Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NKOTB & The Inner Child

So who remembers what NKOTB stands for???
That's right New Kids on the Block! Okay, I promise not to bust out the Mindy-oke (my personal version of karaoke) and sing "Hanging Tough" (even though I do still remember all the dance moves...)

This morning when I got in the car a woman had just won NKOTB tickets and she exclaimed something to the effect of, "I am not gonna lie, my inner 8 year-old is so happy right now!!!" I giggled out loud at this woman's delight at indulging her inner child.

How fun would it be to do something your inner 8 year-old dreamt up? Like dancing around to your favorite boy band or climbing a tree or staying in the bathtub until your fingers get all wrinkly or spending some time on your neighborhood swings or getting your feet/hands covered in paint... the possibilities are endless! And I am all about indulging the inner child as much as possible. We all seem to have enough work in our lives; it is important to make some time to play! So get out there, go play!!! Have fun!!!
PS The image above is of the very first painting I ever made as an adult (January 2009), complete with words cut from magazines and sticks and leaves collected from my neighborhood!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How to Retreat at Home

Can't get away for a retreat? Try these tips to enjoy a blissful respite at (or close to) home!

Step 1: Find a peaceful place where you can enjoy some time alone. Go ahead and stay right in bed (one of my favorite options) or maybe you have a lovely nook in your house/apartment (I so wish I had a window seat). Other options include the bathtub (I'm not kidding), your fav spot in the local park, or maybe even a quiet place in the library or local bookstore.

Step 2: Once you've picked your spot, gather your materials!

  • Grab your bevvie of choice, a big glass of water or maybe a nice herbal tea (I'm addicted to Stash Peppermint). As much as I love wine, we are aiming for some natural bliss and alcohol is not the best choice for right now.

  • Next, locate your journal (these are my favorites, they have lined and unlined pages) and something you can use to write/draw.

  • Now consider adding some aromatherapy (by which I mean anything that smells good to you). Maybe you have a fabulous candle to burn (my current favorite is Pacifica Sandalwood) to add to your retreat ambiance. Essential Oils also offer many options. You can easily create a room spray (directions here) or use a candle diffuser for a more continuous effect. You can play around with blending the oils, depending on your mood. Some of my favorites are Lavender & Eucalyptus for a nice balance of relaxation/exhilaration or Sweet Orange & Eucalyptus for an energizing/refreshing scent.

  • Next on the list is music (or not)! Decide if you'd like to simply enjoy some silence or if you'd like some calming music.

  • Finally, scoop up anything else you'd like to savor on your retreat. Maybe a magazine filled with inspiring images or a good book. Possibly your canvas and paint or paper and pencils. Another option is to gather materials to make a collage, such as photos and other images, magazines, scissors, and glue.

Step 3: Breathe! Settle into your retreat spot, close your eyes, and take 10 deep breaths. Concentrate on breathing in through your nose and bringing the breath deep into your belly. Exhale through the nose, releasing all of the air and feeling your belly gently come back toward your spine. As you breathe, let your mind clear (easier said than done, of course). After 10 breaths, open your eyes and notice how you feel.

Step 4: Set an intention. Why have you chosen to carve out this time for yourself? What are you hoping to gain? What are you hoping to leave behind? There is no right or wrong intention, just go with whatever feels right for you in the moment.

Step 5: Let the relaxation begin! Delve into your magazine, journal about your hopes and dreams, take brush to canvas or pencil to paper, start cutting out images for your collage, soak up your book. Do whatever feels refreshing for you! And most of all, enjoy yourself! Savor your retreat!

Step 6: When you are ready, bring your retreat to an end. Pack up your belongings, blow out your candle...consider ending your retreat with some sort of ritual. Options include 5 minutes of meditation, deep breathing, or Savasana, writing in your journal about your retreat experience, or spending a few quiet moments reflecting on all the things you are grateful for in your life at this moment.

Repeat Steps 1 - 6 as often as necessary! Consider carving out 15 minutes or even an hour to "retreat" every week.

PS If you are a local lady and are interested in joining with other lovely ladies for a mini-retreat, check out the Women's Wellness Circle I'll be offering at Barton Hill Hotel & Spa in Lewiston starting April 19th.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Keeping Things in Perspective

I was scheduled to spend this weekend retreating in the mountains at the lovely farmhouse pictured here, but my body had other plans... so I am retreating in my bed instead!

This morning I was so upset, trying to decide whether to push myself and just get in the car for the 6 hour drive or surrender and hop back in bed. I was getting all worked up about it and then I thought, "Hold on a second! Take a breath. This is not some life-changing decision!" I realized I was placing way too much importance on this choice. Honestly, if my biggest problem today is to decide whether to go away for a weekend of yoga or stay in bed for a weekend of rest then I am doing really well! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in day-to-day stuff, I lose sight of the big picture.

Coming soon: how to have your very own retreat without leaving home (and other blog posts about something besides me being sick, I promise)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The upside of being sick

I am feeling soooo sick, but in the spirit of staying positive here are a few good things about feeling under the weather...

* Permission to stay in bed all day and do nothing

* Being reminded of how amazing my husband is as he takes care of me and brings me tea, sherbert, etc. while I stay in bed whining about how sick I am

* Seeing my daughter's sweet and honest concern for me and giggling with her while we play Monopoly in bed

* Wearing sweatpants for days on end

* Being able to watch Oprah

* Reading all day long with no guilt

* Naps

* Appreciating my usually healthy self

Hope you're feeling well today!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello Fun Blog!

I've been daydreaming about starting a "fun blog" (as opposed to my professional Psychology Today blog) for a long while. Well... less than a year, so I guess that is not that long... Anyways, I only first learned about blogging last year at the Hip Tranquil Chick retreat and so I am a relative newbie! I started following Kimberly Wilson's blog and I quickly came to discover several other fabulous blogs from her posts. I was easily hooked!

Coincidentally, about a month after the retreat Psychology Today contacted me to see if I was interested in blogging for them. While I really enjoy that work, it is writing for work and feels like an assignment, a fun assignment, but still an assignment. Hence, the new "fun blog!" I'll be using this space to share my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and whatever else comes to mind. I hope you enjoy following along!