5 Tips to Transform Your Home Into a Weekend Self Care Oasis

Self care: it’s something our friends, our doctors, our therapist, and perhaps our life coaches all recommend. However, most of us have come to the conclusion that implementing self care is easier said than done.  Going home to a peaceful, quiet setting may especially be difficult among the confined spaces and abundance of noise in large metro areas like New York City. Nevertheless, virtually anyone can transform an ordinary room into a relaxing, rejuvenating refuge from the outside world, even if the world outside houses the rumbling trains and noisy crowds that characterize Manhattan.

1. Set the tone with lighting.

Migraine sufferers and people who are otherwise sensitive to light can attest to the impact of feeling overstimulated in a brightly-lit room. When your objective is to wind down, the lighting in the room can have a direct impact on your ability to power down. If you don’t have a light dimmer installed, you can make simple changes such as exchanging bright, everyday light bulbs with bulbs that are of a lower wattage. For an even easier hack, simply utilize a small lamp to illuminate the room instead of using standard overhead lighting. Himalayan salt crystal lamps have become increasingly popular to achieve a spa-like, ionized atmosphere. Candle lovers may even opt to forgo electricity altogether and simply light candles to achieve the perfect level of brightness. Scented candles may further enhance the setting by adding a calming fragrance to the room.

2. Wake up your sense of smell.

Aromatherapy is often overlooked in Western cultures as a means of encouraging the mind to enter a more relaxed state. Placing essential oils in a diffuser, placing a few drops of oil on a washcloth in a scented steam shower, spritzing a room with a favorite fragrance, or drying off after a bath with warm towels infused with scented oil are just a few ways naturally calming fragrances can be implemented into daily living. Some of us are aware of smells we associate with happiness or favorable times in our lives or places we have visited. However, there are specific scents that are traditionally associated with positive emotions and optimized mental performance. For example, lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile are natural oil fragrances that stimulate calmness and enhance relaxation in the mind.

3. Surround yourself with soothing sound.

We are affected by sound more than we may realize. Similar to smells, sound may also be used to induce relaxation and to enhance mental performance. There are some sounds we associate with positive memories and emotions while other sounds add to our tension and stress levels. While it may be tempting to blare top 40s hits all weekend, if your goal is to relax and unwind, it is best to choose slow tempo music with lyrics that do not distract or evoke strong emotions. Nature sounds will also help contribute to your home spa atmosphere. If you feel most relaxed on rainy days and nights, simply include a soundtrack of falling rain as part of your self-care routine.

4. Go off the wireless grid.

High-tech personal devices are more widely available to us now than ever. Untethering ourselves from the electronic devices that have become heavily integrated into daily life can be a challenge. More and more people are establishing personal rules to periodically spend time away from their personal devices to allow for reconnection with the environment and with personal relationships without distraction. Scheduling a tech-free time during your weekend of self-care is essential to fully putting aside all the stress of the work week as well as the feelings of FOMO many of us experience during our free time. If you have dependent children or friends and family members who frequently call, it is advisable to inform people ahead of time before going off the wireless grid. Informing those closest to you about your planned downtime will not only prompt everyone to avoid unnecessarily interrupting your self-care weekend, but doing so will also inform the people in your life that there is no need to panic if they attempt to reach you and find that you are unavailable. It is not necessary to disconnect from all technology and communication for the entire weekend. However, going off the grid for several hours will allow you to more fully focus on self care.

5. Leave guilt at the door.

Self care is as necessary as medical care. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with guilt when we allocate time, energy, and focus toward restoring ourselves. While you may not be able to immediately change your mindset toward regularly engaging in restorative practices, you can adopt a rational approach toward battling your feelings of guilt. For example, before beginning your self care weekend, resolve that you will not entertain guilty feelings regarding your self care during the weekend. Instead, simply remind yourself that you can reflect on your new approach to caring for yourself and evaluate your feelings after you have completed your relaxing weekend. While engaging in your self-care activities, try to remain present and focus on healing and relaxation.

white pillar candle
Photo by Alesia Talkachova on Pexels.com

 

For more information on self-care and strategies you can use to achieve a more favorable work-life balance, contact us for a time management and lifestyle coaching consultation. Our services are available to corporate executives, entertainment industry professionals, and business owners worldwide.

 

 

Combating Indecisiveness

Most people who have been paralyzed by indecision also know the deleterious effect the chronic inability to make decisions can have on an individual’s life. Being caught between two equally appealing plans for a Saturday morning may end in spending half the day in bed laden with guilt. Inability to decide whether to start a home organizing project by rearranging the kitchen cabinets or purging the linen closet may quickly lead to clean towels remaining on top of the dryer for a week and a load of dishes that never really make it out of the dishwasher. A plan to start exercising and lose weight may be completely derailed when it’s time to choose a gym. While most of us have experienced indecisiveness on a comparatively small scale (“Should I wear jeans or something less casual?…Now I’m running late.”), there are people from virtually every walk of life who find themselves gripped by the inability to feel at ease when prompted to make a decision. As a result, their lives become stagnant and are oftentimes filled with anxiety at nearly every turn.

If the notion of struggling to make basic decisions resonates with you, you may be wondering whether you can be helped. The answer is yes.

Your Life is the Product of a Series of Choices

At first, imagining that a person’s life is the sum of his or her choices might seem like more of a reason to feel overwhelmed. However, re-imagining decision-making as the act that propels us through each day can also help us feel less pressured from moment to moment. Instead of concentrating on the potential for things to go very badly as a result of one misstep, a more empowering approach is to view each opportunity to make a decision as another chance to right a wrong or to build upon a previous good decision; focus on the good that may result from your choices. Shifting your perspective to one that looks forward to deciding, observing the outcome, and using that outcome as the basis upon which to make better decisions will eventually replace the familiar feelings of indecisiveness and dread with a sense of moving in a much more positive forward trajectory.

Decision-Making is Information-Gathering

Most of us are familiar with some variation of the phrase “Live and learn.” We can, in fact, learn from our experiences and use them to predict outcomes, oftentimes with a reliable degree of accuracy. However, sometimes, our progress may be hindered if we begin to think irrationally and become overwhelmed by emotion in attempting to predict the future. Harboring the fear of not making perfect decisions can have an impact that extends beyond preventing an individual from moving forward. Refusing to make a decision may also rob the individual of the opportunity to gather new information through experience. Over time, a consistent pattern of avoiding new experiences may eventually result in stagnation and lack of growth.

What’s the Cure?

The cure to indecisiveness is fairly straightforward: make a decision; then make another one. Through my work, I have found that among people who describe themselves as very disorganized, there is a certain subset that experiences severe anxiety in combination with paralyzing indecisiveness. My recommended approach to combating indecisiveness is the same as my advice to anyone who is attempting to accomplish any seemingly insurmountable goal: start small. One decision will literally lead to another. Small accomplishments will help you make decisions in areas that are highly unlikely to have lasting detrimental effects, but over time they will enable you to build confidence in your decision-making abilities.

Celebrate Your Successes

When it comes to replacing negative habits with positive behaviors, repetition and recognition are equally important. Pausing to acknowledge progress encourages the continuance of the positive behavior and can make the individual feel less frustrated and more apt to try again if he or she experiences a moment of regression along the way.

Realize Most Decisions Are Impermanent

Overall, decision-making is like wandering through a city park. It is entirely possible to get lost for a while, but parks are finite structures, and so are most of life’s situations. If you observe and note where you’ve been and remained focused on where you want to go, you will most likely find yourself on the right path sooner or later.

Digging Out of the Aftermath of Depression

[Disclaimer: I am not a licensed counselor, social worker, psychiatrist, or psychologist. The following post is intended for motivational purposes only for individuals who would like to create a more organized environment. Individuals who believe they may be experiencing depression are urged to seek out a licensed counselor or other mental healthcare professional.]

I recently worked with a client who is an accomplished businesswoman. She is also at the tail end of a six month struggle with anxiety and depression. She described herself as “finally having the motivation to do something, but felt terrible after looking around” and seeing the state of her home. In particular, she had been avoiding her office area and another space that was dedicated to her love of working on craft projects.

Feeling overwhelmed when emerging from a period of physical illness or depression is not uncommon. Oftentimes, people struggle with finding a place to begin in restoring order to their environment. As illustrated in the example above, remaining in a disorganized home or work environment can lead to procrastination and additional feelings of guilt and anxiety, thus potentially creating a negative cycle that can become very difficult to break: eating habits may suffer, work performance declines, and a daily schedule that was once filled with more fulfilling activities may be reduced to simply going to bed upon arriving home or watching television until falling asleep.

In these situations, starting small and organizing one area at a time may be most effective. Those who have recently experienced anxiety, depression, or illness my require more immediate results. Small victories up front may provide the momentum these individuals need to keep going and to dramatically transform their environment. The following suggestions may help virtually anyone who is struggling with getting started on a large organizing project, especially those who are recovering from emotional or physical stress or illness.

  • Organize according to your energy level. I am a firm believer in realistically creating a plan before beginning an organizing project and tailoring the steps within the plan to your mental and physical energy level at the time. It is okay (and even encouraged!) to set relatively challenging targets, but plan to take a break or reach a stopping point before you would typically expect to become completely exhausted.
  • Start small. If you lack the time, energy, and focus to organize your entire home or office within a day or over the course of a weekend, divide the project into manageable parts. Can you organize one room at a time? If not, try starting with a single closet, dresser, or “junk drawer.”  Whether removing clutter from a bookshelf or donating old clothes from a closet, completing the first part of a large project often provides the inspiration to do more.
  • Don’t organize alone! Call a friend who will help you and keep you accountable, or call a professional organizer! An organizer can coach you along while offering the encouragement and, if necessary, healthy distraction from the more mundane or perhaps overwhelming parts of the process.

Contrary to what most people believe, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting organized. Therefore, the individual must consider his or her specific needs and goals when setting out to affect a lasting, positive change in his or her environment.

 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anxiety and Disorganization

Though my clients come from various educational, career, and cultural backgrounds, there are a few common threads I repeatedly observe. One of them is anxiety. Oftentimes, a person who suffers from general anxiety, may find that the struggle is spilling over into his or her perceived ability to maintain an organized environment at home or at work. Many people who struggle with organizing find that they feel overwhelmed the minute they attempt an organizing-related task. Others are able to begin work, but may lose their sense of direction and motivation while in the middle of completing the task. The following steps can help virtually anyone begin, continue, or complete organizing projects that may at first seem endless and cumbersome or downright overwhelming.

  1. Before beginning, think about the project in terms of manageable phases. Set a clearly defined end goal, and establish a realistic timeline. Don’t forget to think about how much time you would specifically like allocate to completing each phase in addition to creating an overall project deadline.
  2. If possible, approach each phase of the task with a clear mindset and adequate rest. Pausing to take periodic five-minute breaks can be extremely helpful. If time management is a concern, setting a timer may be an effective way to appropriately set boundaries between “working time” and “break time.”
  3. No negative self-talk. It’s true that we are oftentimes our worst critic. Instead of focusing on what you are afraid you will not accomplish, acknowledge small victories throughout the process, and look forward to completing each phase and starting a new one.
  4. If panic begins to set in, take a few deep breaths, and actively tell yourself not to panic. Oftentimes, remaining calm is a matter of slowing down, taking a step back, and making a very conscious decision to maintain a positive, peaceful focus.
  5. Take baby steps. Most of my clients begin to see progress when they begin by taking small steps toward “reclaiming” and improving an area of their home or office. I am always amazed at how quickly they become motivated to tackle larger and larger organizing projects, often without my supervision. More importantly, by slowly and deliberately working through the organizing process, they are able to self-identify any habits that may serve as obstacles to maintaining an orderly space, and they are eventually able to modify their behaviors and correct themselves by employing the tools and techniques they learn during our sessions.