Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Happy Holidays!

 image    Hi, Well-Beings!

I hope every one of you is doing well. After toying with the idea for the past month, I have decided to take a break from blogging through the end of the year, starting today. I will still be posting my daily November Gratitude Photo Challenge pictures on Facebook and Instagram, but starting December 1st, I will be taking a sabbatical from my social media platforms, as well. I have some personal and creative projects that I want to complete before 2016 comes to a close, and I also want to take some time to rest and reflect as I look ahead to 2017. I hope that this holiday season finds you healthy and happy. I also hope that if you find you need a rest, that you give yourself that gift.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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The Importance of Doing Nothing: Why Rest is Really Necessary

image   Hey There, Well-Beings!

It’s been a rough week. I had an enormous  pile of work on my desk and lots of last minute “Hey, can you do this” side projects that had right-now deadlines. The pressure was in-tense. I also had life stuff to handle at home that was pretty pressing, and a whole lot of little things to do, too. Gotta drop off rent before the office closes, gotta go get that missing ingredient for my tutorial, gotta cancel that account before the charges roll over. There were a lot of gottas, and not a lot of wannas and it caught up with me hard. In fact, I finally let myself take a two-and-a-half-hour nap yesterday and I conked out so hard, I straight up drooled on the pillow. Gross? Sure, but also an indication that I needed to rest, so I took the weekend off. In fact, I’m resting right now. Allow me to explain…

I had a plan for blog topics that I made sometime after the first of the year. It was carefully designed calendar and organized AF. I’m still incredibly proud of the work that went into it. It didn’t account for life much, though. Those times we miss personal deadlines because the fridge breaks, or we spend the whole night on the phone with customer service, or our sweet animal companion has an upset tummy and needs to go outside a lot. The pressure we put on ourselves to make something of our side hustle, or in trying to turn it into our main hustle, on top of the pressure we may get from life and from our day jobs will reach an end point eventually. I’m not even talking about the point where something cleanly resolves itself and can be checked off of the To Do as an I Did. I’m talking about the point where you simply cannot press forward for one second longer because you’ve let yourself run on copious amounts of coffee, Kind Bars, and cosmic bargaining and your body and your brain both say “Nope. We did your stuff all week and we’ve decided we want to take a nap.”

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I listened. I listened mostly because my eyelids were closing on their own and there was already a terrier snoozing peacefully beside me. I listened because the continued pressure I was placing on myself to make headway on my ongoing decluttering project and get writing done for the week was self-inflicted and the world wasn’t going to stop spinning on its axis if I deviated from the plan to take a little two-day sabbatical. My dreams are important, and so are yours. You will have to press forward sometimes when you’d rather watch Friends re-runs in your bathrobe, but there are also times when that stressful week you just got through truly warrants a siesta, and when those times come around, take the nap, or the bath, or the hike, or whatever recharges you best. You cannot get where you’re going without getting your battery power back up to full strength. Your publication calendar, or whatever your goal list looks like, will still be there when you come back bright eyed and better and you will be better for it.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Gratitude Review: October

gratitude-review_     Sheesh, is it really the end of October, already? This is easily one of my favorite months, and it seems like it only started last week. Thank goodness there’s still Halloween, right? While I love the magic of Christmas and the warm fuzzies of Thanksgiving, Halloween has always been my favorite. Dress-up was a thing I never outgrew, and when I became a make-up artist in my twenties, my love only grew deeper. In fact, my brushes are calling. Once I get this posted, I may just spend the rest of the day playing and planning next year’s costume. I don’t take enough time to do this, so I’m being thankful in advance.

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It sounds a little phoned in, but this month I’ve also been thankful for thankfulness, or at least the opportunity to feel thankfulness for the great things in my life. Tuesday is the start of my November Gratitude Photo Challenge, and I’m looking so forward to it.  So much of this year has been challenging, painful, and tense.  If ever there was a time where I need to stop dwelling on the negative and experience gratitude in my life, to take stock in all of the things around me that fill me with joy, peace, and love, that time is now. I really don’t think it’s too late to end this year on a positive note and that’s exactly what I hope to accomplish in doing this. I hope you’ll join me. Gratitude is always better when it’s shared.

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I’m still making good on my promise to make time for creative pursuits each Friday with #CreativeFriday, and it’s starting to seep over into the other days of the week as well. It’s been so great to come home from the stress of work and get my hands on my paintbrushes or plan out and get going on a new jewelry design for a few hours before heading to bed. I end the day feeling like the frustration has totally left me and like I’ve really accomplished something that I can be proud of. I share photos of my projects on my Instagram, and on my personal Facebook page and it’s really been great to see positive feedback from friends and followers, too. The best benefit has been follow-through. Because I’m holding myself accountable to get something out each week, I’m not leaving half-finished projects in a corner where they are collecting dust. I’m actually seeing them through to completion and have been able to wear, display, and use my work as a great bonus for not abandoning the process before it gets done. I mean, who isn’t grateful for unique pieces they made themselves?

How has October been going for you? Do you have a killer Halloween costume that you want to show us? Did you get any great photos of the leaves changing that you need to share with the world? What Fall recipes are your favorites right now? I want to celebrate all of the things that made you thankful this month! Leave your comments and photos below and let’s keep the happiness happening!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

 

November Gratitude Photo Challenge 2016


november     Since I had such a great response last year, and I had so much fun participating, I’ve decided to host another November Gratitude Photo Challenge this year! For those of you who are new to the blog or maybe didn’t participate last year, it’s a very simple concept, and even easier to play along. I’m planning to snap a photo of one thing that puts a smile on my face, gives me the warm fuzzies, or stirs up a general sense of gratitude and then write a small paragraph explaining why I’m thankful for it each day in November.  If you did play along last year, I’m making one minor tweak. No more themes! While it was fun seeking creative shots to fit the daily assignment, I think creativity works best without restriction, so this year anything goes! This is a 30 day commitment to creating a habit of thankfulness, but let’s be real. We’re on our phones posting things to social media and Instagram all day anyway, right? What if by the end we walked away with an awesome experience that made us happier, less anxious, helped us be more in the moment and provided us with all of the other wonderful things that gratitude can do? It would be totally worth taking an extra 10 minutes each day to take care of ourselves and have a collection of cool photographs to show for it, right?

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You don’t have to be thankful for only the big things like a new car, or a promotion at work. You can also be thankful for the little stuff, like a good hair day, or making it to your destination with all green lights. I’d venture to say that there are no small things when it comes to gratitude, especially because my experience with this last year put me in a place where each day built on the last and by the end, I felt like I was walking around with a sense of wonder about the world and how many beautiful things happen around me each day that I hadn’t slowed down enough in the past to notice. I think with all of the divisiveness that’s gone on this year, I could stand to feel that way again. If you want to join me, I’ll be sharing my photos on Instagram (I’m tejomayawellness), and using the hashtags #TejomayaThankfulness and #NovemberGratitudePhotoChallenge. If we haven’t connected there, shoot me a request and I’ll follow you back! I’ll also be sharing my photos on my like page on Facebook and on my personal page if you want to join me there, instead. I promise it won’t just be photos of my dog! (Though, at least one of them totally will be.)

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Get those cameras ready! We start Tuesday, November 1st. I can’t wait to see what all of you are thankful for! Check in with me after the challenge is over on December 1st and let me know what the experience was like for you. I’m already anticipating busted-ruts, bursts of creativity, and tons of joyful moments!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

Tutorial: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

diy     I love coffee, but something changed over the past couple of years that makes it hard for me to drink at times. Depending on the acidity of the brew, I just can’t stomach it. I was discussing it with a friend of mine and she recommended getting a french press because it might cut down on some of the acid. I’d been meaning to invest in one so I could make loose leaf tea in larger quantities, so for Christmas last year, my generous fella bought me one for a gift. It did seem to help some, but I was still having some acid upset, so coffee and I went on a break for almost a year. Cue the sad orchestral music.

Then some time this year, I got brave again and ventured back into the world of coffee via cold brew concentrates after remembering that the coffee at my mom’s house never bothered my stomach and there was no turning back. The taste seemed cleaner, and I was able to put a few tablespoons in a mug of heated water and still have hot coffee. My mom has a nifty system called a Toddy that she uses to make her concentrate, so I began pricing one of my own. During my research, I discovered that several people were making theirs without any special equipment other than their french presses, so I attempted my first batch and was really pleased with the results.

Here’s how I made it:

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I measured out one cup of coffee beans, ground them on a coarse setting, and put them in the bottom of my french press. If you don’t have a coffee grinder at home, you can ask your barista or grocery store to do this for you when you select the bean or blend you want to use.

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I measured out 3 cups of cold, filtered water and poured it into the press, then put the lid on with the plunger drawn.

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Then, I put the whole thing in the fridge and went to bed. Set it and forget it!

In the morning, after about 10-12 hours of chilling, I pushed the plunger down and slowly poured the contents into an empty mason jar. Sometimes there’s a little extra left in the press, so I use it right away and put the lid on the rest and store it in the fridge.

Easy peasy, french press squeezy!

You can play around with the grounds to water ratio or leave the concentrate to sit for a fill 24 hours if you wish, but I’ve always preferred my coffee a little on the weak side and this really works for me. Most of the time I just heat some water in my mug and add around 3-5 tablespoons until the color looks right to my eye, but I’ve also added it to my smoothies and used it with a couple of drops of flavored stevia drops, some coconut or almond milk and plenty of ice cubes for a healthy take on iced coffee. C’est si bon!

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I want to hear from you! Have you ever made your own cold brew coffee? Did you try this recipe and use it to make something delicious that you want to share? Leave a comment below!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Announcement Time: I’m an All Star Health Affiliate!

img_9787     I got some pretty cool news this week and I’m excited to share it with you! I’ve been getting my multivitamin and other supplements from All Star Health for the past couple of years because they have the best prices on so many of the things I love and use. Hey, gal on a budget here! Gotta save that cash for school and art supplies! So, I did a little exploring while I placed my last order and noticed they had an affiliate program, and after I did a little happy dance, I signed up! I’ve been so pleased with everything I’ve ordered from them, and now I get to pass along exclusive discount codes from time to time and share great deals with you here on my page and on social media! It’s a truly fantastic opportunity for me as well, because any time you use a link or click on one of the nifty banner ads in the sidebar on the right to place an order with All Star Health, I earn a small thank-you commission that allows me to keep the blog going. For something I enjoy passing along to everyone I talk supplements with, it’s a something I’m really grateful for.

They don’t just have supplements for people. I order a pet omega for Harrison from Nordic Naturals that makes breakfast time pretty joyful around here. He hears me take a capsule out of the bottle and comes running into the room to wait while I put them on his food. I swear this dog smiles when he knows he’s getting his fish oil! They also offer sports and exercise equipment like yoga mats and balance balls, healthy snacks and kitchen staples, and natural beauty and body care.  All orders get a flat $5.95 shipping, they will price match online competitors, and have lots of items on special and clearance that are worth taking the time to browse through. Here’s a great example: I found a box of 16 of my favorite flavor of Larabars for $12.40! I can’t get them anywhere in town for under a $1 a pop, and this deal makes them only $0.78 each. That’s the sort of thing a girl tells her friends about.

Check out my affiliate link to explore the site and let me know if I can offer any product recommendations. One of the things I’m most grateful for in the past 5 years is all of the great knowledge I’ve been able to accumulate when it comes to supplements  and cleaning up my beauty routine and I love helping people find a match that will help them accomplish their goals. Happy shopping and even better health!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

Gratitude Review: September

rainbow-leaves     I love Fall, so I’m not about to pass up an opportunity to feel thankful for the cooler weather and changing leaves, but this month has been challenging. This was the month I lost my grandmother and the anniversary always comes with its share of bittersweetness, but I also learned Tuesday that one of my publishers for the magazine I write for had crossed over, as well. She and her partner and co-publisher gave me such a generous gift. Aside from making me a Contributing Editor of Health and Wellness, a title I wear with joy and with pride, they also gave me the opportunity to have my words read by so many and be a part of a beautiful community of kind, creative, wonderful people whom I get to call my Inner Child Magazine family. In that way, I do have so much to feel thankful for, and even though my heart is sad to have to say goodbye, I think we owe it to the people who show us love in this lifetime to be happy and grateful whenever possible. With that, I give you my September Gratitude Review…

This is not my car, of course, I'm just a little obsessed with old BMW 2002s at the moment.

This is not my car, of course, I’m just a little obsessed with old BMW 2002s at the moment.

For the second time in my driving life, I needed to call AAA. It sounds like a weird thing to be grateful for, but it was a positive experience from the moment I placed the phone call until the service driver left. I admit, when it comes to cars, I’m a little out of my depth, so it was a comfort to have kind, knowledgeable folks come to my assistance without losing a full day’s pay searching for a part in my price range and paying to tow my car to a mechanic.

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Things at work changed in a BIG way. The changes have really lightened the mood in the office and the new energy in there has made it so much easier to go home and get back into a productive routine. I’m getting a lot more writing done, I’m working ahead on design projects through the end of the year and I’m working my way through my massive organization undertaking with a little more speed. There’s been another awesome side effect, but I’ll save that for my next little dose of gratitude, because it really deserves a mention of its own.

I bought my first set of watercolors!!!

I bought my first set of watercolors!!!

I started creating again, tenaciously. I’ve had some pretty great bursts of creativity here and there throughout the year, but after a friend reminded me to schedule time for creative pursuits, I’m no longer sitting around waiting for creativity to find me. Now I’m actively looking for inspiration and then doing something about it on a weekly basis. I’ve made jewelry, I’ve broken out the coloring books, and I’m watching watercolor tutorials and am dreaming up my next project. It’s not only changing the frequency with which I create, but it’s making the time I spend between projects so much more joyful and deliberate. Instead or just saving pins to a Pinterest board and muttering the word “someday”, I know what supplies I need to make it happen and what changes I want to make to the project to make it uniquely my own. As I’m doing this, I’m also finding notebooks with designs I’d sketched or notes I’d taken on projects I wanted to start and they are starting to take shape. It’s pretty exciting, considering how long some of them have been sitting there waiting for me. If you’re following Tejomaya Wellness on Instagram, I’ve started using the hashtag #CreativeFriday to keep myself accountable and to ditch the fear of putting my work out there. If we’re not following each other yet, you can find me here: https://www.instagram.com/tejomayawellness

How has September been treating you? Do you have any good news to share or any finished projects you want to show off? Leave a comment below so we can celebrate right along with you!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

Tutorial: Easy Argan Oil Facial Serum

img_0223     When I ran out of the expensive argan oil facial serum I’d been using, I looked over the ingredients and felt a little foolish. It was literally only organic argan oil and essential oils. Why in the heck wasn’t I just making this myself? Once I’d picked out everything I needed to get started, I realized that not only was it waaaaay more cost effective (I was getting only 1 measly oz for the same price as the 4 oz organic bottle I get from Mountain Rose Herbs), but I was also able to control the essential oil blend that went into it and target it to my skin’s specific needs. Everything was coming up wins, so I made my order and waited as patiently as I could for my big bottle of goodness to get here.

If you’re not using argan oil for your skin or hair yet, allow me to sing its praises. It’s full of essential fatty acids (EFAs) and is also packing some serious Vitamin E. It absorbs easily, is lightweight and non-greasy, and is so moisturizing. 30’s skin, or at least my 30’s skin, can be pretty dang frustrating. I’m both oily and dry, breaking out and starting to see lines.  Argan oil keeps my hormonal acne at bay and since I started using it regularly, I’m seeing a softening of my crow’s feet and the fine lines on my forehead. It’s also helping keep my hair healthy and shiny. Each night, I smooth whatever I have left on my hands after my facial application through the ends of my hair and let it work its nourishing magic while I sleep. Seriously, when I’m consistent, I feel like I shimmer a little. It’s fabulous stuff!

Ready to make your own Easy Argan Oil Facial Serum? Here’s what you need to get started:

Easy Argan Oil Facial Serum

  • 2 oz dark glass bottle with dropper top
  • Funnel
  • 8 TBS argan oil
  • Essential oils of your choice

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 I’m kicking myself a little for not doing this sooner. This could not have possibly been easier to make.  I think it took me two minutes total, which was just fantastic. All you need is to measure out your oil and fill the empty bottle with it. I used a funnel just to make sure I didn’t spill any, because argan oil is miracle stuff.  I even put what was left behind in the funnel and measuring spoon on my neck and face so I wouldn’t waste any. I’m not even a little ashamed.

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After I got the argan in the bottle, I added my essential oils. Less is always more when it comes to aromatherapy recipes. Essential oils are already super potent, but you can totally ruin a blend or DIY project by being heavy handed, so start with one drop at a time until it smells right to your nose. If you’re going to blend, I’d also check out the potential combo with a dry run on a tissue or cotton ball first. Some oils just don’t play well together and if you’re wearing this on your face, you’ll want it to be pleasant. For my personally targeted serum, I chose patchouli and bergamot and used 4 drops of each. I selected this combination because they are both good for acne and oily skin and I love the scent of both. When I put it on after washing my face later that night, I couldn’t stop smelling my hands. It’s not knock-you-over patchouli, either. Just faintly herbal with a light hint of citrus.

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Once that was done, I screwed the top back on, shook my serum and that was that. Easy peasy, serum squeezy. I used it last night after I washed my face and woke up to an absolutely glowing complexion. I’m hooked. I’ll only ever make my own serums from now on!

If you want to try this recipe, but your skin isn’t oily and acne prone like mine, or you just don’t dig the combination of patchouli and bergamot, here are a few suggestions that may work for your skin type:

  • Oily Skin – Geranium, Lemon, Orange, Cypress, Lime, Bergamot
  • Acne Prone Skin – Tea Tree, Patchouli, Geranium, Lavender, Clary Sage, Lemon
  • Dry Skin – Cedarwood, Rose, Geranium, Sandalwood, Myrrh, both varieties of Chamomile
  • Sensitive Skin – both varieties of Chamomile, Lavender, Geranium, Neroli

You’ll see a lot of crossover, where one oil is good for multiple skin types that seem a little contradictory, but in my nearly 20 years of experience with essential oils I’ve learned that plants have a special intelligence and know how to heal and balance when used in the right combination. That’s why one person can have success with Geranium as an acne remedy and another can use it to soothe sensitivity. It’s mostly a matter of letting your nose tell you what you need and using smart safety precautions along the way. Speaking of safety precautions, be especially careful if you are using citrus oils in anything that goes on exposed skin if you are going out into the sun. These oils are photosensitive, and can intensify the sun’s rays. It’s best to stick to an evening only application if you’re going to be using them in your facial serum.

I want to hear from you! If you make your own skincare serums or products, if you have a great blend of essential oils for skin or hair, or if you decide to try my DIY, tell us all about it in the comments below! I hope this tutorial adds value to your skincare routine and makes you feel absolutely gorgeous!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

P.S. If you want to use the same great products I used to make my serum, here’s my affiliate link to shop the Mountain Rose Herbs website for your ingredients. I do get a small thank you from the company if you use it, but it helps me keep the blog going and order ingredients for the next Tejomaya Wellness tutorial.

Spice Up Your Life: Common Kitchen Staples to Help You Be Healthier

fall     Hey there, Well-Beings!  I wrote an article for this month’s issue of Inner Child Magazine that’s all about how to include delicious fall spices in your meals for better health and wanted to share it with you. As the weather cools off, I hope you can have some fun incorporating them into your recipes and that they find you feeling fantastic!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

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With autumn just around the corner, there are so many great cool weather foods to look forward to. This often means getting to use warming spices that add flavor and depth to our dishes. These spices aren’t just tasty; they may be beneficial to our health, too. Here are three worthy of experimenting with the next time you feel like being creative in the kitchen.

turmeric

Turmeric – You know that elated feeling you get after a good meal at an Indian restaurant? There’s a pretty cool reason for it, and it’s caused by turmeric. Common in curry recipes, turmeric is rich in curcumin, which has been shown to be helpful for depression. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, making it excellent for joint pain and arthritis. It’s also helpful for reducing redness and acne when used topically. It’s bright yellow color can cling to fabrics and surfaces though, so make sure you’re not wearing or washing with anything that you can’t bleach. If eating it or applying it to the skin isn’t for you, turmeric is a great addition to fresh juices, and it blends well with other fruits and vegetables so you can mask the flavor, but still reap the benefits.

ginger

Ginger – There’s a reason we drink ginger ale when we have the flu. It’s because ginger is a gem for fighting nausea. It does this by causing the muscles in the GI tract to relax. Not feeling queasy? Ginger, like turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Take it for pain and muscle aches and feel better in no time. Ginger is great when brewed like tea. Add slices of lemon for a warming drink to calm indigestion soothe long inflammation or ease menstrual cramps.

cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon – This sweet spice isn’t just a common addition to sweet treats, it packs an antioxidant punch, too. That’s because it’s loaded with polyphenols, which makes it better than garlic and oregano for fighting free radicals. It also may help with weight loss and insulin sensitivity. Studies show that helping to regulate spikes in blood sugar; cinnamon could keep some sugars from being stored as fat. Sprinkle it on sweet potatoes, oatmeal or add it to warm beverages for a boost. Just make sure you’re looking for Ceylon cinnamon, or true cinnamon, for the best benefit.

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With anything, it makes good sense to practice precautions when changing your diet. Adding too much of anything to a dish is a surefire way to ruin it, and the same holds true when using spices as supplements. Less is almost always more. It’s also smart to talk to your doctor about possible interaction with anything you may already be taking. Once you’re in the clear, open your kitchen cabinets and get creative. Variety is the spice of life, after all!

To-Do or Not To-Do: Sometimes There is No Question

image     I’ve been beating myself up a little this week because I had no idea what I was going to post about today. I usually plan my topics ahead of time so I can gather my thoughts and let my writing take shape, but for whatever reason I didn’t have a plan and even using my best and always trusty tip for writer’s block, nothing transpired. Nada. Giant question mark. There was a literal sound of crickets chirping last night as I set out to work.

I poured over all of the reasons I just wasn’t feeling it this week. One of my personal heroes since childhood died and my heart is still pretty tender.  My creativity shifted to another project that I’m so into at the moment, that it’s hard to tear myself away from it. The weather is fantastic and I wanted to hike with my boyfriend instead of being inside typing half paragraphs and deleting them all afternoon.  I continued to try to talk myself into writing by passing them off as excuses, but and here’s the lesson, they weren’t excuses. Not a single one. Each reason I gave for not following the plan, for not keeping my schedule, for not maintaining business as usual, were each entirely valid reasons to let myself take a break. Furthermore, the longer I felt guilty for not meeting my own deadline, the more ill conceived my topics became. So, I quit. And then the face-palm, moment of clarity came.

Self-care isn’t always so neatly defined. Taking your vitamins, getting good exercise, or fixing yourself a healthy meal are all acts of TLC you should show yourself often, but purposely skipping a publishing due date so I could have a good cry over Gene Wilder’s passing? Continuing to work on my creative projects even though they feel like I was goofing off? Putting on my shoes and walking away from the computer in favor of better company amongst the trees and wooded wildlife? Yeah, yep and yes. All acts of self-care, too. And guess what? In recognizing that and in relieving myself of the pressure to produce a piece that just wasn’t taking form, I ended up with something to say after all. Funny how that happens, isn’t it?

Will I legitimately procrastinate? Oh, Honey. You bet I will! You will too, but will there also be times when the best thing to do for your heart, soul, and sanity is to spend the day making art, or having picnic feasts, or creating memories instead of checking tasks off of your to-do list. After all, life is for living, isn’t it? Not for to-doing.

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

 

 

 

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