Ghosts In My Kitchen

“If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”
~ Linda Henley

 

I made soup yesterday.

It was a simple soup. A humble soup.

It needed to be. I was so sore. So tired. Fevered. But dinner had to be made, and I wasn’t going to eat junk. Or toast again.

I wanted soup.

My hands were automatic. They cut vegetables. They stirred. They lifted the spoon to my mouth so I could taste the seasoning.

A pinch of this.

A sprinkle of that.

Then all left to simmer for a few hours while I lay down to rest again.

Suddenly I was transported back to Nana’s kitchen. This was her recipe. I made it with her so many times. It was nothing that could be written down. Only instructions that could be remembered. That were passed from her mother’s hands to her hands. And then to mine.

Where had it come from before that?

My great-great grandmother, probably.

I found such comfort in that idea. All of those caring hands, all of that wisdom passed one to another in the practical ways of true nurture. I could feel Nana’s hands guiding mine as though I were a tiny child again, back in the days when I would stand on an upturned crate to reach her kitchen bench.

I felt wrapped in the blanket of my Nana’s love. I tasted love in every spoonful of soup.

It restored me to myself, somehow.

And then I slept, long and well.

That kind of food has its own kind of healing magic.

homemade soup

Magical Teacup Oracle

Image from tlbc.com.au

Image from tlbc.com.au

“As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’.”
~ Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

 

Will you join me for a cup of tea and a little magic?

Every so often I like to create an oracle for you. The very first one I ever posted was The Healing Power of Flowers and Fairy Blessings.  We offered a selection of flowers for you to choose from, and each flower came with a message – a mini-reading if you will. It was so well received that I’ve been creating oracles for you ever since.

Today I’m so pleased to offer you another of my Magical Oracles! This time, I’m offering a cup of tea to provide you with the wisdom, guidance and support you might need right now.

Instructions for using today’s post

Scroll down through the following teacup images and then let yourself come back to the one you are most drawn to.

When you have chosen your teacup, scroll further down for your oracle message. Trust that what you most need to know is exactly what you shall choose.

Love and Light,

Nicole ♥ xx

Let the Teacup Blessings Begin…

1.  Woodland Violets Teacup

2.  Blossoms and Birds Teacup

3.  Everything Golden Teacup

4. Very Deco Teacup

5. Wonderland Teacup

6. French Roses Teacup

Image from rubylane.com

Image from rubylane.com

7. Spires and Lace Teacup

Image from galleryhip.com

Image from galleryhip.com

8.  Froggy Teacup

Image from cathylawley.com

Image from cathylawley.com

♥ Your Teacup’s Message ♥

Each magical teacup has a message for you. I have also selected a crystal to best support the message and energies of your teacup.  You could wear or hold this crystal, pop it in your pocket, under your pillow or beside your bed. (If you’d like to know more about working with crystals click here) The Power Word is a word to remind yourself of the quality you most need and that you are strongly attracting right now.  You can turn it into your own personal mantra by saying “I choose ___________ ” (insert your Power Word). Your Magical Healing Environment is a place or activity you’ll find supportive and healing.

1. Woodland Violets Teacup You’re being so strongly supported by loved ones who’ve crossed over, and by your Guides and the Angelic Realms. Call on them for help and guidance, and know that you are deeply loved, even as you feel so alone. They have a message for you to let you know that everything, ultimately will be okay, and they are sending you strength, grace and love.  Best Crystal – AMETHYST   Power Word – SUPPORT  Magical Healing Environment – Quiet time on your own to fill yourself up with nurture, to give yourself time to think and plan, and to learn from all of these lessons in your life.  It’s breakthrough time. You’re almost there!

2.  Blossoms and Birds Teacup It’s a time of accelerated progress right now, and a wonderful time for both expanding and sharing your knowledge. Trust your abilities, and take small consistent steps towards your goals. Keep company with others from your tribe, and if you have no tribe, seek out like-minded people who can support you, believe in you and help you grow.  Best Crystal – LABRADORITE  ♥ Power Word – KNOWLEDGE ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Places that allow you to develop your craft, your wisdom and your skill. This could be courses, seminars and conferences, books, teachers and mentors, journalling, dreaming and goal setting, or a room or studio where you work on your projects or study. It can also be you stepping up to be the mentor and teacher, and you putting your gifts out into the world. Embrace possibility!

3.  Everything Golden Teacup  A time of turning corners, of new beginnings, fresh starts and remaking yourself and your life. You are being encouraged to actively create the life of your dreams. It’s your life, and you are worthy of every good thing, so step up and claim it. Situations are easing, there is support at ever turn, and you’re moving back into flow and abundance.  Best Crystal – CITRINE   Power Word – RENEWAL ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Anywhere that supports your growing sense of self-worth. Look to positive friendships and relationships that make you feel good about yourself, to clothes and hair that allow you to reclaim your confidence, to trusted advisors and teachers who can support you in making all of these much-needed changes. Take yourself on outings to places and events that inspire and uplift you. Dream yourself a new life, starting today!

4. Very Deco Teacup  This is a time on your life where you can finally begin to see, with great clarity, both the truth of your current situation, and the best way forward. A time of inspiration, vision and sound decision-making. A time of great personal power, and of establishing sovereignty in your own life – a place from which all good things will flow.  Best Crystal – CLEAR QUARTZ   Power Word – CLARITY  Magical Healing Environment – Time for planning your life, creating a vision board, or writing in your journal. This is a fabulous time for you to truly work out how you feel, and what actions and decisions need to be made to make your life more authentic and fulfilling. You’ll surprise yourself with how easily you step into your own power now!

5.  Wonderland Teacup Friendship and helpful people is the theme of this delightful teacup. What you need most right now is good company – the company of a friend or lover, of family or your favourite pets, of new friends and old. Of like-minded people who can share your journey. And it’s also letting you know that so many of the things you enjoyed in childhood are still available to support you now, and to enrich your life.  Best Crystal – ROSE QUARTZ  ♥ Power Word – FRIENDS  Magical Healing Environment – Time spent connecting with friends Catch up with old friends you haven’t seen for the longest time. Have a cup of tea with the neighbour across the way. Organise coffee, a quick meal, a picnic or an outing. Join a group. Let your heart spend time on friendship, laughter, shared problems and shared joy. Love, laugh, live!

6. French Roses Teacup  The message of this teacup is care and quality. Your soul is longing for self-expression, for individuality, for attention to detail, for beauty and for art. You could find these qualities in nature, in architecture, in cultural pursuits or in your own creative expression.  Best Crystal – FLUORITE   Power Word – INDIVIDUALITY  Magical Healing Environment – Time that allows you to express or experience things that define you as an individual   Dress in ways that help you identify with your soul energy. Choose eclectic, individual, vintage, recycled and bespoke over mass-produced. Nourish yourself with culture and beauty. Spend time in beautiful, artsy or quirky environments. Embrace your uniqueness and be your best self!

7.  Spires and Lace Teacup You’re stepping into a delicious time of creative energy. Expect ideas, insights and innovation. Challenge yourself and the status quo. Travel and open yourself to new ideas and the joy of thinking outside the square. This is a magical time for you, and you’ll be strongly guided and supported in this space of creative flow. Plan adventures, and then go! Start something new. Get things finished – there are also powerful energies for completion here.  Best Crystal – GARNET  Power Word – INSPIRED  ♥ Magical Healing Environment – People and places that stimulate you  Travel, go to new places, even if it is just a coffee shop or restaurant. Plan holidays and major life changes. Embark on new projects. Make things. End things or finish things. Think bold thoughts. Believe in yourself and in magic!

8.  Froggy Teacup This is a powerful time for healing for you right now. A time to get your body, mind and spirit back in balance. A time of drawing inwards for a while, in order to emerge renewed, healed, empowered and reinvigorated. Focus on your health and well-being. Pull back from stressful people and situations. Put your own well-being front and centre right now. It’s time for healing breakthroughs.  Best Crystal – JASPER – Whichever one you’re drawn to!   Power Word – HEAL ♥ Magical Healing Environment – Any place or person that nurtures your health  Give energy to your best healthy diet, stretch, spend time in nature, get that body moving, breathe deeply, get some sunlight on your skin, plenty of rest and consult practitioners who can support you on this journey back to wellness. You’re being supported to find healing breakthroughs!

Today’s expected transformation…

Image from robertlewis.net

Image from robertlewis.net

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others.”
~ Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

 

Today’s the day.

Our Soul Sanctuary 2014 retreat starts this morning.

A group of hard-working and world-weary women shall walk through the front door, tired and in need of some ‘self’ time..

By this afternoon, we’ll already be chilling, relaxing, laughing, connecting, replenishing.

Hooray!

Stay tuned for updates. And remember to be kind to yourself today. Lots of love, Nicole xx

A Day Just For Me

Painting by Laura Sotka

Painting by Laura Sotka

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~Eleanor Brownn

 

I’ve designated a day of rest. Today I have no agenda, no chores to do, and nowhere to be. I’ll leave the answering machine to take my messages. My emails will wait. And so will everyone else’s problems.

Today I shall sit in the sunshine with my feet in the soft grass. I’ll hang out with my husband. I shall nap whenever I want. I’ll cuddle my dogs, read a book, listen to music, or embrace silence.

I’ll fill the well back up.

Filling that well is so important.

I’ll be back tomorrow, refreshed and more ready for the flow of life again.

Much love to you, and thank you – from my heart to yours – for your love, kind words and support these past weeks. It means the world to me. ♥ xoxo

2014-07-23 16.20.12

A Gentle Morning at the Farm

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“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” 
Henry David ThoreauWalden

 

Autumn is a magical time at our farm. Gentle showers soak the ground during the night, and in the morning thick mist wraps itself around the mountains.

As the sun burns the mist away to reveal the wide blue sky, fragile spiderwebs sparkle with dewdrops bright as diamonds.

2014-05-23 07.55.48

Everything feels fresh, and lush with promise.

I fill myself up on the kindness and verdant energy of nature.

2014-05-23 07.56.03

Up in the orchard, I hear a commotion. It’s Eric, the very shy Echidna. Every morning he comes out to nuzzle through the soft soil, and the cattle egrets wait for the worms he disturbs.

echidna too

Today he’s been joined by a girlfriend. Love is in the air…

echidna

Listening to the Universe…

nothing

“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” 
Madeleine L’EngleSwiftly Tilting Planet

 

I came home to our little farm tonight. As we drove down the dirt road that leads to our front gate a great weight fell from my shoulders, and I realised that I had been holding my breath for the past five years, since my serious heart problems first began, and my prognosis became grim.

I am safe now, was all that I could think. Tears streamed down my face and I clutched my husband’s hand. He understood completely, because he tells me he has been holding his breath too.

We unpacked the ute and came inside, and I set up my laptop computer. It would not let me log on. Would not recognise my password. Would not work at all. It sat on my desk and defied my every attempt to let me in, even following the instructions over the phone of a techy friend who was sure he knew what the problem is. Without my computer I cannot access my blog, my emails, facebook, any of my work, the internet, nothing at all.

I rang the computer rescue technician. He can get to my house Friday, or I can take my computer and leave it at their shop and it should be ready by the weekend.

Three days without my computer? No work? No connection?

And then relief dawned. I had my little Macbook. I never use it for anything except writing books, but at least I could still blog, and connect and do some things.

It had 8% charge left in its battery. When I plugged in the power cord just now the light won’t come on and it’s not charging. I have wiggled the cord and tried seven different power outlets. Now there’s only 7% charge.

You’re kidding me, I say in frustration.

Maybe the Universe is telling you to take some time out, my wise husband said. You’ve had a big couple of days. Big news. Maybe you need a quiet space to digest everything and just be for a while.

I realised he was right.

Thank you, Universe. I get it. I am exhausted to my marrow. It can’t just be business as usual. I need some time to think, to cry, to sleep, to dance, to laugh, to cry some more, and to process all that has just happened.

I don’t need to hold my breath anymore. I am no longer dying, I am healing. That changes EVERYTHING.

I look at my little Macbook. 6% battery. Just enough to write this blog and upload it into the scheduler for you to read tomorrow.

I’m taking a few days off. I hope you understand.

I really need it.

I shall come back to you refreshed, and with a sparkle in my eye.

I’m blowing you a kiss and waving to your sweet face. See you soon.

I love you!

Here’s to deep rest and new beginnings…

EmbracingNewBeginnings

 

PS – As I finish my post, with 3% battery charge left, an owl lands on my clothesline and my husband calls me to come talk to it. I hope I have enough time to upload and add this picture I just took, before my battery dies completely. Isn’t she beautiful? I’m sure we will have much to say to each other. I’ll let you know when I return xx

Clothes line owl

 

Ten Ways to find ‘Me’ Time

Image from YouQueen

Image from YouQueen

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” 
Sarah DessenJust Listen

 

No matter how committed we are the love and care of others, no matter how much is on our plate, no matter if we are Kings or Queens of Leisure or have every last minute scheduled, we need to make sure we get some little windows of time completely for ourselves.

Time for ourselves is not some airy-fairy feel good concept. Time for ourselves is as necessary as breathing. It helps us to stay tuned into to who we are and what’s important to us. Time for ourselves recharges our batteries. It fills us with nurture and new ideas. It helps soothe and heal us.

Often it isn’t that we don’t have time, it’s that we’ve become a very low priority in our own lives.

Here are ten simple ways to claim some of your precious time just for you:

1. Take fifteen minutes at the beginning or end of a grocery shopping trip to have a cup of coffee and flick through a magazine at a cafe. I have girlfriends who have become speed shoppers, racing through their chores to get lovely long cafe time as their reward.

2. Sign up for a class one night a week. Not to give yourself yet one more thing to do, but to escape for a while and spend time on something you’d enjoy learning such as dancing, mosaic making, chainsaw ice-sculpture or Italian cooking.

3. Get up half an hour earlier. Spend that time journalling, meditating, or planning your day. Enjoy a cuppa, take a big breath and then let the day begin AFTER you’ve had some precious time to yourself.

4. Turn off the TV tonight. Sit down and write a story. Or a poem. Or a song. Stories fire up our imagination, help us heal the past, and let us dream the future. If you enjoy the process, come back and write some more one night each week.

5. Go for a walk. On your own. You could ramble around the neighbourhood, drive to a park or beach, or wander through the city. You can walk in the morning, evening or even in your lunch break. Breathe. Look. Listen. And feel how your whole soul begins to unwind…

6. Plan a weekend date with yourself. Give yourself a few hours alone to see that movie no-one else wants to see, to go to the Gallery, or to wander through the Farmers’ Markets or the Artisan shops you love.

7. Go to bed early with a book. Books are like magical carpets that take you to other places and times.

8. Clear a day in your diary and choose your own adventure. Let the chores go for one day, get someone to mind the kids, do a little extra study each night so that one entire day stretches before you like some precious empty beach. Now, do whatever you want. Sleep all day? Fine. Catch up with old friends? Perfect. Sort out your record collection and then visit a craft show? Superb. A morning surf, good breakfast with the weekend papers and then the rest of the day working on your current restoration project? Soul Magic!

9. Start or recommence a craft or project. Maybe you loved embroidery as a child. Or scrapbooking. Maybe you’ve been thinking about putting a vegetable garden in the back yard, or researching the family tree. Take some time to put your materials together, and then spend a little time each week devoted to this craft or project. Let it become a kind of good medicine in your life.

10. Say NO to something you don’t want to do, and then let the time you would have spent with others be yours alone. How often have you found yourself out with work colleagues or friends, wishing instead that you were home on the couch, watching your favourite show and eating soup and toast in your pyjamas? Your time really is precious. Start saying NO when it feels like duty or hard work, and use that time on something you’d prefer to do!

best-ever-travel-quotes-south-beach

What to do if you’re on your own at Christmas

Image from DTSL

Image from DTSL

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.” 
~ Mother Teresa

 

Christmas isn’t always an easy time. In fact it can be one of the hardest holidays of the year. Not every family is close, you might be a long way from home, some families are small – there might be only the two of you, or just you and your pets. Perhaps there has been loss or hardship during the year, a relationship breakdown, or the kids are spending Christmas with your ex.

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I thought I’d blog today about how I cope with Christmas, and how some of my friends do. We’ve all been able to turn a difficult day into something that works for us. Here’s how each of us will spend our Christmas Day:

Nicole: Orphan’s Christmas

My parents are divorced, my siblings scattered, and I’ve not had any kind of Christmas with my own family since 2000. I’ve also lived away from home in some very remote areas before that, and been too far away to come home over the holidays.

My Christmas now is an Orphan’s Christmas. I invite friends and neighbours who have nowhere to go, and we share a meal, play some music, talk and laugh and celebrate friendship and kindness. It might be 4 people, it might be 40. It might be someone we know well, or a backpacker or traveller who’s just passing through. What matters is that we each feel included and loved. These have turned out to be some of the best Christmas Celebrations of my life.

Since moving to the farm we start our day at sunrise with a champagne breakfast barbeque with the neighbours from across the river. We all drive down through the paddocks to the water with our eskies and chairs, they bring their barbeque on the back of a ute, Ben and I wade across the river at the shallow part and we cook up a storm.

Later we’ll call loved ones, and maybe go to the beach for a swim. I might lie around and read a book while eating tasty snacks.

This year we have a drinks and dinner drop-by, starting at 4pm. I’m sure I’ll keep you posted on how it all turned out and what was on the menu. (It’s a week away I keep telling myself – I’ll think about it in a few days time when I’ve finished work for the year.)

Always-Have-A-Dream-In-Your-Heart

Alice – Swank Hotel Retreat

Three years ago Alice lost her mum to breast cancer, and then her aunt, all in six months. Then her marriage failed. Most of her family live overseas. She works like crazy all year, and was wracked by sorrow and loneliness at the very thought of Christmas. The first Christmas she stayed at home and cried. It was miserable, but she needed to grieve and it didn’t feel right to be happy or to celebrate so she honoured that. She also turned down invitations to parties and other families’ Christmas dinners. Attending would have made her feel worse, rather than better.

The next year she knew she couldn’t face another Christmas alone in her apartment, so she booked into a luxurious suite at an inner-city hotel for a few days. On Christmas Eve she shopped in town, buying books, new silk pyjamas, bubble bath and fragrant lotions, treats from the patisserie, decadent boxes of chocolates. Then she went back to her hotel suite and bunkered down. Christmas Eve was a cable TV marathon with pizza and red wine. Christmas Day she went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens, drank coffee and read her book, and then retreated to her room for more book reading, baths, naps and room service. Boxing Day was more of the same. It was such a restful and enjoyable break that she’s done it each year since and looks forward to this gift she gives herself.

nap

Damien – Volunteer Christmas

Damien lost his young daughter to cancer and then his marriage broke up. That was twenty years ago. He’s been alone ever since. He works in Emergency Services and is always happy to volunteer to work on Christmas Day so that others can have time with their families. He’ll also do a stint volunteering at the local surf club. He doesn’t put up a tree, or do anything special for himself. But he feels that by working he is giving a gift to others. It’s low-key, and he’s happy with that.

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Michael and Louise – Puzzle madness

Louise suffers from severe chronic fatigue. She has multiple food allergies and intolerances to many chemicals and things like perfumes and deoderants. Going out at Christmas is a nightmare, and she’s usually too ill to enjoy herself anyway. Michael is Louise’s partner. His family live interstate, so he will talk with them on the phone. Since he became Louise’s full-time carer money is tight. Travelling to family is not an option.

Michael and Louise have made Christmas their own personal event. It’s not about the food, it’s about the fun. Michael will buy a few second-hand games for his x-box that they can start playing on Christmas morning. He also finds a monster jigsaw puzzle, which they set up on the kitchen table. They will not eat again at their table until the puzzle is done, which might take weeks. It’s something they look forward to all year.

Jigsaw_puzzle_01_by_Scouten

Marta – A Day of Reflection

Marta’s family are big drinkers. And it’s a family with a lot of tension, competition and unhealthy relationships. Christmas usually starts okay but then degenerates into fights and tears as the day wears on.  A few years ago Marta decided not to put herself through that anymore. Instead she spends her day at home, with a few carefully selected treats, a new journal and pen, and some music. She starts her day with yoga in her lounge room, followed by fresh fruit, good coffee and an almond croissant. Then she attends church quietly on her own. Later she meditates and writes in her journal. She does a year spread using her tarot cards and reflects on each card and what that might mean for her. She reads from a spiritual or self-help book she’s chosen and then spends the rest of the day thinking and planning for her year ahead. Dinner is a beautiful meal for one, where she takes the time to cook something special for herself – usually seafood, followed by a little pudding or chocolate something. Christmas has become a sacred time for Marta, and a day that has gone from being painful to nourishing.

journaling

Christmas is what YOU make it. And if you choose to step away from the idea of how it ‘should’ be celebrated and instead look after yourself and your own needs, maybe it can be a time for nourishing yourself and honouring where you are at in your life.

Not everyone has a perfect family. Not everyone even has a family. Sometimes life is hard, and we need to get through the best we can.

This Christmas I’m thinking of you, sending love, and holding the intent that the day brings you healing, rest and connection – whether you are on your own or in a crowd.

Bless ♥ xx

bigstockphoto_candles_shining_in_darkness_47345701

My Lazy Sunday

“A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content.”

~ Proverb

I had intended to come up with something fabulous for today’s blog. But the truth is all I can think about is making a pot of tea, cracking my knuckles, and sitting down to work on my pirates and fairies story.

It’s one of my favourite things to do – to wander off into my imagination and see what unfolds as I greet my characters and find out what they’ve been up to in my absence.

And I know they’ve been busy!

So this morning I’m giving myself the gift of a few hours of uninterrupted writing. I hope you understand…

Don’t forget to meet me back here tomorrow – ready for the first installment of my Working To Create Positive Change program. It’s going to be wonderful. 🙂

But until then, I hope you find a little time to work towards your own dreams, or to simply kick back, relax and laze away the day.  Lazy Sundays are good for the Soul. ♥ Bless xx

medium_Ian_McEwan_Quote_Writers_Write

Self Care isn’t Selfish

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” ~ Deborah Day

 

A friend of mine has finally taken time out from her crazy over-giving-to-everyone-else-but-herself life to focus on her health. She’s run herself ragged, and her poor body is suffering from years of neglect, so she’s taking a month off to go to a health retreat and get some new strategies in place to turn her situation around.

Another friend has recently quit a long-term social group where she has been the President for over fifteen years so that she can spend weekends working on her art.

A mutual acquaintance shocked me when she said of these two women, “It’s a bit self-indulgent, don’t you think?”

Excuse me?

Since when has it been okay to forgo your own health, emotional well-being and dreams, forever putting your needs on the back burner while you collapse in a heap  from being there for everyone else?

Self care isn’t a natural act for most people anymore. Too many of my friends and clients have confided to me that they feel guilty about pursuing their own interests or taking time for themselves when they have jobs, partners, families, elderly parents and social obligations.

But if we keep drawing on our own energy to support others without ever filling ourselves back up, eventually we end up empty.  We lose ourselves.  We look in the mirror and don’t know who we are any more.  We become little more than machines.

 

When we don’t make time for ourselves the end result will never be pretty.  We burn out, we break down, we stop maintaining the habits and relationships that contributed to our wellbeing, and we often end up walking away from things that were actually good for us or that we were once passionate about.  I see this so often that I call it ‘burned out practitioner syndrome’ – people who worked at what they loved so unsustainably that they came to resent their work/art/relationships and became totally disconnected from their passion and purpose.

Self care isn’t selfish.  Self care is the single most important gift you can give to yourself and the relationships around you. If you don’t know where to start, here are some simple suggestions:

10 ways to be kind to yourself

Remembering to take care of you

Are you setting yourself up for failure this week?