What WOMAN Means to Me – Series Kickoff!

This is a start to an extensive and beautiful collaborative series about what WOMAN means, as the concept of female and woman is unique to each and every individual. We will be hearing from women and men from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all colors, all cultures and backgrounds. So read on, and stay tuned!

Self-Awareness is such a crucial part of self-care, and self-love, as we can only truly find our self worth and state of happiness once we look at ourselves. We must ask ourselves questions that force us to delve deeper and peel back the layers to find awareness of our true beings; self-awareness helps us understand why and how we are important to the world…. because we are ALL so important, and so incredibly worthy! Self-awareness can start with some simple questions….

Who am I?

What makes me happy?

What do I appreciate about myself?

What do others appreciate about me?

What do I appreciate about others?

How do I perceive myself?

How do I perceive others?

What truly makes me happy?

What truly makes me proud?

So much of my identity is being a woman. My Mom and Dad raised three strong, independent, driven and compassionate women, and with that came a sense of pride! Within this world of oppression, inequality, gender norms and media manipulation it can be difficult to maintain that sense of pride, as others constantly try to tear it down. Therefore, I find that self-awareness towards what makes me a proud woman, and self-compassion within my pride of what being a woman encompasses, is truly self-care at its purest form! I am woman; this is what WOMAN means to me.

To kick off this series, I chose to incorporate a poem called “Where I am From”

WHERE I’M FROM

I am from American Girl, Disney Princesses, Hopscotch at recess and swimming in the summer.

I am from the outer banks of the concrete jungle, from the cozy suburbs, a neighborhood filled with privilege, the bustle of trains and gusts of wind; from squelching summers and freezing winters.

I am from the dandelion blowing in the spring air, the daisy and seashell in the sweet southern sun.

I am from a Christmas Eve’s watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby and strong women from the Irenes, Gorey Girls and Edwards.

I am from the anxiety-ridden tears, eating disorders and unconditional love for animals.

From being an “old soul” and overly sensitive.

I am from Methodist practicing Irish Catholics, from the shame brought upon by converting.

I’m from La Grange, IL, Irish and Italian Catholics, deep-dish pizza and bowls of popcorn and ice cream

From the time Kathie pulled her hamstring while doing the champagne splits the millennium being rung in with innocent cheer, sparkling grape juice and silly string and

Tess, and Claire brushing their teeth to NSYNC every morning before school despite the seven year age gap.

I am from underneath the Christmas tree, on the beaches of South Carolina, the strong trust of my parents, the intense bond with my sisters, the struggle of becoming a woman, the results of being a dancer, the middle child, the sensitive one, and most importantly the love and truth of family.

I am healthy, I am beautiful, I am recovered, I am in love, I am happy, I am strong, I am a WOMAN.

-Jayne Mattingly

Check out the rest of the series here!

What WOMAN Means to pt. 2- with Asia Vianna Mack

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 3 – with Gissell Reyes

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 4 – with Claire Mattingly

What WOMAN Means To Me pt. 5 – with Becca Schutlz

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 6- with Ireana Nathan

What WOMAN Means to Me pt. 7 – with Emily Dell

Living For Life, Love and Self-Care and Advocating For Eating Disorder Recovery

Be Your Own Advocate

Advocate for yourself!!!
Advocate for yourself!!!

Whether within recovery from poor self-image, people pleasing, lack of self worth, or an Eating Disorder, having a voice for yourself is crucial.

Advocacy is one of those things that doesn’t necessarily seem natural to us, in that we were never taught how to assert ourselves, promote ourselves and look out for the greater good of our souls. We grew up with parents, or guardians of some sort as our advocates, teachers, coaches, tutors, aids, peers, counselors, and even companies and government officials who speak on behalf of us. Within daily life, as an individual, the only advocate is yourself.

It takes courage, adjustment, and self-acceptance, but the moment you start to advocate for yourself, the moment you begin to look out for the greater good of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, the moment you talk on behalf of your soul, is when you will truly be advocating for yourself, and this is self care at its finest!

If you don’t advocate for your emotional well being who will?! No one. Because, you, and you only, are the one who knows your limitations, boundaries, feelings, emotions and state of wellbeing. The absence of advocacy calls for compliance, blurred boundaries, lack of care for one’s self, and pure exhaustion.

You cannot live a happy and fulfilling life if you are constantly filling up someone else’s cup from your own supply, because that will only run you dry, leaving other people underserved in the end. Think of yourself as a barista…. you cannot properly and sufficiently serve others if you haven’t had the chance to stock up the fridge, prep the machine, or serve yourself! You must be your own barista, and serve yourself first, before you can serve others.

I am a recovering people pleaser, and self-advocacy is something that I struggle with on a daily basis, and with constant practice and time I have greatly improved! For a very long time I surrounded myself with friends that required constant service, in that I had hardly any time, if at all, to serve myself, metaphorically speaking, they were overly caffeinated individuals, and being their barista, I was at fault. It took me to the point of a breakdown that I realized I needed to speak up for myself. When a friend asks to go out for drinks during a busy week with school and work, I can now practice self advocacy by saying “I cant tonight because I don’t have it in me, I love you but I can’t.” Or sometimes I even say, “Thank you for the offer but I just need to have some time with Sean/myself/family.” It is OKAY to serve yourself, to advocate for yourself, to be honest and possibly displease others!

Advocacy is crucial in so many areas of our lives…

In Eating Disorder Recovery…

-Advocate for support when needed

-Advocate for space when needed

-Advocate for trust

-Advocate for treatment when needed

-Advocate for nourishment when needed

With friends

-Advocate for space when needed

-Advocate for support when needed

-Advocate for closure when needed

-Advocate for your self-care

With Work

-Advocate for your time

-Advocate for your professional and personal boundaries

-Advocate for your gender rights

-Advocate for EQUAL pay

-Advocate for a raise

-Advocate for a promotion

-Advocate for security

With yourself

-Advocate for nourishment

-Advocate for sleep

-Advocate for luxury

-Advocate for health

-Advocate for wellbeing

-Advocate for happiness

-Advocate for recovery

Lets advocate for self-advocacy! God knows that someone needs to stand up for your wellbeing!

Recovery Love and Care

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017!

This week is Eating Disorder awareness week! What does this mean?

There is an entire week dedicated towards educating the public and honoring those within their Eating Disorders and Eating Disorder Recovery. February 26th to March 4th will be focused on continuing the conversation about Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Eating Disorders other specified, as well as, educating the public about the truth behind Eating Disorders, continued funding towards Eating Disorder treatment, honoring the recovered, and spreading love and awareness to those affected by Eating Disorders and those who lack an understanding of Eating Disorders and Recovery.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) host’s week of awareness, therefore I encourage everyone to visit their webpage. NEDA offers a plethora of ways to not only get involved within Awareness week, but also offers resources for those in need of extra support, see below for a list of services…

 

  1. Free online screening for Eating Disorders
  2. Local and online resources for those in need
  3. Ways to raise awareness and get involved within the recovery community
  4. Local and global walks in honor of NEDA awareness week
  5. Stories of hope
  6. Resources for treatment and insurance
  7. Public health concerns and a conversation surrounding the stigma of Eating Disorders

As we move into this week, I encourage everyone to take the time to visit this website and join the conversation!

Essential Oils and Self-Care Series pt.1

Essential oils are the Holy Grail to my self-care routine. They were an amazing supplement to my therapy, nutrition planning, and treatment plan during the beginning of my recovery. Therefore, I will be starting a Self-Care series about how I use essential oils within my daily, and weekly routine.

Today’s post is dedicated to prevention and intervention for that oh so dreaded cold….yes it’s that season, everyone is getting sick, therefore why not boost that immune system and soothe the senses!?

When it comes to Eating Disorder Recovery, getting sick with a cold, or the stomach flu, or really anything, is just a part of the process. Your body is doing its very best to build up your immune system, therefore weird things start to happen, like getting sick! In the beginning of my own recovery, I was constantly sick with a cold, sinus infection, bloated, and swollen, because my body was figuring out how to be healthy again…. because in reality, my body wasn’t being treated very well for a good ten years! This was the hard part of recovery…. remember, it gets worse before it gets better! Therefore, essential oils played a major part within this not so easy and somewhat painful part of recovery, to soothe my mind and body, and boost my immune system in a natural and safe way!

This week is a big week for me; Sean and I are moving cross-country with our two furry animals, to start a new life in Charleston South Carolina, and this on top of starting a new job, finishing school work, and saying goodbye to friends and family is incredibly exciting but stressful…and with stress comes sickness! Therefore, I have been diligent with my preventative essential oil routine, to not only build up my immune system, but to also manage my emotional and mental stress!

Essential oils for the immune system:

There are various uses for each and every essential oil, whether that be single oils or blends, therefore this brief list is what I have found useful within my self care routine when it comes to my immune system. The Essential Oils Pocket Reference by LifeScience is my Essential Oil Bible…

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Thieves:

This is AMAZING….it is a blend of essential oils designed perfectly to ward off a cold!

Ingredients: Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil to 4 parts vegetable oil
  2. Diffuse for 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours
  3. Apply to he bottoms of the feet….This is my favorite way to use this oil blend, as I have found it to be most effective!
  4. Put one drop on the tongue and push against roof of mouth
  5. Add 2 drops to wet cloth and put in clothes dryer

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Peppermint:

Medical Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, pain relieving, and digestive stimulant

Uses: Respiratory infections, viral infections, headaches, and nausea

Fragrant Influence: Purifying and stimulating

Application: There are various options with the actual usage of each essential oil.

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 2 parts vegetable oil and apply 1-2 drops on location (abdomen, temples, etc)
  2. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  3. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  4. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  5. Put a few drops on your tongue and push against the roof of the mouth

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Lavender:

Medical: Antifungal, relaxant, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory infections, high blood pressure, PMS, Nervous tension

Fragrant Influence: Calming, relaxing, and balancing

Application:

  1. Apply 2 to 3 drops on location
  2. Apply on chakras
  3. Inhale directly
  4. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  5. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  6. Put a few drops on your tongue and press tongue to the roof of the mouth

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Arbor Oil/Eucalyptus oil:

Medical Properties: Antbacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory/sinus infections, and viral infections

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 1 part vegetable oil
  2. Apply 2 to 4 drops on the location
  3. Apply on chakras
  4. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  5. Diffuse or put in a humidifier

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I have displayed various brands of Essential Oils, as some are more accessible than others. My favorite brand is YoungLiving, because they offer beautiful blends of different essential oils, and from my experience their oils are without fail, pure and safe to use!

So there you have it, as we move through the month of November and December, I will be talking about my self care routine with essential oils, please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions! So lets conquer this week and #SelfCareitOut!