Stop Using Your Body As a Trash Can with Cynthia Lair

bright leafy greens

Cynthia Lair, nutrition and culinary arts professor at Bastyr University, and author of Feeding the Whole Family, reminds us just how important mindfulness is when it comes to nourishing our bodies. (After all, we’re not goats, people!)

Cynthia’s lighthearted thoughts on the benefits of developing a personal relationship with food is a breath of fresh air in a culture of convenience and special diets. And, as a woman who talks to chickens, I especially love that both of her sourdough starters have names: Dottie and Fizz.

I hope you find this podcast nurturing and fun!

Are you filling your body with nourishing foods, or are you using it as a landfill?

Maybe it’s time to add some new self-care practices.

 

Showing Up With Intention: An Interview with Wardrobe Stylist Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer Styling headshot

Do you have a personal brand? Are you “showing up” in a way that enbales you to project your unique inner truth? In this podcast, Lisa Fischer of Lisa Fischer Styling shines some light on how the process of establishing a personal brand is a courageous act of self-care.

I’ve always believed that how we look on the outside reflects how we feel on the inside (and vice versa). But I must admit, as an introvert I sometimes like to hide behind neutral colors. Sometimes I kind of like feeling feel invisible.

But on the other hand, I’m not my best self when I’m invisible. And hiding certainly doesn’t put me in a position to use my strengths to bring something of value to the world.

In her consulting practice, Lisa uses style words to help guide her clients toward developing a personal brand. “Wardrobe is a tool,” she explains. “We use it to bring our best self forward.”

A common struggle that many of her clients face in the beginning is (you probably guessed it): getting rid of the crap that no longer serves them. I, for one, have a whole lot of crap shoved in the back of my own closet.

I think you’ll find this interview both encouraging and motivating. Lisa’s wise words of wisdom urge us to stop judging one another and focus on our assets. My biggest takeaway from this interview?

“Don’t put yourself off.”

It’s so easy to do, especially for those of us who tend to get immersed in projects to the point that we forget to care for ourselves.

Lisa offers a number of packages that are designed to fit your needs wherever you happen to be in your style journey. A great place to start is to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Style Assessment.

Website: www.LisaFischerStyling.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisafischerstyling

Building an Artificial Pancreas: An Interview with Dana Lewis

pink diabetes supply kit

When most of us think about patient empowerment, we think about choosing a health care provider or researching treatment options. But Dana Lewis took patient empowerment to a whole new level in 2013, when she set out to find a solution for a small problem: the alarm on her insulin monitor wasn’t waking her up at night to alert her of severely low blood sugars.

Initially, she brought her concerns directly to the industry, but to her dismay they responded with comments like, “It’s loud enough” and “Most people wake up to it.” Fortunately for her, and for many others around the globe who are struggling to manage diabetes, she didn’t accept those answers.

I first met Dana while attending a Meetup on Health Care Design in Seattle. She was a panelist who shared her personal journey–specifically, how she co-created the DIY Artifical Pancreas System when no one was able to deliver one. As I listened to her story, I remember thinking to myself this is the most powerful example of self-care I’ve ever heard!

How exactly did she do it?

She reached out to other smart people who had the answers she needed, and with a “design and build” mindset, they promptly got to work. And after months of testing and tweaking, the OpenAPS solution was born.

The cost? About $150 USD on average.

As you might imagine there are a few risks involved with building Do-It-Yourself medical devices. There’s no FDA stamp of approval, no experts standing by to make updates or repairs, and device failures could result in complications. Still, it’s easy to see why the idea is so compelling: often, the alternative isn’t much better. For example, not awakening to a low blood sugar alarm can be fatal. Suffice it to say that managing complex medical conditions like diabetes is anything but easy, even with today’s modern technology.

Lewis admits this project has been “a gradual awakening,” or a process, rather than something she simply decided to do. It certainly didn’t go from idea to reality overnight.

“It was a realization that we don’t have to be passive recipients of care as patients.”

Indeed, we are the owners of our health just as much as we are recipients of care.

Her mantra, we’re not waiting, tells the story quite clearly. And she certainly isn’t waiting. Neither are the more than 200 others around the globe who are now using a DIYOpenAPS system to not only manage their chronic condition, but also to improve their quality of life.

For Dana, self-care involves getting enough sleep, spending time with family, and reading. Like so many of us, she understands that when she doesn’t get what she needs, it impacts everything else.

Empowerment lies at the heart of self-care. It’s taking ownership of what we need and then experimenting until we get it right.
Design thinking can be applied to an endless number of life’s challenges. If you’re feeling particularly empowered by this story, you can learn more about the Open Loop Artificial Pancreas System by contacting Dana directly or exploring these links:

Dana Lewis
dana@openAPS.org
@danamlewis #werenotwaiting #DIYPS #OpenAPS
www.OpenAPS.org
Background and details on how Dana built her OpenAPS: https://diyps.org/2016/05/12/how-i-designed-a-diy-closed-loop-artificial-pancreas/
Why DIY-ing #OpenAPS is important: https://diyps.org/2015/03/31/why-the-diy-part-of-openaps-is-important/

Please Note: The Artificial Pancreas System, like other DIY devices, is not FDA approved, which means individuals assume any and all risks associated with its use. Please talk with your doctor before undertaking a DIY project like this, and be sure to keep them informed of your progress.

Other Exciting News: This hybrid closed loop technology is the future of treatment for diabetes, and several versions of it are currently in the commercial development pipeline. It’s expected that an FDA approved product will be be available in 2017.

Self-Care Idea List: 366 Activities for a Beautiful Life

8 Dimensions of Self-Care

Having trouble coming up with fun and interesting self-care ideas?

Last year, I took on a self-care challenge. For each of the 366 days in 2016, I experimented with a new self-care activity and then blogged about it.

What would you add to the list? Be creative and come up with your own bucket list of activities that reflect your personal style, needs and priorities.

  1. Enjoy a fermented food (or learn to ferment something yourself)
  2. Set intentions for the next day, week, month or year
  3. Express gratitude
  4. Take a walk in the woods
  5. Bake whole grain bread
  6. Include strength training exercises at least 2 days each week
  7. Get a haircut
  8. Get vaccinated
  9. Give blood
  10. Buy nothing (give something instead)
  11. Use a pressure cooker
  12. Get equipped for fitness
  13. Tidy up
  14. Drink enough water
  15. Get a pedicure
  16. Travel (without stress)
  17. Enjoy a sunset
  18. Listen to the ocean
  19. Go fishing
  20. Visit a fruit stand
  21. Meet new people
  22. Enjoy the sunshine (and then apply sunscreen)
  23. Overcome a fear
  24. Give yourself a break
  25. Sleep in
  26. Get a massage
  27. Cook with garlic
  28. Journal
  29. Walk and work
  30. Pay taxes
  31. Do “The Work”
  32. Relax by a fire
  33. Peruse the bookstore
  34. Fold laundry
  35. Drink tea
  36. Write a haiku
  37. Take a road trip
  38. Play in the snow
  39. Spend time with friends
  40. Floss
  41. Join (or start) a book club
  42. Eat local
  43. Meditate
  44. Continue education
  45. Use affirmations
  46. Receive gifts
  47. Relax with aromatherapy
  48. Eat colorfully
  49. Accept what is
  50. Volunteer at the food bank
  51. Snuggle with pets
  52. Taste
  53. Shop for groceries
  54. Zentangle
  55. Learn CPR
  56. Reminisce
  57. Garden
  58. Explore new possibilities
  59. Go out for breakfast
  60. Define your “enough”
  61. Change your mind
  62. Chase good weather
  63. Love the middle seat
  64. Cool off with shave ice
  65. Explore new places
  66. Smell the roses
  67. Go to the beach
  68. See the bigger picture
  69. Be a tourist
  70. Think in traffic
  71. Get a mammogram
  72. Read scripture
  73. Make a contribution
  74. Lounge
  75. Be part of a community
  76. Cry
  77. Practice good skin care
  78. Get certified
  79. Prune what’s no longer useful
  80. Press the pause button
  81. Listen
  82. Be quiet
  83. Eat green
  84. Celebrate
  85. Meander
  86. Notice nature
  87. Make the holidays healthier
  88. Plan
  89. Go cycling
  90. Reflect
  91. Recover
  92. Try fermented dairy
  93. Walk the dog
  94. Take a nap
  95. Build a support system
  96. Write a book
  97. Calm down
  98. Be vulnerable
  99. Set boundaries
  100. Laugh
  101. Play games
  102. Dine alone
  103. Walk (in the airport or elsewhere)
  104. Plan a menu
  105. Ask for help
  106. Cook for yourself
  107. Hug a pet
  108. Give gifts of gratitude
  109. Find inspiring spaces
  110. Talk yourself into fitness
  111. Listen to an audio book
  112. Be inspired
  113. Stay in
  114. Understand your impact
  115. Set weekly goals
  116. Use an iron skillet
  117. Stay in touch with friends
  118. Do the dishes
  119. Forgive yourself
  120. Let the oven do it
  121. Go to the doctor
  122. Work in the yard
  123. Savor something
  124. Make new friends
  125. Plant some herbs
  126. Build new skills
  127. Assemble (or reassemble) a first-aid kit
  128. Make a toast to a memory
  129. Shop the farmers’ market
  130. Say thank you
  131. Give feedback
  132. Hug a tree
  133. Take a hike
  134. Read the (entire) Affordable Care Act
  135. Make broth cubes
  136. Bake a cheesecake
  137. Make a breakfast bowl
  138. Use a foam roller
  139. Change your sheets
  140. Eat 5 (to 9) servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  141. Network
  142. Entertain
  143. Sit in stillness
  144. Think positively
  145. Make chicken noodle soup
  146. Do something you don’t want to do
  147. Don’t worry (be happy)
  148. Self-direct your care
  149. Admire art
  150. Eat some cherries (or another in season fruit)
  151. Watch a game
  152. Love lentils
  153. Cultivate awareness
  154. Review your finances
  155. Fuel up for a workout
  156. Celebrate success
  157. Work to physical exhaustion
  158. Take the day off
  159. Eat a big salad
  160. Apologize
  161. Spend time with family
  162. Go sightseeing
  163. Visit a museum
  164. Marvel
  165. Color
  166. Start a bullet journal
  167. Count your blessings
  168. Bake a spaghetti squash
  169. Work in bursts
  170. Drink coffee
  171. Go to the gym
  172. Pick berries
  173. Go to the dentist
  174. Take a yoga class
  175. Track your goals
  176. Lean into discomfort
  177. Stretch
  178. Give gifts
  179. Make yourself a bouquet
  180. Take shorter showers
  181. Test your day for flow
  182. Buy new exercise clothes
  183. Get an eye exam
  184. Set boundaries
  185. Clean your yoga mat
  186. Blend a smoothie bowl
  187. Ferment pickles
  188. Volunteer at a community garden
  189. Take a home-canning class
  190. Bake zucchini bread
  191. Get (and stay) connected
  192. Learn self-defense
  193. Attend a virtual retreat
  194. Envision
  195. Care for your feet
  196. Breathe deeply
  197. Make chicken salad
  198. Go camping
  199. Listen to music
  200. Use a sugar scrub
  201. Window shop
  202. Buy yourself a gift
  203. Make a Thai salad
  204. Organize your recipes
  205. Bake blueberry muffins
  206. Make a (healthy) Waldorf salad
  207. Study
  208. Try a new recipe
  209. Organize your mind
  210. Eat lunch at the park
  211. Do some gratitude journaling
  212. Be proactive
  213. Try again
  214. Brew beer
  215. Rest
  216. Learn from others
  217. Research
  218. Get a scalp massage
  219. Stop
  220. Stargaze
  221. Go floating
  222. Take a moment
  223. Get a manicure
  224. Weigh the pros and cons
  225. Share your story
  226. Travel back in time
  227. Snack
  228. Walk with a friend
  229. Savor salmon
  230. Admire apples
  231. Enjoy a mocktail
  232. Go meatless
  233. Ask for a Box
  234. Indulge in an Acai Bowl
  235. Understand the Science of Happiness
  236. Rediscover Old Recipes
  237. Experiment with Eggplant
  238. Eat (or at least try) Sushi
  239. Carry an EpiPen (if you have been advised to)
  240. Work Outside
  241. Crack Fresh Eggs
  242. Eat Tomatoes (off the vine)
  243. Say No
  244. Buy a New Pillow
  245. Talk About Ideas
  246. Monitor Your Performance
  247. Clean Your Refrigerator
  248. Treat a Minor Injury
  249. Change the Air Filter
  250. Make Moroccan Meatballs
  251. Choose My Circles Wisely
  252. Begin Again
  253. Get Acupuncture
  254. Plan a Vacation
  255. Remember
  256. Try Matcha Tea
  257. Get New Socks
  258. Commit
  259. Speak Up
  260. Prepare a Snack Board
  261. Update Your Wardrobe
  262. Sort & Purge
  263. Tour a Food Forest
  264. Be True To Yourself
  265. Donate to Charity
  266. Coordinate a Walking Meeting
  267. Ask Questions
  268. Get Your Hands Dirty
  269. Pack a Mobile Emergency Kit
  270. Plant a Tribute
  271. Enjoy a Sweet Treat
  272. Connect Dots
  273. Sip Bubbles
  274. Eat Fresh Figs
  275. Celebrate
  276. Melt
  277. Moisturize
  278. Catch Up
  279. Evaluate Your Social Media Activity
  280. Be Negative
  281. Understand Your Personality
  282. Hire a Coach
  283. Read a Book
  284. Spend Quality Time
  285. Create a Manifestation Space
  286. Reconnect with a Friend
  287. Stay Open
  288. Prepare for Emergencies
  289. Set a Deadline
  290. Do Something for Love
  291. Make Space
  292. Cook with rosemary (or other culinary herbs)
  293. Arrive (rather than impose)
  294. Buy coffee for a stranger
  295. Make a vegan dish
  296. Learn more about your body
  297. Just be
  298. Establish a morning ritual
  299. Give a random gift
  300. Try reflexology
  301. Try new exercises
  302. Vote
  303. Experiment with a sourdough starter (or other cultured food)
  304. Organize your personal space
  305. Collaborate
  306. Write down your soul
  307. Learn bonsai
  308. Create an afternoon of self-care
  309. Island (s)hop with a friend
  310. Crochet (or create something)
  311. Rake leaves
  312. Live vicariously
  313. Sit with ambivalence
  314. Gain an understanding of politics
  315. Evaluate what’s essential
  316. Clear your calendar
  317. Ask for what you need
  318. Practice something that’s difficult for you
  319. Maintain financial harmony
  320. Have a kind disagreement
  321. Support a friend
  322. Brainstorm
  323. Learn something new
  324. Rearrange furniture
  325. Decorate
  326. See your favorite band live
  327. Try reiki
  328. Bake a pie
  329. Prepare a special meal
  330. Watch a funny movie
  331. Look up
  332. Do chores early
  333. Make a list
  334. Email yourself ideas
  335. Arrive early
  336. Warm up
  337. Learn to knit (or some other form of art)
  338. Notice the little things
  339. Watch it snow
  340. Drive slowly
  341. Choose theme words
  342. Stay open
  343. Move forward
  344. Have faith
  345. Don’t make plans
  346. Stay in your jammies
  347. Stay in touch with mentors
  348. Relax at the spa
  349. Learn about gun safety
  350. Get a fluoride treatment
  351. Call in a professional
  352. Go to the symphony
  353. Challenge yourself
  354. Listen to an inspiring audio book
  355. Read old journals
  356. Be a caregiver
  357. Have coffee with a friend
  358. Find a “plan B”
  359. Enjoy a holiday tradition
  360. Feel grateful
  361. Binge watch a series
  362. Have breakfast in bed
  363. Discover your core desired feelings
  364. Go Snowshoeing
  365. Whiten your teeth
  366. Reflect on your year

Ready to start your own challenge? Download a free self-care planning worksheet here.

Need some help developing your own self-care practice?

Start Here

Self-Care Challenge (Day 366): Reflecting on My Year of Self-Care

blue-green lake with mountains in the distance

Yesterday, on the 366th and final day of 2016, I spent a few hours re-reading my blog entries over the past year. It’s hard to believe that this 366 Days of Self-Care Challenge has finally come to an end. To say the least, the year has been full of challenges, surprises, losses, and celebrations.

Start here to read from Day 1.

It certainly didn’t play out the way I envisioned, but that’s one of the reasons it was so rewarding.

It’s also why “openness” is one of my core desired feelings going into 2017. Surprisingly, being forced out of my comfort zone this past year has felt really good. For someone who has always been a planner (and a control freak, if you ask my close family and friends), it was liberating and exciting to sit with my curiosity, wondering what might happen next.

self-care-activity-logAt first, it was pretty easy to come up with self-care activities. I started with what I knew: manicures, pedicures, getting enough sleep, eating well. You know, the basics. But as time went on it became more challenging to come up with new things to try. And it was even more challenging to carve out time to blog consistently about it every day (not to mention snap a photo).

There were times when I wanted to quit, to move onto something else–the next shiny idea or project. But I honored my commitment to myself because I knew it was important.

Thankfully, I just made a few adjustments and pushed forward.

Early on, I started to notice some patterns emerging. Many of my activities involved books–journaling, reading, writing. And I read A LOT of books last year (67 to be exact, up from 58 in 2015). For me, it doesn’t get much better than reading in solitude, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. In fact, most of my self-care activities were solo adventures. I relish my quiet time. It’s not a luxury; it’s a requirement for my basic functioning.

I also spent a lot of time outside. I made several visits to the ocean, floated the Deschutes river, went for walks in the woods, did some snowshoeing, and spent a lot of time gardening. I explored eleven US cities and traveled to Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Looking back on the experience, I wouldn’t change a thing. There isn’t much I could have done to better prepare myself for the journey ahead anyway. Without a doubt, I learned more about myself in 2016 than any other year of my life. Now, after a year of deep self-exploration, I’m ready to enter 2017 with a clearer understanding of what truly restores me.

This journey has helped me develop a meaningful self-care practice–one that consistently refills my cup and leaves me better suited to love and care for others.

Are you ready to develop your own self-care practice?

Yes, please.

Self-Care is Multidimensional

Stacy Fisher-Gunn's article on self-care in The Costco Connection

On the final day of 2016, my heart was filled with joy when an article that I wrote several months ago stared back at me from page 63 of the January edition of The Costco Connection!

What an honor!

I am incredibly humbled and eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to share this message of self-care with millions of readers across the country. Self-care is a powerful, yet often underutilized, tool. It’s a preventive health strategy that involves actions and behaviors that improve, restore, and maintain good health.

The truth is, we must love and care for ourselves first before we can fully love and care for others. When we’re healthy, we have more to give. It’s that simple.

Self-care is multidimensional…and personal. What refills your cup may not refill mine, which means that each of us must explore a variety of activities to build a restorative self-care practice that is right for us.

The 8 Dimensions of Self-Care:8 Dimensions of Self-Care

Systemic – How we eat, move and rest
Emotive – How we express ourselves
Luminescent – How we illuminate our inner truth
Financial – How we allocate our resources
Cognitive – How we think
Aptitudinal – How we contribute to the world
Relational – How we connect with others
Environmental – How we harmonize with nature

Ready to build a self-care practice of your own?

Enroll Now

Self-Care Challenge (Day 365): Whitening My Teeth

Purple toothbrush

Yesterday’s self-care activity involved whitening my teeth. I mean, why not greet the new year with a bright smile, right?

Using a whitening kit that I picked up at my last visit to the dentist, just before bed I carefully positioned the trays in my mouth and watched the clock tick.

It was super easy. (In fact, the most difficult part was avoiding coffee and red wine.)

Sometimes it’s the simplest acts of self-kindness that make the biggest difference in how we feel–and that impacts everything else we do (or don’t do) in life.

What will you do for yourself in 2017?

Self-Care Challenge (Day 364): Snowshoeing

orange and black snow shoes

Snowshoes are just plain awkward. They’re big, bulky–and Lord help you if you have to turn around or back up. Everything about them makes laughing inevitable. I’ve only been shoeing twice in my life, and both times I ended up giggling like a little kid while traipsing around in them. But, hey, at least they make walking possible when the snow is deep.

For Christmas this year, my husband bought each of us a pair of show shoes. (I’ve been resistive to the idea of learning to ski or snowboard since I prefer that my bones stay intact.)

Snow is just a quick 30-minute drive away, and yesterday seemed like a great day to try them out. Plus, a little bit of physical activity sounded like a nice self-care choice after a few days of gorging on holiday leftovers.

The week between Christmas and New Year is always busy in the greater Seattle area, no matter where you go. Hiking trails are full, restaurants and stores are full, ski slopes are full–so being an early bird is your only hope (though early is relative). Even at 9 AM the parking area was full, but we managed to find a spot.

As we walked up the trail, we passed hordes of families sledding and playing in the snow. Kids were still wearing their seasonal smiles, and a few parents were sipping on adult beverages (clearly unwinding from all of the festivities). It felt great to stretch my legs and gaze in amazement at the snow-covered trees. Once again I was reminded that I’m just one of the many living things tromping around the woods.

What a great way to send a little gratitude into the universe.

Self-Care Challenge (Day 363): Unearthing My Core Desired Feelings

The Desire Map book cover

Obviously, I’m on a Danielle LaPorte kick.

After listening to the audio version of her book The Firestarter Sessions (Amazon Associate Link) last week, I realized that I was still craving more. I hadn’t quite pinpointed my core desired feelings, and it was clear that I needed to dig deeper.

The Desire Map (Amazon Associate Link), another of her inspiring books, sounded intriguing to me, and after deciding that I couldn’t live without it, I persuaded my husband to make a quick detour to Barnes and Noble. (Nope, this time I could not wait for Amazon Prime. I know, I know.)

This book is the perfect blend of creativity, spirituality, and common sense. In fact, this unique goal-setting approach–which focuses on feelings rather than metrics–is quite disruptive. Move aside, SMART goals.

But identifying our core desired feelings is just the first step. After blowing the dust off of those innate desires that have been living within us since birth, we have to do some work. We have to seek out environments that generate those feelings. We have to find and explore opportunities and experiences that cultivate those feelings. And we have to surround ourselves with people who nurture those feelings within us.

It’s a softer form of goal-setting. And while I know that it’s not for everyone, it speaks quite loudly to me.

My self-care activity for the day was to distill my core desire feelings down to three words–words that will serve as my guidepost for the coming year. If it doesn’t make me feel beautiful, open and warm, then it simply isn’t going to work for me.

Beauty

Openness

Warmth

What are your core desired feelings?

 

Self-Care Challenge (Day 362): Having Breakfast in Bed

Iron skillet breakfast

Breakfast may very well be my favorite meal. (I guess it’s convenient that we have chickens, isn’t it?)

Yesterday, my self-care activity for the day was to enjoy breakfast in bed.

On weekends, my husband and I often take turns fixing breakfast, which means we also get to take turns sleeping in and having breakfast and coffee hand-delivered to our pillow.

While this activity does require the loving assistance of another person (hence, not entirely self-care), it still produces the same effect. And taking turns implies giving and receiving. It’s a total win-win if you ask me.

Breakfast in bed doesn’t have to be relegated to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, something that’s only thought of on special occasions.

Why not make it a regular practice?