Here’s the next installment of the Self-Care Challenge! where we explore some practices that help us to sustain in the hard work of keeping our hearts engaged. If you haven’t already, download the Keeping Your Heart – Self Care Challenge 2019 pdf for the month!

You can explore Week #1, Week #2, & Week #3 of the challenge – if you have, please let me know what you learned about yourself – if you haven’t, it’s okay to jump in now!

Below is Week 4 & the practices that we will focus on next:

1.   Surprise a cherished elder in your life with a phone call or visitRelational
2.   Complete some type of puzzleMental
3.   Go to bed 30 min earlierPhysical
4.   Try to bullet journal for 3 daysMental
5.   Sugar or salt scrubPhysical
6.   Meditation/Prayer/Guided ImagerySpiritual
7.   De-clutter your dresser/nightstandPhysical/Mental
  1. Call or Visit a Cherished Elder
    We should never discount the wisdom of those that have gone before and the value that they have brought to our lives. Taking time to let them know that we are thinking of them, that we have precious memories of them, and that we value their impact is important for not only reminding us that other people have lived through difficult things, but that there are people with experience who can give us perspective. I mean, wouldn’t you like to be the one who is called or visited later in life?
  2. Puzzle Time!
    I may be a little biased, but I think that puzzles are really significant for helping us to stay creative. I actually love the brain-burning feel when I am faced with a puzzle that seems impossible to understand or decode, because I know that if I can just find the leading thread, I’ll be able to unravel the whole thing and find the solution. And once I do, I feel like I can do anything because my brain “feels” smarter.Those type of research and imagination skills to start and finish a puzzle can be critical when we are in the midst of advocating and researching options for a loved one for whom we are providing care. Not to mention, its a lot of fun to invite others to join you and feel a sense of accomplishment once you are finished!
    What kind of puzzle is your favorite?
  3. Bed 30 min earlier
    I have read more than once that there is some “old knowledge” that after a certain year of life every hour of sleep that is gained before midnight acts as double the rest time. I have no idea if that is actually true and I am a steadfast night owl (I usually go to bed between midnight and 1:30am), but I was thinking that to make a plan to be able to have everything wrapped up 30 minutes earlier at the end of the night to get to sleep sooner would mean that one would have to really take stock of how one is spending their time and make some decisions. Being aware and intentional about how we spend our time really is a self-care practice; if we can remove the things that are not life-giving and are only distracting us, we will have a lot more energy for both the hard work and the joy in life. So maybe trying this for at least one day or perhaps more would be of a benefit as you are looking at ways to support your mental and physical health. What time do you usually head to bed?
  4. Bullet Journal
    Oh, y’all know I am a big fan of the bullet journal. It is one of the reasons that I am able to keep up with my very crazy schedule and still take time to see the beauty in things. I have several YouTube videos about how to start and customize a Bullet Journal, and you can also find inspiration at the original Bullet Journal site. You don’t need to get all fancy or be an artist. Ryder is the BuJo OG and he keeps it really minimal. I like to add a little bit of art, but I really do a lot with washi tape, Mildliners, and stickers. I just don’t have time for several hours on a spread. But really, all you need is a journal or notebook and a pen. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will start to get things accomplished!
  5. Salt or Sugar Scrub
    Who wants to hang out in their old skin cells? Not me!
    About 30 years ago, we all started hearing more and more about the benefits of exfoliation and how we needed to get that dead skin off of ourselves. While there are all kinds of ways that you can do that, Sugar or Salt Scrub is such a nice way to take care of your skin and feel a little pampered at the same time.You can purchase it at a local beauty shop or even at Target, or, you can custom make your own! Check out my recipe HERE!
  6. Meditation/Prayer/Guided Imagery
    Everyone has their own understanding of the spiritual side of life, so this is more about dedicating time to one’s personal practice than me telling you what to practice. With that in mind, I’ll use the word meditation as a “catch-all” for all of the different ways that people connect with “other.”
    There has been a lot of research about the benefit of meditation and taking time to center oneself and become grounded. More and more schools have begun helping children to calm their minds and bodies to engage in self-regulation practice so that they can engage in curriculum and tasks at school. Many centers for juvenile discipline have added meditation and yoga to their programming because of how those practices are able to help to heal post-traumatic stress and restore safety in the body of those who have been harmed. I’ve even seen articles about the benefits for law enforcement professionals when they seek time to center and ground.

    There is an added benefit, as well; making the intentional choice not to produce or make something for a time, but just to breathe and BE is important to your growth and sustainability. As you breathe, you change the physiology of your body and increase your resiliency to be able to address the situation and circumstance in front of you. Moving your thoughts to things that are life-giving, that remind you that you are not alone, that tell you the truth of your own inherent value and preciousness; that is a practice that will carry you through the most difficult of times.

    Do you have a favorite meditation, prayer, or image that brings you peace?

  7. Declutter Your Dresser/Nightstand
    Okay, hear me out. It is because of my personal KonMari journey that I learned how important it is for me to go to bed and wake up without clutter being the first or last thing I see at night, so that is why I am focusing on the dresser and nightstand. But you can, of course, work on whatever spot will give you the best opportunity to breathe and enter into sleep or the day without feeling an extra bit of chaos.For me, I took everything off of my dresser and nightstand, and after throwing away the obvious things I didn’t need, like clothing tags and receipts, I began sorting things into categories. Once I realized how many bottles of nail polish were on my dresser (people, it’s actually kind of embarrassing), I was able to see what I could eliminate and what size of container I needed to keep things organized.

    What I have found is that it is a lot easier for me to put things away because I don’t want to clutter to come back, so at the writing of this piece it’s been 10 weeks of a breath of fresh air in my transition to and from bedtime, which feels pretty great!

    What will you declutter?

As usual, I’d love to hear about your experience; let me know below and don’t forget to post a picture or share a written experience on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or in the comments section of using the hashtags #keepingyourheart #renaemdupuis #selfcarechallenge2019 and tagging @keepingyourheart.

DISCLAIMER. These suggestions for the Self-Care Challenge do not guarantee any specific outcome for any specific person and may or may not have the desired effect on a person’s mental, physical, spiritual, relational, or general health. Keeping Your Heart and Renae M. Dupuis are not liable for any damages or loss experienced by any entity who participates in any or all of the suggested self-care practices. All participation is voluntary.

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Renae Dupuis
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