Tag Archives: Self-Care

MAKE 2018 THE YEAR THAT YOU COMMIT TO RADICAL SELF-CARE!

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Like so many of Ann Lamott’s powerful insights and quotes, I especially like this one because it propelled me to look at self-care as a radical act.

No longer of the mindset that taking care of myself is an act of selfishness, I now see it as high level activism.  “Why?” you ask.

Simple — because unless we feed our bodies energetic food, our minds powerful fodder and surround ourselves with nutrient-rich people who support us and call us out when necessary, we can be of little benefit to others nor have a true impact on our world.

Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that being a sacrificial lamb earns us a place in the pantheon of sainthood.

Here’s to a life of radicalism!  Happy New You!

 

 

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A RECAP: ONE YEAR OF THIS…I…DO…FOR…ME!

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It was exactly one year on August 15, 2015 that I launched This…I…Do…For…Me (TIDFM)! It has been a year of tremendous growth, creativity, meeting fascinating people, traveling to places that I thought I’d never visit and stepping out with the belief that I could carry TIDFM off into the world for the benefit of women who are 50 years of age and older!

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I am most proud of the business’s website thisidoforme.com; this is the pipeline for posting information for our clients and readers in the areas of Art/Literature, Theater/Dance, Music/Concerts, Food/Restaurants, For the Soul, and Travel. I chose to focus on these areas for the website, as well as the blog thisidoforme.wordpress.com because activities, outings and excursions would serve as the focal point to encourage our target population to immerse and treat themselves, particularly since they have spent countless years caring for others.

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Here are some of the fun things that I, along with my adventurous clients explored this past year:

TRAVEL

In September 2015 – It was 11 cities in France – Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Avignon, Monaco, St. Paul de Vence, St. Balme Maxime, Nice, Lyon and St. Tropez! I left feeling like France was my home.

In November 2015 – It was magnificent Sydney, Australia! I have a trip planned for eight people planned in November 2017!

In January 2016 – It was the beautiful shores of Orange County and Los Angeles, California!  Shopping and sheer relaxation was the order of day for a solid week.

In June 2016 – I had the honor of traveling to Madrid, Salamanca and La Alberca, Spain! It was here that I fell in love with the culture, the magnificent food and the warm and loving people. I even had the chance to take a short side trip to Dublin, Ireland! I must go back there if for no other reason than I must spend more time in some of neighborhood pubs that are full of life, laughter and good food to accompany that fun environment.

ON THE TRAVEL RADAR FOR 2017:

It’s looking like Atlanta, Georgia in January, Cuba in February and back to Sydney, Australia in November 2017! Life is Good!

THEATER AND DANCE

Some of the theater outings that TIDFM clients participated in included Byhalia, Mississippi at The Steppenwolf Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at The Goodman Theater, the musical 42nd Street at The Cadillac Palace Theater, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at The Oriental Theater and Satchmo at the Waldorf at Hyde Park’s Court Theater.

ON THE THEATER AND DANCE RADAR FOR 2017:

The critically acclaimed Hamilton (hopefully my group’s name will move up the wait list)! If I see nothing else except Hamilton in 2017, it will have been a good year.

FOOD AND RESTAURANTS

Yes, I and my clients love to eat! I, along with food critic Eleni Murphy reviewed some interesting restaurants. Eleni even shared some of her London, England favs. Oftentimes, these restaurants were sampled following a theater performance. What a way to top off a great production!

Here are some of the restaurants visited and reviewed during TIDFM’s first year of operation:

1. Café Ba Ba Reeba (Chicago, Illinois)
2. Sobrino de Botin (Madrid, Spain)
3. NAC (London, England)
4. Kappacasein Dairy (London, England)
5. Granger and Co (London, England)
6. Berners Tavern (London, England)
7. Sweet Mandy B’s (Chicago, Illinois)
8. Del Seoul (Chicago, Illinois)
9. Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, Illinois)
10. Dove’s Luncheonette (Chicago, Illinois)
11. Cemetia’s Puebla (Chicago, Illinois)
12. Nini’s Deli (Chicago, Illinois)
13. Podhalanka (Chicago, Illinois)
14. Mercado San Miguel (Madrid, Spain)

ON THE FOOD AND RESTAURANT RADAR IN 2017

1. Army Thai on Damen
2. La Palapa on 34th Street

ART AND LITERATURE

I and a client attended the “Portraits of Motherhood” Exhibit, which highlighted the artistic talent of Antonia Ruppert. I found a gem on the south side of Chicago – The Creative Room located in the heart of the Park Manor community. This design studio’s mission is to provide a space for people to create their own DIY (do it yourself) interior design projects.  Clemenstien Love is the mastermind behind this hidden treasure.

I provided overview of books that I’ve read over the past year – including a few children’s books. There were a mixture of travel, music, autobiography/memoirs, short stories and social justice commentaries.  They ranged from biographies of culinary icon Marcus Samuelsson to children’s classics like “Corduroy” by Don Freeman.  For reviews of the other selections, please check out the art and literature link on thisidoforme.com

ON THE ART AND LITERATURE RADAR IN 2017

I plan in conjunction with another entity to include my clients on a few Famous House Tours during the holidays. Please stay tuned.

FOR THE SOUL

One of my favorite things to do in conjunction with the business is learning about the myriad ways in which women care for themselves even in the midst of dealing with life’s stressors. This section of the website spotlights a diversity of women who share with TIDFM’s audience how they care for their souls, especially as they are taking care of other people, their jobs/businesses.  Please check it out as you might find some helpful hints on self-care and the exploration of new things.

My first year has been loaded with fun, doubt, new experiences and places, great people and a true excitement about TIDFM’s future growth.

The growth of TIDFM has manifested through the creation of a logo, connecting with Mighty Mongoose Tours to write a blog post of an upcoming helicopter excursion, participation in The Diverbo program in Spain, serving as a guest on the radio program “Living it Up After 50,” hired two freelance writers for the website, ran two TIDFM contests, announced TIDFM’s first international excursion to Sydney, Australia, and I was asked to review a self-empowerment book by a coaching expert.

I am grateful to our readers, those who traveled with me and those who joined us on a number of outings. In the coming year, I plan to broaden TIDFM’s reach, and I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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PHOTO ABOVE:  Me enjoying Indoor Skydiving!

 

TAKING A CHANCE ON LETTING ADVENTURE FLOW FROM US!

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Artist Agnes Martin always painted new works based on the mantra “inspiration always came when I asked what’s next?”

Do you find yourself wondering when things will change in your life, or when will something fantastic happen to me or why  doesn’t something exciting ever happen to me?  Well, wait no more.

We have to be more proactive by tuning in to our inner selves and letting that guide us in experiencing the miracle of our lives.  In essence, all we ever hoped and dreamed of is within our very own being. The only thing stopping the flow is our own mental blocks that often have us waiting for some magical moment.

WE ARE THE MAGICAL MOMENT.

If we want to have a different experience, we must ask the Universe what was I created to do?  What is waiting for me to experience?  It could be something as simple as changing our nail polish or something creative like writing a book. It could mean trying a new flavored tea instead of the same flavor we have sipped for the past three years. It could even mean starting a new career path or a long postponed hobby.

Whatever it is, the anticipation of letting new adventures flow from us is an opportunity to experience yourself in a new and exciting way!

Those things don’t have to be huge and sweeping changes, but starting out with small and manageable adventures will increase your confidence for the things you can’t imagine yourself venturing into. Just try new adventures (big or small) consistently, and you will be amazed at how rapid your growth occurs, and more importantly, how vibrant you feel.

Life is to be lived, and even our mundane daily tasks can yield newness.  When recently shopping for groceries, Linda shared with me that she made up her mind to try a different fruit — ugli  fruit (delicious) is now a semi regular item on her list.

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I learned a while ago that when I find myself stuck in my same old patterns, when I feel weary or when nothing new and exciting seems to be on the horizon, that is when I get to “listing.” Listing is a tool I use.  I literally list 3-5 new things or opportunities that I want to try out, sample or experience.

Currently, my list has these things on it:

  1.   Learn how to create 60 seconds videos for my business;
  2.   Eat a minimum of 2 meatless meals weekly;
  3.   Resume my online French lessons — 40 minutes daily;
  4.   Plant a variety of bulbs (besides tulips) in my backyard;
  5.   Try indoor skydiving

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Photo:   Indoor Sky Diving at IFly Chicago

I am committed to find new things to see and do — new people to meet!  Let’s imagine new possibilities and then DO THEM!

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LET’S GET REAL, LADIES ARE YOU REALLY TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?

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Let’s face it, we put up a good front when it comes to keeping it all together. We like to feel good about multi-tasking (the experts say we women are good at that),  about having a list, schedules and a synchronized routine for getting through life. We get a high from ticking off the boxes on our well crafted lists, and we can recite sequentially everything we “accomplished” that day.

What we won’t admit to is how damn tired we are. We convince ourselves that as long as we got all our errands done, our household tasks completed and we got that promotion or some recognition at work, we have it all under control. Do we, though?

If you have a family, when  was the last time you announced to family members upon arriving home from work that before you do anything (aside from an extreme emergency) for anyone, you are going to take 20 minutes in a room alone to meditate, unwind in the tub, sip a glass of wine or have a pleasant exchange with those in your household expressing why you are so glad to see them after a long and hard day?

If you are single, like myself, when was the last time you ate a meal without talking on the telephone?  Did you remember later what you even ate?

Even if you did perform some perfunctory self care, of these things, how much of it did you savor? Do you remember what it felt like?  Or did you do the usual by rushing through it so you could get to the next thing?

I am slowly learning that if I complete all my tasks, but I’m not present during the process, especially when im just trying to get to and rush to the next thing, I’m doing myself an injustice.

We have done this for so long that we think this level of functioning is normal.  So today I commit to doing it differently.  Yes, I will still maintain my lists, but I won’t trip when everything on it doesn’t get checked off.

I often say that I love myself, but when I don’t take time to breathe and tune into my relationships with people, I have to question that.  After all, life is about the people in it, not how succinctly we got through the day.

I’m making the commitment to do it not better, quickly  and efficiently, but with great care and more importantly — LOVE.

 

 

MY ULTIMATE SOLO COOKING ADVENTURE — CELEBRATING MEALS ONE AT A TIME!

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Kweli Kitwana is a regular contributor to this blog (This…I…Do…For…Me!).  She openly shares her journey from taking care of others all of her life to now giving herself permission to focus on herself.  In this post, Kweli discusses how single people can have a great dining experience.  

Thank you, Kweli for sharing. 

Over two years ago, I found myself single again. Wait, let me rephrase that — over two years ago I ended 37 years of taking care of others, and I found a path toward taking care of myself. With this came the responsibility of rethinking how I nurture myself (including cooking for one). This seemed simple enough, because, I always saw myself as an excellent cook, host and creator in the kitchen. I could whip up a party for 20; a meal for eight; and make homemade vegan cookies by the batches–all in one day!! So, cooking for one, should have been easy.

It turns out that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  Truth be told, I didn’t really understand that all of that fanfare of cooking was “fed” by making others happy and full. In retrospect, I now see it was fueled by a deeper journey with my own personal relationship with food.

I recall going on my first “singles” shopping trip during which I noted, I needed apples. Wait, I thought, I don’t need apples, I need AN apple. Looking at the apples, I realized at that moment I could choose any apple I wanted without the slightest consideration of one other person. It felt liberating, yes; but, it also brought about a complicated emotion. At that moment I knew that I hadn’t ever taken full control of my health, as I deferred my nutrition to other folks’needs.

Taking a survey of what I wanted meant one clear thing — doing for MYSELF what I have done for others!! It meant embracing, celebrating and recognizing that eating is an individual experience.

Logistically, this took some planning. I needed to downsize my effort without reducing and skimping on the outcome. Therefore, I committed to creating a beautiful, nutritious and kick-ass dining experience for myself every dang gone day!!

Here’s how I do it:

It seems silly to say this, but you simply keep doing what you always do, except on a smaller scale.

I bought myself a toaster oven. It makes cooking for one really easy.  How about that?
I literally created a set of toaster oven size bakeware for myself. I did this at the local ceramic studio. It may sound overwhelming to some, but it was simply rolling out clay, firing it and designing it. I wanted to cook in and eat on some special dishes. You can also buy toaster oven size bakeware if you aren’t interested in making your own.

Another helpful hint is that I shop in the bulk food section at my grocer.   Here I could buy small batches of grains and spices. Also, I get to explore more foods by purchasing them in smaller quantities.

Buying  produce when it is on sale and cutting them up to freeze gives me the option to eat more variety. Fresh is great, but I have realized when you eat as a single person, you have to plan for getting the most from your produce.

Giving myself permission to cook small batches of rice, beans and other items, I typically cook for more. I had to stay aware that the directions on most items are for 2-4 servings. Unless you want to have leftovers, do the math for one serving. I regularly cook one cup of dried beans.

Speaking of leftovers, I don’t like eating the same thing over and over, so I avoid this by  cooking using the “single-method.” I have become extremely creative!

For instance, I bake a cookie (or two…ok, three) at a time (cutting the recipe in half) and freezing the dough.

I have invested in various sizes of mason jars. These suckers are the best thing for storing food!! But, I also use them to bake small batch recipes.

Here is what I’m saying — treating yourself to a great meal is not only a good way to take care of yourself, but it’s been the best thing I done for myself in a long, long time. Now, I look forward to cooking and eating alone.