SELF-CARE A to Z: GUA SHA

Jade gua sha tool

Thank you Mount Lai – love my gua sha!

I love beauty products, though I don’t always love the beauty industry. I don’t know which products to trust, but everyone is hawking their magic beans miracle fix. HOWEVER, I’m willing to try most items at least once (for as long as the product lasts).

Writer Ann Brasco demonstrates gua sha

Thanks to Ann Brasco for showing me the best sides of gua sha!

Today, I’ll explain a very beginner’s approach to Gua Sha for the face.  Gua Sha tools fall in the same family as the jade rollers you’ve seen in your friends’ fridge. So at first, I thought this was just a more manageable method of applying the rollers in a slightly different package.  I received my Mount Lai jade gua sha tool as a gift.  I tucked it up into my cabinet for a little while not knowing what to do with it until I saw one of my favorite writers Ann Brasco sharing her gua sha methods on social media.  She did a great job demonstrating, she has flawless skin, and I trust her judgement, so I followed suit.

The idea behind gua sha (and the rollers) is that you’re gently breaking up and redirecting lymphatic fluid build ups from under your skin and moving them along. Don’t ask me what lymphatic fluid is, but I know that lymph nodes are near your face and get sore when you’re sick, so getting rid of lymphatic fluid makes sense to me.

 

Now the gua sha’s flat shape, and the resulting flat edge of the tool, gently scrape and tug your skin and if you push harder, the muscles below.  This extra resistance helps your body break up release stagnant blood and stimulates cell growth to help heal the area – in other words, regenerate new skin with no wrinkles. OK, that was my mantra the first time that decided to try this.  After researching #guasha online, I found several demonstrations and immediately the tool seemed pretty self-explanatory but if you want a video, Mount Lai has one on their website.

This exercise had several immediate benefits.  First of all, it invigorated my face, almost like a facial.  Even while typing this 30 min. later, my face skin memorized how it felt on my skin. The exercise made me feel present because of the attention I gave it, and the resulting mild rush as I worked my way around my forehead, my cheeks, and my jawline. While it could be a regiment that grows faster with time, I don’t recommend that. Linger over it to let all of your senses react. But now, let’s go deeper.

Author demonstrates gua sha

It felt like standing up, stretching my arms except on my face. Relaxing…

The Mount Lai video used part of the gua sha tool to actually massage the area around our ears.  Now, I recently did acupuncture near my ears and they showed me how many pressure points are in and around our ears and using the gua sha tool felt amazing. I’ve been watching @wildling_beauty as well and she happened to tackle my problem area – these frown lines between my brows. She recommended an exercise that actually lifted the inner most corner of our eye brows and it felt like yoga or stretches for my brows. Something I never knew I needed.  Then, I moved the edge of the tool against the direction of my vertical wrinkles to try to help re-train my skin.

The blogger demonstrates gua sha on forehead lines...

BEFORE: See my brow frown lines?

I’m optimistic.  I’m now looking forward to tomorrow and pampering myself as soon as I wake up. I’m going to test it for the rest of the month and will circle back with “after” pictures to see I was able to lessen the dent of my wrinkles.

Thanks Ann Brasco for getting me hooked on gua sha.

What about you?

  • Have you tried Gua Sha before?
  • What is your favorite area to use gua sha on?
  • Did you know that they also use it on a larger scale to help with sore muscles?
  • Do you look at me thinking “Why is this lady rubbing a rock on her face?”
  • Do you believe in jade’s powers?
  • Have you read any earlier A through F self-care tips?

*To join the conversation in person, Follow me on Instagram @WanderWithSarah and join me:

  • Mondays, 8am for Coffee Inspiration – Just a quick jolt of positivity to start your week right!
  • Wednesdays, 5pm for Humpday Celebration – I’ll be reading uplifting passages from books and we’ll chat about them.
  • Fridays, 5pm for Happy Hour – Celebrate our wins – no matter how big – from the week and transition into a relaxing weekend. Sometimes I’ll have a special guest.

This is a part of an #AtoZChallenge so subscribe to find out what’s next. To start back at the beginning, click here.

SELF-CARE A to Z: EBB & FLOW

Woman floating in water

Right now our planet faces a very common enemy, this pandemic. Though everyone will process and travel this journey in very different ways, I feel many people peeling away the levels that created our identities and categorized us before and making connections on a human level – all while being told to physically distance ourselves. But after our emotions initially erupt and make us feel raw, there comes a strange calm amidst the storm. During these moments I ask myself, what am I supposed to learn from this lesson?  

It’s strange that as we start the 4th week parallel to our old lives, I feel like the shock and scare of it all died down a bit, for me, and I feel like I’m in this stage where I understand my job (stay home, keep working, look out for my parents or other compromised people, stay healthy). It feels as though we’re now in the part of this journey that we can plot on charts and navigate our course. It’s still a big deal, but not wrecking me like the first month did. April feels different thus strengthening my resolve to live this month differently. A big thing helping me through this has been online socializing and supporting my friends whether talking about the virus, their jobs, families or creative projects they’re working on. I’ve made an effort to be live online* this month to help make this a conversation and a supportive community.

Oprah on stage

Such an amazing day as Oprah helped walk us through inward exercises!

During my first online Instagram Happy Hour last Friday, one of my fellow #OMagInsiders Suzanne O’Brien, jumped on live from New York. We were reminiscing about having attended Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour right as the COVID stuff surfaced – albeit in different cities – and how fortunate we were that it didn’t get cancelled. The tour centered around finding our purpose, focusing our intentions and committing to ourselves.  Suzanne reminded that the primary message that came from the tour started with taking time to be still, to listen and to grow. That mantra helps so much in regular situations to help figure out your purpose, set your intentions and commit to yourself, but especially now. 

EBB
One of my high school girlfriends shared a comparison of her previous calendar filled to the edges with events, sports, playdates, and school reminders to her current empty calendar. Though shocking on the one hand, because we still anticipate the bumps in the roads we were used to traveling, on the other hand we’ve been given the gift of time that we used to always wish for. The ability to pause while the never-ending pounding waves of life retreat a bit, rather than fighting to keep our heads up in the thrashing waves, means we can do a self-inventory.

Footprints in sand on beach

Many of us banked some time not commuting, not getting ready for work, not driving carpools, not stopping for coffee, wandering the grocery store aisles and buying gas. Sure a lot was dumped into our laps that weren’t there before and there is a learning curve while we learn to put our lives online, but at least we’re all at home.  I double dog dare you to fine 5, 15, or 30 minutes that you didn’t used to have that you do now. If there isn’t, then force yourself to try (and I will too). Start small and grow. Be still and seek balance. 

Clear your mind, see what keeps coming racing back. Be intentional with your thoughts. If you don’t know how to process the thoughts in your head, try free-form journaling – Julia Cameron calls them Morning Pages.  Use a pen – magic happens when pushing a pen over pounding away on your keyboard. See what drops out of your head! Just be present.

Quote from Oprah Winfrey

From #Oprahs2020VisionTour journal

FLOW
Then – you know this, say it with me – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So although right now the shore recessed far enough back giving us this quieter time, this mental space from our usual routine, when it returns to the shore, your progress – the flow – will be just as big. Considering how far inward we’re turning right now, you’re going to come back with lightning bolts, rainbows and confetti guns following you around!

I feel flow in two different ways.  I totally understand Oprah’s definition that flow comes from living a life so balanced that there are no obstacles, no resistance.  Until I reach that state of flow, I feel it the way Bruce Lee explains that we should be formless and shapeless like water – but recognize that water can flow or it can crash.

Woman sitting on ocean rocks

Maybe start there. Find a few moments. Picture in your mind what you would love the ebb of your life to look like, sound like, feel like.  Then, picture the same for when you’re in the flow. What are some things you definitely want to picture in that space. What are things you would exclude?  I feel like this is a good place to start.

We are being touched and changed on such deep human levels or possibly feeling unsettled enough to take a leap of faith. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

 

What about you?

  • How often do you make time for yourself?
  • Do you meditate?
  • Do you journal?
  • How do you define flow?

Let me know in the comments below.

This is a month-long self-care #AtoZChallenge blogging project, so subscribe and please join the conversation!  To start at A, click here.

 

*To join the conversation in person, Follow me on Instagram @WanderWithSarah and join me:

  • Mondays, 8am Coffee Inspiration – Just a quick jolt of positivity to start your week!
  • Wednesdays, 5pm Humpday Celebration – I’ll be reading uplifting passages from books and, if you feel like it, we’ll chat about them.
  • Fridays, 5pm Happy Hour – Celebrate our wins – no matter how big – from the week and transition into a relaxing weekend. I have more special guests lined up!

SELF-CARE A to Z: DANCING

A to Z footloose-without-music

Footloose (c) 1984 Paramount

The first time I experienced dancing where the emotions just blew me away was The Nutcracker with Mikhail Baryshnikov …on television. Through the screen of the box in my parents bedroom I felt the power of his dancing, the vulnerability of Clara, and the excitement, mischief and adventure they traveled together.  But the first time I felt the pent up then therapeutic release from a powerful dance came when Ren McCormack danced his ass off in the original Footloose.  Yep, Baryshnikov to Bacon in one beat.

Sure, the music in that scene absolutely influenced the audience’s emotions and gave us a rush of chills. But the dance that he did (while obviously choreographed for the film) came across as such a spur-of-the-moment release of pent up physical energy and emotions! At the end, he shook loose all of his frustration and left all of the negative emotion on the dancefloor.

Oprah quote about dancing

Here are the reasons that I feel dancing may be one of the best self-care methods:

  • QUICK MOOD ENHANCER: Again, music already dictates moods, picks up the pace or helps you relax. When you dance, you accentuate and interpret what the music communicates with your own movements, releasing endorphins that make you smile – almost instantaneously.
  • RESTORE CONTROL: A lot of anxiety and stress comes from things that are changing and spinning beyond your control. Whether taking lessons or letting the music dictate your moves, dancing a) Redirects your brain, taking your mind off of whatever threatens to raise your blood pressure, b) As the music changes, you do control the movements of your body and often adjust based on the changing beat.
  • BUILD TRUST: As you feel your body keeping up with the music, sometimes the moves come from a more subconscious level or you’re learning new moves in a class so you’re trusting your growth and your skills as well as your body that you won’t wind up flat on the floor.
  • BE PRESENT: When you dance around you feel your place on this planet, whether you’re hopping around on your toes, spinning on your back, or have your feet firmly planted while moving everything else, you feel gravity and its impact on your body. You’re grounded.
  • FEEL FREE: At the same time that you’re grounded, dancers have the ability to defy gravity, leap in the air, move faster than the beat of the music, or move their bodies in ways that we may not even comprehend. There are no limits to what you can do in the name of dance.
  • STEP OUTSIDE YOUR HEAD: Some of us become completely different on the dancefloor. Whether dancing like nobody is watching, or strutting your stuff through the middle of the Soul train crowd, sometimes we meet people we didn’t know we had inside of ourselves that pleasantly surprise us.
  • DANCING KNOWS NO AGE: Whenever I hit the floor, I bring the moves from when I was 15 – though I know my kids call my dancing, “Oh mom! [eye roll]!”

Absolutely, some of these points contradict each other but that’s what makes dancing so magical. Every time you get your body moving, it brings a totally different experience and end result.

A girl dancing

I have a friend, on TikTok as @AuthenticBecky, who almost daily brings a burst of sunshine to my feed with her kitchen dancing!  First of all I aspire to move like her, I love that she gets her hubby and girls involved!  I asked her what motivates her to do the videos and she said “Dance has always been my salvation, and my daily routines in my kitchen bring me instant joy.”

a to z dance steph

@authenticbecky on TikTok

What about you?
Why do you think dance is great as self-care?
What is the song that you can’t sit still to?
Do you dance alone or with others?
Do you take dance classes, do choreographed dances (like line dancing) or just let your body decide?
Does your music of choice to lift your mood fit in with the usual genre you listed to or is it a total departure?

 

 

 

SELF-CARE A to Z: CLEAN HOUSE

For me, if I make it to the third day of forcing a new habit, then I know there is a really good chance I can make it to the finish line. So here we are, the third time in a row that we’ve focused on self-care. The third chance to put ourselves first. …or, maybe after the job, the kids, and the pets, but we remembered to take a few moments in the day for us.  If you’re already like me and curious to see just how far this can go… I have a book for you. 100 Ways to Love Yourself by Taura Stinson – a woman strong enough to be so vulnerable with her words that you can’t help but be moved. Not only will you be moved by her story but you’ll be moved to action on your own behalf.

Full disclosure, I have not read the entire book yet. I’ve flipped through and skimmed the ideas and love where Taura went with the book. It’s like one of those amazing all-inclusive kid activity books that I loved growing up that features stories, lessons, puzzles, and brain-twisters to entertain me no matter what mood I’m in.  The difference is that this book not only presents amazing examples pulled from Taura’s life, but amazing suggestions and lessons to help you get closer to you.

The true reason that I have not gotten through the entire book yet is because I don’t want to rush through this book. I am taking advantage of our stay-at-home order to linger over each exercise and ponder my responses to uncover parts that have been buried or hidden. For once, I’ve got the time. Sure, I’m still working and caring for my family, but with no commute or going out, I have the time. I am giving myself a makeover, starting with making myself a priority.

Before any makeover, one must assess what they like in their space, what they hope to change or get rid of, what they hope for in their beautiful new space.  Then, you move everything out that you won’t be using so you may start with a clean, open space. This book refers to cleaning your spirit house.

You know you’ve felt the burden of carrying around things for years that don’t serve you. I know I have. It’s true, I don’t know what to do with all of my spiritual, emotional and mental tchotchkies but knowing that we’re going through things together with Taura’s voice gently guiding me from the page, it will be a smooth exercise.

So think to yourself, sort things into 3 piles: Keep, Giveaway or Trash. If you can figure out what to giveaway or trash, you’ll only have the things that you want to keep in the end. Be generous, give away the lessons you’ve learned in life – good ones or bad ones. You’ll possibly save someone a hard lesson, you’re freeing up mental space, and when you’re helping others, that alone already lifts your spirits.

Then, with laser-focus, relentlessly grab things and throw them away with vigor!  Everytime you’ve second guessed yourself or replayed something in your head wishing you’d said something different. Every person you’ve crossed paths with that didn’t end well. As Oprah says, “Give up the hope that the past could have been any different.” Let it go. Slam dunk into the trash.

I’m not going to lie, turning the mirror and microscope on ourselves challenges us. But do a thorough job, be honest with yourself, feel the emotions that may get shaken loose, and move forward. Only 99 lessons to go! So grateful that Taura wrote this book!

What about you?
Do you have any exercises, mantras, or meditations that you use for introspection?
Have you read this book or Taura’s other book: 100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know
If yes, what was your favorite exercise?
When was your last a-ha moment?
What is something about you that others would be surprised to learn?
When was the last time you surprised yourself?
What are you doing to make yourself a priority while staying-at-home?

This is a month-long self-care #AtoZChallenge blogging project, so follow along and please join the conversation!

 

SELF-CARE A to Z: BREATHING & BOUNDARIES

I’m so grateful that this stay-at-home order means no driving through LA traffic to get to my job and no sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store each night wondering what the heck I’ll prepare for dinner. I know how fortunate it is that my job translated so easily to my home and I hope it will stay relevant with this new normal. I easily spend less money on eating out, clothes and gas.  But I’d be lying if I told you this staying home in our PJs all day felt like the best comfy cozy day on repeat.

The first week found my two kids and me stumbling all over each other in our tiny home. I imagined that from the outside, our apartment must have been sighing and expanding as we struggled to renegotiate real estate in our home. Some daily rituals fell in easily like me making coffee for my son and me each morning. I now make bacon a Monday ritual. I make sure each of the kids’ comfort food is for dinner at least once a week. But other rituals wore me down and distracted me – kept threatening to knock me off the course I struggled to remain focused on. 

 

Also trying to teach my cats boundaries…

Starting the second week at home, for my own self-care, I immediately set boundaries. If this is the first time you’re reading my blog, you may not know how bad I’ve always been with boundaries.  This birthed another hill for us to climb as a family who were not used to me drawing such defined lines, but we also learned that on the other side of those boundaries, the physical and the mental, we found room to breathe.

BOUNDARIES
We’ve set both physical boundaries limiting our workspace to our desks with the goal of being able to walk away from our desks when we finish work and not turn in a different direction and see something new we need to work on. Still, our desks also hold our recreational or home management stuff as well but I’m careful to keep my work even more organized than my bills and taxes. We obviously have strong invisible boundary around the house right now that we’ve learned to live with. 

Although my work and my kids’ school exists online now, after the first week of sleeping in a little bit, I set time boundaries returning to my regular work hours and insisted the kids do the same with their school. They now know that if they want my assistance on something (including meals) it needs to be outside of my work hours.  Most days I do stop to make lunch, but if the kids want something else, they make it themselves. I’d give us a B- on this with an E for effort.  

Mentally, we’re setting boundaries between work, family and alone time. We’ve picked the show Brooklyn 99 to binge watch as a family and committed to take a short walk walk each day. I forced me time with this #AtoZChallenge to blog more and the kids love playing their games. I’ve tried other self-care boundaries by not working over the weekend and on Sunday focusing on a fun cooking challenge while avoiding news and really limiting my social media.  This change especially extended my weekends and fills my spirit, spilling over to Mondays. 

BREATHE
In my mind, my wellness fantasy includes meditation, yoga, breathing and yoga pants. …and, coffee. While I’ve joined the sisterhood of stretchy pants, I’m nowhere near mastering the rest. Once, while attending a yoga class led by @yogawkala, I embraced breathing because of the attractive learning curve – like, I already know how to breathe, right?! Turns out, the first time I did this, I thought I may pass out or suffocate. But after doing the cycle twice, I felt such an immediate difference that I was hooked. Additionally, I do it anywhere, silently without anyone knowing it. If anything, people usually know when I need to take a break to breathe because when I’m intensely working on a project under a strict deadline, I’ll forget to breathe then suddenly suck in a ton of air or start singing songs without the tune, just breathing the rhythm.  

Another area I’ve found that focusing on breathing really makes a difference is with exertion. This can be when you’re lifting something heavy and exhale to help your muscles get that extra surge of energy. Or if you’re out walking or running and purposefully breathing to make sure your body gets enough oxygen so you can go farther and exhales enough CO2 to avoid cramps.  Now that I think of it, maybe I mastered a bit of a moving meditation because while I’m walking, focusing on my breathing and trying not to trip or get too close to someone, it takes my mind off of work and other stressors. Especially right now when breathing sounds scary, filling up your lungs with air then releasing it makes me feel more alive than anything.

What about you?
How are you with boundaries?
Has it been easier or harder while the stay-at-home order has been in place?
What boundaries do you set that you absolutely won’t budge on?
Are you better at setting mental or physical boundaries – or both?
If you live alone, you still need boundaries – are they different or the same?
How does your body let you know when your boundaries have gotten too relaxed?
Have you tried any breathing exercises that you like or feel like it’s all in our heads?
If you have any breathing exercises that you like, share them here!

This is a month-long self-care #AtoZChallenge blogging project, so follow along and please join the conversation!

SELF-CARE A to Z: ART & AFFIRMATIONS

For many of us it’s been about three weeks with our outside-the-home lives uprooted and shoved into a corner or taking over our houses. Did you ever think you could cram your work office, your kids school, their daycare, your animal farm and an aisle of Costco into your place and make it work? Well you did, so give yourself a pat on the back! 

You’re not seeing double, that’s two laptops.

The sudden derailing from my precisely scheduled life, hurtling straight for the shapeshifting unknown, rattled me. I’ll admit that I was in shock for the last three weeks just pressing on and celebrating little wins like “I didn’t leave the house today” or “I finally got an Amazon Fresh delivery time!” Now we’ve turned the corner into the next month and our lockdown, or its rhythm, has finally started to feel familiar. Still, with no end-date in sight, I am staging an intervention on my own behalf to stop worrying about all of the things I cannot control and focus on what I can – caring for myself.

My dream Me Time is spent reading!

I constantly dream about self-care – crave it, strive for it, plan it into a busy weekend, but am not the best about following through. So this month, I’m challenging myself to focus on it for 30 days and will share what I find through an #AtoZChallenge – plus will include a few bonuses at the end of the month. I don’t expect you to try everything every day. That sounds exhausting!  Try one, or a few, let me know if they helped or not. Did you do them alone or with friends? My goal here is to connect people who deserve to take some time for themselves – especially through a stressful time like this – and just check in with each other, start a conversation! Most posts won’t be this long, I just had a lot of ‘splaining to do.

 

My kids got in touch with their creative sides last weekend.

ART
As always, through the fear of the unsettled and unknown, rays of positivity peek through. With everyone essentially being sent to their rooms, they’re being forced to play with their toys, or dive deep into their imagination. I’m seeing more creativity during this confinement whether it’s finding a new way to exercise or teach the kids, or learning creative ways to connect. Seeing blocks of European families sing or exercise together warmed my heart.

We’re also shaking loose our shells that we used to present and protect with. What’s left underneath feels raw but allows the sunshine to reach those hidden ideas. In her book Big Magic*, Liz Gilbert shares the story of a professor who asked his writing student, “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes!” Sometimes expressing ourselves through art feels easier than verbalizing the emotions rocking our body. Then, when you do, the dose of courage will carry over to all parts of your being. 

#TheKindnessRocksProject #RedondoRocks

You don’t need an overflowing art supply closet in your home. Grab a pencil and paper and doodle. Use water and a paintbrush on the sidewalk. I’ve seen adorable colored chalk mosaics! Make card castles with playing cards! Walk around your neighborhood and take photographs to document the quiet streets!  Cook! Paint kindness rocks! So many ideas!

#boldmoves

AFFIRMATIONS
Why do people feel guilty scheduling time for themselves? Often, especially during stressful times, people drop anything that feels like a luxury, instead focusing on the necessities. Besides checking in on your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, don’t forget to check in with yourself. Be your own best cheerleader with affirmations!

Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

I’ve heard of a lot of different ways that people do affirmations. Some people call it a mantra, or a theme song, or even a soundtrack. Some people cut inspirational quotes out of magazines and put them on a vision board, others write them in a bullet journal or stick them on post it notes on their bathroom mirror.

Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

Start small. Think of your favorite movie quotes, your favorite song lyrics, your favorite authors or inspirational speakers. You’re bound to find favorite 1-2 line statements that cause you to pause and ponder the meaning. If you still can’t think of any, check out these statements that have helped me.

 

Take time to smell the roses…

I’m determined to use this period to live life differently. I’m going to do morning pages, more often than not. I’m going to listen to podcasts and read books. To force me to commit to myself, I’m going to schedule it in. 

 

  • Mondays I’ll share a little burst of inspiration over coffee.
  • Wednesdays I’ll read inspirational and motivational book excerpts that helped lift me up to celebrate making it halfway through our week.
  • Fridays We’ll gather, rant and rave about the week, about the new self-care things we tried, and kick off the weekend feeling the strength of our own presence.

Details will be on my social media so follow along if you are hope to find a self-care ritual simple enough to fit into your life.
Instagram: @WanderWithSarah Twitter: @WanderWithSarah
Facebook: Makes Me Wander   Pinterest @MakesMeWander^

*The two books I referred to were Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (tonight’s book read on Instagram) and Cheryl Strayed’s Brave Enough.

Note: These afflinks provide you a link to buy but it won’t cost you any extra money – though I may earn a few cents towards my next book.

WHAT’S THE END GOAL HERE?

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a podcast-holic. 

My line up of favorite shows contains equal parts writing or online entrepreneurial advice, inspirational motivators and true crime podcasts – that my kids introduced me to.  

podcast good life project

Today, while listening to the Good Life Project, host Jonathan Fields and special guest, author Geneen Roth (from the 12/29/20 episode), discussed “You don’t need to be fixed.”  Jonathan brought up a thought that totally made me stop and think.  He mentioned how fascinated he is wondering whether people truly seek to improve themselves through  transformation or liberation? …and now I am curious too!

I’ve headed out on such a transformation journey as someone who loves to learn new things every day. I love making small adjustments and seeing how they feel the next time something comes up. I love feeling like I’m improving, and when something goes the other direction the promise of a new day gives me hope.  However, now that I’m reconsidering my stance, I see that transformation may never end. I may not ever reach the finish line and feel successful.  But, I’m a progress, not a perfection kinda gal.

Yet, I see the freeing goal of liberation – shedding that which no longer serves us.  It’s a larger commitment to focus in on the trouble areas and draw boundaries. That big elephant is no longer welcome in the room. Then, when the weight lifts, we soar! Perhaps our acceleration has a steeper curve since we grow unencumbered. To me the downside feels as though this may require a stronger commitment. I’m not always strong enough for that.

As Geneen pointed out, as she worked hard on herself, things that used to bother her no longer would. …Until they did. Be patient with yourself. Neither transformation, nor liberation, offer a money back guarantee. Perhaps it boils down to what makes you feel most like you’re in control of your life?  Thoughts?!

If you, like me, love taking those tests to find out what Friends character you are, what personality type you are or how old you are, why don’t you check out what SPARKETYPE you are! I call it a light-hearted self-improvement activity that makes you think introspectively with a quick test that may give you some captivating insight about yourself! Once you know better,  you do better!

What about you?

  • Which approach do you believe in – transformation or liberation?
  • What are the pros and cons?
  • Who are your mentors?
  • Have any tips?
  • Can you see the argument for the other option?
  • What is your favorite podcast – I’ll check it out!
  • If you want to know what other podcasts make me go hmmm, drop your email in the top right box on the page to wander along with me!
    (I have no relationship with the Good Life Project other than being a fan!)

THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO CREATE A VISION BOARD

It’s that time of the year when people set their intentions, make goals and plan out the next few months! Now that you know what Vision Boards look like and learned the basic ideas behind how they help us attract success with our dreams and goals, how does one make a vision board? There is no wrong way to create a vision board… What a relief! 

Two varieties of vision boards
Super Simple (& Inexpensive) Supplies

Honestly I got most of my supplies at
Dollar Tree (#afflink) which offers free shipping to a store near you! I got such a good deal that I purchased enough to invite friends. I’ll share more on hosting a party in an upcoming post. If you use any favorite supplies that I forgot to mention, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

  • BOARD can be poster board (I started with 14” x 22”), foam board, canvas, index cards, journals or even adhesive note squares
  • Piles of old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks/clear tape
  • Stickers or printed out affirmations
  • Pens

Gather magazines, scissors and glue
Super Simple Instructions
While the internet overflows with templates and classes, I personally wouldn’t pay a significant amount of money for them unless they serve wine or plan to check in with you from time to time to help you shape your goals. A few dollars for templates helps shape your board, though I prefer the potential of a blank sheet to start.

Cut out motivational phrases

Cut out anything that gives you a little surge of positive energy when you look at it:

  • Mantras: Your theme word of the year, words you live by, or motivational phrases
  • Resources: Books, courses, role models or mentors that could prove resourceful
  • Visuals:  Homes you love, a snapshot showing people with the attitude and feeling you strive for, vacation destinations, or career goals

Bottom line, anything you cut out should be intentional and meaningful to YOU, not anyone else’s version of you.
Organize your vision board into zones

Organize the board into zones (again, no wrong way – do what makes sense to you):

  • Short-term vs. Long-term goals: Perhaps half of the page features short-term goals that may be done this year, while the other half shows long-term bucket list items
  • Personal vs. Career: Personal goals (health, wealth, wisdom) seem independent but then tend to overlap career goals (career path, starting your own company)
  • Dreams vs. Goals: Dreams help divide your board into sections with smaller goals in the corresponding section: For example: The dream to do a marathon starts with the goals of buying running shoes then committing to running 10 minutes a day.
  • Personal vs. Family: Some goals involving other folks in your life may creep into your board. Of course they would – your family or friends are important to you! Make sure your dreams occupy a prominent position on your board.

Bottom line, if you’re still feeling scrambled, start with the big pictures, try to fit on page in zones, add little pictures around those zones, sprinkle with motivational phrases and mantras and embellish if you want to. Having white space around your pictures helps create pause in your thoughts so don’t feel you need to cover every centimeter.

Advanced challenge: You could create a sunburst-shaped board with each ray being a different dream or goal.  Or, perhaps, a tree-shaped board with roots being goals to ground you and branches being dreams and things that help you grow.

Artistic vision board

I don’t know who made this but this example and many more are on Pinterest!

Revisit often:

  • Grab a coffee or tea and instead of jumping onto email or social media, look at your vision board first thing in the morning.
  • Post your vision board in your workspace to enable you to glance at it often.
  • Digital pictures or versions of your vision board could be posted as your desktop or phone background so your eyes fall on it regularly.
  • Some people suggest last thing at night so that your dreaming mind can play with the ideas while you sleep.

Digital pictures of your vision board can be used as computer backgrounds or headers

When to make a new one:

  • Create a new board annually, but consider bi-annually or even quarterly.
  • Sometimes when facing a large project, significant change or new challenge, a board specific to this new challenge helps organize your thoughts.

What if you’re still stuck:

  • Consider some self-reflection: Ask yourself what you would do if you could not fail or if money was no object. Ask yourself what you would volunteer to do if you didn’t have to have a job.
  • Journal: Some people swear by morning pages to jostle your dreams loose – 3 pages of free writing first thing in the morning. Write anything dancing through your  mind.

If you make a vision board, please share! I would love to get to know you better through your boards!

Be true to who you are

What about you?
Have you made a vision board before?
Will you try one now?
Do you have additional tips for vision boards?
Do you follow templates or let creativity guide you?
Share your best example of your vision board helping you attract something in your life!

#VisionBoard #SetYourGoals #HappyNewYear #Visualize #LawOfAttractions #MakesMeWander

#Afflink means if you purchase your supplies using this link then I may earn a few more pennies towards next year’s vision board party – at no extra cost to you.

WHY YOU NEED TO CREATE A VISION BOARD

As always, I’m SUPER excited and counting down our last 20 minutes until we roll over into a new year. While every day presents a new opportunity to walk in the direction of our dreams, I love the feel of a measureable new start! January 1 feels malleable and untarnished no matter how late I celebrated the night before. But, a few weeks ago, someone reminded me that not only would it be a new year but a new decade and I immediately felt a twinge of anxiety crawling up my spine. 

I immediately turned inward for some quick introspection (does that really every work if you rush it?)! I’ve spent every living day since then simmering on my word for 2020 and wondering how that would shape my vision board!

My vision board and why you should make one!

My 2020 Vision Board balancing myself, family, and my side-hustle!

WHAT IS A VISION BOARD?
In the most basic terms, vision boards represent your long-term and short-term goals and dreams plus offer a way to set, track and motivate you towards your goals. 

HOW DOES THE VISION BOARD WORK?
By creating a visual reminder of our dreams and goals, it helps create our intentions. Intentions create our reality. If we think we’re too busy to tend to our dreams then we will be too busy and blame it on work, our kids, or our spouses. But, if we live our life only for everybody and everything else, we’re not living ourselves. It’s not until we decide to make something a priority that we will commit time to it.

Oof there’s that word, commit – commitment. Setting a wide goal to write a book carries with it a big, scary commitment. However, if I put on my vision board the specific action goal, “Write 15 min. a day” then the task doesn’t seem as frightening. Plus, we reason with ourselves that we deserve at least 15 min. of our day to grow our dreams, right? I’m a big believer in baby steps and celebrate each one! Also include at least a few reach goals, try something new – the results may thrill you!

My 2018 vision board was hectic but I get to make a new one whenever I want to!

My 2018 vision board was 2-sided and way too hectic but it still served it’s purpose!

Visualizing helps train our brains for success! When I used to run foot races, we’d train only up to a certain distance but never the full mileage of our race. Part of preparing for our opportunities involved physical conditioning (forming the habit and getting our bodies used to the action). The last portion simply involved the mental belief that we’d make it. Just like the athletes who mentally visualize being successful in their match or events before competition day, if we create a board visualizing our dreams, we start thinking in terms of us reaching our goals and dreams. It will happen because we’ll start to feel like we’ve been there all along. 

Another key component involves repetition, referring back to your vision board regularly so either post it in your home, save it to your phone screensaver, or post a mini version on your car visor. By consciously checking in with it regularly, you keep your dreams and goals in the forefront of your mind. Then, when opportunities come up in the form of a class, conference or person who could perhaps help you grow, you’re more apt to notice them. This isn’t magic or rocket science, but just like when you get a new car and suddenly you feel like you see a ton of the same car on the road… 

My first vision board ever

My first vision board! Remember, sometimes goals show up in a different way than expected. While I never made it to the Oprah show, I’m now a Brand Ambassador for her magazine!

Positive Mindset helps you move forward. Stress and negative thoughts put an anchor that either creates a lot of extra work to drag it around, or keep you stagnant. Ask yourself what you want to manifest. Affirm the things you want to see in your life. For example if you’re hoping to increase the number of books you read this year, don’t say “I’m too busy to read” say “I look forward to reading Sundays!” When you focus on things from the positive side, you’ll not only keep moving forward, but you’ll recognize the gifts as they arise.  So then when your morning commute took longer than usual in your vanpool it becomes less about the delay and more about getting to read an extra chapter.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the step by step process for creating your vision board.
(Spoiler: There is no wrong way to create a vision board!)

Subscribe with your email if you want to receive that notice and learn how to host a great Vision Board party!

What about you?
Have you done a vision board before? For 2020?
How do you arrange yours? On a board? On a Wall? On your computer?
What do you always include? What do you never include?
Do you have another way to explain how they work?
Do you believe in the Law of Attraction?
Do you believe that vision boards tie in with that Law?

#VisionBoards #HappyNewYear #SetYourGoals #Visualize #PowerOfAttraction #MakesMeWander

NATURALLY, KIDS! A family bucketlist…

A childhood friend shared this article on Facebook. I immediately recalled the hours chasing her around outside her home. With her, I got to first experience feeding dogfood to a rescued baby bird, wheeling, then dumping, her little brother into the rosebushes because red wagons don’t corner well, and protesting the adoption of all her roly-poly puppies because we wanted to keep them all.

The article states what we already know, that in the age of Facebook and smartphones, children are more sedentary than ever even when they are outside, with one in 10 unable to ride a bike. This is their list of 50 things kids should do before they are 12 (plus a few I threw in). Since my son is almost 11, I’m just going to use it as a rough guide of 50 things to try to do before college. Though now that he is heading to college, we’ll say before his younger sister goes to college…

Feel free to join us for any or all of them!

The full list is as follows:

1. Climb a tree

After volunteering at a pancake breakfast we found an awesome tree with thick broad branches perfect for climbing!

2. Roll down a really big hill

One of the greatest activities at this party was the impromptu roll down a huge hill. If kids picked up enough speed they could go right in the lake.

3. Camp out in the wild

It’s dawn – time to wake up?!

4. Build a den

5. Skip a stone

skip

Right-handed Softballer; Left-handed Stone Skipper

6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

Flying Free with the wind in her hair!

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree

10. Play conkers

11. Throw some snow

This was the first snow found – dirty snow in the parking lot

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach

13. Make a mud pie

14. Dam a stream

15. Go sledging – I’m guessing they meant sledding as sledging is a great way to pollute the air with smacktalk!

Sailing over the snow!

In CA we also sand sled!

16. Bury someone in the sand

What if your head isn’t what’s buried in the sand?

17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree

19. Swing on a rope swing

I called this Ewok Training Camp in Hungary

20. Make a mud slide

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild

22. Take a look inside a tree

23. Visit an island

24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

Not a ride in nature, but the closest thing to flying at Knott’s Berry Farm!

25. Make a grass trumpet

26. Hunt for fossils and bones – or our hunt for Elliott if we want to be fully transparent – Like Elliott!

dragon

Only the cave knows what treasures it holds

27. Watch the sun wake up

28. Climb a huge hill (bicycle optional!)

Carson rode all the way up this exhausting hill for bragging rights and an ice cream!

29. Get behind a waterfall

30. Feed a bird from your hand

31. Hunt for bugs

32. Find some frogspawn

33. Catch a butterfly in a net

34. Track wild animals

35. Discover what’s in a pond

36. Call an owl

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly

39. Catch a crab

40. Go on a nature walk at night

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it

42. Go wild swimming

Swimming upstream!

43. Go rafting

44. Light a fire without matches

45. Find your way with a map and compass

46. Try bouldering

47. Cook on a campfire11/9/13 Lauren and her friend Riley learned how to cook Snickerdoodle cookies on a campfire in a box oven. I wish I’d taken a picture, but I didn’t so here is what it looked like (but we used cinder blocks, not coke cans).

The Snickerdoodle cookies were a huge hit! Lauren ate 3 herself! Thanks Prepared-Housewife.com for this photo! I'm your newest fan!

The Snickerdoodle cookies were a hit!  Thanks          Prepared-Housewife.com for the photo! I’m your newest fan!

48. Try abseiling

49. Find a geocache

50. Canoe down a river

51. Go on dog sled

Mush! We have a lot of Montecito Sequoia to explore!

52. Visit a national park preserve

Even grander in real life!

53. Do snow/sand angel

After falling off her bike a lot that day, she preferred activities already on the ground.

54. Squish toes in the mud

55. Jump in a pile of leaves

The crunchy leaves smell like fall!

56. Relax in a cave

Contemplating Superstitions at Superstition Mountain

What about you?
Do you have any bucketlists for your family?
What have I left off of this list?
Which National Park MUST I see first?
How have your family travel plans changed once kids go to college?

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