Monday Motivation: Summertime Self-Care Ideas

Today is the first full day of summer and it just so happens to also be “World Naked Hiking Day” too. 

Summertime for many of us often means more time to enjoy the daylight hours, more time to relax and more time for adventure. 

Summer is also the perfect season to refocus our energy on our mental and physical health which may have been lacking over the previous months as well.

So I’ve created a list of some very simple ideas for ways in which you can incorporate the all too important self-care into your summertime routine. 

1. Go for a long hike or a walk in nature (bring lots of bug spray if you decide to go naked!)

2. Use sidewalk chalk

3. Run through a sprinkler

4. Do yoga outside

5. Pack a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the park

6. Roast marshmallows 

7. Visit a farmer’s market

8. Watch the sun rise

9. Go out for ice cream 

10. Star gaze

11. Bird watch

12. Take an evening stroll at sunset

13. Play with water balloons

14. Have a backyard barbecue with friends and family

15. Make a playlist of music that reminds you of summer when you were a kid

16. Play with bubbles

17. Make lemonade out of lemons

18. Enjoy a good book

19. Drink lots of water

20. Take a road trip

21. Get lots of Vitamin D

22. Bake your favourite summertime treat 

23. Dance in the rain

24. Keep a journal of your summertime self-care

25. Discover a new hobby or reinvent an old one

26. Set new goals

Feel free to add anything I may have missed.

What do you look most forward to about summer?

#selfcare #mondaymotivation #summertimeselfcare #firstdayofsummer #summerishere #worldnakedhikingday #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #bekindtoyourself #beinthemoment #takecareofyourmentalhealth #nature #summerofrich 

A Love Letter to Me, Myself & I

*I was asked to do a writing exercise and write a love letter to myself and so I couldn’t think of a better day to practice some much needed self-love than today on Valentine’s Day.*

Dear: Myself & I 

You and I go back a really long time and I guess if you wanna be a bit more precise, it’ll actually be fifty years come this June. That’s pretty noteworthy, wouldn’t you agree? 

Looking back on our almost fifty years together, there’s no denying that we’ve created alot of history. We’ve made so many lasting memories together, we’ve cried together until we’ve nearly collapsed from exhaustion, we’ve laughed so hard together that our belly’s ached and we’ve shared a bond that runs deeper than any two people could ever truly imagine.

But I know I have let you down a alot over the last many years (and several more times throughout our life together I’m sure). I feel like I have disappointed you by detaching myself & I from you and leaving you to fend for yourself while having to rely on the strength of others. 

I should be the one showering you with the love and kindness you so deserve and make you feel empowered. I should be the one encouraging you, rooting you on, embracing you, appreciating you and seeing your own incredible inner strength. 

I should also be the one who is always praising you and admiring your courage and I should be the one who sees how smart and creative you are or how strong and truly brave you are and I should be the one who sees what a caring and huge heart you have. 

I should not be forever telling you that you are not good enough, that you are worthless, that you should do better and that you should be a better wife, mother and friend. I should be the one who is there for you and who wants to take care of you and protect you and adore you.

I want to apologize to you for not fighting harder for you, for not feeling like you deserve me, for making you feel like I have failed you and for making you believe that you are a burden, that you are unlovable and that you are undesirable. I want to apologize to you for making you feel like you don’t belong, that you don’t matter and that you are no longer needed. I also need to apologize to you for allowing you to believe that you are anything less than the amazing and kindhearted and beautiful, worthy soul that you are.

I know how difficult life has been for you over the last many years and so I’m writing you this letter today to let you know that even though you may not be able to see it now I need you to know that you are worthy, that you do matter, that you are beautiful, that you are smart, that you are creative, that you are strong and brave and courageous and kind and desirable and that you are more than enough.

Sincerely yours,

Myself & I 

P.S. wishing my beloved Rich and 3 beautiful children Jacob, Hannah and Rachel a very Happy Valentine’s Day today. You are my heart and soul and you fill my heart and soul with so much sweetness and love (and Maggie too!).

I love you all to the moon and back, forever and a day ❤

P.P.S.  I hope you all have a very happy Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love and inner peace. 

#happyvalentinesday #bemine #selflove #bekindtoyourself #youareenough #youarenotalone #selfcare #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #lettertomyself #therapeutic #loveletter #dearme #youmatter

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021

Today is the 11th Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. To date Bell’s Mental Health initiatives have raised more than 25 million dollars towards various programs and research projects by contributing 5 cents every time someone in Canada sends a text message, makes a phone call (Bell users only), tweets #BellLetsTalk or creates a Tik Tok video using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, views one of their videos on any of their social media platforms or uses Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter today.

Their message this year in the wake of Covid-19 is simple; “When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.” 

So if you can take a moment today to talk, text or tweet (etc) #BellLetsTalk it really could make a difference in someone’s life and remember that every action taken is one step closer toward ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Our words matter, our actions matter and our mental health matters more than ever before and by simply showing a kind gesture to a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed today or by listening to a child who may be feeling super anxious and unsure right now or by asking a coworker or neighbor how you can help them because they are feeling extra stressed are just a few of the many ways that you can let someone know that they are not and that it’s okay to not be okay.  

**If you would like more information on how to get a copy of my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” please feel free to message me directly. All proceeds from any book sales made between today and Sunday will be donated to #BellLetsTalkDay initiatives. And for more helpful tips and tools on mental health and self-care practices or to learn how Bell Let’s Talk initiatives have been impacting groups and communities all across Canada for the past 10 + years please check out their website @ https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives. 

❤Thank you❤

#BellLetsTalkDay #bellletstalk #wordsmatter #youmatter #everyactioncounts #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation kindnessmatters #ohcanada  #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #author #blogger

Que Sera Sera

As the new year quickly approaches I’m not gonna lie to you and say that I have very high hopes or any sort of expectations for the year ahead and if I’m to be completely honest here, I’ve felt like I’ve been walking on eggshells as the previous six new years approached too, so why set myself up for any further disappointment. 

Around this time every year since my illness began in 2014 I have received countless, well intentioned end of year messages of hope and healing from friends, loved ones and acquaintances alike, all of whom confidently assure me that this next year things will be better for me or promise me that this is going to be my year!! 

And I do sincerely appreciate each and every one of these messages (I really do!) because I know that they are all coming from a place of love and a kind heart but my track record thus far has been 0 in 6 and so when the end of each year nears and I reflect back on these words of hope and healing I can’t help but feel in a sense like I’ve let everyone around me down, AGAIN.

In all fairness though, this year has fucking sucked for all of us. It hasn’t been a very promising year for most of us and instead it was met with tremendous loss, uncertainty and immense tragedy for many more. 

2020 has taken a lot out of us all and who could have ever imagined what was to come as the clock struck midnight on January 1st and we kissed and hugged our loved ones and sent messages of hope and healing for a better year than last.

I do want more than anything for 2021 to be my year, I truly want it to be a better year for me (I mean who wouldn’t), and for EVERYONE else too, but 2020 has broke me and it wasn’t all Covid-19’s doing. 

By the time the Coronavirus was declared a world wide Pandemic in mid March I had already spent close to a month in bed with a concussion (starting January 2nd) during which time my mom then broke her hip, needed surgery and spent 6 weeks in hospital/rehab but the icing on the cake came when Rich lost his job.

Yup, all this happened before March ever even rolled around and it’s been one big shit show ever since including several new obstacles we’ve had to face recently, just as the year is finally coming to a close.

So maybe it’s best for now that we don’t make any special promises or declarations or speculations to one another; at least not yet. Lets see how 2021 looks upon first glance, at least give it a few days to settle in, let it get comfortable, ease it in slowly and take baby steps so we don’t frighten it. Maybe if we don’t make any sudden moves or let it see us coming with our overly confident promises, declarations or speculations, maybe if we just let it do its thing, then maybe we will all be pleasantly surprised!

Thank you all once again for your continued love and support through this past year and beyond. You will never know how much your words and actions truly touch my heart.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and safe New Year and oh ya, please stay home too!

#happynewyear #goodriddance2020 #queserasera #whateverwillbewillbe #walkingoneggshells #youareenough #youarenotalone #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #kindness #mentalhealth #checkonyourlovedones 

My Velveteen Rabbit

Did you have a favourite blankie or stuffed animal growing up? Did you sleep with it every night and take it with you everywhere you went? Did you feel a sense of panic if it was suddenly out of your reach? Was it loved so much that it became “real”?

One of my favourite children’s books growing up was “The Velveteen Rabbit”, a story that I passed down to my own children when they were very young hoping they would fall in love with it as much as I did and one day I hope that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will too. 

The story was originally published in 1922 but it never seems to grow old. It’s a story of a young boy who receives many presents one Christmas morning including a beautiful stuffed Velveteen Rabbit.  But the boy doesn’t take to the rabbit right away as he had so many new and shiny toys to play with all at once, until one day his nanny grabs the Velveteen Rabbit off the shelf for him to sleep with.

The rabbit had longed for this moment and had only one wish in mind which was to “become”. And “become” he did. The boy grew so attached to the rabbit that eventually “most of his hair had been loved off, his eyes dropped out and his joints became loose and very shabby”. It was at that moment that the Velveteen Rabbit knew he had finally become “real”.

As a young child I had my own “Velveteen Rabbit” only he wasn’t actually a rabbit but instead a fluffy gray haired dog who wore a big red plaid hat atop his head. Throughout my childhood and into my transition into adulthood that stuffed dog gave me a great sense of safety, predictability and comfort; something I know millions of children around the world during this past year have looked for more than ever before. 

He “became” so real that his fur was also loved off, his eyes dropped out and his joints became loose and shabby too. He lost his big red plaid hat at some point over the course of my childhood and my grandma replaced it by knitting him a special red and white bow to wear around his wobbly neck to keep him warm. 

His name was Sniffer and he saw me through the worst of times in my life and the best of times as well (he even made a surprise appearance at my wedding thanks to my brother!). A stuffed animal like Sniffer who becomes “real” are so much more than any old toy in a child’s toy box because when they “become” they teach a child about compassion, they teach a child how to love and they can teach a child to be gentle towards others. They also open up a world of imagination and pretend play for a child by giving them a name, a voice and a personality.  

Sniffer did all that and more for me and nowadays he sits comfortably on a shelf in my closet as he is pretty old and fragile. He is also pretty much the only memory I have left from my childhood (a story for another time and place) so I will never just toss him away. 

Just knowing he is there if ever I need him gives me a sense of comfort and ease in an anxious moment. His sentimental value is also both soothing and calming in times of distress. I guess sometimes we all just need a trusting hug or cuddle from an old familiar inanimate object to give us a feeling that we too have “become” because once you “reach that point then no matter what happens to you, you can always be true to yourself” too.

Did you have a special toy or object that brought you comfort? Do you still have it today?

#becomingreal #stuffedanimals #comfort #sentimental #thevelveteenrabbit #youareenough #youarenotalone #childandyouthmentalhealth #mentalhealthishealth #childrensliterature

Less Is More This Holiday Season

As my kids were growing up they were always super excited in anticipation of the first night of Chanukah and they especially looked forward to spending time with family and friends throughout the “eight crazy nights”, lighting the Menorah, making holiday crafts, eating and baking lots of traditional Chanukah treats, exchanging presents and of course receiving them too. 

When they were younger we often gifted them with a small token gift each night of Chanukah after we lit the candles (not to worry, there were plenty of bigger presents to go around too). It may have seemed like they were super silly gifts, but seeing the excitement and joy light up their faces as they tore the wrapping paper from their new Dora the Explorer toothbrush or their funky new Chanukah pencil set is a feeling that will never grow old as a parent.

Tonight as we begin the celebration of Chanukah 2020 we will continue as always to honour the holiday by lighting the Menorah each night while enjoying the same traditional treats like sufganiyah (jelly donuts), homemade cookies and homemade latkes as well that smell up our clothes and home for days and days, but always totally worth it. 

But this year the holiday season, whether it be Chanukah, Christmas or any other holiday traditions you celebrate are going to once again in good old 2020 fashion feel a whole lot different from years past. 

Many of our traditions, celebrations or even vacations with friends and loved ones won’t be taking place this year and that is going to create a great sense of disappointment and a feeling of loss for many children and adults alike. 

Maybe we can all try to create some new traditions or find different ways of celebrating the holidays instead this year as we focus our attention on the general theme of 2020 which is that “less is more”. 

Maybe we can take some comfort in a more simplistic holiday season instead this year where we share our favourite memories of holidays past over a zoom call with loved ones or make holiday crafts to hang outside our door to brighten up the neighborhood or donate a toy to a child less fortunate.

However it is you choose to celebrate this year or as “grim” as the holiday season may feel for so many let us all be reminded that it is still the “season of giving” and the “season of miracles”.

And to all of us who will be lighting that first Chanukah candle tonight let it bring a “festival of light”, hope and unity for everyone around the world because that is truly all that matters this holiday season.  

#happychanukah #happyholidays #memories #traditions #familytraditions #newtraditions #tistheseason #lightthemenorah #eightcrazynights #festivaloflights #seasonofgiving #seasonofmiracles #santaclausiscomingtotown #togetherapart #lessismore #homefortheholidays #watchahallmarkmovie #youareenough #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealthishealth  

A Thanksgiving Parody

@theholdernessfamily have been a great source of laughter and comfort for me over the last many months.  

Their videos are always so creative, entertaining, nostalgic and often carry with it a strong and meaningful message.

The Holderness family is so relatable to so many of us who are also just desperately trying to survive and navigate their way through day to day life during a Global Pandemic in the best and safest way possible. 

I know we are all missing our loved ones and have had to sacrifice so much this year (and I don’t believe that closing small businesses and retail stores as they have done so in parts of Ontario this week is necessarily the answer but then again do we really know what the right answer is anymore?).

This latest parody video holds a super powerful message and not just for our American friends and family who are busy preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, but for everyone around the Globe who so urgently wants to be with their friends and other family members.

The good news however is that there is an end in sight, so for now lets all do our part to keep each other safe by continuing to socially distance and wear a mask.  

Follow The Holderness Family on Facebook and Instagram; you won’t be disappointed and Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate. 

ENJOY

#staysafe #aerosmith #parody #laughter #laughuntilyoucry #covidfatigue #2020sucks #theholdernessfamily #wereallinthistogether #wearamask #happythanksgiving #youareenough

Words of Encouragement

Waking up to this beautiful note this morning on Facebook messenger is a very illuminating reminder to me as to why I continue to write about and share my story with you.

Every time I receive personal messages like this one from friends (new or old), acquaintances and even strangers alike it gives me the strength and courage to keep doing what I do in order to help end the stigma and it further validates for me just how important it is to be completely honest with yourself about your own struggles and to be as open as possible with others as well.

I’ve said it many, many, many times before but if sharing my story as openly and honestly as I can will help make a difference in someone else’s life, will impact someone else’s journey in a positive light or will start a difficult conversation with a loved one then I will continue to do so.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Laurie for taking the time to reach out to me today, it truly meant so much.

I can still so clearly remember the day you trusted in me and shared with such raw emotions the story of your brother’s suicide and even though it was only about 13 years ago it wasn’t a conversation I had ever had before with anyone.

Society and stigma have come a long way since you lost your beautiful brother 18 years ago but there is still so much work to be done and I truly appreciate your kindness and support and wanted to share your words in hopes that someone else reading this today will find their inner strength to keep the conversation going.

#youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #endthestigmatogether #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #speakyourtruth #advocate #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #suicideprevention

You’ll always be my babies ❤

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been” ~ Mark Twain

#youareenough #iloveyoutothemoonandback #foreverandaday #tbthursday

Happy Birthday Mickey

Let’s all take a moment today to wish the world’s most recognizable character and the most lovable mouse on earth a very happy 92nd birthday.

I have always been a really big fan of Mickey Mouse’ (like ginormous) and that feeling has never waivered.

To me Mickey Mouse embodies all that is good in the world. He is a symbol of family, friendship and fun. He welcomes and accepts everyone he meets into his home (which just so happens to be the most magical place on earth) with a warm embrace.

He brings smiles of joy to millions of faces, both young and old alike and he believes that no dream is impossible and that “if you can dream it, you can do it!” 

Let’s celebrate and appreciate Mickey today for all of his amazing and special attributes that he has brought to the world over the last 92 years and all that he represents because we could sure use as many warm embraces (virtually for now) and welcoming smiles (under your mask) more than ever before right about now.

I wish I could be with him to celebrate today; how about you?

What are your most cherished memories of Mickey and/or the Magic Kingdom?

#happybirthdaymickeymouse #mickeyandminnieforever #waltdisney  #dreamtheimpossible #disneyworld #magickingdom #dream #family #friendship #cherishedmemories #mentalwellness #youareenough #origamiowl

**The jewelry featured in pics are from the new Disney Collection at Origami Owl** https://kimfluxgold.origamiowl.ca

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