Self care day 20:Cleansing

One of the things I have learned in traveling a bit is to clean the house before you leave. Coming home to a clean house, where everything is put away and you have a place to relax is amazing after a trip. My mother used to have us clean any time we left so we could come home, sit down and relax. It is some of the best travel advice I have gotten.

That and finding the proper amount to tip the TSA agent for groping me.

I am not a very tidy person. I have been known to be a bit messy. My desk at the moment is covered end to end with books, bills, papers, medications, and toy ponies. My bedside table has several books on it, some I have not read in over 2 weeks. I drive my wife nuts as I am still trying to attempt to take my clothes to the hamper.

I am not proud of it.

Now, There are times when I get in a fit and can’t stand it anymore. I see the clutter and the mess and I have to clean. Everything. Pick things up, straighten up, whatever it takes to bring discord into order.

I have felt it help my mental state so much.

Some days are harder than others at getting around the house. The weather at the moment is turning stormy and I can feel it in my body aches. However, I know that if I take some time and do a deep cleaning of the house, dusting vacuuming, scrubbing my desk down, I know that it will improve my mental state vastly. My wife likes to clean when she is stressed out because it helps her focus. Seeing the mess is a constant reminder of the fact it needs to be picked up and put away. Getting it done is a fantastic way to ease some burdens off the mind.

I have found that after a good house cleaning that taking a long hot shower helps relax you further. Sometimes it isn’t just mental clutter that needs to be picked up. It is a real mess that needs it.

And that is something you can control and fix.

You can control and fix something.

And it can effect you, mentally.

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

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Self care day 18:Loving yourself

I wrote a blog earlier this month on writing letters to people you love. Sending letters out to your friends and family, possibly even getting one back. I left out a very important person in the list of people to write.

You.

I have been personally fascinated at seeing people change over the years. People watching is a favorite past time of my family. We used to go to a place called Downtown Disney in Orlando, FL and sit at one of the outdoor restaurants and just watch people. Seeing tourists, locals, adults, children, all walking around, living life. Sometimes we would seeing the same person twice and notice a change. We would make up stories of what happened.

I never thought about myself changing all that much or my story.

I stumbled on an old journal I wrote in many years ago (almost 20 now) in this most recent move. I came across an entry that made me stop and think. It was to my future self, asking how I was doing, did I have any advice from the future (INVEST IN A COMPANY CALLED GOOGLE OR YAHOO!!), and if I had accomplished any goals that I had. It was a humbling and brutally honest experience. It made me think more on the day to day activities I do and how much I should appreciate what I have.

I challenge you to write to yourself. No, it does not have to be 20 years from now but how about 6 months. A year. Write a letter. Talk about yourself. No one knows you better than you. Open it in a year. Its still near Valentine’s day, write a love letter to yourself. Talk about how awesome something in your life is doing. Say something you love. Will it still be there in a year? Have you accomplished your goals?

Have you taken care of yourself?

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Self care day 17:Pillow talk

Oh sleep. How I love you so. Let me count the ways. It is most unfortunate that we have not had a good relationship these last few years. My body has gotten in the way and I wish to rekindle our love for each other.

OK, melodrama aside, it can be quite difficult to fall asleep for some of us. We can factor in so many things such as working to late, coffee, or just being not tired.

Can a pillow be the answer?

I believe it can.

Go grab your pillow. How old is it? Have you used it for years? Is it providing what you need at night? Have you tried to wash it and it just doesn’t have the floof in it anymore?

Why not buy a new one?

Pillows are an item we count on and use every day but we do not seem to replace very often. We use them for years, add a new one to the mix when one gets too flat, and eventually they seem to disintegrate into thin air. Honestly ask yourself when the last time you looked to replace your pillow?

I hold myself in the category of almost never.

I remember growing up, I asked for one of the buckwheat husk pillows for Christmas. I had heard about them on TV and wanted one. I lived in Florida at the time and one of the benefits I had heard about was that buckwheat husks stayed cool while you sleep, providing a cooler night sleep. Living in the subtropics were nights were in the 90’s made this seem like a dream come true.

So, I asked for a pillow for Christmas.

Yes I was “that kid”.

I remember sleeping on it for quite a few years. I vaguely remember me having to get rid of it due to a hole. Since then, I have not thought about it until this blog post almost 10 years later.

Why do we miss the little things that can make our lives better?

If all it takes to get a better night sleep was a pillow, would you do it?

Would you take care of yourself, just a little bit?

#hugapony my friends.

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Self care day 16:Peace of body

It is an amazing thing, the body. It is what we use to get around. It provides nourishment for the brain. It houses the soul. Doesn’t it deserve some love?

I have had a few massages over the years and it has been an amazing experience time and again. They put you in a quiet room. They keep you warm. They rub away aching muscles and sore places, all while keeping your mind at peace as well.

Full body release and relaxation.

I remember the first time some one gave me one. I was 14 on a missions’s trip to Haiti. I was helping build a medical facility about a mile up a mountain several hours outside Port-au-Prince. I was helping dig sewer lines and a place for the septic tank. The air was so thin, you could barely swing a pickax more than a few times before you were out of breath.

Tired and sore does not even begin to describe it.

We were settling in after dinner and wiping down with baby wipes as there was no running water or shower to speak of. I was with a bunch of college students and 2 of them were in nursing and also massage therapists. They set about to getting everyone’s back to feeling better and I helped get people around as they melted into bliss. One had finished working on someone, looked at me and asked if I needed one. Being a young teenager, and a very quiet one at that, I politely declined and said I would be alright. She said nonsense, it made no difference and had me sit down and she worked on my shoulders and upper back.

Oh my goodness.

Feeling muscles release and your body let go was amazing.

One of the more interesting things about it was being told to drink a lot of water. Breaking down the muscle made it release toxins and water would help flush it out. I could think of no better way to finish “spring cleaning” the body.

I will never forget it.

I encourage all of you to go and get one by a massage therapist. Find a good one in the area, use Groupon, however you can do it. Treat yourself.

Better yet, heal yourself.

Take care of yourself.

#hugapony my friends

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Self care day 15:Something New

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Raising kids has been a fun adventure. Teaching them to walk, talk, poop, and many other glorious things has been most interesting. I have been more tired and more proud than I have ever been in my life. I have also had something else happen that I did not expect. I tried new things. New foods, new places to visit, new encounters that would have never happened because I would not have thought to do them.

Quite the experience in all.

Now, I would not have gone to a pumpkin patch or to the local indoor bounce house unless it was a birthday party or a special occasion but in my case, I was an addition to a child who was wide eyed and ready to have fun.

They were not the only one to have fun.

I remember going to an indoor inflatable bounce house emporium that had inflatable boxing rings, volleyball, and even a 2 man maze you could race through. A friend and I jumped into the boxing ring together and went a few rounds before the kids got in to knock each other senseless. The adults all joined in on the maze and raced to the end. I remember going against the other most “fit”adult there as we raced all the way to the end. The last section had a turn were an inflatable wall, that had separated us for most for the maze, opened up and there was a hill climb and a dash to the end. I heard my friend come around the turn about the same time I was. I played dirty and threw myself at the divider wall, felt something bounce off of it along with a yell, and raced up the rope to the finish. It turns out I had timed it all so well, and he hadn’t expected it, that I bounced him like a pinball around that part of the course he was turned around, about to head in the wrong direction. He came over the hill climb, dizzy and laughing, vowing to get me back in the next event.

Now, I would never have gone to such a place unless I had kids (or someone had pushed very hard for me to be there). I look back on the times when I said no to going out. I question how many good times I missed because I was scared or afraid or even just thought I wouldn’t like it.

So many new foods and experiences that are out there that might be waiting for you. I can honestly say, even with the events or food that I didn’t like, I was still glad I tried.

I found more about myself. I explored more of who I was as a person.

I found out more likes.

I found out more dislikes (it is OK to dislike something but at least try it).

I helped myself grow.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 14:Crown Jewels

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Being Valentines Day, I want to bring some life and joy to everyone. It is a day where people pronounce their love for one another and some to many people at once. I love seeing the movement where friends all go out in groups, professing the love they have for each other. I want to focus in on one person in particular today. Can you guess who it is?

You.

Part of self care is loving yourself. While that can be taken in many ways, how much do we love ourselves? You can think of many things such as your body, weight, job, happiness, joy, pain, and a host of other issues that can make up how much you love yourself. But is that you loving you?

I now ask to think of your favorite person in the world. Spouse, lover, friend, family, the person you love the most. Think of all the amazing things you do or want to do for them. Think of the dates you plan or have planned, the little presents you bought them, or the trips you have shared. I am sure there are many amazing things we can all recount.

If you are supposed to love yourself, have you done any of those things for you?

Makes even myself take a step back and look.

So, this Valentines Day, find an item of jewelry, clothing, something small you can wear or touch each and every day. Buy it (it doesn’t have to be the most expensive thing possible). Buy it for you. Wear it. When people ask, say that you bought it for someone you love.

You bought it for you.

Show yourself some love. We all need it.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 13:Nothing

It is always a pleasure bring you more day to day posts. I will continue to do so until the end of February. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I hope the title grabs your attention and makes you think I messed up. It is easy to see how nothing would be something that can be a mistake. In this case, however, I speak of planning of a nothing day.

I was an avid reader of A. A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh. There was much childlike wisdom in the books that even carried on to adults. Some deep profound philosophies, in my opinion, that we can use day to day. One of my favorite passages is as follows.

“What do you like doing best in the world, Pooh?”

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best-” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. And then he thought that being with Christopher Robin was a very good thing to do, and having Piglet near was a very friendly thing to have; and so, when he had thought it all out, he said, “What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,’ and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

“I like that too,” said Christopher Robin, “but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

― A.A. Milne

When was the last time you had a nothing day. You make plans to do nothing. If something comes to mind, read a book, drink tea, sit outside in the sun, it cannot be interrupted because you planned for nothing that day. Tell everyone you are busy, invite them to join you in doing nothing (which most people cannot do), or just turn off the TV/computer/phone and do nothing.

I like to call this a mental cleansing day. Defragment your brain’s hard-drive. Have a day of stress free life. To quote the author again.

“What I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

Have yourself a nothing day.

#hugapony my friends

Self care day 12:Flower power

Again, thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

Have you ever stopped and smelled the roses? Not in the “appreciate life” meaning but stopped and smelled a flowering plant? I have written that smell is a power memory trigger and there is a list aromatic oil sellers trying to get me to use their products to “heal” me.

It can be quite refreshing.

I remember when I have sent my wife flowers on Mother’s day or Valentines day. She is a big fan of Tiger Lilies. I sent her a bouquet in college filled with them. The girls in her dorm complained to their boyfriends that they could smell her flowers from the hall and why didn’t theirs smell that good.

God bless the florist who made that bouquet.

So why not send yourself flowers? What is the social faux pas that makes it wrong? Why can you not make yourself feel special? We will go buy a video game or a new blanket to make ourselves feel better but hesitate on buying ourselves flowers.

Change that.

Have them delivered to your work and when a coworker asks, just say that you are treating yourself. Send them to your home and put them in water and wake up to them every day. Enjoy the smell of flowers when you walk in the door and remember that you matter to you.

Use them as a reminder that you are special.

Self-care. It can be as simple as stopping to smell the roses.

#hugapony my friends.

Self care day 11:Appetizing Friends

Again, thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

It can be physically and emotionally exhausting socializing with social anxiety. You tend to make a lot of acquaintances and just a few close friends. I feel that generally society does not realize the time and effort it takes to go out. If I had my way, I feel as if I would never leave the house.

But I need to do it.

A dear friend of mine puts together a dinner every so often. He has a place in mind that has some amazing food and a bar to knock your socks off. He invites people he knows well and some he doesn’t. He tells them to come, hang out, talk, and be together. These groups can be as large as 20+ at times.

And you meet people.

It is amazing seeing people from all walks of life and backgrounds come together and talk. I find it fascinating to engage people from around the country or the world at these dinners. Seeing them all come together at one table is an incredible thing.

And all my friend does is order appetizers.

He orders almost all of them on the menu.

People sit around and eat fantastic food and they order a drink or two (some just stick to water) and they socialize. They pass around plates of appetizers and ask “Have you tried this?” and “Oh my god. These are amazing.” It is truly incredible seeing people open up about food.

It can be extremely fulfilling for the soul as well.

So I say plan an outing, with friends and others, and just order appetizers. You all just pay for one (which makes it cheaper) and you share. Pass the food around and enjoy each others company. Tip your waitress well while you are at it (make her smile at the fun you all are having).

It takes some planning but it is well worth it.

#hugapony my friend.

Self care day 9:Writing people

Thank you for joining me on the grand undertaking. There is going to be a lot of work for me and  I hope to be able to keep up. Please make sure to comment, share and follow along as I share some simple things to better your life!

I remember being at Disney World as a child and I had just met a kid from England. We had run into his family in the parks all day and everyone ended up leaving at the same time. Right before we left, he and I exchanged addresses and became pen pals. It was so cool for a much younger me to receive a letter from “across the pond”.

Physical mail can be joyous.

There was a time when I was ecstatic to get mail. My mom would send me to our mailbox at the end of the driveway (1/4 mile driveway one way) and I would walk, bike, or even drive to go get the mail. Seeing a letter addressed to me was like Christmas.

Now days, I look at the mail and see bill after bill. Occasionally I will see a birthday card but most of what I receive is negative. What can we do to change that?

As someone once said, “You have to write them to get them.”

When was the last time you wrote a letter (not an email)? When was the last time you used a stamp? Letters have a physical property that digital does not. We see movies like Harry Potter and we all want a quill and an owl to send to others. Why don’t we do it more?

Is all it takes is to get a calligraphy pen or quill?

Imparting yourself on a page is freeing and scary. As someone who writes online and shares my life with many others, it can be terrifying putting yourself out there. It can be difficult. Topics and subjects can be difficult to come up with, it takes time and effort.

But the results can be astounding.

Being able to free up brain space by putting it down on a page is a release. Sharing with others your story is reaffirming. Inspiring others to do the same can make you feel ecstatic.

And if it goes great, they write back.

And then you have a positive reason to check the mail.

Sometimes helping yourself comes from helping others and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your room to do so. It can all come from a letter.

#hugapony my friends.