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Posts tagged ‘Self-Care’

Practicing Mindful Self-Care


How are your New Year’s Intentions coming along? If you’re already falling out of the new routines you’re trying to establish, you’re not alone. Many people are feeling stressed already in the new year and having a hard time finding a new rhythm. The self-care strategies below can help you to create a firmer foundation from which to begin to move toward your intentions. Or if you’re already in a good rhythm, they’ll support you as you continue to move forward. Each of these tips is designed to support you as you live more intentionally.

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation to increase awareness and decrease stress. Studies show that practicing mindfulness results in decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression and an increased sense of peace, happiness and wellbeing. All of the work that I do when teaching people how to increase peace, happiness and wellbeing is grounded in mindfulness training, because it’s the best foundation I’ve found for helping people to make any kind of changes.
  2. Make a commitment to your own wellbeing. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, drink adequate amounts of water and limit your exposure to toxic chemicals.
  3. Focus some attention on what is good in your life and the world. You can encourage positive mental and emotional states by pausing to notice and feel grateful for what’s going well in your life. Take time each day to notice something beautiful in the simplicity of your every day. If you need some extra encouragement in this area, follow my Instagram account @MeditateCreate where I’m posting mindful photographs of the beauty in this world.
  4. Practice compassion toward yourself and others. Treat yourself and others with kindness and an open heart. People who are kind to themselves have an easier time reaching their intentions and goals.
  5. Practice saying, “No.” If you’re in the habit of taking on too many things and then feeling overwhelmed, practice saying yes to the things that matter most and no to the things that don’t. Set priorities, and make intentional choices about where you put your time and energy.
  6. Make thoughtful choices about what you feed your mind. Find a balance that allows you to stay informed about issues that matter to you without overindulging in information overload.
  7. Get out and connect with nature. Slow down, and rest your awareness on the beauty that surrounds you. Take a walk. Pause to notice what you see, hear smell, feel and taste. Listen to the birds singing. Notice the color of the sky, the trees and the leaves.
  8. Live intentionally. Clarify who you want to be in the world, how you want to feel and what matters most to you. Open your heart to the power of creating a life that you love.

“After all, I want to live my life, not rush through it.” –Cheryl Richardson




Calm Body, Quiet Mind 4-week online program. Calm Body, Quiet Mind is a 4-week intensive mindfulness training and coaching program for women, available globally by phone or Skype. It offers a deeper experience of mindfulness and explores the healing potential of mindfulness practice. It is designed to guide you toward cultivating a greater sense of peace, happiness and wellbeing. Calm Body, Quiet Mind offers an intensive mindfulness experience to guide you in a reset and renewal of your body, heart and mind. Whether you’re feeling weighed down by grief, stress or a difficult transition, feeling consumed by a chronic illness or have lost connection with your creativity, this program is designed to help you get back on track. Cost: $500    Learn more  or email Jen to schedule a free phone consultation to determine whether this program is a good fit for your needs.

Valuing Your Wellbeing



Those who value their own wellbeing equally with the world can be trusted with the world. –Lao Tzu

How many of us have truly learned to take 100% responsibility for our own wellbeing? Many of us are taught to take care of everyone else and often do so at the expense of ourselves. Learning to value and care for our own wellbeing creates a solid foundation from which we grow to recognize that we are interconnected with all beings. We can begin with a few minutes of mindfulness practice each morning. The more we practice, the more our awareness grows. Studies show that regular practice of mindfulness increases both awareness and compassion. Imagine what the world would be like if each of us began practicing mindfulness for even a few minutes each day. Close your eyes. Turn the attention to the breath. Notice the rise and fall of the chest and belly with the inhale and the exhale. As soon as you become aware that the attention has wandered, let it go, and begin again by turning the attention once again to the breath.


Commitment to Self-Care


Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation… Audre Lorde

I’m often asked about how to develop and keep commitments to a regular meditation practice and other self-care practices. First, it’s important to make time. We won’t ever find the time. We must make the time and ask ourselves what we’re willing to give up in order to make time to practice. And then we must be aware of our thoughts. There will be days or moments that we don’t want to keep our commitment. The mind will tell us that we’re too busy, too tired and a million other reasons. Remember that whatever we rest our attention on grows. If we rest our attention on not wanting to do something, the not wanting to do it grows. If we notice the thoughts and the habit of attempting to escape doing what we have a genuine desire to be committed to and then focus our attention on our intentions and the reasons we created those intentions in the first place, then feelings of wanting to follow through sometimes increase and follow through is often easier. Notice how much time you’re spending dreading anything in your life. What would happen if you gently moved your attention away from dread toward what you really desire in your life?




The Heart of Self-Compassion half-day retreat. Saturday July 16, 2016  9am – 12pm in Wilmington, NC.
Self-compassion is an attitude that anyone can learn to cultivate. Many of us struggle with negative self-talk, perfectionism, and a relentless cycle of beating up on ourselves for our struggles, which can lead to low self-esteem, increased anxiety, and even depression. Isn’t it time you let go of the old ways of relating with yourself that aren’t really working and embrace relating to yourself with kindness and compassion? Research shows that those who cultivate compassion have increased willpower and an easier time with life changes in general. In this half-day retreat, we’ll explore practices from mindfulness meditation, writing, and modern neuroscience for working with the body, breath, and mind to cultivate loving-kindness and self-compassion. Please bring a journal or notebook and a pen.
Location: McKay Healing Arts 4916 Wrightsville Ave.  Cost: $50  Registration is limited and required. To register email Jen


Nourishing Your Body & Soul


We are what we repeatedly do. –Aristotle

At times we may find ourselves caught in the swirl of constant doing and busyness that leaves the body feeling tired and the soul unnourished. Rather than engaging in a cycle of depletion and replenishment, why not create a consistent mindful self-care routine that nurtures a sense of inner peace and balance? What three practices or habits are essential for your own well-being and the nourishment of your body and soul? Can you gradually begin to incorporate those into your daily or weekly routines?

My next 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class starts in April in Wilmington, NC. For more information check out the mindfulness training page



We find lightness and ease in our lives as we increasingly care for ourselves and other beings. –Sharon Salzberg

As you move toward your intentions, hopes and dreams this season, keep in mind that practicing self-compassion may be one of the most effective things that you can do to help you realize your intentions. Some people hold the belief that beating up on themselves and not letting themselves off the hook helps them to keep moving toward their goals, but the research on willpower and achieving goals indicates otherwise. Read more

Eating Mindfully

…the desire to eat when you are not hungry reveals what you truly believe about life here on earth—your panoply of beliefs about feeling, suffering, receiving, nourishing, abundance, resting, having enough.  –Geneen Roth

Often we eat while we’re doing something else. At times, we don’t realize we’ve finished, haven’t really tasted what we ate, or get to the end and become aware that we didn’t even like what we just ate. We eat when we’re not hungry. Read more

Send Loving-Kindness to Yourself

The difference between misery and happiness depends on what we do with our attention. –Sharon Salzberg

The nature of our human mind is sometimes to evaluate ourselves or our circumstances with negative critical commentary. By practicing mindfulness, we become aware of this tendency, and this awareness gives us the freedom to choose something different. We can turn toward ourselves or our circumstances with an attitude of loving-kindness and compassion. If you’re not quite sure how to direct this energy toward yourself, imagine how you would send loving-kindness to someone for whom you care deeply who was suffering. Perhaps you would give a hug, imagine holding them in your heart, or whisper reassuring words to them. Now try turning this expression of loving-kindness and compassion toward yourself and your own circumstances. It may feel awkward at first, but keep practicing and see if you notice a sense of ease, peace, and self-acceptance begin to grow.

Mindfully Caring for the Body

To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. –Buddha

When we mindfully care for the body, we create the foundation and set the tone for all that we do in the world. Mindfully caring for the body means eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercise, resting when we are tired, and making time for being in addition to all of the doing. Read more

Practicing Mindful Self-Care

Living mindfully and intentionally begins with the breath, with being present in each moment. But it also involves making choices about our lives that are congruent with who we are and what matters most to us. In order to realize our true nature, and our true nature is to be happy and at peace, we must practice mindful self-care. Practicing mindful self-care requires that we prioritize our health and well-being and surround ourselves with people who nurture and encourage us. It means spending time in ways that generate energy and inspiration and releasing things, activities, and people that drain us. In practicing mindful self-care, we learn to treat ourselves as though we were our only child.