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Archive for the ‘Self Care’ Category

Evening rituals complete your day

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Some time ago I wrote about the power of morning rituals, and how they set you up for success.  Evening rituals can be just as powerful to end your day. They add a sense of completion, build confidence, and set you up for the next day. If you think about it, your evening rituals can have a significant impact on how your next day goes. A good evening can translate into a good morning. Unfortunately, a bad evening often leads to a not-so-good next day.

I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can be come habits. I have evening habits, or rituals, that make a difference. And, when I feel off one day, I can often trace the cause to the previous evening.

Here are some rituals to consider.

Review your day.

Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. At the end of his day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself “What good have I done today?” It was a follow up to his morning question of “What good shall I do this day?”

Consider what you learned. It’s not always something specific to a task, like a new way to use the software you just purchased or a shortcut to one of your art techniques. It could also be something that you learned about yourself.

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Escape to creativity!

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

What are you doing on your summer vacation? Yes, I know that as creative entrepreneurs you don’t really take a summer vacation. You are probably working in/on your business 24/7/365 and can’t possibly take time off.

Or maybe you do fit in some time because your spouse has a two-week vacation. Or maybe you still have a day job with vacation time and you don’t want to lose it all. According to Market Watch, the average American worker takes just over half his/her vacation time.

This summer try something different. Take time off and use it as an opportunity to open your mind, spice up your creativity, and see the world in a new way. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get out your coloring books

We all know that coloring is still on trend, so grab your crayons or colored markers and get to work. You can find coloring books anywhere today. Or you can draw your own design — something easy for quilters — and start there. Studies show that coloring has therapeutic results.

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The Certainties of Life

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Benjamin Franklin said, “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes.” This is tax week, with federal taxes due, or an extension filed, by yesterday. While no one enjoys paying taxes, as an entrepreneurs, you have greater control on the income you make than if we went to a “day” job and clocked in. I like to think of that blessing as I gather all the numbers to complete the return.

Other than taxes, death is the other certainty in this world. I’ve been thinking about how we grieve our losses due to death of those we love. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been touched by the death of two of my aunts, a friend, and my mother-in-law. As one of my wise sisters pointed out, this is what happens as we get older. So, definitely a certainty, but painful nonetheless.

One of the essential doctrines of Buddhism is that of impermanence. And, our difficulties dealing with that concept is what leads to our suffering. Everything is impermanent — our work, nature, our possessions, and, yes, people. I can appreciate this concept, yet I can still struggle with it in my life.

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Do You Have Self-Care Practice?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

self-care

Have you ever thought about how important it is to take time for yourself on a regular basis? Do you connect this with the health of your business?

This week I’m on a “business vacation.” It’s a retreat with friends in the business. We are all taking time to work on our business, and we are all taking time for our own self-care. We’ve treated ourselves with nice home prepared meals. We are sewing for ourselves. We’re enjoying the beach setting with walks on the beach and yoga/stretching inside with views of the water. We have hired a masseuse to come three times during the week. That is really taking care of yourself!

This is great for this week and we’re all supporting each other. What happens when we go back to our regular lives? I, for one, admit that while I might give self-care attention, I can get wrapped up in what’s going on and not make it the priority I should. And, when I don’t take care of myself, I’m not at my best when I work on my business. If you are in the same place, here are some thoughts.

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Secure Your Own Mask First

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

securemask

This week I am in Dallas on business and am fitting in a visit with one of my cousins. This required an airline flight from Baltimore. Of course, on the flight I heard the safety warnings, including the following:

“If cabin pressure should change, panels above your seat will open revealing oxygen masks; reach up and pull a mask towards you. … The plastic bag will not fully inflate, although oxygen is flowing. Secure your own mask first before helping others.”

When I first heard this years ago, my initial thought was that it seemed selfish. Shouldn’t you take care of those who can’t take care of themselves?

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Morning Rituals Are a Powerful Start to Your Day

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Morning Rituals Create Powerful Days

 

Do you have a daily habits? I am sure you have some. A habit is a decision that you make. Over time you stop making the decision to do this thing but continue to do it anyway. Like brushing your teeth or starting your car or putting the dishes away.

 

How about rituals? I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can become habits. I am sure you have rituals. For me, a morning ritual can be what really sets my day up for success. When I find that if my routine is altered somewhat and my ritual upset, my day can seem off. I do not feel like I have the same level of success.

 

How do you create a ritual? First, the ritual is personal. What works for me is not going to necessarily work for someone else and vice versa. The idea is to create something that sets you up for success and over time becomes a habit.

 

My morning ritual includes exercise, meditation, prayer, intention setting and a protein shake for breakfast. It is what works for me, and is a mix of mind, body and spirit. I also have an evening ritual. Here are some ideas to help you create a morning ritual or even add to the one you have.

 

Exercise, aka get moving. We all know exercise is good medicine. Start to incorporate some type of movement into your day. It could be a walk, yoga, running or dancing. Exercise has been proven to help depressions and increase happiness, so just pick some way to get moving.

 

Meditate. You have probably read about mindfulness meditation, as it is become more popular in the past few years. I am lucky that I have a sister who teaches this practice, so it has been on my radar for many years. Studies have shown that just a small amount of meditation increases creativity. Just start with five minutes, sit quietly, and focus on your breath. Don’t worry about doing it right or wrong; just practice.

 

Gratitudes. Many people, including me, keep a gratitude journal. It is a good exercise to create a gratitude list. It alters your state to the positive.

 

Hydrate. Getting enough water every day is important. I will take water with me on my morning walk so I can replenish what I lost overnight. A lot of people swear by adding lemon to warm water as the way to start a day.

 

Journaling. This might be “Morning Pages.” It might be writing about what you will accomplish during the day or how you feel spiritually, emotionally and physically.

 

Set an intention. Decide on your focus for the day. It is powerful to start your day with an intention.

 

Make a healthy breakfast. I know that starting with enough protein in my diet is important for me, so I always start with a protein shake. It is part of my ritual.

 

What are other examples of morning rituals? I know people choose affirmations, lighting candles, visualization, runes and angel cards, reading for 15 minutes, drawing or stitching for 15 minutes, and getting up an hour early every day.

 

It doesn’t really matter what you put into your ritual. The idea is that having a ritual sets you up for a more meaningful and productive day. And, you may find that you need rituals at other times of the day or at the end of the day. Just work with the idea of creating rituals that become habits.

 

Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

What are your morning rituals? I’d love to hear about them below in the comments section, or jump over to our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

 

Do You Practice Self-Care?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

iStock_000017591577Large

 

Did you ever get the message to slow down? Well, I got it big time last week when I fell, requiring eight stitches at my elbow, only to have most of those stitches pop out and get restitched with nine more. I know I tend to be full steam ahead at times, so this was a not-so-subtle hint to take a break.

 

If I go and look back over the past couple of months, I have not paid as much attention to my own self-care as I have in the past. Perhaps the biggest problem is that while I might give it attention, I do not make it the priority I should.

 

What exactly is self-care and why is it important?

 

Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for yourself on a physical, emotional or spiritual level. It is individual and what works for me may or may not work for you. I also think of it as doing things today that will make me feel good now and later.

 

Self-care is important because if you do not take care of yourself first, you are no good to others. Remember the oxygen mask talk from airline travels. The flight attendant tells you to put your mask on before helping others.

 

How do you practice self-care?

 

For each of us that looks different. One of my favorite resources when I talk about self-care is The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. Cheryl offers you 12 strategies (one for each month). Here are three.

 

1. Find Your Own Rhythm and Routine. Routines add stability and create balance in your life. Even routines at work make you more productive. Do not think of routine as boring!

 

To create your own rhythm and routine, Cheryl suggests asking yourself this question, “What one routine could I put in place this month that would improve my life the most?”

 

Next, write the routine down on an index card. Make a plan of how to incorporate this into your life. Keep the card in view where it reminds you of your commitment. After a week, consider if you feel more relaxed, balanced, or less overwhelmed.

 

Some of the routines I have are a walk each morning with friends, a meditation practice, breakfast and dinner with my husband, an evening walk with my husband and our dog. I know I need to work on getting my yoga practice back to a routine.

 

2. Create an Absolute No List. I imagine I am not the only person who has ever said yes to things she does not want to do.

 

It is just as important to know what you are willing to do as it is to know what you are not willing to do! Try to create a list of what you will not tolerate in your life. You do this to honor your own self-care. When Cheryl asked her friends for their examples, she got such “no’s” as live without pets; eat meat; finish reading books that lose my interest; feel bad about saying no when it is the best thing for me; do my own housecleaning; do my own taxes; and take phones calls during dinner. Your life will work better if you set these boundaries.

 

Cheryl suggests that when you start to put together your Absolute No List, you pay attention to how it feels in your body. Do activities cause tension or make you feel edgy? This is a sign to consider. Post the list where you can see it and imagine how it will make a difference in your life.

 

What is on my absolute no list? It includes not traveling early in the morning back from trade shows or other events. I used to take the early morning flight thinking I did not want to waste all the day, and I only ended up tired the next day. Now, I get a good night’s sleep and arrive home refreshed and ready to face the next day.

 

3. Learn to Disappoint. Is the reason you say yes (when you really don’t want to) because you do not want to disappoint? Do you take on tasks that don’t add to your life because you do not want to let someone down? My guess is we have all done this.

 

Cheryl offers three guidelines to help you “disappoint” people the right way:

 

    • Buy some time by telling the person you need to get back to them and let them know upfront that you may not be able to oblige.

 

    • Ask yourself if it is really something you would like to do using a scale of 1 to 10. I love Cheryl’s questioning that if you knew the person would not be angry or disappointed, would you say no.

 

    • Tell the truth with grace and love. She suggests being honest about how you feel, telling the truth directly in one or two sentences, asking how you can get the person the help they need if it is appropriate.

 

While I gave you some strategies and a resource, it’s important to remember that much of self-care is about the attitude that you you matter and that your needs matter.

 

How are you treating yourself with compassion and caring for yourself? I would love to hear from you and what your techniques are. Just leave your thoughts below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

How Do You Handle Criticism?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Several weeks back I had a conversation with a colleague about her distress over a poor review of her book on Amazon. “But I want everyone to love the book,” she said, really meaning, “I want everyone to love me.” She believed that if someone did not like the book, they did not like her.

 

I think we can all fall into that trap, wanting to be liked. I can remember exactly when I decided I didn’t care if everyone liked me. I was working in the offices of an ad agency, and one of the men in the office told me he didn’t like me. Well, how could that be? I am truly likable. Then I thought about it and realized that I did not really like him. He had poor work habits, always sloughing his work onto someone else, and I generally did not like being around him. Why did I think I cared anyhow?

 

It is just not possible to avoid criticism. And, hey, it does hurt sometimes.

 

So how do you handle it? Here are some my thoughts.

 

  1. Only one opinion really matters, and that is yours. If you choose to take personal responsibility for yourself, then you will be open to criticism. You just have to accept that it happens, and as one of my friends says, “Get on your own horse and live your life.”

 

  1. With that said, I will look at the criticism and look at the critic. Do I know this person? Do I respect this person? Only then is it time to ask if there is some validity to their criticism and whether it is constructive.

 

  1. Try some journaling. Why is the criticism so hurtful to you? Does it bring up past hurts that you have not dealt with. Does it start you on a negative spiral? Why? Understanding how the criticism impacts you can help you in the future.

 

  1. Protect yourself from the criticism. I said that your opinion is the one that matters, so do not open yourself up to naysayers. If you are a book author, do not look at your reveiws on Amazon. If you get negative emails, have someone else handle your emails. Your job is to keep yourself in a positive, growing place so you can focus on what is important — and those negative reviews definitely are not!

 

  1. Remember the criticism is not about you. It is about them. It doesn’t make it not hurt, though it is nice to have the reminder.

 

Finally, remember the words of Zig Ziglar,

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.”

 

Book Review: Hop, Skip, Jump

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Hop Skip Jump

 

Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life
Marney Makridakis
New World Library; $16.95

 

Have you ever considered the impact play has in what you bring about in your life? Creativity expert Marney Makridakis explains that manifesting ultimately comes down to momentum, and play connects us to the power of momentum, without even realizing it. Her goal in writing this book is to give us tools to use at the intersection between play and productivity to manifest whatever we desire. She starts out with a quirky quiz so we can learn if we are hoppers, skippers or jumpers. That lets you know if you are more comfortable connecting with your vision and plans to see that your dreams are on solid ground; trying lots of different things and creating momentum as a result; or quickly taking action and moving things to completion, sometimes without thinking things through. Once you have got your core comfort level determined, she gives you 75 ready-to-use tools to push through the blocks in your way. And, you can just open the book to any tool and use it then; no need to start at the beginning of the book and work your way through. Here are just a few: Creating your imaginary board of directors and holding an imaginary meeting; creating your own permission slips; using Internet oracles to answer project questions; turning your doubts into dares. I also loved her quick fun facts and AcroWhims (ACTION = Answering Calls to Initiate Opportunities Now) and Manifestagrams (Manifest= “Amen” fits) at the end of the chapters. This book is downright fun and will get your creative, productive juices running.

 

Look for this book at your favorite quilt or book retailer. Here’s a link to Amazon if you would like to learn more about the book.

 

How Are You Sharpening Your Saw?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

small_8684715923One of my favorite books is Stephen A. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit 7 is about sharpening the saw. Covey shares the story of a man who has worked for more than five hours to saw down a tree. When asked why he does not take a break and sharpen the saw, sure to speed his work along, the man replies, “I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. I’m too busy sawing!”

Covey goes on to define sharpen the saw as “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you.” It is about renewing yourself, physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially/emotionally. This requires a proactive investment in ourselves. And it takes time, something we all seem to find in short supply. I will be the first in line to say it is easy to get caught up in my daily activities and neglect sharpening my saw. With so much going on with the day-to-day activities of my business and other commitments beyond work, where am I going to find time to “sharpen the saw?” For me, it is about making it a priority – and honoring that priority. I am big on time blocking, and this is one way you can put that to use. Currently I have time blocked for a variety of “sharpening” activities.

Here are some ideas for sharpening your saw:

  1. Visit a museum
  2. Try a new technique or class
  3. Educate yourself (read something new, go to a seminar, listen to one of our teleclasses)
  4. Journal
  5. Organize your studio
  6. Review and update your goals
  7. Take time to exercise or try yoga
  8. Enjoy natural surroundings

Covey also explains his “Upward Spiral” concept of renewal that allows us to grow and change. To do this, we must consciously learn, commit and do; learn, commit and do; continuously. This will keep your blade sharp. Where are your blades dull and what are you doing to sharpen them?

I also wanted to share an appropriate quote

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Please share how you “sharpen your saw?”

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photo credit: steeljam via photopin cc

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below.
Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

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