What About Self-Love?

Valentine's Day brings to mind images of romantic love, chocolate, champagne and other things that sometimes (okay, often) cause me to roll my eyes. So I usually avoid thinking about that day altogether. But, as a friend pointed out to me recently, the holiday is actually a perfect time to think about self-love.

I'll admit, self-love isn't a concept that I used to be familiar with, so I'll start with the best definition I've been able to find, which comes from Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D:

Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

You all know that I'm all about taking action, so you can guess which part of the definition I tend to focus on. When I think about self-love, I immediately think:

What actions can I take, what practices can I adopt, what routines do I need to reinforce, in order to strengthen this state of self-love? What can I recommend to my clients to help them build, sustain, and protect their self-love?

I've come across a ton of suggestions for what to do to practice and strengthen self-love, but we're all busy people prone to feeling overwhelmed. So I want to make this as easy as possible for all of you. Here are 3 ways to practice self-love this month: 

1. Take care of yourself how you would take care of others.

So many of us martyr ourselves for others: our families, friends, clients, colleagues, causes. To paraphrase something I once learned (and that I often need to remind myself of): to want to give to others is human, but to over-give is neurotic. Be sure that you are taking care of your basic needs, rather than always putting others' needs and wants first. This might mean letting yourself sleep more, cooking a nice meal for yourself, making sure that you exercise, taking a bath, scheduling enough "alone time" for yourself, leaving work at an earlier hour. Commit to doing at least one of these things for yourself this week. If you want or need more self-care ideas, check these out!

Tim Dawson on Flickr

Tim Dawson on Flickr

2. Treat yourself with compassion.

Along similar lines, start treating yourself with more compassion in your daily life. We all make mistakes and poor decisions. We all have blind spots and areas of vulnerability. That's okay. We are human. And we are all doing our very best, given our circumstances. You are no exception ;-) So it's important to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes and compassionately analyze what happened so that we can do better next time. The next time you find yourself beating yourself up over something you could have done differently or better, try journaling to shift the thoughts in your head to being more loving and compassionate to yourself.

3. Say no (those who've been to my Stop Settling in Your Career workshop will recognize this one!).

There are a million things in the world that you could do with your precious time. But only a small set of those things will actually move you closer to your big goals in life. Before you agree to the next assignment, request, or task, take a moment to think about whether you want to say yes because you feel pressured to (hint: it usually starts with, "I should..." or "I have to...") – or because saying yes will benefit you physically, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, or spiritually. If you feel pressured to say yes, give yourself permission to say no. Practice saying no the next time you find yourself in this situation!

There they are: 3 ways to give yourself some much-deserved self-love this month!

Give them a try and message me on Instagram or email me at cynthia@embracechange.nyc to let me know how it goes!

Sending love :)

This January, Be Sure to Take Care of Yourself

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash.

The beginning of a new year can bring lots of pressures and challenges – on top of old ones that rear their ugly heads from the past year. The shift from holiday times (whether stressful or fun or both) back to a focus on work, resolutions, and goals – the transition can be really challenging.

So in January especially, be sure to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In a way, the end of one year and the start of another is like any other transition. And it is in times of transition when we are most likely to stumble, struggle, or suffer.

Think of starting to ride a bicycle from a stationary position. We might wobble a bit or lose our balance a few times before getting going.

Think of starting to pedal from stationary while going up a hill. We might not even be able to get started!

I often find myself in a bit of a stressful slump in January.

Photo by Teodor Bjerrang on Unsplash

Sure, I have my requisite goals and aspirations for the year to keep me motivated and moving forward. But, sometimes, those prove to be my downfall, literally (i.e., injuring myself because I’ve set unrealistic and overly ambitious exercise goals for myself).

I also face that void that’s left after a full set of days with family and friends, without so much of the pressure of work.

It’s very easy for that void to get filled with anxiety, fear, nostalgia, longing, and stress.

Even if you're looking forward to a return to your normal routine, I urge you to keep your physical and mental health at the top of your list of priorities this January (if they aren’t already).

Work might come back with a relentless force. Demands on your time and energy may spike. Your own personal goals may prove to be formidable.

But be kind to yourself.

Don’t try to do everything all at once.

Set aside “me time” to rejuvenate and restore your energy each day or at least every few days.

Make sure you get enough sleep.

Meditate.

Schedule fun activities for yourself so that you have events to look forward to.

Take your vitamins and nutrients.

Schedule in some kind of physical activity a few times a week – even if it’s low-level exercise.

Spend time each week with friends or family or some books :)

I know it’s hard. But if you don’t put your health first, no one will.

So, remember that you can Say No, commit to protecting your time and energy, and live your best life in 2018. Deal?

Year-End Top 10 Free Resources!

Photo by Regina Valetova on Unsplash

I love creating resources to help my clients work and live happier.

Here are my Top 10 Free Resources all in one place: my year-end present to you :) 

Career and Emotion Management

Managing Work-Related Perfectionism

Saying No

Daily Journaling for Busy Professionals

Goals and Time Management

Accountability Tip Sheet

Weekly Scheduling Packet

Time Charter

Mindfulness

For Difficult Times: A 2-Minute Meditation

PEACE Poster

The Big Picture

The Wheel

Locus of Control

Here's to everything you've accomplished in 2017 and getting to where you want to go in 2018!

Now don't forget to give yourself a much-deserved break!!

What will you let go of in 2018?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Early on in my business, when I was focused entirely on mindfulness training, I wrote and recorded a meditation called Letting Go.

At the time, I wanted to create a guided meditation to help people let go of negative emotions, difficulties that weighed on their minds, stressful experiences that held them back.

But now that I’ve been working more with my clients in the context of their careers – navigating crossroads, balancing work and personal life, and advocating for themselves in the workplace –

letting go has taken on additional layers of meaning.

Now, letting go makes me think about saying no, a topic that I created a worksheet for and that features prominently in my workshop. As organizational consultant Peter Block says,

If we never say no, then our yes means nothing.

What do we need to let go of in our lives – personal and professional – in order to make room for other, more important, or different, things? (Tasks that we could be skipping or delegating to have more time with our family, for example.)

What do we continue to say yes to that ends up sapping our time and energy? (Mind-numbing tasks that we could eliminate, streamline, or automate.) 

What do we need to set aside in order to move forward?

A mug my colleagues at the public defender's office gave me when I left.

A mug my colleagues at the public defender's office gave me when I left.

Sometimes the Letting Go that we need to do is more profound.

Maybe what we need to ask ourselves is: Do I need to let go of a particular idea, or version, of me? Do I need to let go of the way I currently see myself?

I certainly had to let go of the idea of myself as a public defender (and as a practicing lawyer), an identity that I had long considered My Only Identity and My One And Only Destiny. But in letting go of that, there was room. A lot of room. For exploration, for experimentation, for growth, for movement.

I had to put that identity down in order to create space, time, and energy to create new identities, to start and build Embrace Change, to stretch myself in previously unimaginable ways.

The end of one calendar year and the start of another is an optimal time to sit and reflect on this for yourself:

What isn’t working in your life right now? What are the things that aren’t serving you? What do you need to say no to? What do you need to let go of?

For me, the answers include Twitter (gasp!), my Yes! Less Stress! coaching program (double gasp!), and a whole slew of professional networking and membership organizations.

You can think of this as your anti-New Year’s Resolutions.

Instead of resolving to do more things and say yes more often, resolve to say a few no’s and practice letting go.

Let’s see what magical things start to grow in the space you’ve reclaimed.

Stop Settling in Your Career: A Workshop for Women

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A huge THANK YOU to all the women who came out to the first ever Stop Settling in Your Career workshop in October at Word Up Community Bookshop!! Who knew that learning ways to stand up for ourselves and fight back against patriarchy and oppression in the workplace would be so fun??

If you also want to learn concrete tools and high-impact strategies to immediately get more out of your career – while being empowered by a positive community of inspirational women – then sign up today for the next workshop on January 31!

This workshop SOLD OUT fast last time around, so click here to save your spot today (while saving some $$, too, *hint hint* I've got discounts)!

#riseupclapback

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