MotivationI’ve been staring at a blank page for over a month trying to write about finding your motivation. The irony is that my motivation took a dive after researching how people stay motivated for my Simplicity & Joy Course. What I found really shook me up. It turns out that motivation is really about self care. Now that I’m a mom I don’t feel like I have time for much in the way of self care, and moms need it the most. What I found out, and what I realized, is that to create a joyful life we must care for ourselves first.

My plan for the workshop was to have a list of all the things people can do to stay motivated to complete their home tidying project. My initial list included practical actions such as: create deadlines; use a checklisthelp others; remember why you started; schedule swaps/yard sales or donation pick ups, etc. After completing it, I had the sense that something was missing. There was some key element, some catalyst that was not there. So I decided to dig a little deeper.  I came across a list that, as it’s final entry, had a phrase that struck me: practice extreme self care.

This phrase really made me think.  I started to notice how rarely my cup is full enough to give as much as I do. So I decided to act: instead of writing about motivation, I focused on taking care of myself.

For example, I’m finally going to cash in the gift card for a facial that my husband got for me for Mother’s Day.  Up until now, I’ve felt too busy to use it.  But no more- I’m going to take care of myself, too.

The things we do to take care of ourselves don’t need to be extravagant.  They can be small and simple.  The other day I was preparing food for my daughter’s summer camp lunch. While I carefully sliced the apples and put cinnamon on them I thought: “how lovely it would be to be so well cared for.” So instead of just taking the other half of the apple to work with me unsliced and not cinnamon adorned, I cut it up for myself and added the sprinkles of cinnamon. Such a small gesture of self care felt lovely.

But even these things are not enough.  Self care, at it’s core, is about healing our hearts. And to do this, I’m going to the local Hand in Hand parenting support group.  At this group parents take turns completely listening to each other talk about the joy, hardships and heartaches we are facing.  It is not easy to do – we deeply feel and express our emotions – but it is powerful medicine. I come home to my family more capable of being the mother and wife that I want to be- calmer, kinder, patient and a little more playful. The group meets weekly and if I miss a gathering I really miss it!

So with this in mind, I decided to create a new list.  This list is designed to build the foundation of your motivation.  It will serve not only to get you going, but to sustain you – to keep you motivated to reach your highest potential.

Self Care for Motivation

Sleep – I know it’s hard, especially with young ones, but when you have enough sleep you have energy and can function. Your overall health depends on having enough sleep. Everything in life is better when you feel rested.  Do whatever it takes to get enough rest.

Meditation supports a sense of well-being in many ways. It can help you to let go of negative emotions and positively transform your dysfunctional thinking- making space for a joyful mind!  Find a meditation style that you are comfortable with and meditate daily.

Nature – Take time to get outside and into nature. The fresh air, the green and blue, and the pure beauty of the earth helps put things into perspective.

Connection with others makes life meaningful. The more connected you feel, the happier you are. Meet a friend for tea or make that phone call you’ve been meaning to make. Reach out to your people and feel the love.

Support –  Knowing you are not alone, that you are loved gives you strength to move through the joys and heartaches of life.  Find a support group online or in person. Notice the people who lift your spirits and hang out with them more.

Emotional release heals your heart. So you can heal the world. Find what moves you- a tear jerker movie (Steel Magnolias always gets me), a therapist, a support group. Let the tears flow.

Play helps you lighten up and be in the moment- to let go in the best way possible. There are a million ways to play. Dancing is one of my favorites- I’ve been loving the Michael Franti station on Pandora lately- great positive vibes!

When my husband wants to go mountain biking or mushroom hunting, I do whatever I can to make it happen because I know when he has taken care of himself he is way more awesome to hang out with-he is happier and healthier, and that affects everyone around him. I can see that clearly with him and I feel it for myself, but am still working on letting go of my own blocks around taking time for myself. Note to self: Stop feeling guilty for making time for you. It helps to know that my daughter is watching and learning from my actions.  I’d like for her to see me taking care of myself (and being way more awesome to hang out with, too)- so she’ll know how it’s done.