taking care

post-COVID pep talk

so much has fallen into place these last few months. part of me wants to celebrate, but a part of me is energized and inspired to accomplish more. it’s not an entirely new feeling, but one that hasn’t come up in a while.

i am moving away from survival mode and finally into a space where i can analyze, evaluate, and evolve. these past pandemic years uncovered determination and resilience in myself, the likes of which i’ve never seen. 

as i reflect, i feel proud to have endured the hardship and uncertainty. at the same time, i am keenly aware of how those years of being stuck in “fight or flight’ mode have affected me.  it’s exhausting to be worried about work, family, security, and health all at once all the time.

every human has to consider a few major focus areas in life:

basic needs // one’s ability to obtain food and shelter profoundly impacts the way they see the world. 

health // this does not just encompass physical well-being and mental health, but also personal safety. 

relationships // humans depend on social interaction, evolving and adapting in relationship to other beings.

during the pandemic, every human on the planet experienced a disruption to one, if not all three, of these things. this makes us feel off balance, preoccupied, irritable and unsettled. as a result, we did what humans do best which is to respond to stimuli. 

our nervous system is awe-inspiring AND remains largely unchanged from many thousands of years. when we feel stress in our bodies, they react the same way they did since the dawn of human existence. this means that the body’s natural response to being chased down in the bush by a prehistoric saber-toothed tiger is the same way we react to getting a snarky email from a coworker or encountering a traffic accident on our way to an appointment. our muscles tense, our heart rate increases, and our senses heighten. regardless of the stimulus, our sympathetic nervous system is blind to the details and can only hear one message: 

S T R E S S. 

so, when life hands us a rotten egg as it did in 2020, and the drama mounts because we experience job loss, exposure to infectious disease, and physical distance from the ones we love, we are no longer able to function as we did before.

we transition into survival mode: a sustained ‘fight or flight’ response that sends our stress hormones into overdrive.. as we soldier through the day with clenched teeth and fists, we make choice after critical choice in order to survive each moment. 

instant gratification really shines when we are in this state, bringing with it joy and pleasure that delights even if it is temporary. and why shouldn’t we enjoy a momentary respite from the constant survival struggle? we cannot pour from an empty cup after all. 

for me, it’s food. abundant and delicious food makes me happy and, when i’m extremely overprogrammed with stressful thoughts, it offers comfort from the chaos and a chance for me to enjoy myself. for others, it’s a glass of wine or online shopping or garbage television. whatever we use, the result is the same: a feeling of joy that soothes and reminds us everything is fine so we can continue the fight to survive.

the sympathetic nervous system is critical to human survival, but excessive activation comes at a price. i will stay out of the weeds and simply say that chronic stress does, in fact, take a great toll on our mental and physical health. 

for this reason, i have to share my gratitude for the blessings of this year. through a lot of hard work, a little luck, and boatloads of determination, i managed to pull off some sweeping lifestyle changes that are helping to balance my three main focus areas. i am starting to feel secure in my survival once again.

plentiful work at new companies and homeownership means that food, shelter, and utilities have once again become a certainty for my family. research has produced therapies and vaccines for COVID-19 that have stabilized the spread which helps assuage my health concerns and provided more opportunities for gathering with loved ones. 

simply put, i’m not wringing my hands with worry every day, or doom scrolling on my news feed. i have things to look forward to again. for the first time since january of 2020, i feel like i have room in my brain to level up. and now that i can look out a little further into the horizon, i want to optimize. i don’t just want to survive, i want to thrive. so, where to begin? 

let’s circle back to instant gratification. it is incredibly powerful because it can lift us from the lowest of places with a snap of a finger. we will go to great lengths for the dopamine rush, even if it yields an undesirable outcome. 

for myself, the action of eating comfort foods has become a ‘go-to’ solution in my survival toolkit for how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. it felt good in the moment, but i’m not sure it’s serving me anymore. of course, i want to lose the extra weight, but i recognize there is a bit more to the solution than that.

before i can change my survival habit for good, i have to understand where it’s coming from. i also need to forgive myself for “letting it happen” in the first place. 

as much as i wish life were a video game, and i could just select a different character or persona when it suits me, it is not this way. change and adaptation takes much more time, attention and intention than i had to give when was stuck in survivor mode. 

i am working to reframe the moment and choose self-kindness. my inclination is to be frustrated with myself for end up in a place i didn’t like, however the smarter, wiser me is proud of myself for surviving and eager to create better habits for the future. 

the journey to thriving will be long, but i am curiously optimistic about what i will learn along the way.  wanna join me?

xo,

e

taking care

Running the Road to Nowhere

Like so many people this year, I’ve been combatting my cabin fever with exercise at home and outdoors. Fitness today is not the same as it was pre-pandemic, you know when we had races to train for and studio classes with our favorite good vibe tribes. BUT at-home workouts have been a marvelous way to manage stress during this crazy time, and I am thankful to have remained healthy through the last several months. 

I feel proud of myself for “not skipping a beat” and maintaining an active lifestyle despite all the closures and quarantines and disruptions to life, but I have noticed something I can’t ignore: I am completely burned out. I have not raced since late winter and haven’t really strived for much beyond my average weekly mileage for months now. Yet somehow, I feel as though I’m running the road to nowhere.

Sometimes we ignore the signs

This is not an all-of-a-sudden feeling either. If I’m totally honest, I’ve been low on motivation for many weeks now. At first I thought it was just hot, then I thought I just needed to double down on my routine, or push through it. Before long, the self-doubt started creeping in; maybe I am out of shape or no longer passionate about fitness.

Why and how can this be? It feels like I’m not doing really anything, so how can I be tired of it… Does this feeling of shapeless fatigue sound familiar to you? 

As I stop and think a moment, it occurs to me that what I’m feeling is a combination of guilt and fatigue. I feel spent yet I don’t feel I’ve done enough to warrant a break. 

Rest does not have to be earned.

We talk a lot, especially on The91Rewind, about the importance of rest and integrating it into our self-care routine. And the truth is this: rest is not something we deserve only after a monumental effort. It’s not something that we must earn. Rest is a vital part of keeping our engines running and our living our best life. 

While I haven’t been out there killing trail races every weekend, or getting promoted at work, or teaching sold out handstand workshops, I have still been doing my gosh darn best. And that – particularly in today’s current and colorful climate, takes a great deal of effort and energy. Living necessitates rest. Not living well or maximally, or heroically or any other superlative…just living and surviving the day to day entitles us to a break now and then. 

So I’m going to press  P A U S E …

Just like our cell phones, without regularly and intentional recharging, we will eventually run out of batteries.  Don’t wait until you think you’ve earned it (you already have) or worse, until it becomes your only option. Let’s be proactive and practice rest just like we practice anything else.

Have a great month, friends! And give yourself a little break now and then!

pause + rewind + try again

we’re baaaaack!

Have you ever had a period of time where it felt like you’re always stuck in second gear? You know, when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year? (If you just sang that to the tune of the Friend’s theme, I’m proud of you.) We have definitely felt that way at many points from November 2019 through April 2020. Both Erica and I had large projects at work, side jobs and volunteer work, not to mention making time for our significant others, family, and friends. Just when we were coming up to catch our breath and get back to blogging again, then a global pandemic hit. Now that we’ve caught our breath AGAIN, we’re baaaaack!

We thought it was time to introduce ourselves again…

We are two best friends (Crystal and Erica) that have known each other since the summer of 1991 (might notice 91 in the name), that hope to encourage you to press pause, hit REWIND, and try again. Pausing, rewinding, and trying again can look different depending on the day, the week, month, or maybe even year (sorryish, I couldn’t resist). We like to talk about self-care, our local communities (Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia), things happening in our world that speak to our hearts, and living green. 

We might not be experts, but we have heart…

We are by no means experts on the previously mentioned topics, but they are things that mean a lot to us. We both have a tendency to go hard, overschedule ourselves, and forget to slow down for self-care. We both know and firmly believe that it’s a crucial thing for our lives and mental health. We hope to share content that encourages you to make yourself a priority, while we continually work to do the same. When we’re not writing about wellness and self-care, you’ll catch us worrying, texting each other, and fretting about the world around us. The two of us feel things deeply when our world is hurting, and sometimes sharing what’s on our hearts helps to spur us to action or get others thinking about it. We might not write about every problem in the world, but on occasion, we hope you’ll pause and think deeper about how we can make the world a better place together. Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing your own grocery bag, water bottle, or cup, and sometimes it means writing letters, serving on a committee, or speaking out. 

Keeping it local

Why write about Richmond, Virginia and Raleigh, North Carolina? We have a special spot for Richmond, Virginia because that is where we met. It was on its suburban streets where we rode our bikes, played pretend, and shared our dreams with each other. Then it was on its urban streets that we ate and drank our way around to our gastronomic delight. We also both love where we currently live (Crystal in Richmond, Erica in Raleigh), and hope you will too. Whether you live in these cities or pass through, we hope you’ll pause in them to enjoy some of the goodness we love.

It’s never too late to try again…

In thinking about the things that matter to us, we want you to know that it’s never too late to start over. We all start off with the best of intentions, but sometimes things just don’t go as planned. In those moments, we encourage you to press pause (especially on the negative self-talk), hit rewind (to reflect on moving forward), and try again. 

As we move forward in 2020 (and beyond), let’s be kind, and push one another onward and upward.

Xoxo,

C

Living Well

Don’t Forget Yourself

November is well underway at this point. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is just around the corner with other winter holidays following close behind. It’s a busy time of year, which for many of us will only get busier. While you’re running around gifting and giving this holiday season, don’t forget yourself.

I say this because I’ve noticed that in my own life, the self-care rituals I really enjoy are the first things that drop off when my schedule picks up. We all have responsibilities and must be flexible at times; it’s part of adulting. But we usually sacrifice those little things that bring us joy when we need them the most. Head’s up-I have one way to ensure you get yourself a little TLC before the holidays, (and at 15% off too) but you’ll have to read on for that.

When the tasks pile up, I feel like I don’t have time to take care of myself. How can I possibly go to yoga when I have so much to do? I can’t spend an hour cooking when I’m already behind on this project…Sounds familiar, yah? I think many of us have felt this conundrum. FELT being the key word. 

If only I had more…Subconsciously I believe if I can require less energy/time/food/sleep/whatever I can have more energy to channel elsewhere. While it would be cool, this logic doesn’t say much for common sense. The truth is that we have to take care of our needs if we’re going to be of any use to the world. And speaking of the world, it will continue to turn regardless, so you may as well make yourself a priority.

Simply put, we cannot get something from nothing. I think it was a third grade science lesson that I first learned that matter can neither be created or destroyed. It can be transformed though and embody different states. I like to think about human energy in the same way. Our energy can ebb and flow but it is present at all times.

Self-care is one way we can transform our energy. Spending time generating good feelings can help us feel rejuvenated and refreshed. A few months ago I had an opportunity to recharge my energy at a local yoga retreat hosted by my dear friends Lauren and Cici. It was the perfect way to reconnect with myself and my yoga practice in a playful and friendly atmosphere. Here’s a little recap of my Day Pass experience.

The retreat was located nearby at The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain in Chapel Hill which is about 40 minutes outside of Raleigh. I couldn’t go for the whole weekend, but I was able to purchase a Day Pass to attend the Saturday sessions. This was perfect because it allowed me to enjoy a TON of great activities like multiple yoga classes, workshops AND yummy snacks, at a great price.


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

I arrived at the farm and was greeted by the sweetest little goats just in time to gather with the group for a quick cup of tea. We said hellos and headed upstairs for an energetic morning vinyasa lead by Lauren. About 75 ass-kicking minutes later, I was roused from Savasana by the scent of roasted sweet potatoes. Magically, there was a delicious brunch spread waiting for us after class. It thoughtfully included every possible dietary option with labels to help clarify… very nice touch!

After brunch, we had a couple of hours to explore the farm before we resumed our afternoon activities. I took a walk down to the adorable Honeysuckle Tea House to get a cuppa and chat with some of the other retreat goers. To my surprise, everyone had the same story. We chose to attend the retreat because it was perfect for a last-minute Treat YoSelf activity. 

We reconvened in the afternoon for a workshop focused on demystifying the “bandhas” which of course, lead to an upside-down yogi recess. Even with many different levels of experience, Cici was able to get everyone playing with the concept of arm balancing. SO FUN!


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After this empowering but exhausting hour, Emilee from Healer’s Hemp Co gave us a crash course in all things Cannabis. She offered some insight on dosing and what to look for as you shop. Raleigh Raw came through with a create-your-own poke bar which was a huge highlight for me. I just LOVE Raleigh Raw and I got extra cashew sauce this time. 

Our evening yoga class was inspired by Yin and Thai massage and was a perfect way to conclude such a physical day. We partnered up for some assisted stretches, which contrary to my expectation, was not weird at all. (By that point in the day, we were all very close friends, ha!) The class was gentle and relaxing and it left me feeling restored but still alert…I had to drive home after all. 


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After a fireside s’more, I hugged everybody–literally everybody at the retreat, goodbye and headed home. I was so blissed out, I don’t even think I turned on the radio.

So, with the Day Pass I got way more than I paid for…multiple yoga classes, knowledge, delicious foods, fellowship with awesome yogis AND I was home before 11pm! It was amazing and I highly encourage you to join Lauren and Cici for a day at their upcoming Winter Immersion Nov 21-24. For 15% off, use the code DAYPASS15 when you check out. Visit the retreat website to sign up; the discount is valid until Saturday 11/16.

As the holidays draw near and you’re giving everything to everyone, don’t forget yourself. You deserve TLC as much as the next guy or gal on your list. When things get crazy double down on the joy mongering. Make time for fun so you can smile your way through these wild times. 

Whether you commit to your weekly fitness class, family dinners or spending a day (or maybe the whole weekend) at an amazing local retreat, DO NOT forget yourself this holiday season.

in love and light,

E

taking care

On your left: A handy guide to outdoor activity etiquette

It’s still summer for a little while longer, but that hasn’t stopped people from ramping up their outdoor activities. You may notice an increase in the amount of bicycle and foot traffic on the sidewalks and in the parks this time of year. Folks may be training for a fall event, getting back into the school routine, or simply looking to take advantage of those declining temperatures as the days shorten. I’ve got a few ideas for sharing the road (or trails or sidewalks) for motorists and movers as well. HINT: It’s not just shouting “on your left” as you pass! Please review this handy dandy guide to outdoor activity etiquette.


outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!

outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!

Let’s get the formalities out of the way. Here are three rules of the road that can help make your outdoor activity ventures MORE fun and safe.

  1. Bicycles are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk! They are considered a vehicle (at least in NC) and should ride as close to the right side of the street WITH the traffic if there is no bike lane. If there is a bike lane, sweet! Still, stay in your lane. When I see bicycles on the sidewalk I become unhinged. Why should I jump into the street to avoid an oncoming bicycle who is A.) not supposed to be on the sidewalk and B.) who is traveling illegally against traffic? I am risking my life so that this cyclist can break two rules? Yikes.

  2. Runners and walkers should travel on sidewalks, AGAINST the traffic. Opt to use sidewalks whenever you can, but if you must run on the road, slow up and look around. I never cross in front of or behind a car until I have confirmed eye contact with the driver. Once I’m SURE they see me, I will move around them. This may mean slowing down the pace a little at intersections and road crossings, but hey, showing up to the finish line alive and healthy should be the goal of any training plan, right?

  3. Tell people when/where you’re heading out and how long you think you will be gone-especially if you don’t typically carry your cell phone with you. This is not a state or federal law obviouslt, but it is an easy accountability step that can help you feel more secure and confident. Not only that, but it gives you a little support crew that will know when and where to look for you should something happen.

Now, what follows are some things I would really like you (our readers) to think about and strongly consider. You may not get a ticket for violating these guidelines, but they are still important enough to mention. 

Be mindful. 

Pets belong on leashes. PERIODT. Y’all, you KNOW I love animals. I have a dog and a cat and I love other people’s pets and take selfies with them. I follow a lot of pet and animal accounts on instagram and pet videos make me cry on the daily. BUT if I see you and your dog frolicking on the greenway, in the park, or on the sidewalk without a leash, I will stop and ask you to leash your animal for safety purposes. Ask about me. Anyone who runs with me (especially on the greenways in Raleigh) has seen me do this.

I don’t hate dogs. I’m not afraid of them either. It is simply unsafe FOR YOUR PETS to be loosey-goosey in these public outdoor areas. There are many scenarios that could catch even the most perfectly poised pets (and their owners) off-guard and create a hazard. It’s not even the danger to other humans on the greenway as much as it is for the safety of the dog itself. When your animal is physically tethered to you, you have a greater degree of control. Ever tried to chase a dog on a leash? No, of course not, because you don’t have to.


even on the greenway, rules are rules!even on the greenway, rules are rules!

even on the greenway, rules are rules!

Now, I get a lot of flap from indignant dog owners on this one. I do not care how great of a relationship you have with your dog, how well trained it is, or how well it listens to your commands. I can guarantee that your preferred outdoor activity spot has signs that indicate off-leash pets are prohibited. This is not a selectively-enforced policy to punish bad dogs. It is to protect all dogs (or cats or rabbits—which I’ve also seen on leashes on the greenway) from the inherent dangers of a public outdoor space. 

One way to think about the argument that someone’s dog is “too well behaved” to follow leash rules is to think about other moving violations. If you get pulled over for speeding, would you argue that you shouldn’t get a ticket because you’re really good at driving fast? No. This would be ridiculous. The officer who pulled you over does not care how skilled you are at not having a collision while driving over the speed limit. They care that you put yourself and others in danger by breaking the law. Leash rules are the same way. They do not exist to punish dogs who misbehave. They are there to reinforce safety and order in these public spaces. 

Be aware.

Fitness is IN and there are more people than ever before enjoying an active lifestyle outdoors. These folks come in all different shapes, sizes, speeds, etc. Some walk or run, others rollerblade, ride a bicycle or a big wheel. Sometimes there are big groups, sometimes solo adventurers. You never know whom or what you will see out there, but you can be sure you WILL encounter something. This is a big one. If we expect to encounter one another, motorists and movers alike, we can stay safe!

Drivers…

please get on my level. It is easy to let “autopilot” take over as we commute to and from work. It takes a conscious effort to train our awareness to detect non-vehicle sized objects on roadways, but it is worth it. None of us EVER wants to end someone’s workout by putting them in the hospital. This may sound dramatic, but it is true. 

I run every day, mostly on sidewalks and greenways during DAYLIGHT hours, but you would be shocked at the number of people that “don’t see me” because I’m not shaped like an SUV. The other day,  I put my hands (rather forcefully) on the hood of a woman’s car to get her to stop accelerating into a right-hand turn and realize I was still in the road. It’s sort of hilarious to imagine; I know I startled her, but at the same time, this is my life! She did not see me because she wasn’t looking to see me. Even running over me at a slow speed would have resulted in significant injuries. PAY ATTENTION!

Movers:

You can help by keeping your eyes and EARS open. I love running with music blasting through my headphones, but those headphones are affecting my ability to hear the world around me. I bailed off the side of the road the other day because I didn’t hear a bicycle coming behind me and was caught unaware. Luckily there were no oncoming vehicles, but still, it was a sign for me to ditch the tunes and get connected to my environment. Turn music down or try something new and different and leave the headphones at home during peak activity times such as after work and weekend morning hours.

Take it a step further and foster good vibes by saying hello to everyone you encounter. Tell them they are looking strong or to have a good morning. Truly sharing the road is a two-way street, and mindful consideration is our mode of transportation.

As we embark on this new season and the promise of more pleasant outdoor temperatures, stay alert and pay attention. No matter how you use the road, take  the time to notice all that is happening around you. It will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Get out THERE and SAFELY enjoy the road, the park, or the greenway to the fullest!  Thanks for coming to my TED Talk and Happy Adventures!

E

taking care

Wanna go streaking?

Hey! Do you wanna go streaking with us? No, we’re not talking about stripping off all of your clothes and running, but you’re more than welcome if to do so if you think it’s a good idea. We’re talking about the kind of streaking you may have heard Erica has been doing for over a year, almost 500 days if we want to get technical. When we say streaking, we mean committing to doing something everyday. 

What kind of something?

That’s a personal decision. It’s a commitment to yourself, to do something for you, that challenges you to be your best you, and pushes you to grow. For Erica it’s getting out there running every single day for at least one mile. For Crystal, this is a completely different ballgame. The only thing she’s been streaking of late has been the care of her family, in particular her children, rather than focusing on herself. If we’re going to be completely honest, Crystal has some decisions to make when it comes to streaking. 

What’s Erica going to do?

She’s going to keep doing what she’s been doing…Erica’s streak has been going for quite a while now, but she wants everyone to know it’s about quality (of life) and NOT quantity (of miles). Running every day is simply about finding time to do something that brings joy. Sometimes it’s a majestic journey that takes me to new destinations, sometimes it’s just a mile around the block, sometimes it’s just an excuse to listen to those new Missy Elliott tracks. It’s not about getting faster, losing weight, or being cooler than other runners who don’t streak. It’s simply a fun way to create a little time for self-care.  

What’s Crystal going to do?

She’s going to go basic and make a commitment to her own self-care. Yes, the woman who blogs and talks about self-care, is needing to make her own self a priority. Each day she will do one thing, preferably first thing in the morning, for herself that she needs. Caring for others is great, noble, and needed (particularly when you have tiny humans in your house), but your own needs are just as important. Each day Crystal will take time to exercise, read, or meditate all on her own so that she can recharge for what lays ahead of her. Once again, she’s making herself a priority so that she can be her best self, wife, mom, daughter, friend, you name it. 

How can you streak with us?

  1. Share what you are going to do. 

  2. Hold us accountable. (Ask questions about progress, call us out if we’re silent about what we’re doing,)

  3. Rejoice with us in our progress. (We hope to get incrementally better each day). 

  4. Encourage us when it’s tough (we promise to be vulnerable and share when it’s hard)

  5. Share your progress and struggles with us too

We hope that you’ll join us on this streaking journey and that we can encourage one another.

xoxo,

c+e

Uncategorized

Self-Care is NOT selfish

Today, I want to talk about guilt. Not a guilt-trip or a verdict in a courtroom, oh no. I’m talking about the guilt we heap upon our very own selves. That special kind of self-loathing reserved for when we do or feel compelled to do something we shouldn’t. Eating the extra helping of dessert, taking a chill day when our to-do list is miles long, or just generally living with a case of the fuckits… We are adults (mostly) in command of our own lives, yet when we decide to do something for ourselves, we feel terrible about it! Not only that, but the guilt hangs around haunting us. My question is why? Self-care is not selfish.

Humans are hardwired to focus on deficiencies. 

We are analytical, detail-oriented beings who are very good at noticing when things don’t add up. As a species, this has served as well and made us very good at keeping ourselves alive (in a primitive sense) and seeking out and exploiting opportunities. Along the way, we’ve developed a practice of shortcutting by way of binary thinking. In trying to make decisions quickly and efficiently, we label things as good or bad, wrong or right, love or hate. We want more good and less bad, we want to be right and we don’t want any negativity. I mean positive vibes only, yah? It all seems very simple, maybe too simple.

For a great many of us, this mindset shapes our view of self-care. 

More good stuff, less bad stuff. Spend more time doing more things, not just things —productive and important things. As if taking care of ourselves is some irresponsible act, we view time spent on ourselves as something that could/should have been spent doing something more valuable. Like taking care of ourselves is at the direct expense of the rest of the world. No wonder it makes us feel shitty.

If we ask ourselves whose responsibility it is to take care of us, to ensure our happiness and safety, we know the answer. Yet, we trivialize any effort undertaken to deepen our relationship with ourselves. This simply makes no sense. Self-care is NOT selfish. If we are aware of the important role wellness plays in our day-to-day lives, we should feel empowered to seek self-care and wellness. We should not feel bad or guilty when we practice self-care. 


join Erica for a flow class on July 27!join Erica for a flow class on July 27!

join Erica for a flow class on July 27!

By gosh we should feel PROUD of ourselves!

The last time you woke up and didn’t feel good, you probably went to work anyway. Maybe you just had a tough day, but maybe you found yourself feeling worse and eventually at the doctor sometime later. By that point, you earned a note from a physician that says you’re officially sick and authorized to begin caring for yourself…now, armed with prescriptions and a guilt-free pass, it is now time to focus on your recovery and nothing else. Just a quick show of hands, who has ever received an accolade or financial incentive for coming into work sick or not using all of their sick days? Even if you did, you would still be sick! 

I bring this up because I have noticed that in many ways we all seek approval and validation to engage in caring ourselves. We’re looking for that guilt-free pass so we can focus on us without that swirling icky feeling. When we are children, validation comes from a parent or loved one that advises we are too sick for school/activities today. Later on, it’s a medical professional’s diagnosis or expert recommendations that get us off the hook. Sometimes medical help is vital, but it shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining whether or not we need a little self-guided TLC.

It’s easy to see how we are conditioned to look to others to validate our feelings and action plan for handling them, but we don’t have to stay in this place forever. 

I’m here to tell you that we do not actually need ANYONE ELSE to authorize our self-care.

We are smart and we are capable of appraising and executing our own self-care rituals. Whether they involve skipping a workout, taking a day off, or spending a little extra on the nice shampoo. We get to call our own shots! Outsourcing self-care is silly. When you’re hungry, do you make an appointment with someone to decide what you should eat? No! You just eat! When you’re low on gas do you stop driving your car and just take an Uber? No! You go get gas. We are empowered independent amazing humans. When you need a minute, honey, TAKE A MINUTE! It’s just a minute after all. 


public.jpegpublic.jpeg

Just as happiness is an inside job, so is self-care. It’s not about excuses or inventing reasons to blow off our responsibility, it’s about loving ourselves enough to say “Hey, I love ME enough to prioritize MYSELF.” We are the creators, the approvers, and the managers of our own guilt-free passes y’all, so get your best, most fanciest ink pen and do some autographing! (And if you’re free on July 27, join me for a celebration of self-care and friendship!)

In love and light,

E

taking care

5 reasons to #loveYOU

At the beginning of March, I had the privilege of attending Sweet Cheeks All Natural’s “#LoveYOU” kick-off event. This was the first of many Sweet Cheeks events focusing on self-care. The topic of self-care comes up everywhere these days…Maybe that’s because most of us don’t do it enough, if we do it at all. Taking care is something we value at The 91 Rewind. We believe that everyone can share a little more of the T.L.C. we dole out to others with ourselves as well.

Not too long ago, Erica and I were having a conversation about what self-care means for each of us. As you may expect from two best friends of nearly 27 years , we have similar ways of caring for ourselves, BUT there are still some differences to note. We both love yoga, but our connection to the practice happened at different times. I began practicing yoga a little over ten years ago at Yoga Source. Erica didn’t step onto the mat until 2011 when a friend conned her into taking a class. I love a great  restorative class, where I can focus on my breathing and allow myself to relax through deep stretches. Erica gave restorative a try a few weeks ago and told me she would rather do someone’s calculus homework than to take another restorative class. If I had to describe Erica‘s preferred type of yoga class, it would be one in which she is upside-down as MUCH AS POSSIBLE (FYI-I simply cannot fathom how a person finds relaxation from something like that…).

I mention this not to suggest that one type of yoga practice is better than the other, but to highlight that different methods can yield the same outcome. We both experience a euphoric yet relaxing, warm-fuzzy, post-class feeling, but we take different paths to get there. Caring for ourselves is much the same, in that it depends on individual preferences. Each of us will need something a little different, and only you can truly know what that is. 

So, while I cannot tell you exactly HOW you need to care for yourself, I CAN tell you some reasons WHY you should care for yourself; why you have to #LoveYOU. I’ve debated the best way to do this, so I decided to go with a David Letterman-esque “Top 10 List.” Unfortunately, ten is far too many reasons to really remember, so  I’m going to stick to five. Let’s keep it simple. Now, without further ado, here are the top five reasons to #LoveYOU!

#5 You are beautiful! Society wants to tell us what beauty is and should be, AND how or what we need to make ourselves beautiful. But let me tell you, none of that is true. There is nothing you need to do to make yourself beautiful. Beauty comes from within and extends to our outer being. You are beautiful with or without makeup; with or without the perfect outfit, or expertly styled hair. You are real and flawed and amazingly alive and that is truly beautiful. You are already here, my dear, living and breathing. There is nothing MORE you need to do to  make yourself beautiful. Just #LoveYOU, and everyone else will, too.

#4 You are important! Obviously, our needs are important. That’s why we have jobs! So we can provide for ourselves…but how many of us REALLY feel that our needs are the MOST important? How often do we put off going to the doctor because we can’t miss work? How many times do we reschedule appointments because we are just too busy? How often do we want to take time for ourselves but feel too guilty to actually do it? What are we afraid of? If you ask me, it’s the fear that once we finally DO put ourselves at the top of our list, that we will never be able to go back to how things were before. Maybe that’s true, but hey you are important! After all, no one else can authorize our self-care. You deserve to feel important and it’s okay to put YOU first.

#3 Your happiness matters! I find this is hardest for mothers, and women in general, to grasp and embody. Women are natural care-takers and have a habit of prioritizing the needs of others, sometimes at the expense of our own happiness. We make a lifestyle of overextending and begin to feel stressed out and unappreciated. We wonder why no one seems to care about us, yet we behave as if we never need anything. Acknowledging that we deserve happiness and taking time to discover and create our own joy tells others that we DO matter and that our happiness is a priority.

#2 You are enough! The world would like us to believe that we are needy and ill-equipped. There are entire industries that thrive on people’s fear that they are not good enough (we won’t name any names…). Tapping into the human fear of inadequacy is a great sales tactic, but a terrible life philosophy. We question our career choices, believing the right job will suddenly fulfill us. We think we need to buy the right clothes or accessories to help us feel more love. We feel like a bigger house means a better life. We believe that our adventures only count if they get lots of “likes” on social media. We seek affirmation of ourselves from external sources. No one can tell you who you are. You would still be you without an instagram account, without a fancy job, without the latest clutch that you paid a fortune for. You are not perfect, but you are whole. You are complete, you are enough.

#1 (and Most Important) YOU’RE AN ADORABLE BADASS! You are a first-edition, limited-release, ORIGINAL. There has never been, nor will there ever be another YOU. You are the only person you can be. Embrace your originality my friend, because no one has it quite like you. 

 It may sound backwards, but taking care of ourselves can help us take better care of others. Learning to cherish ourselves; working to #LoveYOU flaws and all, makes us better. It makes us more kind, more compassionate. After all, you can’t convince anyone of anything until you first convince yourself. 

There are a truckload more reasons to #LoveYOU and we hope this little countdown may inspire you to some steep on some reasons of your own. We often feel pressure to achieve or obtain. That self-worth is derived from doing things. You are alive and individual, and that’s all that is required.

If you doubt any of these reasons, stand in front of a mirror and repeat as many times as necessary. Some days it’s easier to believe than others, but EVERY DAY you need to #LoveYOU…no matter what!

xoxo,

C

taking care

slow down…it’s not all important

We have so many things vying for attention and it causes us to think that everything is important. BUT if everything is important, than nothing is really important.

We need to SLOW down and discern what truly matters to us. It’s not all important.

How are you spending your time each day, weekend, workweek, and month? I hope we will all take time to slow down and assess this for ourselves and then make room for what matters.

This weekend I’m spending some time with family, friends, AND having some ME time. I mostly looking forward to me time, because I really need it this week. 

Have a beautiful weekend! 

Two gifts for you…phone wallpaper to help you remember to slow down. 


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