Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care

“Self-care is taking care of my own energy level.” Said Leah Ruppanner, Author of Motherlands and Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne. It’s a powerful definition and rallying cry to disrupt how we think about it. She added, “I’m trying to resist how the wellness industry defines self-care, where I have to do yoga and become thin. I reject that model of self-care but sometimes, find it very seductive, because it’s simple solutions for complex problems.”

Audre Lorde, who coined the term described it as an “act of self-preservation.” So, it’s ironic that self-care has become a source of inner conflict. Because it’s often conflated with pampering, some feel pressured by it.

But what if we measure our downtime by how rested we are instead of how much we get done? We live busy and in the pandemic, it’s unrealistic not to be. But powering through without some form of self-care leads to burnout.

Time Is More Fragmented Than Ever

Sheltered with family 24/7 makes this more challenging. “What I have found in this pandemic, is that my work requires concentrated, uninterrupted time. And my child requires instruction and constant Continue reading “Welcome to the Tyranny of Self-Care”

Loneliness When You’re Not Alone

Over 1,000* parents, primarily Moms (94%) have shared their experiences with the pandemic since late March. Five months in, time spent caring for mental and physical health, continues to erode. And over 2/3 admit spending less time maintaining relationships with other adults that keep them anchored. Parents have increasingly shared loneliness has been the hardest part of social distance.

“Not being able to be with people I care about. Now everyone is just a phone friend.”

“I’m low on incidental socialization (i.e. chatting with parents while kids are at activities, socializing with people at the gym, getting together with friends who don’t live on my street.)”

“Not being able to see friends and family and/or needing to limit the amount of interaction with them.”

Isolation…With Family?

We love our families. Their persistent presence has been the greatest source of conflict and joy in lockdown, for most surveyed parents. But being ‘always on’ whether for work or kids, is wearing. The bonds we have with other adults — friends, family and colleagues – often provide  Continue reading “Loneliness When You’re Not Alone”

The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick

A Book Review For Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander

I read and listen to books about everything from bravery and acceptance to productivity and leadership. I’ve been in the slow but intentional process of self-renewal for years. Recently, I discovered Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander. It’s the companion to one of my favorite books, The Art of Possibility that she co-authored with her husband, Benjamin Zander.

The best of cognitive science teaches that our thoughts affect our feelings. And ultimately, our happiness. Self-help can be heavy on the ‘why’ but light on the ‘how.’ It’s rare to find details about internalizing big ideas. Adopting new routines is not the same as resetting one’s internal Continue reading “The Details of How to Make Personal Change Stick”

The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic

Moms are heroic. Yes, you are a hero.

We set up the meal chains, sewing circles and food drives. We do the essential or remote work and make it look seamless, even though we juggle. Struggle. Zooming kids, looming deadlines and grocery-bingo fade in and out of days without edges. We manage our fears and just keep on soothing. We remain available and reliable to the people in our lives. Being at home has always meant being busy.

The next great act for Moms may just be learning to self-care ‘in place.’

Together, Forward

You may have found your footing emotionally, financially or professionally before the pandemic. Or you were about to unravel and needed a serious reset.

Continue reading “The Hidden Heroes of This Pandemic”

What is Self-Care? Spoiler Alert, It’s Not On Your To-Do List

It Begins With Self-Love. Today and Everyday!

Self-care is your divine right to emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. It’s belief, intention and action. Self-care cannot be purchased. It’s not something ‘else’ to ‘fit in.’ It’s a mindset.

Society doesn’t champion Moms yet wants to conflate our self-worth with achievement. We’re cheerfully encouraged to busy-ourselves-to-death. We work unsustainable schedules, to pay for unaffordable childcare. It’s a tiring race to the bottom.

In the trance-of-busy, we push healthy to Continue reading “What is Self-Care? Spoiler Alert, It’s Not On Your To-Do List”

Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?

That’s Right. There’s Upside to the Work/Life Juggle!

“I didn’t realize it would be psychologically painful. It surprised me, how it would all feel, going back to work when my child was 2 months old,” Said Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. 

The hard parts of working Motherhood are felt immediately. Within hours of returning to work, we fight to compartmentalize. We think about what our kids and our jobs need. All. Day. Long. Even if it were possible, just trying to quiet that inner dialogue, feels disloyal. As if we’re trying to make Motherhood’s messy emotions smaller. Less demanding. Work, once a refuge, begins to fragment us.

What about the sunny side? We rarely think about the Continue reading “Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?”

How to Build & Grow a Business! Expert Advice from Women Leaders

It’s a visceral experience to see a room full of women at a professional conference. The BlogHer Creator’s Summit where about 1,000 female founders gather to soak up inspiration, sharpen their vision and learn how to grow, was no exception.

Many have lost patience with the limitations of traditional work. Women increasingly opt to leap over, or tunnel under, the stubborn leadership gap by starting businesses.

Creators of all stripes, from celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Diane Guerrero, to Entrepreneurs like Hannah Bronfman, CeCe Olisa and Gail Becker, spoke openly about everything they’ve Continue reading “How to Build & Grow a Business! Expert Advice from Women Leaders”

How to Replenish When You’re Burned Out

“How was your trip?” I asked. “It was wonderful, but I broke my foot,” Anna said with a laugh. She then described stepping into an ‘ocean pothole’ while surfing.  “It was great fun, but it wasn’t the first time my body told me to stop when my brain said keep going! Now, I have to slow down, for 6 to 8 weeks.”

Anna went on a yoga retreat in the Costa Rican jungle on a mission … to recover from overwhelm and reclaim her joy. “I can’t believe I went. I’m so glad I went,” she said.

We oversee complex schedules and fragile childcare logistics, without breaks, for years. Moms speak the language of exhaustion. Burnout, however, can consume all of your remaining energy. Whether it’s from a crisis, or the daily routine, feeling drained and disconnected is Continue reading “How to Replenish When You’re Burned Out”

Learn How to Keep Your Creative Edge From a Professional Artist

“I feel like I’m in such a hurry I don’t fully soak up the process,” lamented Soyoung L Kim, artist and writer, describing the preparation for her first solo art exhibit. Over lunch, we discussed all-things-creativity, including her professional journey, self-care and generating fresh ideas.

What if you’re not an artist? Finding creative solutions accelerates most careers. Creative thought, however, loves mental space. Lots of it. Inevitably, when you need it most, your inner-well-of-creativity, will appear to be dry. Frustratingly dry.

How can you rekindle and maintain that incredible energy? The answer might be having more than one creative love. Learn how a professional artist, faces the common challenges of getting unstuck and tapping her inner-genius, while juggling Continue reading “Learn How to Keep Your Creative Edge From a Professional Artist”

If Setting Better Boundaries Can Improve Your Life, Why Don’t You?

“I think part of the problem is that I hardly have any boundaries. I’ve given up eating, sleeping, showering on a regular basis just to maintain work and family. Forget self-care, tv, movies, reading or seeing friends. No time!”

“I’m not sure what to say about this… I don’t know that I have rules for myself at home, other than the ‘alone time’ trigger, which is less a rule than an escape clause…”

What rules do you set to protect your time? What routines help you keep commitments, to yourself, and others? In an anonymous survey, nearly 200 Moms shared their experiences setting, modifying (and yes, ignoring) their personal boundaries. We spend so much energy navigating external boundaries, the barriers between what we have and want, that we forget to erect our own. Protective ones.

Strong personal boundaries are the answer to over-do and never-done. The tenuous states of anxiety most Moms call home. We fritter from must-do to have-to and rarely make space to think. Practicing regular self-care, or just relaxing, begins to feel impossible. It’s scary when the life we wanted doesn’t leave room for what we need. We do it for our children, partners and communities. We do it because it’s  Continue reading “If Setting Better Boundaries Can Improve Your Life, Why Don’t You?”

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