What is self care and why is it important?

Self care is a topic that comes up a lot when I am speaking to people. As a health and life coach this is one of the most important practices I can share with people I work with.

The first question I get is, ‘what do you mean by self care?’. Self care is anything you need to do to take care of yourself. It could be something as basic as making sure you brush your teeth daily, wear clean clothes, or make sure you are getting plenty of water everyday. Self care also means a multitude of other things such as making sure you see your doctor regularly, pay your bills on time, and/or make time for friends and loved ones. So basically it is simply taking care of yourself, making sure all of your needs are met, and doing what you need and can do for yourself in all seven areas of wellness (Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, Occupational, Environmental, Social, and Spiritual).

Emotional Wellness – Emotional wellness is so much more than coping with stress even though that may be a piece. It also encompasses understanding your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings whether those be positive or negative. Being able to be aware and accept how you feel, rather than denying and stuffing. Aiding yourself into having an optimistic perspective and enjoying life despite the occasional setbacks, frustrations, and disappointments that may come up.

Physical Wellness – Physical wellness is all about maintaining a healthy quality of life that aids us in doing our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. Also understanding that the behaviors have significant impact on our wellness. Adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, and exercise), while moving away from destructive habits (watching to much TV, using tobacco products, or drugs), will lead to optimum wellness.

Social Wellness – Social wellness is the ability to relate and connect with other people. Our ability to establish and maintain healthy positive relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.

Spiritual Wellness – Spiritual wellness is all about establishing peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to balance our values with our actions and finding the spiritual path that aligns with your morals and values. We are all in this together. (This does not mean subscribing to a religion in anyway)

Occupational Wellness – Occupational wellness is all about working a job doing what gives you personal fulfillment while still maintaining balance in life. Making your contribution to society a positive one, not just a pay check.

Intellectual Wellness – Intellectual wellness is the ability to open our mind to new ideas an experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, community improvement, and/or group interaction. Desire to learn new skills, concepts, and seek out life challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning.

Environmental Wellness – Environmental wellness is about accepting the responsibility that the quality of air, the water, and the land that surrounds us. Remembering to think about the impact we impose on environment whether it be our homes, our communities, or the planet.

As you can see most everything we do falls into one of these categories, so chances are you have been doing a lot of self care for a very long time without realizing it. However I am also sure, unless you are superman or wonder woman, that there are still some areas that need some more work or practice. I am in the same boat. I am constantly working on refining different areas of self care. It is all about balance.

The second big question I get is ‘why is self care important?’, my answer back is ‘who else is going to take care of you if you don’t?’. It is such a big part of our self esteem and self worth to be kind to ourselves and take care of our needs just because there is no person that will come up behind us and take care of all of our needs. In this we are all we have. If we do not take care of ourselves we cannot function at our highest potential, we cannot live in balance, and we cannot be the friend, coworker, family member, neighbor, or partner we desire to be.

Every single aspect of life gets better the more balanced is practiced. It could be simple things like taking time out to read a book (Intellectual), having a friend over for a homemade meal (Social and Physical), or cleaning up trash around your neighborhood (Environmental, Physical, and even Social if you get a neighbor or friend involved). Maybe bigger steps are wanting be taken and trying a church of interest (Social, Spiritual, Emotional, and Intellectual), pursuing a new job that is meaningful (Occupational and Intellectual), or starting a community garden project (Social, Environmental, Physical, and Intellectual).

Getting in touch with your inner self and deciding what you choose to spend your time doing, what you feel called to do is the fun part! If you have a dream or passion it is time to find a way to incorporate it into your life in anyway you can. Again it is all about balance and remembering that there is a time and a place for every area of wellness. Sometimes one area may need more attention than others, this isn’t about being perfect. It is about doing what is right for yourself; body, mind, and soul, to the very best of your ability.

It is so very true that if you don’t do it for you, who will?

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How To Quit Beating Yourself Up… (Part 1 of many)

If you are anything like me you may not even know how hard you kick your own butt emotionally on a daily basis. Do you ever find yourself thinking about what a bad person, or failure, you are? When you make a small mistake do you find yourself having a horrible day from that moment on? How is your self talk? Do you truly take care of yourself?

If your answer to any of these questions brought you anything less than joy or thoughts of happiness than please continue to read. You are certainly not alone.

Everyday when I wake up I have to do all the basic things most people do. Use the restroom, brush my teeth, even have that morning cup of coffee, but I also have to put myself into a positive perspective. This is something that is newer in my daily practice and I am sure my family will attest to my lack of perfection in this area. That is what it is, a practice. I don’t know about you, but there are not many things I have been doing for years, that I decide to do differently and then do it perfect the first time and never have to think about it ever again. So I practice. Gratitude is a huge part of my practice. If I am not grateful for what I have now how can I expect to be blessed with anything more? So 4 times throughout the day I have an alarm that goes off on my phone. No matter who I am with or what I am doing I state one thing I am grateful for and challenge those around me to shout out what they are grateful for. When I do this with other people I challenge them to come up with their own thing to be grateful for. For example if we are having lunch I don’t want all five people to state their gratitude for the food, but instead to pick different reasons they are grateful in the moment like the time they are sharing with others or something as simple as I woke up this morning. Having an attitude of gratitude is so important! I always thought it was a joke, but since I have been doing this daily my outlook has gotten so much better. The world around me looks so much brighter! In our society we are constantly focused on the things we don’t have that we forget about the things we do have. When you think about what you don’t have it is simply wishful thinking and if you are constantly living in what could be than you lose all focus of what is and the good things that are right in front of you each and every day.

The next thing I would like to point out is that we are all human. I know it is a shock, but you are equally as human as anyone else you know. There are no better humans or worse humans, and there are certainly no perfect humans (even though some will try to put on a front that they are). As humans all sharing this human experience we really need to cut ourselves some slack! It is ok to drop your pencil, it is ok to trip over a crack in the sidewalk, it is ok to misspeak. I have found myself beating myself up over some of the smallest things I do. Perfectionism is something I have struggled with for years! I have always expected perfection from myself and when it hasn’t worked out, when everything isn’t exactly as I have pictured it in my mind I start picking myself apart. Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I say that? Why didn’t I wear those shoes or do my hair that way? If only I had thought to include this the situation would have been so different… The tearing apart can go on and on from microscopic details to details that are out of my control. So what you dropped your pencil? Would you verbally assault your best friend for dropping a pencil? If your best friend uses the wrong word when they are speaking do you treat them like they are an idiot? So if we wouldn’t treat our best friends like this than why in the world is it not ok that we make mistakes? Hitting it even harder home would you treat someone you have never met this way? Would you mock them for making a simple mistake? I know I wouldn’t… Yet I am constantly examining my choices, actions, and presentation to “improve”, but I don’t use it to improve… It is emotional sabotage and reinforcing how unimportant I am and how worthless I find myself. It is all about accepting that everyone makes mistakes and if I cannot find a way to be gentle about it with myself I project the situation on my best friend (this also works to give yourself advice because you would only give your best friend the best advice and sometimes we are to emotionally attached to a situation to see it clearly and logically). My best friends name is Maranda. So if I spill a whole glass of water in the middle of a restaurant and everyone at the table now has water in their laps I can think ok if Maranda were to do this how would I react? Well to be honest I would laugh my butt off!!! So instead of feeling like the most ignorant person and imposing that I should have every capability to see the future why did this happen, I can choose to laugh it off. I will still apologize, I will still aid in clean up, but no one died. Losing sleep or having intrusive thoughts for days on this situation is not going to help things. Even if it would have been grape juice at a white party, I can choose how I respond to everyone involved and myself. It is not the end of the world…

In this run I would like to leave you with one more piece of advice. Remember that you can only control you and you are the only person, place, or thing that can make you feel anything. No one can make you feel bad, you allow them to let you feel bad. No object can make you happy, you may feel happy after buying or being gifted something, but it is you that chooses to feel happy. In our culture we are always looking to blame someone else for most things in our lives as to not have to take ownership of the role we played in the outcome. We also attempt to try to control people, places, and things we cannot control because we would rather fight to control something that isn’t ours to control than to take ownership of what we can control and learn to accept the thing we truly cannot change. An example of this is the old ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink’. You can splash around in the water, drink it in front of him, tell him how cool and refreshing it is, you can even scream at him until your voice wears out, but that horse is not going to drink until he is ready. You have spent all that time trying to get the horse to drink that you have exhausted yourself and haven’t done the things you wanted to do for the day and the average reaction is… It is the horse’s fault. It couldn’t possibly be the horse’s fault. He did not make you scream, he did not make you drink, he did not get you all wet. Each one of those things was a choice you made. Instead of accepting the fact that you have done all you can, you fulfilled your obligation to make sure the horse had a drink, you chose to try to control the outcome of his choices for himself. We cannot do this. As people we can offer direction, advice, love, guidance, honesty, etc. It is up to the other person how it might impact their life, what choice they may want to make, and how long it takes them to make that choice. All you can do is show them where the water is and then get back to doing what you need to do to take care of yourself. If you can change your perception and learn to let things go when it is out of your control you will be a happier person. Again this is a skill that must be practiced and the best way I have found to start is when you find yourself dissatisfied or stuck in life ask yourself ‘what part do I play in this? what do I physically have control of? what do I need to let go of?’. It is usually our expectations of a situation (could haves, would haves, and should haves) that get us all caught up in trying to control than just accepting what is. ‘It is what it is’ my least favorite of all sayings, but it is so true! I think people have used it as an excuse, but we are taking it back! To some degree life is what it is, but we have the power to change it through the way we view the world and the choices we make!

Let us all take our power back and quit putting our emotional wellness in the hands of a horse that won’t drink until he is ready. This is our life and our time lets live the life we love and love the life we live!

How are you going to stop beating yourself up? What has been your biggest struggle? Leave a comment below!

Peace and love,

Amber

My Sugar Detox (Day 147)

As of today I am 147 days in to my sugar detox plan. This is a plan I have made for myself and this is something I am doing for health related reasons, but also because I have an extreme addiction to sugar and am doing what I can to correct it.

The first 30 days of my detox I allowed myself to eat anything that had organic cane sugar as long as it was the sixth ingredient or further down the list of ingredients, so five or fewer was a no go. I also allowed myself to have organic fruit, stevia, maple syrup, and/or honey. I was so ready for this detox that I did not use a lot of my cheat options during the first 30 days. The first week of my detox was easy breezy, like I said I was really ready to make this life change, however the next two-week I truly did detox. I went through a two-week withdrawal. The whole two weeks was not withdrawal, but a lot of it was. As an ex-drug addict I can tell you it was much worse than any withdrawal I have ever had. EVER! I am not saying this to scare anyone, but to prepare you. I did not know I was going to feel as bad as I did and it seems no one is wanting to talk about it. If it would not have been for my own determination and the support I had from all my friends and family I would not have made it through. I seriously suggest taking it a bit easier than I did because I went from eating ridiculous amounts of sugar to nothing. I should have used my cheats more that first 30 days, but I was to afraid I would lean on them so much I wouldn’t be able to jump to no sugar at all.

Let me take a moment to clarify what withdrawal meant to me in this. Extreme agitation, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, exhaustion followed by extreme amounts of energy, inability to finish sentences, fibromyalgia flare ups, thoughts, or find the word I was looking for, urges to eat cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, cake, ice cream, coffee drinks, candy… I even salivated looking at sugar packets at one point. There were even times where my family had a hard time supporting me through this. I have quit cocaine, I have quit smoking cigarettes, none of these impacted me as strong as quitting sugar.

Once I made it through the first 30 days I started gaining my clarity back like a veil had been lifted from in front of my eyes. I was able to see clearer, think clearer, my energy level has slowly come back, I am able to complete tasks, stay focused, my body has been a much less painful thing to live in and most of all what I have noticed is I have much fewer headaches and I do not simply pass out when I sit down at night. My motivation is back and I have done so much to better my daughter, my partner and my life! I started believing in myself in a way I have never before in my life! Everyday I prove that this is something I can do. I believe that me doing this will help me to be a much better health and wellness coach too because I am not only able to talk the talk, but now I am walking the walk.

After the first 30 days I am still allowing fruit, not a lot, and honey for medicinal purposes. No stevia, no maple syrup, no cane sugar. If sugar is anywhere in the ingredients list I do not eat it. I adhere to a strict NO on this. With there being 57 names for sugar on ingredients labels it is good to get to know what they are and look for them on everything you eat. I am sure anyone would be surprised if they started paying attention how much sugar is actually in our food we are eating! Even things that you would not think have sugar in them have quite a bit of sugar in them!!! I know that first 30 days really was eye-opening and it helped me to prepare for the days to come. Any tomato based product for instance generally has ridiculous amounts of sugar added to it, even though tomatoes are very sweet naturally. Why does salsa and spaghetti sauce need so much added sugar? We make our spaghetti sauce by hand now and I can tell you it is SO much better than any of the prepackaged and not much more time intensive.

Something I feel I must state in here is that going gluten-free is one of the worst things you can do if you want to do a sugar cleanse. Gluten is a component to wheat products that allow things to be stuck together. When you have to take the gluten out of things they have to add something back into it to make things still stick and that is usually sugar. I do not eat a lot of products that have gluten in them and I would be happy to make a blog post highlighting that another time if there are people interested in hearing about that.

Back to the topic…

In 147 days I have regained my taste buds, I can taste food in a way I am not sure I ever was able to. Sugar being added to everything we eat is not a new thing. It all started back in the 70’s when the boxed food industry started taking off and as I am a 1985 baby born into an impoverished family I grew up on boxed food and believed for a long time, like most of us have, that this food was equally as nutritious as fresh foods were. I have lost 20 pounds. I do not believe we need to be obsessed with our weight by any means, but this 20 pounds has been major for me. I can move better, my clothes fit better, and it shows that I am on the right track of what my body has needed for a long time… My skin has cleared up amazingly! I have always struggled with very mixed dry and oily skin, blackheads, and mountain ranges of acne from the corners of my lips to my ears. Now these are not gone, but the better I eat the better my skin gets. People have said I look like I am glowing, and I don’t know one lady would wouldn’t like to hear that!!!

I know that everything I have gone through is preparing me for my future and if any of you are thinking about doing this I really suggest you research it, ask me and others questions, I can guarantee even people who do a two-week cleanse will tell you they felt amazing! I did a short 30 day cleanse back in fall of 2014 and I knew I needed to do it longer, but I decided to reward my efforts with a candy bar on my 30th day and I spiralled out of control after that for a while. This is not something everyone will want to do, it is not something everyone will deem right for them, but I can say if you struggle with sugar issues like I did. If you are constantly thinking of the next sugary item you will get to eat. If you are sneaking candy when nobody’s looking. If you know you have an addiction to sugar and want to talk to someone about it please message me! I know how it feels to want to make a change and no know where to start or who to talk to. I would be very happy to be a support.

I do not know how long I will be staying on this sugar detox. I would love to see what day 365 feels like! I feel like I could do this forever!!! Sometimes it still is difficult when I am at a birthday party, an organized event, or even a training for work and cannot eat anything because people don’t choose healthy food options. I have started bringing a fruit and veggie try with me to all events to insure I can eat something and also to spread wellness because when I roll up people eat what I bring!!! People forget how much they truly do like real food when they do not get it very often. Adults and children love fresh fruits and veggies and the more we give them the option of having fresh food the more they will most likely eat them. If we just have cakes, cookies, pie, or boxed foods that is what will be eaten…

I challenge people simply to start looking at labels. What is in your favorite foods?

Peace and love,

Amber

Hello world!

Well, I have been talking about starting a blog and so here I am! I found a home at WordPress and will be using this blog as a way for me to talk about life, health, and wellness! Just going to give a brief first hello and some information about what I plan to share here.

I am really excited to get started because there is so much information we are not being taught and I get questions at least once a day from people trying to change their lives, but not knowing where to start. I was equally as frustrated as a late teen, early adult trying to make life decisions for myself and not knowing what to follow. In the last 12 years I have learned a lot. My true areas of knowledge are in nutrition, healthy relationships, trauma related healing, and natural medicine. I have been a Certified Health Coach for almost a year and have helped many people get back on a wellness track that is right for them in their lives. We are not one size fits all people. We all deserve for someone to be there and support us when we find ourselves struggling. I would love to create a community of people that learn, grow, and offer support to one another. This is the start of that.

I would love to take questions. Just to be clear I do not have the answer for everything, I will absolutely never claim I do. I am a human having a human experience and even I am learning and growing everyday just as we all are.

Finally I would like to say I am a business owner. Starlit Embers is a line of organic bath, body, and home care products that are made with minimal ingredients and hold the standard of what I want my family to use. I am not going to use this forum to sell my products. If you are interested in checking out what I offer I have an Etsy page here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarlitEmbers?ref=hdr_shop_menu or on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/StarlitEmbers326?ref=aymt_homepage_panel I would love to speak to you about my products or answer any of your questions about them, but I do not want to blur the lines between my products and my health and wellness information.

I look forward to interacting with you all and answering any questions you might have! Have a great weekend!

Until next time peace and love ❤