The Guide to Creating Your Own Self-Care Revolution

Blissfulmamas!

We are so excited for our dear friend Angie Andrews and her recent publication; The Guide to Creating Your Own Self-Care Revolution in the Huffington Post

Please check out her article here and tweet it to all of your friends! 🙂

Have a fantastic night,

Becky & Erin

The Guide to Creating Your Own Self-Care Revolution

Angie Andrews is a mama, wife, yogini, entrepreneur and a radical self-care revolutionary for women. Her mission spreads the word to women all over the world that they are enough and they are worthy of copious amounts of radical self-care. She supports women through private coaching, public speaking, and soon to be born destination retreats. Angie can be found at www.angieandrewsinspire.com, on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram @AngieAndrewsInspire.

I am starting a revolution. In this revolution women know their innate and intrinsic value. In this new world the concept of caring for oneself first is not only acceptable, but embraced. I dream of the day when women see their daily self-care practice as a non-negotiable part of their routine. I live for the day when loving oneself deeply is not seen as selfish or arrogant, but necessary.

My call to action for any woman reading this: Stop running around and keeping busy to drown out the cry of your soul. Stop putting others needs ahead of your own. Stop caring for others at the expense of your health and your happiness. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is another way. It all begins with the decision to love yourself deeply.

Perhaps you are thinking, OK that sounds great, but how the hell do I do that!?! I am going to tell you what I have learned. In the not too distant past I was working way too many hours in a job that was sucking my soul. I was always on the run between commuting and chauffeuring kids to and from school and activities. I became more and more uneasy and resentful. I felt stuck. I felt overwhelmed. I was exhausted. But yet, I kept on going. I did this for years, until my heart and soul just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was at my chiropractor’s office one day and he could tell I was exhausted. He knows me well and is aware of my propensity to care for everyone but me. He said, simply, “Angie, where do you go for support and comfort”? That day, something clicked and I realized things had to change. I started reading books and blogs and all kinds of personal growth material. Eventually I went on a retreat that for me was a catalyst for change. The act of investing in myself and time spent really reconnecting with myself; kick started an insane period of transformation and growth.

I want to share with you a distilled version of what I have learned that has allowed me to really engage in radical self-care and fall in love with myself for the first time.

The mantra for my business is: Where Love, Gratitude and Connection create Miracles. So let’s break this whole thing down to actionable steps based on this.

Here is your guide to start a self-care revolution.

1. Love

• Love your heart. Listen to it intently. Speak to it. Ask it what it desires and needs. Then take action in the direction of what you hear.
• Make caring for yourself a priority. Shower yourself with love. Only by loving and caring for yourself deeply will you be able to fully give to others.
• Let go of old thoughts and ways of being that no longer serve you.

2. Connection

• Be still. Just be. Give up the doing all the time. Learn how to say no when something isn’t going to serve you. You’ll be amazed at what you might hear and what you might feel.
• Find your form of meditation. Meditation does not need to be sitting on a pillow chanting. Any activity that leaves you feeling connected to yourself and your higher power is meditative.
• Move your body! Walk, run, dance, hike, swim, do yoga. Do whatever sounds good to you. This will stimulate the production of hormones in your body that will leave you feeling amazing.
• Create a tribe of like-minded, supportive friends. Surround yourself with people who get you and will lift you up. If you current tribe is not serving you, consider cleaning house. Be kind. Be gentle, but do not allow those people who are bringing you down to remain in your tribe.
• Nurture you creative side. Paint, draw, write, decorate or garden. I could go on and on. Get out of your comfort zone and get creative!

3. Gratitude

• This is a BIG one. Cultivating gratitude in your life can be a game changer! Yogi Bhajan said, “An attitude of gratitude brings great things.”

• In the morning, evening or both, take some time to write down five to 10 things that you are grateful for that day. In the beginning you may find that your lists will be similar each day, but as you get into a gratitude groove, you will find there are so many things to be grateful for each day that you won’t be able to write them all down.
• Make your gratitude practice a ritual. Buy yourself a beautiful blank journal that inspires you. Make it a special time for you. You deserve it!

Radical self-care is a practice, meaning it needs to be done over and over again until it becomes part of your lifestyle. But here is the most important step to living a life of self-care and self-love, self-forgiveness. Please, be kind to yourself. Be patient. You will fall off the wagon. You will have days where you just can’t bring yourself to practice self-care and you will slip back to your former way of being. You will have days when you don’t really love yourself the way you feel you should. On those days, it is especially important, to practice kindness with yourself. Talk to yourself like you would a close friend or your child. I saw Danielle Laporte speak recently and she said, “Be fierce, but be flexible”. Be fierce in your desire and your practice of self-care. Fall madly in love with yourself and your life. But when you have one of those days where you just fall back into complacency, be flexible. Know that you can get right back at it the next day or the next week. You will do it because you deserve this. Love and joy are your birthright! So go out there. Start a revolution. I am SO excited to see what a difference it will make in the world.

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Featured Mama ~ Melissa Guimaraes of Melissa’s Budding Artists

MBA-Zinga-103My story… I am Melissa Guimaraes and I’m a mother, wife, artist, art teacher, a graduate student and now, a small business owner!  We live in Peabody, MA and are surrounded by family and friends.  My husband has been my biggest supporter and when I originally, and very casually, approached him with the crazy idea of beginning my own paint party business, he didn’t think it was that crazy at all.

What I saw happening all around me at local restaurants and bars was the really cool idea of a bunch of adults getting together to make a painting.  There are quite a few nationwide businesses who focus on getting a few drinks into people while they fumble with a brush and have a great time while doing it. I loved the idea of people being creative – most of them probably hadn’t made a piece of art since a high school elective forced them to. What I wished to see more of, however, was the idea of families making these paintings together. Instead of in bars, during late hours, no one was catering to the afternoons, weekends or even early evenings. Basically, the idea of anyone under the age of 18 (more like 21 most of the time) participating in these paint parties was out of the question. In mid-July I began Melissa’s Budding Artists, and we do paint parties for artists of all ages. We specialize in throwing paint parties where little kids and adults can sit and create a piece of art, side by side. We aren’t only creating masterpieces, we are making memories!

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My career began… in May of 2003, when I graduated from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA.  By December, 2003, I’d finished my student teaching and earned my teaching certification. In the summer of 2004, I was hired by the same high school I graduated from to become part of the visual arts department. I’ve been an art teacher at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School ever since. Teaching art is my passion, there’s really no other way to describe it. It won’t ever make me rich but it is the most rewarding job and I can’t think of another career that would fulfill me the way teaching art does.

My biggest challenge… as a mama, has been balancing my personal, career, and social life, or what’s left of it.  With three children, you begin to really understand what people mean when they say “there aren’t enough hours in the day”.  I’ve always thought there weren’t enough weekends in the week!

My biggest reward… is to see the respect my six year old has for me, my career and my business.  It fills me with joy to hear her tell others “my mommy is a painter” or “I want to teach art like my mom”.  She’s already so creative and unique, I know she’s got the natural talent to draw.

At work, I’m a role model to my students and I take that very seriously, as well.  When I began teaching at 22 years old, some of my students were only a bit younger than me.  After they graduated high school and went on to college, we kept in touch. Currently, I have quite a few close friends who were former students of mine. The first paint party I threw was in my own backyard and I sent out a Facebook Event Invite to all of the former students I could reach. That night, every easel I owned was propped up in front of a 20-something year old who used to sit in my classroom. That paint party was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Not only did it mark the beginning of my business venture, it also showed me that what I do makes people happy and proud.

My career must have… is creativity. It’s not always as easy as it sounds, trust me!

My family consists of… my oldest daughter, Kenna, six years old and just beginning the first grade.  She’s kind, funny, smart and very sharp, also nurturing and has gorgeous hair!  Kinsley is two and a half and is sometimes shy around new people, but when she’s warmed up to you she’ll be your best friend. Kinsley was the perfect baby and to this day has been a great eater, sleeper and gives the best hugs with encouraging pats on the back. Our youngest son, Boaventura, turned one in July. We call him Bo. (Boaventura means “good times” in Portuguese.  It’s a family name my husband is very proud of, and I’ve always adored it, especially with such a neat meaning and cute nickname.) Bo is a sweet, smiley little baby who loves trying to keep up with his big sisters. We recently found out Bo has a peanut and egg allergy, so we’re monitoring his diet, and we have regular appointments with a highly recommended allergist on the Northshore. We also have our dog, Doby, who is like a little furry baby to me, and sister to the kids. Doby has the patience of a pre-school teacher and I admire her agility at times, especially when there are three kids on her tail.

My husband…Jose, is a plumber who took on working many extra hours to make up for my unpaid maternity leave from teaching the 2013-2014 school year. He is an amazing father, and the kids absolutely adore him. I swear, you’d think a celebrity walked into the room when he comes home from work, and he is always just as excited to see them.  Jose keeps me grounded and has taught me so much about parenting. I know I’ve found the perfect man for me because I can’t think of a way it could get any better than this.

We are a bilingual family… Jose’s first language is Portuguese. He was born in Brazil and moved to America ten years ago. In our home, we speak Portuguese. My parents are from the Azores, so I grew up speaking Portuguese, mostly, with my grandmothers. When I met my husband, we hit it off right away because there wasn’t too much of a language barrier. Eventually, I learned to change my accent a bit, depending on the company. Kenna is bilingual and fluent in Portuguese. Kinsley is putting together words in both languages, also. And it’s obvious Bo can understand anything anyone says!  Even the dog responds to both language swithout hesitation. Peabody is a very diverse community and we’re proud of our culture and the culture of those around us. It’s celebrated in our homes, schools and communities.

To keep organized… I rely on the calendar app on my iphone, especially for long term dates and responsibilities. For the most part, I try to take it one day at a time while having the big picture in the back of my mind, too.

Our favorite family vacation… spot is the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We stay in this little inn where they have about a dozen horses. Jose grew up with horses and has instilled his love for them in Kenna. When we visit, Kenna takes several horse back rides on her favorite pony, Tinkerbell. During the summer, we also enjoy our pool. The kids love swimming. We have plans to fly to Brazil in the very near future to visit my husband’s parents and family there.

I rely on my iPhone… in an almost unhealthy way. It contains everything I need to make it through my day and I would be lost without it. Some days, I wonder how I was capable of juggling anything before my iphone. Then I remember I had an iPhone before there was really much of anything to juggle.

Our family must have… other than the obvious answer of “love”, is laughter. My husband is always going out of his way to make the rest of us laugh and I’m a bit of a practical joker myself. We’ve been playing a family game of “who can startle who the best?” where we go out of our way to try to get each other to jump!  Kenna has perfected the art of hiding plastic insects in places like under our pillows and balanced on the bathroom door knob.  As Kinsley and Bo grow up, Jose and I are both a little nervous about being outnumbered in our little game as Kenna teaches them all she knows!

Me-time… is scheduled every few weeks. It isn’t ever anything too fancy, I’ve never been that kind of person. I’m happy sitting on a park bench with an ice coffee, while I doodle in a sketchbook. Sometimes, I’ll meet up with a friend for a liquid lunch, not going to lie!  One of my favorite personal activities and one of the things I wish I could do more of, is painting.  It must seem like between teaching high school art and owning a paint party business, I do enough painting. What I really want to paint, I never have enough time for. It’s always fun doing demonstrations for classes and creating new pieces for our gallery and calendar. Sometimes, though, I want to make art just for me. There isn’t a lot of hours left in the day to do that very often.

Inspiration… I am inspired by a lot of different things in my every day life. Sometimes it’s the pattern on a paper towel, the cover photo someone just shared on Facebook, a t-shirt a student might be wearing; anything can be inspiration because it all starts with an artist. My students inspire me every day in the classroom. And my own three children are my muses, too!Portrait-Paint-Party-012

A me must have… is music. I don’t need cable or expensive purses. I need music. It pairs with art-making and it’s always on in the background at our house. My six year old daughter’s favorite band is Queen! Ice coffee is pretty essential, also.

My advice to working mamas… is to take LOTS of pictures of your little ones!  And pose in lots of pictures with them, too! Moms always seem to be the one behind the camera.  I think it’s important to record memories that capture you in the those special moments, also.  Don’t worry about how your hair looks or if you’ve got your makeup on.  Just keep clicking away!  You won’t ever regret taking too many pictures!

I teach full time at a local high school and I throw between one and three paint parties every two weeks.  I’m able to balance this schedule with the help of my family and friends.  They’ve come through for me time and time again.  My loved ones are an essential part of my success and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Please check out Melissa’s at www.facebook.com/melissasbuddingartists

 

Featured Mama ~ Angie Andrews Creator, Angie Andrews Inspire

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My Story…My name is Angie Andrews.  I am the creator of my business, angieandrewsinspire.com.  I blog and do one on one coaching centered around the idea that self-love and self-care are the foundation for both joy and personal transformation.  The goal of my business is to support and hold space for women and men to fall in love with themselves and nurture themselves thereby allowing them to share deeper more connected love with all those around them.  My business is new, but my goal is to not only blog and coach, but to speak publicly about how important self-care is and to hold retreats to allow individuals to connect with themselves and gain clarity around their purpose.

Career evolution…I have almost 20 years of experience in Ophthalmology both as a technician and as a practice administrator.  That was most of my career up until recently.  For several years I have been experiencing a shift in my life, a shift towards personal and spiritual transformation.  Last summer I went on a retreat and since that time have been very clear what my purpose is here, hence the creation of my business and my departure from the world of Ophthalmology.  (Well mostly.  I still work as a consultant in healthcare to allow myself the time to grow my business)  My goal is to blog/coach and speak as my full time job in the next few years.

There have been many challenges being a woman and being a mother. Working full time and helping to run a household is exhausting.  I am very much a nurturer, so I would say for me the most difficult piece is finding the balance between too much mothering (spoiling at times) and not enough.  I still struggle with this sometimes.  When I am home I want to do things for them and give them everything because my time is limited.  But I also realize this can be a disservice to them as it hinders their independence.  This is a work in progress for me.

What is most rewarding… to me is that I set an example for my kids that women can work and be good mothers.  That being independent and productive is important.  Just as importantly, for me I love working and contributing in this way.  Being of service in some way is extremely important to me.  I want my kids to see that.

Supporting working mamas…in my last place of work, which was the practice I ran, was very conscious of supporting our working moms.  We created a space where they could bring their kids to work when they had a childcare emergency.  We were always flexible to allow them to make appointments, field trips and other special occasions.  It was a very supportive environment.  When my business gets big enough for me to employ others, this will be a big focus for me.

Freedom and flexibility…It really desire to be able to take time off to be with my kids and my husband.  I want to be able to travel and work remotely from wherever we are.  I have only recently discovered that this is what is true and essential for me!!

My Family…I am mother to 2 boys. Evan is 7 years old and Cameron is 15 years old.  With this big age difference we are often very busy dealing with 2 totally different sports/activities schedule.  For instance juggling Drivers Ed with day camps.  Evan is very outgoing and super energetic.  He always makes us laugh, but at the same time keeps us on our toes.  He has zero fear and will try just about anything.  He likes school, but mostly for the social aspect.  Sitting still and being quiet are not his favorite.  Cameron is also very social and makes friends very easily.  He is also very kind and pretty intuitive for a 15 year old.  He excels is school and really enjoys writing.   As a child he was much more reserved than his younger brother.  He was also much more timid and afraid of trying new things.  My boys have an amazing relationship.  Cam is such an amazing older brother.  I feel very blessed by this.  They certainly have their moments, but that is to be expected.  My husband works at a retail job close to our home full time.  His job is close to home by design.  I travel often for work, so he is often parenting on his own for days/weeks at t time.  I am the primary breadwinner at this time.  Steve (my husband) is amazing with the boys and does a fantastic job holding down the fort while I am gone.  He spends a lot of time trying to foster their independence which is great.  It is often hard for me to come home from being on the road for week and not spoil them and wait on them.  As I said this is a work in progress.  I certainly don’t want to undermine all the work he does when I am gone.

My chaotic organization…I have always handled most of the bills, so I continue to do that.  With online banking and banking apps, it is easy for me to handle that while I am on the road.  We share grocery shopping, cooking, laundry and other chores.  Who does what depends on if I am traveling or not.  For instance, when I am gone, the boys make piles of clean laundry in the living room and get dressed from that each day.  It works for them and at least they are clean and clothed.  I could not tolerate that if I was home, but when I am not, they do whatever works for them.  I had to learn to let little things like that go.  I did finally give in recently and hired someone to come to the house once a month to do a full cleaning and we fill in in between cleanings.  I have historically fought this, but I finally decided it was necessary and boy has it been amazing.  Now when I am home I can focus on time the boys and Steve instead of cleaning.  Best investment I have ever made!!!

Family fun…We like to spend time outside together playing basketball, lacrosse, football or whatever the boys are into at the time.  Many times because we are so busy during the week or I am gone, we just try to hand out together on the weekends.  Maybe go the farmers market or watch a movie.  We don’t do a lot of vacations, opting to do more small weekend trips.  When we do go away, we go to our A-frame in NH or to see my parents in Florida when they are there in the winter.  I am planning on much more traveling in our future.

Me time…I spend at least an hour a day on me.  I have set up a morning practice where I get up and journal or meditate and/or do yoga.  I have created a boundary around this time because I know it will help me start the day with focus and intention and allow me to be more present for everyone, including my husband and kids.  I often will take a small amount of time in the evening to switch gears from work mode to being at home mode. The activities I enjoy the most are yoga, mediation, writing blogs and hanging out with my family.

I wish…I had more time to just hang out with my boys and my husband.  It is hard to find down time with 2 busy boy schedules and 2 full time parents.

Inspiration…I find inspiration in other people, in nature, in prayer.  There are lots of places I find inspiration.

My essential must have… is time to care for myself and fill myself up so I can share more with others.  It can look different depending on the day and what I have going on, but I take the time every day.

Tips for us working mamas…I would say that my biggest take away has been to be present in whatever way works for you and your family.  Put down the phone, the Ipad or the computer and just BE with your kids and your significant other.  You don’t have to do anything special or extravagant.  Just be there and listen and enjoy the moment, even if they are brief because life gets in the way.  Oh, and don’t take yourself to seriously.  Life is too short for that!!

My schedule… is all over the place.  There are months when I travel 3 weeks.  That can mean leaving on Sunday and getting home on Thursday or Friday.  Then some months I am home more.  I have to get up early to get in my me time and I try to head to bed soon after my younger son goes to bed so I am rested in the morning.  I wouldn’t say I have the balancing part all figured out, but we seem to manage each day as they come.

My challenges… would be the same as most mom’s.  Trying to get my work done, keep the house in order, pay attention to my kids, my dogs and my husband and stay sane while doing it.  A challenge I have that only just realized is that my role as the primary bread winner has lead to me living in the masculine much more than I should.  At my core, I am very feminine, but that has fallen by the wayside as I have taken on more responsibility and more control.  I am working to turn that around so when I am not working, I am in my feminine.  It is not easy after years of living the other way.  Taking time to switch gears from work Angie to home Angie has been helpful.

Take each day as it comes…  I find planning to far ahead or thinking too much only overwhelms me.  I would rather focus on each day as a gift and deal with it as it unfolds.  It certainly helps that I have a very supportive, very helpful husband working it all out alongside me.  I would say teamwork is a big factor!!