Soothing Your Suffering Soul

There will always be rough days. That unfortunately is just the way life goes. There will always be people trying to knock the crown off your head and make you feel bad about yourself. There will always be social media images to tell you you’re not good enough. People will come and go. Jobs will come and go. Good stuff or bad stuff, you have to find a way to soothe yourself, pick yourself up and move on in tact. Don’t let negative people or down days ruin all that confidence you’re building up. Remember a bad moment is just a speck of time. All things pass. Loving, unconditional support can help but sometimes we need to do the repair work ourselves so check out the list below of ways you can make yourself feel better in the eye of a storm.

Self-soothing ideas, using all your senses, to reduce the intensity of negative emotions:

SIGHT:

  • Turn the lights down low.
  • Surround yourself with soothing colours.
  • Use a sleeping mask to block out the light for a proper rest.
  • Do some colouring.
  • Create some Pinterest collages of things that bring you joy.

TOUCH:

  • Have soft things around you; a cozy blanket, fuzzy slippers or a favourite stuffed animal.
  • Cuddle things; your pillow, a childhood teddy bear or a fur baby.
  • Get a soothing and relaxing massage.
  • Take a hot shower or bubble bath.
  • Use a heated or weighted blanket.

SOUND:

  • Have calming noise; sound machine, sound of a babbling brook, ocean waves or a waterfall, play soothing, quiet music.
  • Watch some ASMR videos. Use YouTube as a great resource.
  • Do a guided meditation, again lots of choices on YouTube.

SMELL:

  • Diffuse some essential oils.
  • Get out and get some fresh air.
  • Use candles or incense.
  • Fill your home with comforting smells, maybe some homemade cooking or baking.

TASTE:

  • Infuse your cooking with strong flavours to tickle your taste buds.
  • Enjoy a favourite warm drink.
  • Eat your food slowly enjoying every savoury bite.
  • Indulge in some childhood favourite foods.

Remember no matter what challenge you are facing, you have the strength to get through it all. You are Pretty, Plus and Proud and you are worthy, good enough and amazing!

Time With Loved Ones

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all spent more than our usual time with our loved ones this past year, especially if many of you live in one house together. There hasn’t been much else to do with lockdowns and quarantines. Are you all getting along or are you getting on each others’ nerves?

There is a difference between just being together and spending quality time together. You can’t just walk around the house bumping into each other. You have to schedule meaningful and purposeful time together. You have to be creative and come up with engaging activities that everyone enjoys and makes being together more than just tolerable.

Strong relationships are key to a happy life. It’s easy to fall out of touch with people or take relationships for granted but it’s important to keep up family relationships as you just never know when you’re going to need each other. Unless people are toxic to your health, maintaining contact with family is important and necessary for your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

So what can you do together that you haven’t already done safe at home this past year and a half? Here are a list of activities you can try that maybe you haven’t done before:

  • Make up your own trivia game. Get everyone in the house to contribute trivia questions from their favourite subject areas or interests. Invite people outside your home to a zoom game night inviting them to contribute questions as well. See how well you know about each other’s interests!
  • Learn how to do origami together.
  • Write, design costumes and a set and film your own short movie.
  • Build something together with the kids’ lego blocks.
  • Put on a fashion show with your favourite outfits or be silly and put funny outfits together. Have a commentator, lights, a runway and strut yourself down the catwalk.
  • Make up a scavenger hunt.
  • Spend time playing outside. Check online for outdoor yard games.
  • Make homemade play dough.
  • Have a craft night. Paint, draw, build, colour, create.
  • Have a nerf gun fight.
  • Games night. Getting bored of the same old games, check out Amazon for some new selections.
  • Movie night. Take turns picking out what to watch.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Try a sport you haven’t done before, maybe kayaking, Badminton, tennis, street hockey or bocce ball.
  • Set up an indoor bowling alley using water bottles, pop bottles or cans.
  • Blow up some balloons and have a contest keeping the balloon from hitting the floor. Make it challenging by using more than one balloon at a time.
  • Dance Night – Everyone choreograph and perform a dance.

Hopefully this list of fun and inspiring activities motivates the whole family to get up out of the “spending time together rut”. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and grateful you have people around you during these difficult Covid days. They make life bearable when it would be easy to lose hope and be depressed and lonely.

Heart Yourself

You are a kind person. You help care for others. You smile at strangers. You arrive early for work and leave late. You bring flowers to a friend who needs cheering up. You bring in the recycling bins for your elderly neighbour. You volunteer at your child’s school.

You show such concern for those around you but how often do you pour love on yourself? Probably not nearly as often as you should. You make excuses like you don’t have time for all that self-love, self-care stuff or you think you don’t really deserve it or are worthy of spending any time on you. Well that kind of thinking has to stop. You are the most important person in your life. You have to show others how to love you by first loving yourself. You have to show people you deserve it by giving it to yourself first. Fill your love reserves so you have enough to give out when someone needs a little extra.

You are too hard on yourself and you deserve care too. Start with a simple gesture of putting your hand on your heart and saying aloud, “I love me!”. Wish yourself well. Pour compassion, care, tenderness and admiration onto yourself. When you do this basic act of love towards yourself, it can help you to focus on your strengths and help you to pay attention to all the things you do so well. It helps shift your thoughts from all the things you don’t like about yourself or the reasons you think you’re not good enough to thinking that you are worthy of whatever you want out of life. Showing love towards yourself may help motivate you to do things you’ve been putting off doing. It may increase your optimism and improve your overall emotional health, decreasing stress and anxiety. It can increase your performance levels, achievements, professional and personal success.

Loving yourself is a win for yourself and your friends and family. When you’re a happy person, others around you will be happier too. When you are at peace within yourself, the storms around you will become less intense. You will feel more capable of getting everything done that you need to and life will be more fulfilling.

So take the first step towards self-love by placing your hand on your heart and say the words, “I am Pretty, Plus and Proud and I love me!”

We Are All Challenged

No one is immune from hardships in life. We all have some kind of challenge to face. Some of us have chronic illnesses. Some of us may have physical or intellectual disabilities. Some of us suffer from mental health issues. Some of us may have labels like ADHD or Autism. Some of us may have had terrible accidents that have left us broken and afraid. Some of us may be facing the challenge of caring for elderly parents or ill children. Some of us our dealing with financial challenges.

Whatever challenge you are facing today, know you are not alone. Whatever challenge you have on your plate today, know that it does not define you, make you less worthy or less beautiful. Whatever labels or disabilities you have or how broken you may feel, you are still deserving of love, respect and to be treated with dignity. You are still a wonderful human who has a special place on this earth, a special role to fill and you are important. Do not let your challenges hold you back from fulfilling your dreams. Do not let anyone else say what you can or can not do. You can do and be anyone you set your mind to. Don’t let your challenges close doors for you but rather open doors to ideas and possibilities you may not have thought about or known were possible.

The world is a wonderful place even with all the difficulties that can get thrown our way. Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and confident you have the strength and tenacity to get through anything and come out all the better for it. Let your challenges teach you, strengthen you and give you the courage to face every day head on, no fear, only hope.

Unplug Yourself

Before I begin today’s post I want to take a brief moment to honour my beautiful daughter who turned twenty on Friday. She doesn’t like a lot of attention so for her privacy I won’t post any photos but I want the world to know I have the smartest, kindest, strongest, bravest, sweetest and most beautiful daughter in the whole world. I love her with all my heart and she was the best birthday gift I have ever received as my birthday is the day after hers. Together we had a lovely weekend celebrating with the family. Happy 20th birthday “my sunshine, my only sunshine”!

Now on to today’s post. We as a society in general spend far too much time looking at screens; TV, phones and computers. We see images of people, their lives, the things they do, their homes and family and we automatically compare ourselves and their lives to our own. Most of the time we fall short. We think we’re not as pretty, our homes aren’t as nice and their lives are so much more exciting then our own. We think they have it all together and we are a hot mess.

In reality those images are a mere glance, a small speck in time of their lives. They show us only what they want us to see. The rest of the time, they are just like us; messy hair, messy house, messy lives. As I always say, comparison is the thief of joy. We don’t really know the true journey of anyone we choose to watch on social media. Behind the scenes I’m quite sure they live a life very similar to mine or yours. They get sick, take care of ill family members, they have bills to pay, they lose people, they eat, sleep and dream just like all of us. They are human and make mistakes. They are not perfect and shouldn’t be idolized.

Today’s task: I am challenging you to unplug from all screens for at least 10 minutes. Why? While computers and phones are a necessary part of our lives these days and definitely have their plus side, there is also some very negative side effects of too much screen time. It can cause stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical pain and insomnia. Unplugging from screens and all forms of technology helps you to reconnect with yourself and your surroundings.

Learn to be comfortable in your own company doing something fun and/or meaningful to your mental, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual self. What can you do with this quiet time?

You can…

  • read a book or the newspaper (hard copy, not digital)
  • solve a crossword puzzle
  • doodle or draw
  • colour in a colouring book
  • write down your thoughts/journaling
  • go for a walk
  • talk to people around you (make a human connection)
  • make something yummy to eat
  • walk the dog
  • do some gardening
  • go for a bike ride
  • bird watch
  • do a craft (knit, crochet, build models, paint, sew)
  • put together a jigsaw puzzle

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and be present in your life. Don’t hide yourself behind a screen wishing for things to be the same as what you watch. Your life can be just as good as anyone you see on social media. You just have to get up and make it happen remembering all the while that social media personalities are just a mask for what’s really happening behind the scenes, a life full of ups and downs much like your own. Approval from anyone whether it be the likes you get from your Instagram posts or the compliments you get from real people can’t make you happy unless you learn to love yourself first and stop comparing yourself to people you think are better. They’re not and you’re good enough just as you are! Spending time away from the screens and being active in your real life will help you understand where self-love comes from; within yourself!

Reflecting

How many times have you said, “I can’t wait until…”? We spend a lot of time looking forward to the future. So much time in fact that we often forget to reflect on the past and appreciate how far we’ve come, what we’ve accomplished and the experiences we’ve been a part of. Today I want you to think of a past accomplishment that you were particularly proud of or that made you feel good about yourself and happy within. Take a break from focusing on tasks yet to be done, on goals yet to be fulfilled, adventures yet to be planned. Look backwards instead and be proud of all that you have already done.

Why would you do this? Every accomplishment no matter how big or small is worth recognizing and being proud of. When you think of everything you’ve managed to get done, it can serve to inspire you and motivate you for the future. It can give you confidence. You did it once before, you can do it again. Thinking of past successes can be empowering. Focusing on your talents, accomplishments and everything you’re good at, takes your mind off of the things you claim not to like about yourself; your size, shape, “flaws”. Putting emphasis on the things that are important, your inner qualities, will help you realize that’s where your true beauty lies.

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud of everything you’ve done thus far and all the things waiting for you in your future, ready to be slayed just like you’ve done before.

Everyone is Beautiful

Flowers are all different. They have different shaped petals, different colours, different aromas, different sizes and grow in different places. Snowflakes are all different, each one completely unique from another. Trees are all different, producing different leaves and they come in lots of shapes, sizes and colours. These groups of things are all beautiful but because they are are all different, they are unique in their beauty.

Why can’t we look at humans in the same way? Why can’t we look at each other and appreciate and celebrate our differences? Why can’t we see beauty in our differences?

You are not the same as everyone else and that is a very good thing. Your hair is a different colour and texture from others. Your skin colour is different. You have a unique set of fingerprints. Your eye colour is all your own. The shape of your nose and lips is your own. The size and shape of your body is your own. The moles, freckles, age spots, scars, stretch marks, lumps and bumps are your own road map of your life journey. Your body tells your story and it is one worth getting to know and appreciate.

You are beautiful because you were born for a purpose. You exist for a reason. You are beautiful because you have a special place on this earth. You are beautiful because of the things you say and do. You are beautiful because…just because!

Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and know you are beautiful, inside and out, not just because I say so but because like everything in nature you are different but no less attractive then anyone else. Like a flower, a snowflake or tree, you are unique and stunning.

Being yourself is the best and most beautiful way to be!

Covid Gains

I think it’s safe to say most of us have put on a few pounds during the pandemic and you know what, it’s okay. What else is there to do besides cook and eat, lol? Okay maybe a walk would be good too but that’s beside the point. The point is what are you going to do about it? Are you going to squeeze yourself into clothing that’s too tight and uncomfortable? Are you going to wear joggers and pyjamas all day every day? While that certainly sounds delightful, it isn’t practical or possible for everyone especially if you go outside the home for work or to get errands done.

Here’s my solution to the problem: buy bigger clothing. So what if you have to buy something a size bigger. What’s important is that you are comfortable and you are wearing something that fits properly. You don’t have to squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans that are too small. The number on the tag is not who you are. Your size does not define you. It’s important to wear clothing that fits you in this moment because you will feel better in an outfit that fits properly and is flattering to your body shape and size now.

Loved this post on Instagram from @sewtinamarie that inspired today’s blog instalment!

Some reminders to help you through this period of adjusting to a new you:

  • You are beautiful!
  • You are worth having clothing that you love.
  • You are strong.
  • You deserve to be happy in whatever size or shape your body is right now.
  • You can fight through this temporary moment in time.
  • One day you’ll be able to say, “I made it.”
  • Wear what you love and love what you wear.
  • Rock clothing that fits your curves.
  • I am who I want to be and who I was meant to be.
  • I am good enough.
  • I am worthy.
  • It’s not anyone’s job but my own to like me.
  • I am Pretty, Plus and Proud.

Be yourself no matter what that number on the scale says. You can’t be perfect, no one is and besides perfection is way over rated. It’s absolutely no fun. Eat the piece of cake, laugh and enjoy life without restrictions or impossible rules. Do what you have to do to get through this crazy period of history.

Who Are You Standing Next To?

On any given day you will connect with a multitude of people. There are the people you live with, your neighbours, delivery people, people at work, store clerks where you do your shopping, people who serve you at the drive through or service people who come to your home for repairs. There might even be strangers standing next to you at the bus stop, in lines or at the corner waiting to cross the street. All of these people live different lives, travel different journeys and have different thoughts and feelings whirling around in their heads. Unless you are a mind reader, you don’t know what’s going on in their lives or their head. You do not know their story. You do not know what kind of day they may be having, even if you live with someone, you are not usually with them 24/7. Even when someone looks all pulled together and says everything is great, inside they may be falling apart. Someone they love may have passed on. Maybe they just lost their job. Maybe they just broke up from someone they cared very deeply for. Maybe they’re not feeling well. We simply can’t know.

So where does this insight leave us? It should lead us to being kinder to people. It should encourage us to be more empathetic, patient and understanding. It should inspire us to be cautious with our words and actions. It should motivate us to treat people with respect and dignity. Your words or acts of kindness may be the thing that keeps someone from falling apart.

So who will you be standing next to today and how will you respond or interact with them? Be Pretty, Plus and Proud and no matter what anyone says or does to you today, try to remember that their actions may not be about you. They may just be having a really bad day and you just happen to be in their line of fire. Try not to take their attack on you too personally. Stay calm and be kind anyway

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