From the category archives:

Self-Care Friday

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I had the pleasure of joining the conversation over at Spring today with my video about self-care. It starts off with me in my hammock (one of my most favorite things to do on an ideal self-care Friday. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s heavenly). I also offer some simple things to ask yourself to help you take care of yourself.

Today’s self-care Friday started off with some movin’ and shakin’ at Zumba class, followed by a scrumptious smoothie, then taking care of some work, and then taking a snooze. I even picked up my paintbrush for a few minutes today and I got to connect with a very dear friend on the phone.

I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m feeling good that I committed to some good old-fashioned self-care. How have you practiced self-care today?

I’ve also got a couple of links to share with you from this week:

Have a great weekend. I’ll have my nose in my manuscript as I edit away. Wish me luck!

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Backyard hammock on a self-care Friday

My self-care Fridays seem extra special during the summertime. The gorgeous sunny days and balmy breeze invite a carefree spirit.

Here’s how I’ve honored my self-care Friday so far today:

  • Went for a dip in the pool
  • Lounged in my backyard hammock
  • Got creative inspiration from flipping through Maira Kalman’s The Principles of Uncertainty
  • Sipped a luscious blueberry smoothie
  • Picked blackberries from the wild brambles that randomly grow in my backyard (maybe they’ll go into tomorrow’s smoothie!)

View from my hammock

I love how peaceful it is to look up at the  canopy of green leaves rustling in the breeze. It’s the perfect place to have my own zen-like mini-vacation.

How do you slow down and savor during the summer? What self-care practices can you incorporate into your life this weekend?

For more ideas on self-care and slowing down this summer, check out my final post on the wishstudio.

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Self-Care Friday

Friday’s are my self-care days. I don’t schedule meetings or calls. I take quiet time to just be. To unplug.  To not feel obligated to do anything. It may not be for the entire day, but even just having a few hours of white space helps me recharge from the week.  When I don’t gift myself with this weekly mini-retreat, I get cranky and resentful. But when I allow myself to indulge in some breathing space, I can relax, enjoy, and even get inspired!

Today I treated myself to a much needed mani and pedi. Feels good to be able to wear sandals and flip flops proudly again! I also enjoyed a lovely walk in the sun with my dog.

Here’s my cute pooch Emmett hanging out in the front yard with me. Oh, he’s such a sweetie. Cuddles with Emmett are also a good part of self-care Fridays!

How do you practice self-care? What’s different for you when you enjoy breathing space?

P.S. – I had the pleasure of being interviewed on a few podcasts recently. If you’re wanting some creative inspiration, take a listen:

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Wreck This Journal – Final Week from Jennifer Lee on Vimeo.

I couldn’t resist one more video to bring the Wreck This Journal Next Chapter Book Club adventure to a close.

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Drawing with glitter glue at this week’s intuitive painting class.  I didn’t wait for the glue to completely dry before I shut the book, so the pages got stuck together!  Ah, the unintentional wrecking!

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My left-handed doodle from my hammock on my self-care Friday.

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Last weekend, I went to SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper workshop and did a bit of journal wrecking there.  SARK hand writes all of the nametags with words that she intuitively channels and we randomly get handed them as we walk in the door.  My nametag said “Feisty” and I thought that would make a good sign.  One of the pages I’d been avoiding was the hang the journal in a public place and invite people to draw on it page.  Well, donning my “Feisty” tag, I raised my hand before break and invited my fellow workshop participants to join in the wrecking fun and draw on the page.

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People had a lot of fun participating and several were inspired to get Wreck This Journal to kickstart their own creative juices.

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Some people even went on to the next page. Of course I had grand visions for what the “trace your hand” page was going to be, but I had to let it go.  Another lesson courtesy of WTJ, some times things don’t go as planned and that’s okay!

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The SARK workshop was a blast.  I took my notes in the form of the “document time passing” page.  Every minute was filled with juicy learning!

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My internal “dialogue” before going to bed one night this week.  This reminds me of an exercise I did dialoging with my Inside Team.

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A couple of weeks ago I did the “other ways to wreck this journal” page.  One of them was to draw a face and put make-up on it, so that’s what I did here.

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When I reflect on what I get angry about, it usually has to do with some of my core values not being met.  Here I journaled about two things that have been bugging me.  The process underscored for me that my values of creativity/uniqueness/self-expression and meaningful relationships/friendship and authenticity/integrity/wholeness were not being fully honored in these two situations.

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I did my own take on the “write backward” page.  I took Japanese in college and it was difficult to learn because everything is backwards compared to the English language.  You have to write vertically from right to left.  Even the grammar seems backward with the verb coming at the very end of the sentence.  Here was my poor attempt at writing, “Hello my name is Jennifer.  I studied Japanese (or the backwards order of ‘I Japanese studied’). How are you? I’m fine thank you.”  The calligraphy on the lefthand page is from a gocco print I made out of my Grandpa Fukuda‘s shodo practice sheets.

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I enjoyed connecting with fellow wreckers on the Wrecking Ball call with Jamie on Friday.  Given that I had challenged someone on the call to do a page she’d been avoiding, I challenged myself to do one, too.  My favorite page, the fruit sticker page, is going to Jennifer Moore of Pink Heels.  The cool thing is we’re swapping fruit sticker pages because that was a page she’d been avoiding, too.  So it all works out in the end 🙂

I discovered so many gems on the WTJ journal and relearned a few good lessons, too:

  • Mistakes, failure and unintended wrecking often lead to wonderful creative surprises beyond what I could’ve planned or imagined.
  • Inviting creative cohorts to play not only enlivens me and the creative process, but also gives the other people permission to giggle, wreck and have fun (and they might not have even realized that they were yearning for just that!).
  • Having a supportive community makes stepping out of my comfort zone a whole lot easier.
  • Responding to a structure or prompt actually spurs my creative process.  I can take the suggestion and run with it or I can say no and make it my own.  Either way, I’m moving forward.
  • I like having variety and challenge in my creative process.
  • Wreckage can be ugly and uncomfortable AND it can also be cute and beautiful – there’s room for a whole range of experience and expression.

And I listed some other lessons in an earlier post here.

What have you learned through the wreckage?  I’d love to hear!  See you at the next Next Chapter book club for The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.  It sounds yummy!

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We’re on week 5 of the Next Chapter book club and Gail McMeekin’s fifth secret in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women is committing to self-focus.

Fridays are my self-care days.  I don’t have any meetings.  I don’t do any phone calls.  I have time just for me.

There was a Friday a few weeks ago, when I broke my promise to myself – big time!  My calendar kept getting shuffled around, the rest of the week was pretty packed, so I ended up scheduling back-to-back meetings from 9:30am-5pm.  I rationalized to myself that this was okay.  In fact, the first thing I had put on my calendar a couple months before was a meeting with a professional organizer, Claire Tompkins.  Having focused time to clear the clutter in my office was definitely my idea of a self-care act.

What didn’t help was that I started to fill in every nook and cranny before and after that meeting.  A call to plan an event for a community that I really love.  A visit from a dear friend.  And then a marathon trip to the bookkeeper.  Granted, all the things (besides the bookkeeper, of course), were things that I enjoy and are important to me.  However, I became so oblivious to my self-care day that I even neglected to build in time for me to eat!  Oops.

Later on when Claire checked-in with me for feedback on the organizing session, she also mentioned that I didn’t seem like my normal, positive self.  What she was picking up on, but I didn’t acknowledge until later was that part of me was resentful that I didn’t protect my self-care day. Instead of basking in the rested, inspired and spacious feeling of a normal Friday, I was overwhelmed, rushed and stressed (oh yeah, and very hungry!).

Having time alone is crucial for my mental health and my creative process. I’m usually pretty good about carving out those boundaries.  When I was younger, I remember my mom telling me it was okay to say no to things if I needed to take care of me or something that was important to me.  I appreciate that she did that.

Today on my self-care day I slept in, I’m going to the bookstore later on and I might even allow myself to read some fiction ;)!

How do you commit to self-focus?  What things do you do to practice self-care?

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