The New Year and Caring for Your Soul

The new year is a time of new beginnings when the slate is clean and we get to start over. It's the time when people are making goals, going on fitness programs, and deciding to start the year in a blaze of activity. 

Yes and...

It may not be that way for all of us. 

Some of us are in slow mode.

If you're like me, you don't want to do anything except take a nap, lie down, be quiet, and read a book. Raise your hand if you feel like this. 

It’s stormy and rainy in northern California right now and all I want to do is go slow and not think about what I "need" to do. 

Normally I have loads of energy and I'm ready to start the new year full-on with goals for what I want to achieve and do. I've usually figured out my word for the year to remind me to stay on track.

This year, not so much. I'm not motivated. At all. 

I decided to ask my future self (something I do every morning) about why I feel so slow and she said, "well, think about it, Jo."

The...

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The key to less stress and living longer is not what you think

Recently I talked to my 8-year-old granddaughter, Ella, and told her that I had a dream that she would lead a retreat with me one day when she's older. 

I explained to her what a retreat was and she said, “I'd love to do that.”

And then I said, "what part would you lead?"

She said “I dunno.” 

And I said, “well, maybe you could remind women how to play.”

She looked at me in disbelief and said “what”? 

I told her that sometimes adults forget how to play. 

She looked at me as if I was from another planet. 

In her little mind, not knowing how to play was incomprehensible. 

 That day, I realized that I, too, had forgotten how to play.

It began raining that same afternoon. Both Ella and her sister Katie ran out fully dressed and they did what kids do…relished in playing in the rain, laughing, yelling, and having the time of their lives. 

Tapping into my younger self

For once, I...

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Why is self care so hard to remember?

Why do we forget that self-care is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, for our sanity, our well-being, and our health? 

If it’s so important, then why aren’t we all doing everything in our power to relax, chill out, and set aside time no matter what happens? 

Years ago when I was in the midst of parenting my teenage sons, I remember my coach asking me, what do you do for self-care? 

It took me a few seconds to blurt out, "uh, what do you mean exactly"? 

She patiently replied, "you know, how do you take care of yourself? What do you do just for yourself?" 

I was totally blank.

I could not identify one thing. Because I was so busy running a household, working in a mental health clinic as well as starting my own private practice, and trying my best to be a good mom and wife.

It was a lot. 

And in the process...I forgot about me. 

Starting my self-care journey

So I began my journey of focusing on myself after that time....

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When self care becomes an absolute necessity

Recently when I was in Hawaii, I talked to my friend, Emily Emmons, who is one of the most get-things-done kind of women I know.

She started a nonprofit called Hoʻōla Farms in 2015 to teach military veterans, first responders, their families, caregivers, and the community how to grow healthy food. With her guidance and drive, it's now grown into a farm, and a commercial kitchen, and also provides an array of training and hands-on experiences. 

She has done all of this in hopes of creating a more sustainable future and well-being for all. If you're looking for a worthwhile organization to support this would be it! You can read about this amazing organization here. 

No one is coming to save us

Emily has been scrappy with finding money to fund all of these programs as she started with nothing back in 2015.

She knows that climate change is affecting our food supply so she's finding a way to make a difference because she cares. She knows that the...

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Have your best self-care summer ever

Summer is the sweetest time for self-care. If we really listen to ourselves, we know intuitively that summer is the best time to slow down. So let's create the best self-care summer ever for ourselves.   

Take time to relax and recharge

The summer invites us all to do everything at a slower pace. It's ok to relax and be lazy sometimes. 

It's a time to get away…it’s vacation time.

And…it’s the summer solstice on June 21st...the longest day of the year. We have more light to be outside, play, and watch the setting sun while it's warm.  

When we take this time to take care of ourselves by letting our brains rest, our bodies relax, we create balance and we become more creative. When we slow everything down, then we can see what needs to be changed in our lives.

Summer self-care is easier to do than you think. 

Last summer I took a personal self-care retreat. It was transformative. 

Before leaving, I was exhausted and burned...

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What’s so hard about asking for what you want or need?

self-care self-love Jun 09, 2022

Imagine this scenario: you're overwhelmed, the to-do list is a mile high and you wish someone would come to you and say “how can I help”? 

But you don't really say anything. You just keep it to yourself, sometimes seething, sometimes saying it doesn’t really matter, or it’s easier and quicker to do it yourself. And you stuff your feelings. Or blow up and say things you don’t really mean. 

You might hear yourself say sarcastically, "it would be nice if the people around me (spouse, kids, coworkers) would just pitch in and help."

Can you relate?

Asking for help and support when you need it

Do you even know what kind of help you need? 

There are tons of people, especially women, who aren’t asking for what they want or need. 

Let’s see if you can relate. 

  • When was the last time you wanted something but you didn’t ask for it? 
  • How many times a day do you ask for help? 
  • Are you trying to do...
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How to do morning pages as part of your morning rituals

self-care Apr 29, 2022

Writing morning pages is a simple practice that can be an added benefit to not only your morning routine but your day as well.

Julia Cameron, author, and artist, wrote a book called The Artist Way back in 1992. In it, she encourages the reader to write morning pages... three pages of free-flowing thought by longhand. 

You are probably thinking, isn’t that journaling? Yes, yes, it is. However, morning pages are done first thing in the morning, and without any premeditation as to what will be written. Mrs. Cameron suggests that we write 3 pages without stopping. 

Benefits of doing morning pages 

I wrote morning pages without fail for two years straight. And it was a beautiful, insightful ritual that allowed me to start my day and delve deeper into my thoughts and desires as I navigated a huge transition period in my life. 

The benefits of this practice are vast. The process will allow you to clear the revolving ideas from your mind, open up to new ways of...

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8 big ways a gratitude journal can help you

journaling self-care Apr 14, 2022

I don't remember how it started exactly.

I was living in Okinawa, Japan working on a Marine Corps base as a psychotherapist. Our work was demanding and stressful.  

Right away, I realized that if I was going to make it, I'd have to do something different than getting worked up over the frustrating and unnecessary hoops we had to deal with.

So every morning as I got in my car and drove away from my home, I started thinking of the things that WERE going right. I started a list of 10 things in my head I was grateful for. 

It became a ritual. I'd drive by the ocean on the way to work (which was enough to be grateful in itself) and say 10 things I was grateful for. By the time I drove through the security gate at the base, I was grounded and ready to go to work to help the Marines I was there to help. 

Later I started writing those 10 things in my journal every day, and since then I've discovered many things about keeping a gratitude journal since...

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How to be kind to yourself: Self-Compassion

self-care self-love Apr 07, 2022

It might surprise you to hear that one of the best ways to cultivate a hopeful, optimistic outlook is to practice some radical self-compassion. 

Frequently people confuse self-compassion with self-indulgence or even selfishness. But being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others, if not more so. 

Self-Compassion Makes You More Optimistic 

Being kind to yourself means you can stop that vicious cycle of self-blame and recrimination. It prevents you from ruminating on past mistakes and builds your resilience and confidence so you can pick yourself up and get back on track. 

When you are kind and encouraging to yourself, your anxiety levels drop, your mood lifts, and you become more optimistic and hopeful about the future.

Cultivate Mindfulness To Be More Self-Compassionate

Perhaps the best way to start your self-compassion practice is to adopt a more mindful attitude to life. Mindfulness focuses on the acceptance of who you are, and where you...

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What your grandmother really wanted you to know but she couldn't say

self-care self-love Mar 31, 2022

I was raised by a very strong mother and an even stronger grandmother. They did everything. My mother ran a business with my father, took care of him after he had a nervous breakdown, paid the bills, and parented the kids pretty much on her own. 

I don’t remember seeing her take a break except when she worked in our backyard, growing flowers or planting cuttings from someone else’s garden. She was ALWAYS busy. 

Her mother, my grandmother, was equally busy but she had a different style. 

As a farmer's wife, "MaMa,"(as we lovingly called her) milked the cow, churned butter, washed clothes for our family, prepared special meals for my grandfather, and always baked a cake on the weekend for Sunday "dinner" as well as cooking a huge spread for the whole family. 

In addition to each full day, she would drive over to her sister-in-law's house. Aunt Angie was bedridden with rheumatoid arthritis and MaMa would drive to her house to take her a meal, cut her...

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.