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And here we are: another beautiful day. The sun is gleaming through the window, casting dances of shadows on my table, as the beams force their way through and past the still-living leaves.
The once-steaming herbal coffee is now room temp, with the sugar laying comfortably at the bottom.
I’m also navigating through the seedlings of self-doubt, the deep beliefs I’ve held onto my entire life, feeling stronger and more powerful, now.
I like to flip the script. It’s not always successful, but I always try. I embrace using my brain as a tool for a better life, with my heart guiding the way. I like to recreate, redesign, and recalibrate thought patterns. Transform them.
Instead of allow my thoughts to stumble + trip me into self-sabotage, I say “I believe my work + words are good AS IS and I share them anyway.”
What is it about taking intentional action + transforming thoughts that lead us to a more empowering existence? I suppose it comes from CHOOSING to create, instead of passively accepting what our brain does on autopilot.
For me, I’ve spent so much of my life keeping my thoughts + feelings to myself. Most of the words I’ve written have stayed on a page that only myself, or a professor, would read. The thought that my words were not accepted as spoken words reiterated my passion for writing. It is a gift, a talent, and was born out of feeling like I wasn’t heard.
Now, instead, I choose to live + share my truth, here. An open forum to welcome the dialogue between our hearts and our minds. To share our truth + create our lives.
And, so it is.
For you, my dear, choose a mindset transformation. Identify where things hurt the most. Embrace empowerment and personal responsibility. Choose to see things differently. Choose to tell your story. To live your truth. To stare your fear in the face – and take action anyway. Even if it’s a small step, it’s still evolution and your own transformation at that. Transformation is the greatest form of freedom and a birthright, at that.
PS. In a few months, I’m releasing a brand-new 30-day self-guide to transformation + living your truth. Of course, as part of the online community, you’ll learn about it first. Think: healing, transformation, mindset shifts, body-mind-soul alignment, and honoring your intuition. It’s going to be a beautiful process that you can learn on your own, or alongside others. It’s sure to be magical + abundant in resources, community, creativity, and looove. Make sure to join us here to be the first to learn.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the world wind of responsibilities. Of relationships. Of friends and jobs and projects.
It’s not always the easiest to say no to someone, or turn down some awesome plans because you feel a little bit run down and feel you need some ‘me-time’. You may even feel a little guilty for turning down said plans, amirite?
The key to personal responsibility and self-fulfillment is self-care.
Because, when you are happy, the people around you are happy.
Relationships become stronger, you believe that you are worthy, and it increases your self-awareness and compassion.
For me, I haven’t always been great at self-care. I haven’t always put myself first. I haven’t always listened to the voice in the back of my mind that told me to stay in instead of drink, or eat a salad instead of a burrito even though I KNOW that eating the salad will make me feel better.
But, well, life. It happens.
A conscious week of self-care
Because of this lack of self-care, I spent five glorious days this week, bathed in a self-care routine.
I listed out everything I felt was important to my self-care:
drink six water bottles / day
drink one green smoothie / day
read 20-30 min / day
do yoga and / or HIIT / day
eat entirely plant based: no wheat or dairy
morning ritual: wash hands + face and brush teeth
morning ritual: pull Wisdom Card for daily guidance
From there, I literally scheduled it all out. Each night, I would plan the next day’s schedule, depending on what was going on. I had to fit in time for work, time for researching, and just overall free time.
The best part is that you give your brain the exact process to go through, so it becomes super easy to follow through. I’ve heard some motivational bloggers write that it’s good to only have three goals per day, but this worked wonderfully for me to establish some new rituals.
My schedule looked a little something like this:
pull wisdom card
drink tea + read 30 min
water bottle #1
water bottle #2
yoga / HIIT
lunch + supplements
water bottle #3
work – 4 hours
water bottle #4
meditate [again, or if I skipped in the morning]
plan tomorrow’s schedule
read / chill out
This was a pretty standard day. The big thing I was focusing on is drinking more water and supporting my body by eating clean and taking my supplements.
Show yourself what’s possible
Now, you don’t need to enjoy routine to get the most out of this self-care routine. The point is to show yourself what’s possible. To show yourself what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy. What I do for self-care could be completely different to what you do. It’s all about exploring who you are and what feels good for you.
Mind – Body – Spirit
While figuring out the schedule I wanted to follow, I kept mind-body-spirit in the back of my head. I wanted something that not only focused on my mind, but also on my spirit. I usually neglect my body when it comes to moving it and working out, so that was also a major part of the week.
If you’re planning out your own conscious week, day, or month of self-care, I’d highly recommend that you include a few things that feed each of these.
How to stay committed to your conscious week of self-care
If you need to switch up your schedule, do it! If you need to tone it down a bit after the first couple days, then do that, too.
Your schedule is your schedule.
It can change, just like life.
So, flow with how you feel.
A lot of it’s new, what’s on your list. You’re consciously choosing to do unfamiliar stuff.
This stuff is for you. Your mind-body-spirit. Embrace it. Do not feel guilty — and if you do feel guilty, there is probably some forgiveness and healing that needs to happen there.
There were days where I realized that six water bottles was too much, so I brought it down to four. Another day, I was exhausted from some of the healing meditations (they work deeeeeep, so it’s important to rest and hydrate!), so instead of doing HIIT, I took a nap. I also consciously chose not to be upset with myself for not following through with it to the T. I let it go, right in the moment.
Ask someone you trust to keep you accountable
The point is that you need people by your side when you’re trying something new. And, especially when it comes to changing you habits and choices for the better. Find someone supportive and check in with them. Let them know what you’re up to. Maybe they’ll even join you!
I didn’t ask for explicit help from my friend Jenysha, but I checked in with her daily to let her know about the conscious choices I was making. Her responses were always something like, “YOU GO GIRL”, or, “WORK IT!”
Lesson: if support is needed, go where the love is.
It’s all an experiment, this self-care routine thing.
By the end of the week, you’re gonna have a pretty good glimpse into what you need in your self-care routine.
It may be as simple as a ritual of washing your hands and face, brushing your teeth, and doing a quick meditation.
It may be more involved than that.
Whatever you choose for you is perfect.
Embrace that your self-care routine is just as unique and special as you.
When the conscious week of self-care is over
Remind yourself of what you learned. Continue to schedule things in, if you need to. Identify what feels good for you. And most importantly? Love yourself through it all.
With a self-care routine, you invite more love and happiness because you yourself are showing more love and happiness to yourself. Embrace that. Figure out what works for you
Enjoy the time you have for yourself. Remember that you deserve this. You are worthy of taking this time to yourself. No one else is going to remind you to drink water, eat clean, or meditate. That’s all a part of personal responsibility, self-care, and conscious living.
P.S. if you decide to do a week of self-care and need some tips, hit me up on Twitter for more suggestions!
P. P. S. want more tips like this directly in your inbox? Sign up here.
Note from Kristen: Here again, we have a beautiful guest post from a dear friend and fellow Misfit, Darci! I crossed paths with her last year when Misfit and I partnered up to make her a unique mug together. We’ve been friends ever since. Such a strong and brilliant soul — I hope you enjoy! PS if you’d like to get As You Evolve in your inbox for conscious transformation, sign up here.
According to Merriam-Webster, self-care is simply defined as care for oneself.
Seems simple enough when you put it like that, but then why does it so often feel convoluted, time-consuming, and elusive?
This is what I’ve determined. Self-care looks different for everyone (obviously), which adds to its mystery.
There are plenty of self-help, self-care books out there involving chicken soup, happiness projects, eating, praying, traveling and meditating your way to some level of self-actualization. And who wouldn’t want that? To arrive at the peak of Maslow’s hierarchy?
But before you reach that pinnacle, you have to figure out what self-care means TO you and FOR you.
Then it means remembering to enact self-care (period).
No qualifiers – not I have to remember to take care of myself when things get hectic, when I’m sick, when my significant other is stressed – but remembering to enact self-care EVERY DAY.
I had one of those moments where the universe knocks and says “it’s time to pay attention” moments, in August 2013.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was lucky on so many fronts. We caught it early. I had great health insurance. I had an AH-MAZING support network.
But my journey through breast cancer made me reexamine every aspect of my life.
So what did I do? Well, I turned to some of those self-helpy sorts of books. I read a bunch of cancer blogs. I befriended people like Kristen and the Misfits. I also spent a lot of time thinking, of course – pondering and prioritizing.
How could I best take care of ME?
Self-care is the alignment of my brain-body-spirit.
Self-care is remembering to put my oxygen mask on first (and then helping those around me – because if I pass out due to lack of oxygen, I’m not going to do anyone, any good…)
Self-care is the art of falling up.
Self-care is remembering to breathe, love, wish, persist, and play.
Breast cancer became a big ol’ flashing light of a reminder that:
I was way out of alignment.
I wasn’t properly oxygenated.
I wasn’t falling up.
I certainly wasn’t remembering to play.
Kristen, the Misfits, and even a couple of the books inspired me to write a manifesto.
A manifesto of what I wanted my post-cancer life to embody.
I figured 2014 was going to be a year of milestones (turning 40 and ‘beating’ cancer among others) and I would need a document, something tangible, to remind me of where I wanted to go.
This is what I came up with…
Wake every morning with the goal of letting people know they matter. Be on a quest to find the joy, the peace and the sacred in the world. Practice compassion, be present, learn every day and hug often. Live with purpose, authenticity, & generosity. Honor the process and the emotions that come with it. When you find yourself down, remember to fall up. Embody and help facilitate the changes you want to see in the world. Exercise creativity, breathe deeply and always act with the best intention.
Because my biggest takeaway from my 40 years, my journey with breast cancer, the myriad of books read, individuals consulted and thoughts pondered is that how I act, react, and interact with the world is a choice – MY choice.
So in addition to remembering to enact self-care, I must remember to choose to do it.
I must choose to love myself, to take the deep breath, to create an environment in which I thrive, to love those around me, to learn something new, to reach out and be social, to lift others up, to avoid road rage (and whatever other triggers there might be) and to choose to fall up, when I’ve been knocked down.
I may not get to choose all of the things that happen to me, but I do get to choose how I move through them.
So what choices are you going to make?
Darci L. Graves self-identifies as a social activist, educator and lifelong student, cancer survivor, lover of art, human to Ella Jane, photographer, mentor, satirist, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, friend, and hopeful humanitarian. Her philosophy is that thought-provoking and inquisitive individuals can enhance the quality of people’s lives through a commitment to respectful understanding, a lifetime of learning, and a profound sense of community.
As You Evolve is about living your truth, [re]creating your life + embracing transformation.
I believe to change the world, you must change yourself first.
Everything I write about comes down to learning to live + speak your truth. It manifests in many ways: synergizing inner + outer worlds, transforming your mindset + healing past wounds. Most of all, it's about guiding your life from within and seeking validation only from yourself. It's something I'm still learning, too.
If you feel in need of soul-alignment, community + guidance from a non-judgmental + compassionate source, I encourage you to dream + explore alongside me + the rest of the free spirits who call As You Evolve their home.