FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

Moving You From Surviving to
THRIVING

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A Day to Play 

As children, summer means a few months of play! I can remember that feeling on the last day of school – the endless summer stretched in front of me. Everything seemed new and possible and free! We went to the lake, made forts on the front porch or in the yard, swam for hours and then walked uptown with towels wrapped around us as clothing to get popsicles. My father would throw meat on the grill and I would run back and forth through the resulting clouds of smoke. We would cut a giant watermelon and eat it outside all day long. Chasing fireflies at night and capturing them in a jar with holes poked in the top was a frequent game I enjoyed. And still do.

What were your favorite things to do as a child? When was the last time you spent some time doing those things?

Possibly the biggest watermelon I have ever carried. Summer 2016, Water Valley, MS. Watermelon Carnival.

As adults, we get caught up in work and summer home repairs and chaperoning our children or grandchildren to camp or play dates. We may go on a vacation, but a lot goes into preparing to leave and acclimating back to work and routine when we return. Summer often loses the spontaneity of play we experience as children.

What if practicing extreme self care gave you time to play? Maybe you can or can’t spend the day swimming or walking to get a popsicle, but there are also fun things you can do to relieve stress and invite more play into your life.

You can play a board game with a friend or with family members. Sometimes a monthly board game night is a great way to re-introduce play into our adult lives and there are many games to choose from these days. Adult coloring books are also a quick and easy way to lighten the load – they often bring a meditative, zen like experience to adults. We’ve forgotten how peaceful it can feel to color inside or outside the lines. Add watercolors or watercolor pencils and you’ve got an even more peaceful way of moving color around a page.

What about putting together a puzzle? This has the same effect as coloring – focus on putting the pieces in just the right order creates calm and a meditative state in the brain.

You could have a picnic lunch in the backyard or at the park. Ride a bike through the neighborhood.

Don’t have time to swim or coloring books/puzzles at hand? There are apps that allow you to color or put puzzle together. Yes, they are a little less satisfying to some, but they work in a pinch. If you’re looking to maintain a healthy brain, crossword puzzle books or apps are also a way of letting go of the stresses of the day and entering into a space dedicated for quiet,, fun time.

Today or one day soon, give yourself permission to play and see the effect play time has on your self care.

Board game night with friends a few summers ago. I love our faces!

How often do we say we’re sorry for things we’ve done that don’t require a sorry response? Has guilt become an automatic state of feeling for us?

We often say “Sorry” automatically without even thinking about it. “I’m sorry you’re sick.” “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job.” Neither of these things can be controlled by us, yet we often hear or give a ‘sorry pattern’ response.

Gratitude can change your life.

No kidding. A daily practice of writing down even three things you are grateful for will significantly change your life in many ways. In fact, research shows that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel less anxiety, respond to stress more calmly, sleep better, are more compassionate and even have stronger immune systems. 

On day one, I shared my belief that when we’re in crisis or depleted of energy from our “busyness”, we tend to be reactive rather than responsive. When we create personal energetic reserves, they help us feel as though we are connected to a place of balance and control. And creating personal energetic reserves is the best way to practice self care. 

Your daily habits can be whatever you want them to be and you don’t absolutely have to do each one every day. In fact, at first, it may be hard to fit them all in. And these habits don’t have to be time consuming.

Here’s a gift of self care you can give yourself every week, month or for a few hours whenever you need it most. A Tech Free Day can be one of the slowest and most peaceful days you’ve spent in a long while.

Reading all day makes the day go by very slowly. And, even if you are an avid reader, when was the last time you read a book outside? We get busy and forget that joy of reading a good book or magazine by the lake, in the backyard under a tree, in a rocking chair on the front porch or….you get the hint.

Today is the day for you to make a few lists that contain 7 things each. Things that belong to you – not to someone else in your family. Don’t “should on yourself” either. 

Dance Break Day 6 of our Sumer of Self Care involves doing a little dancing. Are you game? Have you ever watched someone dance for fun, even if just for a few seconds, and laughed out loud? In any given day, at least one video of someone dancing pops across my social media feed and […]

Now that we have taken a few moments to look at how and when to say no, today we will look at what makes you say, “HECK YES!!!”  Because taking a look at your Absolute Yes List helps you remember what to say no to.

When we say yes more often than we mean to, out of a sense of obligation or feeling coerced, we find ourselves doing things that carry resentment or even downright anger. And the anger isn’t usually directed solely at the person we said yes to. More often than not, our anger is felt internally – directed straight to our own heart – because we failed to say no. And that takes a toll on our ability to love ourselves and to express self care.