Keep Calm and Practice Self-Care

Keep Calm and Practice Self-Care

It’s Day 8/9 of being back to blogging and in yesterday morning’s work prayer meeting a wise organizational leader reminded us to keep calm and practice self-care. In social service/ministry, we often deal with trauma. And trauma is vicarious. It can transfer from those we serve onto us. If we’re not careful, it can infect us and make us physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually sick too. Keeping calm and practicing self-care is the key to preventing this in our work/ministry lives.

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Keeping Calm and Practicing Self-Care is Key! 

What I’ve found, however, is that those of us who are nurturers often find it a challenge to provide ourselves with the same level of care we generously lavish on others. This was evident in the meeting when those of us who were dealing with the death (a huge D or challenge!) of a young woman and mother kept voicing concern over how it impacted everyone else. But when the group circled up around the two of us who worked closely with her and knew her best –– both of us women –– the depth of our pent-up pain manifested itself in tears that once released refused to be staunched despite the box of tissue we wept through. So why were we selfish with ourselves about our need to grieve and weep? It’s only natural that the loss of someone we tried so hard to save is devastating. In fact, when Lazarus died before Jesus could arrive to save him, the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 (NIV).

Becoming completely vested in someone else involves experiencing their triumphs and their tragedies. In that sense, exposure to trauma is an occupational hazard. But its vicarious effects can be mitigated by acknowledging the myriad emotions we experience through being a part of another human’s life when the outcome is not what we  hoped it would be. Sometimes the work still results in a world of hurt. And when we’re hurting, it’s not only ok to give ourselves some TLC, it’s necessary because we can’t help others heal if we won’t do it for ourselves.

So if you’re anything like me and are at work on purpose to serve others –– on the home front or in the workplace –– and sometimes feel your world is spinning out of control,  I hope you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic, keep calm and practice self-care.

Be savvy & chic,

Pink Collar Coach

 

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Putting In Time at Put-In-Bay

Putting In Time at Put-In-Bay

It’s Day 378 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and my hubby surprised me with a road trip, so we’re putting in time at Put-In-Bay. After he told me about it yesterday following our breakfast with family, I packed my bags last night and jumped up early this morning to take care of some business before we headed out. We only stopped once to grab a bite and then I caught up on my sleep so I’d have stamina to enjoy the experience once we arrived. When he woke me up, we were at the marina. Lake Erie stretched as far as my eyes could see, filled with all kinds of boats, but it was the huge ferry pulling in to transport us from Port Clinton over to the island that made me smile. I’d never ridden one and was astonished that it carried not only passengers but vehicles, including a camper, across the water. The ride took about 20 minutes, then we disembarked to climb a steep incline while lugging our bags. Originally we’d planned to walk to the quaint B&B Greg had booked, but he quickly hailed a cab instead. We checked in and got settled in our room and spent the rest of the day walking the island with its gorgeous water views, attractions and far more golf carts and bikes zipping around than cars. Touring the monument to Colonel Perry from the War of 1812 was awesome because my history buff hubby told me all the details before we ever read them on the plaques. We dining on mussels, summer salad, Lake Erie Cookie Monster ice cream for me and Coffee ice-cream for my non-coffee drinking hubby and watched a stunning sunset over the water before heading back to our digs. It’s been a glorious day putting in some time in Put-In-Bay.

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Me, Pink Collar Coach on the Miller Ferry approaching Put-In-Bay. Lilac cold should top, khaki shorts, pink/lilac thong sandals, and a floral handbag that picks up the lilac. All purchased over last summer except for the handbag this spring. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose entrepreneur who began focusing on operating my own business full-time last summer, this is the first time in over a decade I’ve been able to pick up and  travel spontaneously.  And if you’re anything like me, you understand the value of taking time to rest, relax, rejuvenate and reconnect  –– with your significant other –– and even your Creator. It restores the soul. When that happens, we return a better wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, employee… For me, I’ll also incorporate what I’ve gleaned from this special time into my life coaching, writing, and speaking. That makes the short vacay well spent – putting it in at Put-In-Bay.

Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about taking time to rest, relax and rejuvenate? Even if you can’t get away for an extended period, how about a brief road trip? You don’t have to travel far to reap far reaching benefits…

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

 

 

Serene in Shades of Blue

Serene in Shades of Blue

It’s Day 242 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I spent my Saturday feeling serene in shades of blue. Following an intense morning of exercise where I opened Zumba class and then taught one in the middle, I put a Christmas gift card from my sweet hubby to use and did lunch and lots of catching up with a sweet soul sister. Being together is like applying a healing balm for any wounds our personal and/or professional worlds have inflicted. Time with other Pink Collar Swans is special, so I always pack something pretty to wear after working out. This week, the long, langourous lunch, and shades of blue left me feeling so serene.

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Shades of Blue – Side bow tied sweater, stretch dark wash jeans, subtle blue shoes, a perforatded handbag, and sunglasses in the same shade have a soothing effect on me. All Calvin Klein from TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I’m a Maxxinista; my friend is Fashionista, so she appreciated all the blue.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Maxxinista, I’ve always viewed clothing as a form of self-expression. I use it to enhance my moods or to embrace them. Today, because I got to wake up and do something I absolutely adore, in a setting with supportive women, and then got to spend the afternoon sharing life’s ups and downs with someone who’s consistently there for the highs and lows, I wanted to do both. Life isn’t perfect by any stretch, but I’m so incredibly blessed and thankful that I feel such  serenity and peace in my heart. I can’t imagine being a hater who has to live between their own ears. It’s infinitely better to know though I’m not perfect, I’m perfectly accepted and loved by my heavenly Father and can spend my Saturday serene in shades of blue.

How about you? Are you at peace between your ears? If you could assign a color to your feelings today, what would it be? What Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose steps can you take to bring more shades into your personal and professional life? Finding your fitness fit? Owning your sense of style? Time with a friend? Nurturing your faith?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

Loving Yourself Enough to Set Limits

Loving Yourself Enough to Set Limits

It’s Day 233 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve been reminded how important it is to love yourself enough to set limits. I’ve had at least three interactions around this concept this week and have to believe God is trying to remind me of something I’m prone to forget. Growing up in an extremely dysfunctional home, I didn’t know boundaries existed. When I learned that they did, and that I actually had a right to have them, I was in my mid-thirties. By then, I’d gravitated to more than one boundary buster because as bad as their behavior was, our co-dependent dances were familiar. Years of busted boundaries and broken relationships later, I’ve finally learned to love myself enough to set limits. Perhaps you need a reminder to love yourself enough to set them too.

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THIS COULD BE A TSHIRT: LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO SET LIMITS!

The three areas where I’ve been reminded of setting limits this week are the following:

With Children (Toddlers to teens and everything in between). Call me old fashioned but in our society where we all want to be BFFs and buds with our children, I believe clear boundaries about parental authority and respect still need to be in place. And just in case that sounds antiquated, with a degree in education and nearly two decades of experience working with children, they actually want the adults to set limits, otherwise their world has no safety parameters and can become frightening, unpredictable and unstable.

With Significant Others and Spouses (Past, present, and future). If exes and wasbands (was + husband) cross the line, re-establishing it promptly prevents them from reverting to old behaviors. Each situation differs, but usually, you’re not with them for a reason. If you haven’t made the leap, what he’s doing to woo you, should continue to keep you. If he’s put a ring on it, adhering to the Biblical admonition to submit to our husbands and for them to love us to the point of laying down their lives makes for a heavenly union.

With Relationships (Family, friends, personal and professional). Because we’re only human, all of us are irregular to some extent or other. Character foibles and idiosyncrasies are one thing and should be handled with grace when possible. Abusive, boundary busting, emotional vampires, and toxic people on the other hand require limit setting. For your own well-being, creating distance, limiting time spent, or walking away altogether, are difficult but caring steps. It prevents you enabling and may cause the individual to take a look at the behaviors that pushed you away. Depending on the type of relationship, assistance or support may be needed to establish appropriate limits.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose life coach, I don’t coach on anything I haven’t experienced, so I’ve set limits in all of these areas. Most often, creating healthy boundaries, guarding my psychological safety and protecting my time, are means of preserving relationships – a worthy end. And when I have to walk away from someone – for a while or forever – it’s with the assurance that I’ve done all that I could to love them. That relationship may have ended, but I continue to love myself enough to set limits.

How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about loving yourself enough to set limits? On the home-front? In the workplace? Have you ever had to walk away from someone in order to love or be true to yourself?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar  Coach

 

Wait! What? I Don’t Have Diverticulitis?! – How a Misdiagnosis Made A Mess & How to Advocate for Your Medical Health

Wait! What? I Don’t Have Diverticulitis?! – How a Misdiagnosis Made A Mess & How to Advocate for Your Medical Health

It’s Day 169 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve missed five consecutive days of blogging, which is only one way being misdiagnosed with diverticulitis has made a mess. Hopefully my experience will help you to advocate for your medical health. Last Tuesday, my family doctor squeezed me in for a sick appointment. Following a quick conversation about my symptoms and an examination she made the diagnosis, prescribed two antibiotics and instructed that I was to call if I didn’t improve by Thursday so I could be sent for a CAT scan. When I didn’t and followed her directive, I was told she was on vacation and got referred to the ER. Reluctant to go there, instead I finished the meds, expecting to improve. After a week I was worse. I called back and advocated for myself by insisting on the CT scan. It’s a painful process! Upon hearing the results, my response sounded like my teenage daughter: Wait! What? I don’t have diverticulitis?!

Suprised beautiful African American Woman

That’s the good news. I don’t have to add this as another D after all! The bad news is they still don’t know what I have. Rather than return to my primary care physician or go the ER route, I went to Urgent Care. At the conclusion of a thorough exam, the doc requested tests and I’m now waiting on those results. The difference is, thankfully, I’m waiting more comfortably. With some new medications, I’m experiencing the first break from pain, etc. I’ve had in weeks! How I wish I’d gone there first! Being down with what I thought was diverticulitis has caused me to miss a really important meeting, to miss two solid weeks of Zumba and to postpone my own class kicking off, to not get any work done on my debut novel’s deadline, and to have to reschedule an interior coaching session that my client and I had been looking forward to. The misdiagnosis has caused such a mess!

Here are some of the questions I would ask if I had a sick appointment do-over.

Savvy & Chic Sick Visit Questions

  1. How is this condition diagnosed other than hearing my symptoms and examining me? Is the diagnosis conclusive?
  2. What tests are used to diagnose conclusively?
  3. Am I contagious and for how long?
  4. What is the purpose of the prescribed medications?
  5. What medications can be prescribed in addition to antibiotics for pain management?
  6. What side effects should I expect from the medications?
  7. What are next steps if medications aren’t effective?
  8. What is the recommended diet for this diagnosis? What dietary restrictions?
  9. What information can you provide on this diagnosis?
  10. If you are unavailable, to whom can I direct concerns or questions?

I hope these questions help and don’t feel patronizing. I knew to ask them, but in my distressed state didn’t. Boy, did I pay the price for my oversight! I did remember to ask for a doctor’s note for documentation since I had to miss that meeting…I believe this is best practice, even if you don’t feel you need it.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who believes everything I experience is meant to coach, encourage or inspire other women facing Pink Collar Challenges, I’m sharing all of this as a reminder that we need to advocate for our own health care and for that of those for whom we are caregivers. When we do so, we can potentially avoid a misdiagnosis mess!

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

 

Adding a Diverticulitis Diagnosis to the Ds

Adding a Diverticulitis Diagnosis to the Ds

It’s Day 162 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m adding a diverticulitis diagnosis to my Ds. Some of you regular readers know I haven’t been feeling well for a few weeks. Yesterday and last night were so bad I finally broke down and went to the doctor today. Many of you also know that the Ds refers to the various barriers we Pink Collar women face like diagnosis, depression, dysfunctional relationships, discrimination, divorce, death, etc., etc. So when my doctor examined me and diagnosed me with diverticulitis, or infection in the intestines that can develop  as we near our fifties, I laughed to myself and thought, Another D!

As much as I didn’t like this diagnosis, I’m relieved that it’s something that’s easily treated with antibiotics. While I waited on the two she prescribed, I grabbed a green tea chai latte. Apparently, I looked a little green too because the barista handed me my cup with the below message scribbled on it. The soothing tea and the smiley face with no nose made my day…Some of you may  be thinking, why is she sharing all of this? TMI! Well, as much as I want to encourage women, I also want to be transparent enough that women who are dealing with diagnosis and other Ds know you are not alone.

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As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who has so many things going on, it’s frustrating to have yet another D cause me to miss things like an important meeting today, Zumba yesterday and today when I’m supposed to be preparing to teach my first full class at the Y this weekend, and working on revisions to meet my debut novel book deadline. Still, I’m thankful that I’ve learned to listen to my body and take a break when I need it, even when it means letting some other things go undone for a while. I’m also thankful for my Pink Collar Savvy & Chic barista who took a moment to wish me well. And I’m especially thankful for my Pink Collar Savvy & Chic doctor who made time in her busy schedule for a sick visit to diagnose me. Even though it added another D to the list!

How about you? Are you dealing with any diagnoses that have you down? Yet another D? If so, listen to your body and practice good self care. I pray you encounter small acts of kindness that heal your body and spirit.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

There’s No Place Like Home After a Whole Day Assertiveness Workshop/Work Week

There’s No Place Like Home After a Whole Day Assertiveness Workshop/Work Week

“Mama tired,” is what I told one of our Sole Supporters as I sank into a chair following the massive pack up of our workshop at its conclusion. I coined the term for our High Heeled Success workshop helpers, and boy were we thankful for them yesterday! The night before, when we didn’t have any because one of the most faithful recently moved and others couldn’t make it, it took my partner in crime and me four hours to set up. Combine that with the fact that the actual workshop day started at 6:15am so we could arrive at 8am, start promptly at 9am, and then go non-stop until 4pm. The hour lunch break doesn’t count as we have to get ready for the afternoon segment. When the workshop ended, the networking began. Debrief and thankfully dinner concluded the day. All that not to complain, but to explain why I’m tuckered out. In fact, I haven’t ventured beyond my back deck today because for me, there truly is no place like home after a whole day workshop. Or a work week for that matter.

I’ve been a Joel Osteen fan for years but am still always amazed by how God uses him to speak directly to me every time I watch. His message this morning was on weariness and how we need to practice good self care when we’ve worked hard. Prior to setting up for the workshop Friday, I attended an early networking event with H7 Evolve, met with my book coach, and updated my business materials to reflect The Swan Experience (updates on that in another blog) so I could distribute during the workshop.

Years ago, when I first consulted Kay Fittes, High Heeled Success’ CEO, about operating my business full-time, I explained how I thought that would give me more work life balance. She warned me that to the contrary, if entrepreneurs are not careful, we can work all of the time. Now I understand her caution! But it’s not just business owners who have to be intentional about making time to be at home when much of our lives have us out and about. Even those who work from home or are full-time home makers may find ourselves flying all over the place so much that home is just a landing pad.

That’s why today, other than making a quick run for coffee supplies, because home just isn’t home without coffee, I’m laying low right here. Rather than a landing pad, I’m using it as a power docking station. It’s officially fall, so I’m enjoying the velvet pumpkins I’ve sprinkled throughout my rooms. Later I may read, watch a movie, or even re-watch Season I of “Victoria”. Regardless of what I do, it will serve the purpose of recharging my batteries so I can go out and live my purpose coaching, encouraging and inspiring women, all to His glory.

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White Shabby Chic inspired velvet pumpkins are my take on autumn decor.                                     The purple one was a DIY project featured in a previous post. 
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Pretty pink Shabby Chic inspired velvet pumpkin.                                                                                    Sign hanging above the door visible through pass-through is so true for me and my hubby too.                                           

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick, home really is my happy place. That’s why I take pictures of it and share about it with you readers. I hope something you see or read here on the blog causes you to truly make home your happy place too. After all, we spend so much time working, whether that’s on the home front or in the workplace, and whether we’ve spent a weekend presenting a workshop or doing other work related things, that most of us can relate to what Dorthy longed for as she clicked her heels and repeated, “There’s no place like home”.

How intentional are you about taking time to be at home? About making it your happy place?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach