Here's your nudge to write.

So many times I have sat down in the last 7 months to write. I have crafted uninterrupted time in the morning and taken out little blocks in the afternoon to get my thoughts down into my memoir.

I am writing about my childhood growing up in foster care.

It is a story about mothers and daughters and the long-lasting imprint a mother’s love has on her daughter’s soul. 

It is the realest, and hardest thing I have ever written.

I read this quote by Rupi Kaur that perfectly sums up my feelings: 
 

the thing about writing is
i can’t tell if it’s healing
or destroying me

 

Everything about her words ring true to my heart. (You too?)

Why do we feel so dang vulnerable when we write? Like we are ripping off a bandaid? Like we are opening ourselves up for the world to see when we are the only ones in that moment to see it? Like we might completely fall apart with every word we pen to paper?

Some of my coaching clients have shared their own personal struggle to write in a journal daily. Fellow creative business owners tell me how challenging it can be to open up and share online in their social media posts. 

Writing what is real and true for us is an act of shifting and growing.

When we create space for ourselves to write, we are allowing what is there to come up. And sometimes that can be very scary.

But our words will not break us.

Writing will challenge us to recognize the parts of ourselves that are still hurting or are in pain. 

By creating a space to open up and see what is there, we are essentially saying quietly in our mind to ourselves:

I am worthy of my own love and care.

And what a beautiful, empowering message that is.

What piece of writing is on your heart today my friend?

Have you been longing to journal? Create quotes or poems? Write more authentically on social media? Write a book?

Creating space in your day for yourself to explore your own truths is a vulnerable thing, nonetheless. But you are worthy of exploring your own truths, don’t you think? You are worthy of making them speakable.

Even if you never share what you write with another soul. Simply give yourself permission to get it out. And then see what you want to do with it.

30 Things Self-Care Can Be

I recently came across a post on self-care that MADE me cringe.

The author of the article shared that self-care is so much more than yoga, bubble baths, and lattes, which I resonate with, but did so in a tone that communicated that if you were doing these things as part of your self-care, that you had self-care wrong in some way. The writer listed out that self-care is actually x, y, z, and not a, b, and c.  My rub and disappointment with the piece is that self-care, to me, looks different for each and every one of us.

For the person suffering from depression, self-care could be the simple act of getting out of bed for the day.

For the person recovering from an eating disorder, self-care could be eating a piece of bread and sitting through the discomfort afterwards.

For the mom of three kids, self-care could be taking a mindful moment behind closed doors to quickly regain her composure with a deep breath.

Whether your self-care is treating yourself to a delicious yummy treat, or saying no to an unnecessary purchase because you are saving your money for that bigger, grander, more pressing thing, your self-care is purely yours and I am not here to tell you whether it is good or bad.

Self-care is self-love. 

It is what we express to ourselves that we are worthy of our own care. In my opinion, if you are out there taking intentional time to love on you, to be kind to your body, and to give back to yourself in some way (when you are that person who is constantly giving, giving, and giving to others), then I want to celebrate that, rather than spread a very harmful message that in some way your self-care is less than or not enough.

Articles like the one I am describing just go against the entire core of self-care, which is rooted from a place of love. Whatever manner and way that you are expressing care for your own body and mind in an intentional, self-loving way, is completely and absolutely yours. And so today, I want to share you with my array of self-care things- my very own top 30 list of what I believe self-care can be. Remember, they are simply a tiny sample of some of my very own self-care things.  The purpose in sharing it is to hopefully shed light on self-care taking on many, many looks. It is not a one and done category of things. I encourage you to take a moment to make your own list and see how many you can come up with freely. Bonus points for implementing at least one per day! 

1. Brushing your teeth

2. Making your bed

3. Watering your plants

4. Putting lotion on your body

5. Going for a mindful walk

6. Snuggling your pet 

7. Snuggling your person

8. Writing in a journal

9. Talking with a coach and/or therapist 

10. Taking a deep breath in a moment of distress

11. Reading a feel-good book

12. Drinking a green smoothie or eating a nourishing meal

13. Eating a slice of cake or pizza with zero guilt 

14. Setting boundaries to protect your spirit

15. Speaking your mind

16. Drinking a glass of water

17. Eating when you are hungry

18. Pursuing a passion

19. Volunteering with your favorite organizations

20. Getting your nails done

21. Making your home feel cozy and comfortable

22. Cleaning your space

23. Talking to a friend

24. Taking a shower

25. Taking a long bubble bath

26. Washing your face

27. Setting intentions

28. Smudging

29. Listening to a podcast

30. Flossing your teeth

Why it has been hard to share my story online

As a life coach, I get out and do live speaking events often. Just this past winter, I flew to Denver for a keynote presentation where I taught a group of educators some of my favorite tools when it comes to mindfulness around the stories (AKA thoughts!) that we so often tell ourselves. As I stood in front of the men and women in that audience, I also touched on my upbringing. I shared about how I was taken away from my mom when I was 13. I shared about how much I felt her love despite her drug addiction. I talked about the years that followed spent in foster care. 

For some reason, when I am in front of others, it is easy to share these things.

I feel a bit of a safety in a room where I can see the faces in front of me. I feel more at ease talking about the hard things.

It happened again just last month at the Empowered and Free event where I gave another keynote presentation, this time in front of a group of women sharing all that I know to be true about self-care. I shared, with ease, how graduating from college was actually one of the hardest times of my life because I was completely on my own then. I shared about how I spent my entire life on the lookout for addictions and doing all that I could to avoid it. I shared about how I got sucked right in to an addiction of my own with the last thing I ever expected: food. 

Publicly sharing with people in real-time feels safer- it always has.

Maybe it is because after I share the tough parts, it goes with people as they leave. They carry it with them. There are no traces of my story online left for me to see. Left for people to quietly comment on.

One thing I know to be true however, is that sharing our stories is what connects us.

I feel it each and every time I am surrounded by others in a room. Hearing their stories, hearing their struggles and challenges, their hopes and dreams is what makes it all worth it. It’s what makes sharing completely worth it. 

I know now, that I also feel more ready than ever before to share my stories online. I think a big part of that is that I realize my direct purpose in sharing. 

It is for you, but it also for me.

It is to share the parts of my being that were once wounded and hurting, and have since healed. It is to share the journey, the struggle, and the coming through. It is to connect, it is to meet in the middle. It is to feel fully.

I am currently writing a memoir about my childhood. I am writing about my mom. My beautiful, vibrant, boisterous-laughing mama. It is hard. It is emotionally-taxing. It is also the most gratifying and soul-filling thing I have done to date.

You see, I am learning to trust my own journey in sharing. That what I share and when I share it, is in some way purposeful, and that even just one person out there might deeply need to hear it.

Next week on First + Foremost | The Podcast, I will be sharing more about my foster care upbringing as part of National Foster Care Month. It will be my first time sharing certain details “online” so-to-speak.

And I’m ready.

I’m ready to share my story.

It’s interesting to me how you can feel so much shame around certain life experiences as you go through them. I felt so much shame about being a foster child growing up. Or having an eating disorder in my twenties. These were stories of my past that for a long, long time I was not proud of.

Now, I look back on them with love. I know that they served a purpose in my own healing journey to get where I am today. Without these experiences, I would not have learned how to fully take care of myself in the way I do now, or how to treat myself with love, compassion, and kindness day in and day out.

We all have stories. 

You have stories too. 

My nudge to you today is to reflect on your stories.

What experiences in your life can you look back on with love for just how much growth they have brought into your life? How have you become stronger because of those very stories?

I’ll leave you with that today. 

Let’s love on what makes our lives rich with depth and complexity. 

Let’s cherish the key markers of our lives that have ultimately brought us to a deeper, more profound healing. 

Let’s trust that each experience truly was meant to give us something beautiful in return.

Here's Your Self-Love Reminder

What if today were the day you decided to radically accept yourself, complete flaws and all?
What if today
were the day you decided to radically accept your past as your past?
What if today
were the day you decided to radically accept that you are worthy of your own love?

These are the questions I want to send toward your consciousness.

Radical Acceptance is a term I learned years ago by the lovely author Tara Brach. She describes it as “clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind, and loving heart.”

We can be so hard on ourselves.

We can riddle ourselves with shame stories around the things we have done or continue to do that we are not proud of. We send ourselves into a whirlwind of guilt and frustration ruminating over and over again about the qualities we so deeply hate, the very same qualities that make us human.

We can notice what we want to change while maintaining an open heart of love towards what is currently there. The part within that feels so very broken still deserves love too.

This is radical self-love.

Choosing to love the part of you that feels unlovable.

To get where we want to be, we have to accept who we are right now.

We have to honor that we are worthy in the body we are in, in the flaws we inhibit, in the shortcomings we perceive. We are worthy of our own love.

Today I write this to you, hoping that you can find a way to love on and accept all of your parts. That while you grow into the person you so wish to be, that you are gentle and loving towards the part of you that may struggle from time to time, that may need to be reminded that she is still innately worth loving too.

Right now in this very moment.

 

6 Spring Cleaning Tips for Self-Care

It’s time to get organized, clean up the junk, and create some zen. Spring is finally upon us, and today I am sharing with you my top 6 spring cleaning musts for self-care!

1. Spring clean your inbox!

We are kicking it off with the #1 game changer my inbox has seen all year. If you’re like me, you follow a LOT of brands and stores to keep track of fun promos and offers. And if you’re also like me, it drives you nuts to have to delete them all from your inbox daily. My spring-cleaning hack is to send these emails to a folder automatically in your inbox where you can periodically check in on your favorite brands when you feel like it! Say goodbye to the days where you spend a solid 5-10 minutes deleting promos and special offers. Here’s how to do it:

  • Create a new folder in your email inbox and call it “shopping” or “promos.”

  • Then, go into your settings in your gmail, click on “filters and blocked addresses.”
     
  • Finally, add the store in there you’d like to still get email from, but you’d like to not have pop up in your inbox daily. (Total transparency moment: I do this for my favorite brands like Anthropologie, West Elm, and Madewell. I pop in there only when I am buying something and want a discount code. The key here is that I am not tempted to buy something just because of a promotion, and instead, only seek it out when I want to shop!)

2. Become BFFs with Salvation Army.

Go through clothes, knick knacks, kitchen items, home goods, you name it! If you feel any lack-luster vibes from anything in your home, maybe it’s time to make it someone else’s treasure. My favorite spot to bring gently used items to is Salvation Army. I make a trip every season and will for sure be making one this spring. You can find a local drop off here.

3. Get on that shared google calendar life.

Let me just tell you how much this has benefited my relationship! My husband and I can each add events in our shared calendar and it just makes life a whole lot easier! Less back and forth with friends when we want to plan things. Whether you are in a relationship or single, or have key people in your life you find you are constantly asking whether or not they are free at specific time, then this spring cleaning self-care hack is for you. Simply look in the calendar to see when everyone is free and boom! Event planned.

4. Detox your home!

A few years back I learned just how toxic some home-cleaning chemicals can be.** From floor cleaners to multisurface cleaners, those plastic spray bottles contain some not-so-friendly ingredients. Below are two of my favorite home cleaner recipes:

ALL-PURPOSE CLEANING RECIPE  In a glass spray bottle, fill it with equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Add around 20 drops of your favorite essential oil (for home cleaners I love orange and lemongrass scents!). Shake it up before use and you are good to go!

FLOOR CLEANER RECIPE  In a big old bucket, I mix hot water with about 2-3 cups of vinegar. Yep, vinegar! Sure it is a bit pungent, but again you can add an essential oil if you like. The smell goes away as soon as it dries, and you can be rest assured knowing the air around you isn’t filled with harmful toxic chemicals.

*Not convinced yet? Spend a few minutes on Environmental Working Group to inform yourself on just how harmful our home products can be and what to replace them with instead!

5. Detox your makeup bag!

Honey love child if you have not cleaned out your makeup bag yet, please let this be one of the top self-care cleaning things you do to take care of yourself this spring. It pains my heart to tell you just how gnarly our makeup products can be. From parabens to allergens to endocrine disruptors, our makeup is T-O-X-I-C. And while we are on the topic, please give your entire beauty regime a little clean up. From your deodorant to your body wash to your concealer, educate yourself on the products to avoid.  Also, just because you buy it from an organic store, or it says “all-natural” doesn’t mean it is clean or safe for you and your body. There is a ton of information out there on this, and you can kind of go nuts reading about it, but I’ll leave you with this: start small. Choose one area to start cleaning out first. I started with revamping my makeup products years ago and then gradually went on to switching over my home cleaning items to eventually eating as organic and clean as possible (especially with meat and dairy products as they are loaded with hormones!). My favorite place to check out ingredients is through the Think Dirty App! You can quickly scan in the barcode as you are out shopping to see how clean or dirty the product is! It makes the hunt for a trade-off product so much easier!

6. Clean out your underwear drawer. Yea I said it..(Cue that Rihanna!).

When was the last time you went through your bras and undies? Or revisited your nightgowns and pajamas? After realizing I had been sleeping in an array of old t-shirts and sweats, literally back from my college days, I decided to treat myself to some new PJs and oh did it feel fantastic. A woman at one of my workshops shared that she had not worn her fancy bras or underwear in years because she had this mindset of saving them for a special occasion. She realized that it was time to bust them out now. Go through your nightly things and see what needs to go, what can come out and play, and what you want to add to the mix. I promise this one will be fun!

There you have it! My top 6 spring cleaning musts for self-care! Hop on over to Instagram and tell me what spring cleaning hack you’ll be taking on this year.

**I want to give a big shout out to Oregon Soap Shoppe for their powerful home cleaning demonstration where I learned about the recipes shared in today’s post!