me some gospel music while I showered and got ready. I wasn’t in the mood to take the day on yet but sometimes you  just need to plant the seeds for the atmosphere you want anyway.  Yolanda Adams and Fred Hammond helped me change my mind about some things. I jumped into the day more grateful and contemplative. 

Music is such a powerful tool. Not just worship music. 

I spent a lot of time today listening to music today and creating a peaceful space in my own. As I write this, I have Pandora spilling tracks from Chance the Rapper, Drake and Kendrick Lamar, real conscious lyricists. 

Anyways back to this morning. Towards the end of the church service, the band went back to the stage to lead a few songs. One in particular really touched me and I became overwhelmed with emotion. 

Eyes closed, I sang and listened with silent tears streaming down my face. It didn’t last much longer than 3 or 4 minutes. I just let the magnitude of what I felt like the words were saying to me in that moment, take over. I began to reflect that sometimes I am exactly where I need to be. Not just physically in that building this morning but in life generally. 

Days of feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed affects us all. Maybe more than we would care to admit. Sometimes life feels like you’re in control and have kiddie-pool size issues going on. Sometimes life feels like you are wading in the ocean during shark week. 

At times you may look around like, “How does it all connect?” or “Why is (fill in the blank) happening?”

The song I heard this morning felt hopeful and confirmed I may resist at times but I am exactly where I need to be.

At this point in my life, I give myself permission to feel all my feelings. Truth, honesty and authenticity from myself, to myself is key to me. 

This morning I needed a good cry and under the direction of powerful music, I let some things go. I cry when I am thankful for blessings or also in times I feel like life is really testing me. Crying was therapeutic and a way to recognize, release and move forward with a clear mind. 

When my loved ones have lost jobs or found new jobs, have health scares and just try to figure out what life has for them in relation to the relationships in and around their lives, I share in what they are feeling. Sometimes they need a good cry too for the blessings and the pain. 

This song “Oceans” is what did it for me:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and you won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Even if you don’t shed a tear, what is something you need to release and let go of physically or emotionally?