Inspiration for living a luxuriously and balanced life

Friday, July 22, 2016

8 Inspiring Women Share Their Self Care Rituals & Tips ~ International Self Care Day

Self care is much more than just having a bubble bath - though I admit that is one of my favourite ways. Self care is about taking care of you mind, body, spirit and taking action to being the person you want to be and creating the life you want to live.
Do You Find Yourself Saying ...
"I wish there were more hours in the day"
"I'm so busy that I barely have time to think"
"Does opening my eyes in the morning count as self care"
​"I wish I had more time for myself"
Are you so busy taking care of others and their needs, that you find yourself stressed out and exhausted - just trying to make it through the day?
If you found yourself nodding as you read through the above, then it's time to make YOU a priority in your life.
Remember on an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first. Same holds true when it comes to caring for others - take care of yourself first, if you want to take care for others.

Those who have been long time readers of HHL already know I'm a HUGE advocate for Self Care, imagine my excitement when I discovered since 2011 countries such as: China, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland, the United States and Vietnam have been organizing Self Care day - UK and Canada have been organizing Self Care week. 

Why July 24th? according to the International Self Care Foundation "The International Self-Care Day, 24 July, symbolises that the benefits of self-care are experienced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In other words, the benefits of self-care are life-long and do not just relate to a single day. ISD on 24 July simply provides a good focus and opportunity to publicise or report on self-care in action programmes"

In celebration of International Self Care Day - I asked some amazing, inspiring women to share how they practice self care on the daily and nurture mind body spirit. Whether you are an empty nester, single mom, city or country gal, corporate/entrepreneurness/CEO of your home, or a little potpourri of all the wonderful things women do, I am certain you will find a little of yourself in all these ladies.

Here is what they had to say:

Susan Liberatore

Practicing self-care isn't always easy with 3 kids; sometimes, I'm happy just to get to go to the bathroom alone! For as long as I can remember, Sunday evenings have always been my time to rejuvenate and prepare for the week ahead. It's the day I do my nails, or my toes {or both!} and skip the quick shower for a luxurious bath. Yes, sometimes, my Ava Grace may be in the bath with me but it's never rushed and always as hot as we can both stand it. We often sing in the bathtub or play games and giggle - it's a great chance to just forget about the worries of the day, the week...and just enjoy the time away from everyone and all distractions.

Lately, I've made more of an effort {mostly due to Celia's never-ending advice to take time for me!} to do at least one thing a month just for me. It might be an evening of shopping solo with a latte in hand or an indulgent facial - it takes planning but I have found that it IS doable. And, I am always a better person, and mother, because of it.

Susan Liberatore
Blog : Ava Grace's Closet

Julie Baumlisberger

"I am a farmer, have my own healing practice (Reiki and essential oils) and am a mother of two at-home children in their 20's. Trying to juggle all those things, even without any “surprises” can be challenging. When things get hectic or something unexpected happens (such as our daughter's car accident this winter), it's more important than ever that I practice self care.

I am grateful to have the tools I do. Self Reiki and a few minutes of quiet meditation happen every single day (if not in the morning, then in the evening, or when I think of it). My essential oils are also used every day to support my physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We are blessed to live in the country, where my third “must do” is appreciation for the panorama of Nature. I give thanks daily for the trees that shelter our home, the birds that lift my spirits, the Sky and Earth, above and below.

Julie Baumlisberger

Jessica Gordon Ryan

I'm not sure how luxurious my life is at the moment!

As a single mother two 3 children, 17, 15 and 10 I find that my finances and time are completely tapped!

I work from home as a freelance writer and sometimes social media strategist and so my work and my home are often inseparable which can be hard. Throw in 3 busy (and loud!) kids into the mix and life proves challenging - especially during deadline time. I'm already worried about summertime... Our house is small - it is cozy when I am here alone and cramped when we are all here, so I need to make time for myself and I do.

I wake up early, before the children, and this is my quiet time to enjoy the sunrise, the birds, the news and my morning coffee. It's important that I can ease into my day gently and I do, daily. 6:30 - 9:00 am is generally mayhem as I rush to make 3 lunches and get 3 kids up and out to 2 different schools with 2 different start times. I can breathe again at 9:00!

Every morning -  unless I have meetings or conference calls, I go to the gym as soon as the little one is off to school. I've been known to re-schedule meetings around my workout schedule because I find that it sets the tone for the day. I try to work out 4-5 times a week. This is really pretty non-negotiable.

Because I don't have a typical 9-5 workday I can take time off to tend to my kids but then my work must resume after hours. I always make downtime at the end of the day, be it a long soak in the tub or hot shower, or even "hiding" in my room with the door closed and a glass of wine. I do this daily.

When my children are with their father I either catch up with work, clean the house and take care of house-hold chores, and sometimes I even take some time off to meet with friends or take road trips. I am fortunate as many of my assignments take me to some lovely restaurants and destinations and so even though I may be working, it's always nice to be able to have these experiences. And I cherish my girlfriends and my time with them - They get me out of the house and recharge my energy!

Jessica Gordon Ryan
Blog: The Entertaining House

Carol E Wyer 
(AKA Facing 50) 

Ironically, I haven't been practising enough self care the last few months and that is why I am actually pretty ill at the moment. I have had to have a serious course of physio for the last six weeks. However, I have one weapon in my arsenal that never lets me down and that is my sense of humour. Luckily, in spite of everything that has been happening in my life, a laugh lifts spirits, produces endorphins and helps me get through it all. I hunt out jokes every day and share them with my beloved Grumpy. Mr Grumpy and I always watch a comedy DVD or show at nighttime and we listen to feel good 1980s music in the morning. We even have a little dance around the kitchen to some of the tunes.

I know I ought to take more care of myself and I am beginning to but thankfully, my daily recharge of humour has probably saved me.
Carol E Wyer
(AKA Facing 50) 
Blog: Facing 50 With Humour

Nan L.

How do I maintain a balanced luxurious life:  Probably the best thing to keep the balance in my luxurious life is my husband, Leland.  He is not only very supportive, he enables me to be the best I can be.  He is my best friend and lover and THAT is how I am able to do everything else I need to do.

I recharge my personal fuel tank daily by:starting my mornings in a quiet time in “my corner” in the living room, reading my daily devotional and taking some prayer time with God, my entire day is set up to go smoothly and peacefully.  I work to surround myself with beauty – fresh cut flowers, beautiful tea cups, scent from candles or oil burners, and quiet for just listening.  I’ve learned peace in the home and inside me is vital to a luxurious life.

These practices charge and recharge me so well.  I drink warm lemon water in the mornings in a different tea cup weekly and warm water with a tsp of apple cider vinegar in the evenings – both which are excellent for my skin and body!

Non-negotiable is taking care of my skin by keeping it dehydrated and very moisturized.  I drink a minimum of 80 ounces of water right now while I’m losing weight.  The 28 ounce water bottle has a dribble of organic apple cider vinegar in it for moistness and body.  I take Astaxanthin for skin, fish oil, organic sulfur, and apple cider vinegar for skin and body.  Another self-care must is flax and chia seed for constant inner cleansing.

I’m at the age that it is very important to take care of my skin and body since I plan to live a long, long time and want to look good doing it (smile).  I’ve also learned what is and isn’t important, and keep stress out of my life.  If I begin to stress, I do the first paragraph – spend time with God just listening and reading my Bible or a faith-based good book!

Nan L.
Blog: Little Black Dress Diaries

Sandy O'Shea

As a holistic nutritionist, I am interested in the mind, body and spirit of an individual.  Food is critical of course, but even the best nutrition plan in the world won't do as much as it could if you aren't moving your body and taking care of your spirit and your mental well being and that includes self care.  That's why they call it "holistic nutrition" because it focuses on the whole of the person.

Self care for me is exercising every day, even if it's simply walking. I work out 5 or 6 days a week, first thing in the morning.  If I don't do it then, it often doesn't get done. One of my non-negotiable practices is getting out for a walk at lunch.  Sitting for long periods is not healthy so to counterbalance that I walk, regardless of the weather.

Self care is critical to a person's overall well being.  Women have a habit of putting everything else first.  The job, spouse, children, household chores.  I've been guilty of the same thing sometimes.  But we perform so much better when we take care of ourselves first.  We have more energy and joy in our lives and we can accomplish so much more than if we just grind away taking care of everything and everyone before us."

Sandy O'Shea
Blog: Stepping Stones Wellness Inc.!blog/

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder

How I maintain a balanced luxurious life… and practicing self care:

As often in life when certain things happen and we’re under a lot of stress, it is most important for remaining calm and relaxed and take VERY WELL care of our personal health. Food is the number one issue here and I’m proud for having done that extremely well the past couple of months as we got to go to Atlanta regularly, due to husband Pieter’s hearing test at Costco. Shopping at Costco and bringing home lots of fresh veggies and fruits is a blessing. Also bringing home some crab legs and serving them as a dinner for dear friends. It serves two purposes, you clean the house and put flowers in a vase and than you reap the big reward of fueling the body, mind and soul as we all NEED our friends. They are the most important ingredient for happiness. the joy of sharing a good meal with others is so rewarding. That really does recharge your personal fuel tank better than anything else. Oh, before we went to Atlanta I had given myself a good pedicure, I did write a blog post about it just recently. That makes you feel good, and nothing is more important than walking and working on happy feet! They carry us around most of the time.

For our other fuel tank both of us have been biking almost daily, not on a rainy day but other than that yes we peddle around some 9 km. Mainly in the evening due to the extreme heat we’re already facing here in Georgia. Often after having had our afternoon tea which I take with a Rice cake and even a few seaweed I have from Costco. Also mixed unsalted nuts, all from Costco. That is: whole almonds, English walnuts, organic cashew nuts. 
It is very rewarding to cook a healthy meal every day and it pays off for feeling well and knowing that you get the right nutrients.  For dessert we mainly eat fresh fruits or berries with Trader Joe’s 0% fat Greek yogurt and added Chia seeds and Lecithin granules (brain power!)…

Planning your weeks very well, keeps you busy and also makes for sleeping like a rose; feeling satisfied and happy.

That more or less makes the circle round! We all look forward to certain highlights in our life; being it a coffee/tea with a friend, a lunch or dinner shared with friends or a shopping day. Sight seeing for going to a place one always has been dreaming about… Just schedule it and live towards it

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder
Blog: Mariette's Back to Basics

Jen Carducci

Hello, I'm Jennifer Carducci a Professional Hairstylist and Bohemian Jewelry Designer. I believe that "beauty" must come from inside and out and that it is not sufficient to simply be beautiful on the exterior, one's interior needs to be beautiful as well. For that we must work on ourselves through self care (both physical and spiritual). Meditating daily helps me to stay focused, balanced grounded, bringing clarity and insight allowing me to deal with life's challenges and daily situations. I also wear and incorporate jewelry made of different stones to encourage me to draw in positive energy as I release the negative and all else that no longer serves me. 

My Daily Mantra~
" I am fearless in the face of any and all challenges. All is well now and always." 

Jen Carducci 
Blog: Glam and Tease:

In celebration of International Self Care Day - why not start your own self care rituals! I know it can be overwhelming - but take one step at a time; add one new thing each week - some things you will continue with practicing weekly, or perhaps monthly, bi-monthly and some things you may choose to practice daily. I hope you found inspiration (and motivation) as you read through how these amazing gals are rocking their self care! Looking for more inspiration to get started? ... check out these posts from the archives:

On Sunday July 24th - why not inspire others: share a photo on Facebook or Instagram - showing a self care moment - use Hashtag #HighHeeledLifeSelfCareDay so we can easily find each other.

The International Self-Care Foundation (ISF) is a registered UK Charity with a global focus, you can learn more about them here and you can learn more about International Self Care Day here.

What is ONE Self Care Thing you do each day ?

You are the curator of your life so live it luxuriously ,

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now ...

Summer is in full force here in Toronto! Temperatures have held steady in the high 20s feeling like low 30s and this past week 30s feeling above 40s. Toronto has had the driest couple of months, according to the weather reporters. Here is what I'm currently loving:

1. Quenching Coconut Curls - OGX: With these crazy temps - blow outs are often forgone for au natural curls. To keep my curls looking their best I have found this little shampoo and conditioner duo are gentle and nourishing on my locks, but mighty at protecting it from the dreaded frizz. Oh, and let me tell you - the coconut smell is out of this world!!

2. Pumice Stone - Revelon: Is it just me, or do your heels and big toe seem to need a little more exfoliating in the summer? Maybe it's just that we see our feet more - with sandals and open toe shoes being our go to. In either case I find using a pumice stone in the shower is a quick way to keep my feet looking smooth. This one has been doing a great job at keeping my feet sandal ready.

3. Shea Butter Ultra Rich Lip Balm L'Occitane: It's not just the coldness of winter that can dry out your lips. Being outdoors in the hot sun can also cause your lips to be dry and flaky. I keep this fav around all year - and after a day at Toronto's waterfront or just being out about the city - I make sure I'm giving my lips a little extra nourishing attention. I love this because, you don't need to use a lot and the creamy texture easily glides on. Perfect for wearing alone, under lipstick and for after sun care.

4. Toronto Sunrise & Sunsets- Time & Date: Loving that there is day light before 6 am and until 9 pm! I find with the nicer weather and extra day light hours I am more productive, my mood is happier and with longer day light hours - after a long day writing  I can still enjoy being outdoors. If you are wanting to get out and enjoy both the sunrise and sunset - look up times for your area Here.

5. Intense Curl Cream - Moroccanoil: This is a real curl and time saver. This leave-in conditioner moisturizes and helps fight stubborn frizz without being sticky or weighing my hair down. It is great for refreshing curls - in the morning I spray my hair with a little Evian water and apply a couple pumps of the intense curl cream - my curls look defined, hydrate and bouncy.

What are you loving right now?

You are the curator of your life so live it luxuriously ,

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