Self Care Recipe #1: The Morning Energizer

You are reading the first of many self care recipes. A Self Care Recipe is a curated self care ritual for your busy life. Each recipe is specifically for a particular event, routine, or feeling. Follow them in order or customize to your liking. Enjoy!

The “Morning Energizer” is a self care routine that allows you to ease into the day. This recipe is perfect for those days when you wake up on time, but find yourself wanting a few more minutes of sleep. This is also a good routine to partake in before a really hectic day ahead. The key here is to take your time, allowing your mind and body to wake up gently.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Ritual Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Shower
  • Washcloth and Large Towel
  • Your favorite soap with an invigorating scent (My favorite is Dr. Bronner’s Eucalyptus Soap)
  • Music (search for Natalie Lauren)
  • Body Oil (Currently using Brooke Blaze, and amazing Black women owned self care company)
  • Your go to outfit (You know the one that is super comfortable and you can still wear to work, too. Comfy shoes too!

Instructions

  1. Run warm water over a washcloth and wring out. Put the warm washcloth on your face for a minute. Repeat.
  2. Turn on the shower and allow it to steam. Take a shower for the next 10 minutes using the soap of your choice that awakens your senses.
  3. During the shower, take at least 3 deep breaths (inhale +exhale)
  4. Dry off and think of 2 things that you are grateful for in the moment
  5. Play the song “Meditate” by Natalie Lauren
  6. As the song plays, give yourself a head and shoulder massage using oil of your choice for the duration of the song
  7. Moisturize the rest of your body as your normally would
  8. Stretch for a few moments
  9. Put on your go to outfit (on days like today it is not about wearing the newest clothes or anything uncomfortable)

Repeat this routine on those days when you wake up and need an extra boost!

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Aligning for Self Care

Image: Isha Gaines via Createher Stock

Alignment. Defined as: “a position of agreement or alliance” 

The idea of alignment is important especially as it relates to practicing self care. This alignment is not focused on people and external circumstances, but on what is internal to us. As Lauryn Hill repeated to us in Doo Wop (That Thing): “How you gon’ win when you ain’t right within?” Getting right within is less about shame and guilt, and more about honoring our desires and living our lives from that space.

Aligning within ourselves is the most important alignment of all. Internal alignment can ultimately lead to more peaceful and joyful  living because it can guide us toward more of what we really want in our lives. And self care is all about peaceful and joyful living as a constant practice.

Alignment isn’t always comfortable, especially when you have grown accustomed to doing things that are not aligned with your truth. Aligning with your desires is a constant practice. It is a practice you can start right now. Where to begin? Here a few practices I have used in my own journey to alignment:

Acceptance: In order to align, you have had to fully accept your current state simply for what it is, untethered from shame, guilt, and any other feeling that makes you feel like you are not enough. I have been able to do this through forgiving myself and staying in constant gratitude for the present moment. Shifting my energy about my present state allows me to positively (rather than negatively) transition towards my goals. 

Feeling into my goals. I often have set goals that felt good in my head but not my body or heart. I am learning to constantly check in with my goals and desires to make sure that they feel good in my head, heart, and body. If they don’t , then I lovingly let them go or modify them.  Allow yourself time to figure out which goals feel right for you on all levels.

Micromovements: I first learned about micromovements from SARK as I battled with procrastinating on my goals. It is essentially a practice of taking a small step forward on your goals rather than trying to do big chunks, which alleviates pressure. I am learning that alignment comes with more ease in these small steps and moments. They really do add up and make a difference. Give yourself grace. Allow space to be gentle with alignment which will help you sustain and ultimately achieve your goals.

The process of aligning isn’t linear. It is ok if you find yourself leaning into some of these practices more than others at certain phases on your journey. Keep going.

Trust your process. Run your race. Live your best life.


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Need to be more productive? Play First.

Photo: Neosha Gardner

It is all too easy to fall into a rut even with things we love like self care. When we do the same thing over and over, we find ourselves going through the motions. This can make self care feel like a chore, but that is the exact opposite of what a self care practice is all about. Self care is all about making you feel refreshed, energized, relaxed and centered. If your self care practice isn’t doing that, then it might be time to do things differently. 

When I was teaching, I remember being very stressed.  When I did have down time, my self care routine felt like another thing task on my checklist. One of my mentors suggested I try finger painting to relieve stress. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous but went to the store and bought the paint and paper. For an entire week, I painted with my fingers just like a preschooler.  Every time I finished painting, I felt calmer and more grounded. I started to try other after that- like trampolining, building blanket forts, and going to the playground. I began to see how important play was for me. Play has now become an important part of my self care practice.

Play is a powerful form of self care that is easy to overlook, especially when we are full on adulting. 

What exactly does it mean to play? 

Dr. Stuart Brown, author of the book Play,  calls play a “state of being,” “purposeless, fun and pleasurable.” Basically, play is about doing something fun without having any particular goal in mind.  The key word is fun. If it isn’t fun for you, then don’t force it.  When you are engaged you are having fun for the sake of having fun. It is not about getting IG followers or hitting any kind of goal.

Why is play important? 

Many studies have shown the positive effects of play for children. Turns out these same affects apply to adults,too. Engaging in play regularly can increase productive, increase creativity, and deepen bonding between people. 

How to play in everyday life

If we take Brown’s definition, play can look like a multitude of things. It can look like finger painting or jumping rope or going to the playground. It can also look like building a fort or splashing in puddles or visiting a candy store. The key here is that whatever you are doing. Play isn’t just about competition, though, it might include that, too if you want to get a couple of friends and play tag.

Where do you find playful things to do? A good place to start is your childhood. Think about what you loved to do as a child. Dr. Brown refers to this as a play history. What did you love doing as a kid? What things got you super excited. 

Here are a few other things that you could try, too: 

  • Plan a playdate with your friends. Gather up some of your friends and have a playdate. Play freeze tag or red light, green light. Remember that play doesn’t have to be competitive either. 
  • Visit a toy store- Get curious and pick out some toys that speak to you seem interesting.
  • Interact with kids. If you have friends with kids, get some ideas from them about what to play.

The next time you find yourself getting bored with your self care practice, tap your inner child and start playing. 

Maintaining Your Self Care Practice

When I was in fifth grade, I was so excited to start playing the flute. I walked quickly towards the band room for my first group lesson. I assembled the flute and was instructed to blow air across the lip plate. The other students squeaked out a sound, but nothing for me. I tried again and no sound. It ended up taking me about 4 weeks to actually get one sound out of that flute. During that time, nine year old me wanted to quit. Yet, my music teacher told me to keep practicing. She told me to keep trying and to continue to positioning my fingers as if sound was coming out.

Showing up to practice each day was just as important as what I actually did during practice. Even if I had a not so great day, it mattered that I showed up and stuck with the process. Over time, I eventually got a note out and grew tremendously as a flute player.

While we understand the importance of practice as adults, it can feel more difficult to embrace in real life. After all, we have bills to pay, endless to do lists, and so many people who need us. The idea of practice can be overwhelming as we try to incorporate new routines into our lives. No wonder it can feel so hard to create new habits which can take 18-254 days to form!

And it is no different with self care. Making space for self care is a practice. We have to commit to caring for ourselves which often bumps up against what we we were taught, our internal beliefs, our current schedule, and other’s expectation of us.

I remember when I listened to a beginner meditation video and the instructor said, “If your mind wanders during the meditation gently bring your awareness back to your breath. Don’t try to make yourself stay focused perfectly. Just guide yourself back.” They did a motion with their hand that mimicked that action. That felt so simple to me and relieving. It wasn’t any pressure to have to stay the course perfectly.

Rather, the practice was to bring my awareness back to my breathing and the present moment. Of course, over time your mind becomes accustomed and it feels natural, but it takes time to get there. Instead of focusing on how hard it is, we just have to bring ourselves back to the practicing of being in that moment.

Self care also requires this same type of patience. You could be on a consistent schedule with your self care rituals, then suddenly stop doing it for a host of reasons. Instead of beating yourself up, and then probably not re-engaging with your self care, you can bring yourself back.

Instead of getting bogged down about why you haven’t been doing it, just be aware. Then, do something that makes sense with the time you have. My therapist encouraged me to do this and it was successful. Instead of overthinking about why I couldn’t stick with my self care ritual, she said to first just do the self care thing(in my case take a bath) that I had been skipping out on. Once I was actively engaging in the activity, then I could reflect on why I was having difficulty being consistent. It was much easier to reflect since I was doing something calming and relaxing. And the key was to bring myself back to what I most wanted.

Taking care of yourself is a practice. There are so many messages that tell you otherwise, so it takes real focus to have a consistent, self care practice. If you have grown accustomed to not seeing you as a priority, it can take time to learn new beliefs about how you view yourself and your care. It may take a while for it to feel normal to practice self care without guilt.

Even when you get off track, you can always bring yourself back. The returning back is the practice.

When you notice that you have neglected your self care remember a few things:

Awareness is a gift. Celebrate that moment when you pause and acknowledge something isn’t feeling quite right for you. This is a much more graceful approach than criticizing yourself for getting to this point.

Ask yourself: What can you do in this moment? How can you make your self care a priority in this moment? Small steps matter my friend. It might be taking a breath or stretching or reading a funny joke.

Once you bring yourself back, then re-affirm your commitment to your self care. Put reminders in your phone or calendar for the remainder of the week for your self care practices.  Or have a close friend hold you accountable.

Your self care practice is and its an ongoing, ever-changing thing. Give yourself grace as you learn how to make it a regular part of your routine.

Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep taking good care of yourself. 

Want to continue the conversation? Join my newsletter for more advice and encouragement about how busy people can practice self care in their everyday lives.

Create From Your Heart.

Earlier this month, author Terry McMillian, posted this:

 

Untitled design

 

Simple, yet powerful wisdom that is a reminder to us all. We must make room for our creativity to roam free as we create tangible things.  Writing can be replaced with whatever word makes sense for your work (brainstorm, dance, develop; etc).

Creativity needs room to flourish, especially when ideas are first taking root. This kind of brainstorming and imagination cannot be limited and does not appreciate the revision energy. Oftentimes, we attempt to multi-task our creativity, simultaneously creating and editing. It is a frustrating dance that leaves us feeling stuck.

It doesn’t work so well because it is restricting. Limiting your creativity in this way means that some of your best ideas never see the light of day because they are not immediately palatable. You have to throw all the paint on the wall before you can figure out how to turn it into something clear.  That messy, unformed idea might be the spark of genius you need for the next step.

Remember this: You cannot edit what isn’t there. When you initially create, don’t worry yourself with who will be consuming your work. As you dream up something new or think about your next thing, stay in your heart for a little longer. Allow images to rise up. Let seemingly unconnected things find a way to each other.

Make that heart time a part of your process when you start creating new products, programs, and initiatives. Don’t be so quick to get to the editing phase that your actual idea doesn’t get a chance to fully shine first.

Honor the creative process. Unleash your creative flow. Create something brilliant.

 

The Real Reasons You’re Procrastinating (and it’s not because you are lazy)

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Photo by CreateHerStock.com

Procrastination is defined as: ” the avoidance of doing a task that we want to accomplish.” It is something that we all do, especially when it comes to projects and goals related to our dreams and desires. Why do we procrastinate when it comes to things that we actually want to do? The default answer is usually “I’m just lazy” or “I am just not motivated.”

I am not going to let you off the hook that easily because it is more to it than that. When we ignore why we do something, we usually keep doing it. And this keeps us stuck and not making progress on anything.

Here are a few reasons why you might be procrastinating and practical tips that will get  you taking action quickly:

Reason #1: You are overwhelmed. Sometimes our goals can be overwhelming and filled with a lot of steps. Oftentimes we try to take large leaps rather than small steps. This is kind of like trying to eat an entire meal in a few large bites versus taking smaller, more manageable bites. Procrastination is often a sign that you are overwhelmed by what you are doing. How do you deal with overwhelm? Break tasks down into simple steps. When I say simple, I mean things that take 5-10 minutes. Ask yourself what can I do right now with the time I have? Then, do that one simple task.

Reason #2: You are tired. It is difficult to do anything when you are tired. When your energy is low, it is easy to have little to no desire to do anything. Consider taking some time to take care of you. Take a nap or do something else that makes you feel relaxed. Then, revisit your list of things to do.

Reason #3: You are unsure what to do next. Sometimes, you just hit a wall and can’t figure out what to do next. One of the easiest ways to overcome this block is to talk to other people. Send an email or text to a friend and ask their input. Me and two of my girls have a private facebook group where we mastermind ideas and it has made all the difference.

Reason #4: You aren’t staying present. A lot of times we think we can predict the future. In doing so, we often think the worst (not the best) about a situation and talk ourselves out of our greatness. Learn to be present with where you are and allow what is happening to unfold. Stay curious, then take another step and another. Don’t count yourself out before you begin.

Reason #5: You don’t really want to do it.  We get so used to being amenable that we forget what in the world we want. Maybe you are procrastinating because it isn’t a goal that lights you up or it isn’t connected to what you really want. If this is the case, don’t stop there. Give yourself some space and time to ask “What do I really want?” The answers may surprise you.

Procrastination is really just sending us a message. If you listen, you can learn and then get into motion. You deserve to do what you want to do.

Don’t Underestimate Yourself

K. Cole consulting tip

The elections were (and continue) to be whirlwind, right? They teach us something very important: Don’t underestimate the power of a single vote.

In the same vein, I hope you remember not to underestimate yourself or the steps you are taking to create the life you really want. Don’t underestimate your efforts. Or your courage. Or your brilliance. It all matters. Each and every step. The email you send might be the game changer. The next step might be the one that changes it all. The next act might be just the push you need to gain momentum. Knowing that, don’t concede on your dreams.

Keep going. Keep fighting. Keep acting. Keep shining.

Kandice

P.S.  Many of you have asked me about my consulting journey and how you can do the same thing. As promised, I created an on-demand webinar + worksheet so that you can “Discover your money making consulting skills.” Get your free access now! 

Tuesday Talk: The Biggest Catalyst to Your Dreams

Today’s Tuesday Talk is about the biggest catalyst for your dreams.

The answer might actually surprise you (Hint: it’s not another checklist or about managing your time )

Let’s dive into it. Click here to listen now!

 

Do you need a place to nurture your dreams? Join the Dream Mapping Society today!

 

Monday Motivation: Take Care of Yourself and Your Dreams

There are a lot of articles, videos, and resources about the topic of self-care. Yet, it remains the one of the most difficult thing to do. Sometimes it can be stressful simply figuring out what to do for self-care, right?

Let’s breathe and stop for a minute. Take another breath.

This post is not about “xyz” ways to practice self-care. It is more about why it matters so much. Once you understand the why, it is easier to figure out what to actually do.

Self-care is necessary. Taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. Repeat: Taking care of yourself is non-negotiable. And it can be as simple as pausing to take a couple of extra breaths.

You cannot nurture your dreams if you do not care for yourself. Being stressed, exhausted, and burnt out is not a healthy place for your dreams to flourish.

Give your mind, body, and soul time to rest and recharge daily. In this recharged place, you will find a sharper degree of clarity.

May self-care become less of task and more of a ritual. May you remember that you are a sacred being who deserves sacred care.

Tuesday Talk: Are You Asking For What You Really Want?

Today’s Tuesday Talk is all about asking for what you want.

I often hear people give vague goals and then get surprised when they get vague results. Let’s change that!

Let’s dive into the topic of clarity. Click here to listen now!

 

Do you need a place to get clarity and nurture your dreams? Join the Dream Mapping Society today!