Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Topic Tuesday

Taking time to take care of you.

We get so caught up in working, socializing, and studying that we end up getting stuck in a rut of carelessness and instant gratification. We tend to look for shortcuts because everything around us is moving so fast. The problem is, we end up making cuts in the wrong places. We forgo our health, our sanity, and our sleep just to keep our heads above water. Look at all the fad diets, get rich quick deals, and commercials about getting a degree without ever having to go to school. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at our culture and see that the overwhelming health issues, public mental break downs, and obsessions with sex and violence are a result of not “making the first thing first” in our lives.

I want to jump off the back of one of my first blogs talking about being the best version of you that you can be. This is much easier said than done, but it is one of the most important things we’ll ever fight for in our lives. The best version of me allows you to be the best version of you. So how can we get there? Well, that’s what I wanted to share today. There is no formula, because we are all SO different, but I thought I could help with some ideas to start.

Create a healthy image of you.

It’s more than just what you put on the outside. It’s how you see yourself on the inside. It’s more than telling yourself everyday that you’re beautiful, it’s believing it, and believing the source that Authored it.

Now, I am not an expert in fashion...it’s actually a challenge for me. One that I am happy to meet because like you, I want to feel good about what I’m wearing. Coming soon, I will be doing a feature on cleaning out your closet with a friend of mine who has been helping me do the same, but in the mean time let me start here:

Find clothes that show off your shape.

There is a delicate balance between leaving room for the imagination and lettin’ it all hang out. Here are a couple of sites that can help you better understand your shape and how to accent your features: myshape.com shopformyshape.com commoncouture.com

Get regular hair cuts.

It keeps your hair looking healthy, shiny, and light. If you can’t afford a color every time, try putting a change jar by your door and fill it until you have enough to get a professional color, but know that there is no shame in investing in that box of Clairol #35. :)

Take care of your nails. 

Trim, file, buff, and clean on a regular basis. I’m not a huge fan 
of color on my fingers unless I need it for a special occasion, but I am a fan of it on my    
feet. Just a quick run over every couple of weeks is enough to show that you like your  
feet (even if you don’t). Whether you like the color or not, remember that a clear coat goes a long way on those precious fingers. Especially if you’re stepping out on the town with your friends. (And for you gentlemen readers, forgo the polish, but nail maintenance is just as important!)


If you’re like me and love a good t-shirt and a rockin’ pair of jeans, then the key for you lies with accessories. Rock those earrings, bracelets, and necklaces, even belts. Check out sites like luckybrand.com urbandoutfitters.com and forever21.com and, of course, style.com for ideas and pieces you might want to add to your collection. There’s always a reason to rock the jewelry. Don’t be afraid to do so. (For the boys: Feel free to rock that watch, those shades, those hot ties, and even that manly necklace your lady got you.)

Take care of your skin.

Use a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser to wash away dirt and muck. Moisturize every day. Wear sun block. Exfoliate once a week. Wear sun block. Try to keep your hands away from your face (easier said then done). Take a day or two off from wearing full make-up. Wear sun block. Oh! And before I forget, wear sun block! 

Sometimes all you need is a little mascara and a little blush.

My friend Raquel told me this years ago, and it’s so true. Sometimes putting on a full face of make-up is a bit too much or too time consuming, or perhaps you're giving your skin a break, so just dash on a bit of blush and brush those lushes lashes with some mascara and step out into that world of yours with confidence!

Now onto lifestyle:

Eat right and exercise. In that order.

I know it’s cliche, but I admit that this has been a challenge in my world, that again, I am happy to meet because I believe I’m worth it. What is more is that taking care of ourselves this way actually benefits others too. It inspires a healthy lifestyle in everyone around us, saves us a lot of money, and provides us the energy and clarity to be the impact in the world we wish to be. Now, this might take some effort and research on your part, but it’s worth it. Find the programs that work best for you, put a meal plan together, and really commit to it. I’ve spent more than two years trying to find what’s right for me, and it all comes down to eating a balanced diet and watching my portions. And I’ve seen the evidence in the idea that you can exercise 6 days a week and still not get healthy because the diet is not there. Studies show that 80 percent of weight loss is rooted in how well we eat. And remember, eating right doesn’t mean depriving yourself of delicious food. It simply means balancing out what you put into your body. I’ll be sharing more on this in future blogs.

Get some sleep, why don’t you!

I am not the best example of this, as I am a true and through night owl, but getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night is important for our health and sanity. The list of health issues that come with a lack of sleep are staggering. If you’re having trouble sleeping, I would highly suggest seeing your doctor and consider a sleep clinic. If it’s self inflicted, however, then get yourself some shut eye so you can be your witty, alert self. It should do more for you when you have that 2:30 feeling than a jolt of b vitamins in a tiny canister.

Turn off the technology for a bit.

I read an article recently that showed that being tied to our phones and the internet have made us a more anxious bunch. This is a tough one because most of our lives are dependent on whether or not people can get a hold of us 24/7, but it’s probably one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. Try turning off the phone, the tv, the computer and doing something like reading a book one night a week, take a class on something you love, praying, play a sport at your local community center, go hiking, camping, or simply take a walk around your neighborhood with a friend. You won’t regret it.

Drink water.

It might sound silly, but our bodies need this to survive. I’ve heard it said that we can live months without food, but only 3 days without water. I’d say that makes water pretty valuable. And while on the subject of water, we should remember that we have a great privilege in having clean water to drink in the developed world. Please check out organizations like bloodwatermissions.com to see how you can help bring clean drinking water into those nations who are in desperate need of it.

Save. Save. Save.

Your money that is... This is a difficult practice for many of us, especially now with the economy being so tough, but even saving $10 a month is better than saving nothing. You never know when you’ll need that extra cash, and of course you can set goals for clothes, trips, or that car you keep dreaming about. If you save long enough, you may even have enough for a downpayment on a house, or that building you’ve been eyeing for the boutique you’ve been dreaming about opening.

Take a vacation.

Go to the beach, the cabin, or simply take that trip across the country that you keep talking about. Whatever you do, make sure you get out of town and out of your normal routine. And make sure it’s purely for entertainment purposes.

The bottom line in all of this is that we NEED to take care of ourselves because we’re worth it, because we were given the gift of life, and because if we are to love our neighbors as ourselves then we need to make it a priority to love ourselves to our best ability! It doesn’t take a lot of money, it might take a little time, but if we don’t give it our best shot, then we’re missing the abundance that is waiting for us to take a hold of.

Here’s to living an abundant life!


Zara_Lusty said...

Hi Amber

Thank you for your awesome entry. It great to get so much advice, on so my different areas of our lives. Also thank you for all the website suggestion too.

There is definitely a lot of tips from your entry. That I know that I will be able to use in my own life.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amber!

Thanks for all the helpful tips. It's all useful. I loved what you said "The best version of me allows you to be the best version of you" - I remember I hear that first something similar from Pastor Mike Galeotti while I'm watching the Wild branch worship before. He said something like..."
Why not put your energy in being the most beautiful version of yourself in your life right now for you?" and I put that in mind, trying to live in the best version of me :) and now your tips would definitely help me more to do so. :)

Thanks again for sharing and please don't change.x

Melissa said...

I'd posted this on my blog awhile back, tweeted it, shared it with Joy via her blog but never thought to send it to you. Rereading this though makes me realize I should have. Better late than never, right?

The Things That Matter
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
January 1924

Standing on the shore with the waves of the Pacific rolling to my feet, I looked over the waters as far as my eyes could reach until the gray of the ocean merged with the gray of the horizon's rim. Where, within my vision, the waters stopped and the skies began I could not tell, so softly they blended one into the other. The waves rolled in regularly, beating a rhythm of time, but the skies above them were unmeasured -- so vast and far reaching that the mind of man could not comprehend it.
A symbol of time and of eternity -- time spaced by our counting into years, breaking at our feet as the waves break on the shore; and eternity, unmeasurable as the skies above us -- blending one into the other at the farthest reach of our earthly vision.
As the New Year comes, seemingly with ever-increasing swiftness, there is a feeling that life is too short to accomplish the things we must do. But there is all eternity blending with the end of time for the things that are really worthwhile.
We are so overwhelmed with things these days that our lives are all, more or less, cluttered. I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that feeling of hurry and almost of helplessness. Everyone is hurrying and usually just a little late. Notice the faces of the people who rush past on the streets or on our country roads! They nearly all have a strained, harassed look, and anyone you meet will tell you there is no time for anything anymore.
Life is so complicated! The day of the women whose only needed tool was a hairpin is long since passed. But we might learn something from her and her methods even yet, for life would be pleasanter with some of the strain removed -- if it were no longer true, as someone has said, that "things are in the saddle and rule mankind."
Here is a good New Year's resolution for us all to make: To simplify our lives as much as possible, to overcome that feeling of haste by remembering that there are just as many hours in the day as ever, and that there is time enough for the things that matter if time is rightly used.

Then, having done the most we may here, when we reach the limit of time, we will sail on over the horizon rim to new beauties and greater understanding.