Divorcée Life: Easy trick to allow yourself a little “me time”

Welcome to a series of world-class master coach videos I’m sharing on topics that are key to emotional healing after divorce. Cheryl Richardson is the founding president of the International Coach Federation, she co-created the Body and Soul conference series sponsored by New Age magazine, and speaks professionally before numerous universities and Fortune 500 companies.

In her 1988 book, A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde wrote that "caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Whether or not you believe that we, as women, tend not to have the freedom of choice that men have, one thing most of us have experienced is the pressure to sacrifice nearly every moment of our lives in the service of someone else.

Are you finding it difficult (both before and after divorce) to stop the hamster wheel and give yourself permission to live a little?

Here’s the easy trick that I found in the video below.  (Or, think of it as coming into self-care from the back door.)  

Your kids, friends, and family need you to be good to yourself.

Scroll down past the video for top divorcée takeaways on the key sentence above, and the importance of “me time,” in case you'd like an idea of what's covered before watching.

Divorcée takeaways on making time for ourselves:

  • Sometimes, the pressure comes from ourselves to do more and more for our families, and not necessarily our families forcing us to work ourselves to death.

  • We know we need to take time for exercise and to support our well-being, so why is it so hard to give ourselves permission and let some other tasks slide?

  • There's an inner voice that tells us we're selfish or self-indulgent.

  • In order to shift this, ask yourself the question: "Wouldn’t you love to have had a mother who took such good care of herself that she felt great all the time?"

  • How many of you grew up with mothers who were worn out all the time? Worn out, tired, and didn’t have time for you because she couldn’t or wouldn’t give herself any downtime?

  • Or, her exhaustion may have manifested in her being angry and resentful, with only enough energy to try to survive every day.

  • When we set boundaries on the service we provide to others, we can intentionally choose to give more in some situations, but it comes from a better place -- from love (and having a surplus of energy to give) instead of from obligation.

  • If your own mother put herself last, it can take years for you to overcome the patterns that her example set for you.

  • When a mother puts herself last, she is often filled with rage that she can’t express, but it leaks out in little ways that the child’s psyche picks up on.  (Rosetta's Hint: Even if you're not a mom, your exhaustion and feelings of "giving up" can end up as a dark haze that effects your friends', family's, and colleagues' perceptions and feelings about you. When you realize this, and if you want more love and acceptance from those around you, spending time in pursuits and passions you enjoy can be the starting point for change in how others see you and relate to you.)

  • When you start to resent the things you feel you have to do for others, you end up doing everything resentfully. Even the things that you would have done willingly, lovingly, freely come out with anger and resentment because you haven’t filled your cup first.

  • (Rosetta’s Hint: If it’s difficult for you ever to treat yourself with love and care, start with just two minutes a day. That’s long enough to take a few deep breaths. It’s long enough to spend two extra minutes in the shower. It’s enough time to notice something pretty outside your window.  In other words, it’s enough time to pause on the pressure cooker -- and maybe you’ll take a third minute off, or even five minutes. The first step is to stop the hamster wheel -- even if it’s just two minutes -- so you can feel a pause of peace.)

  • (One more hint from Rosetta: Please don’t be afraid that, if you pause your pressure cooker that you’ll just collapse on the couch and pass out from fatigue. You want to pause in ways that will refresh you, not be the last straw that makes you collapse. Taking a break is a reminder that you are a human being, not a machine.)

  • If you try my hint above, and you want the next step, you can click Contact in the navigation bar above, type the message "self-care step 2," and I’ll email you back with the next tiny step.

Would you like more help around how to allow yourself the downtime you need?

If you feel you’re sinking or stuck in dealing with your emotions (as you navigate separation and divorce, or as you try to heal emotionally after divorce) why not schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me? You'll get immediate help and techniques to feel better from the moment you get on the call. (And if, after our call, you don't feel our time together was helpful, your $25 payment will be auto-refunded. There is nothing to lose, and you will feel better fast.)

Click this link to learn more

Divorce Recovery Skincare: My 21-Day Experiment Results

As promised, here's the results post about my 21-day, super cheap skincare experiment to transform the double whammy of parched winter skin that's also showing signs of being under extreme emotional stress.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not a beauty blogger, I'm a divorce recovery coach, so there are no before/after photos below, just a log of how my DIY coconut oil/baking soda/essential oils regime worked for me.

To see the original post, detailing how I came up with the experiment (with the help of 60 women from my Facebook communities), and exactly what I used, click here.

Don't need the blow-by-blow?  Just scroll down to Final Thoughts.

21-day post-divorce skincare diary

Day 2: Alligator skin looking more moisturized.  A small difference, but it's there.  The big revelation was how much smoother my skin looked with makeup -- concealer wasn't settling into wrinkles, BB cream absorbed into my skin quickly without sitting on top of my skin in a greasy, slippery mess.  Vertical lines on upper lip are MUCH less visible.

Day 4: Bright sunlight today as well, so I'm still getting merciless views of my skin in my 10x magnification mirror.  Skin looking plumper overall, and, starting yesterday, I'm rubbing a little extra essential oil cocktail on my 11 lines between the eyebrows.  I'm definitely happy that I no longer look scary to myself, and it's only the morning of Day 4!

Day 5:  Bright sunlight persists, so I'm still getting non-flattering views of my face in the magnifying mirror.  Today:  The biggest news is that my crepey neck is much smoother.  Also, I have a persistent wrinkle along the side of my left cheek, and it's starting to diminish.  Eleven lines between my eyebrows are slightly better.  Who expected results like this in only a few days?  Overall, skin feels and appears thicker and much more hydrated.  Pores are smaller and clearer.  If these were the results after the full 21 days, I'd be pleased, but I'm not even through the first 7 days.

Day 7:  Wow, it's been a full week of bright winter sunlight -- 65 degrees today -- so I'm still getting scary views of my face.  Today:  Smaller and cleaner pores -- this keeps improving -- and plumper skin (it bounces back when I press my cheeks, instead of leaving finger indents where I pressed).  And, my hands and nails -- unexpected big change.  No wrinkles, and shiny, healthier-looking nails with no ridges.  When I wash my face with the coconut oil/shea butter/baking soda concoction, I also rub some on my hands before removing with the wet washcloth.  Didn't expect to see a dramatic change in my hands, but, there it is.

Day 9: I'm taking a look at my skin in the magnifying mirror only every couple of days from here on out, and seeing a little bit more improvement every time I look.  The skin is just appearing younger and healthier.  I'm now seeing a slight lightening of sunspots -- very slight, but it's there -- perhaps due to the daily exfoliation from the baking soda?

Honey mask:  I was advised to purchase organic, filtered honey.  Have you shopped for honey lately?  Even non chi-chi grocery brand honey is expensive.  I am not someone who prioritizes organic groceries, and I'm not on a mission to spend as much as I possibly can, so I just used a jar of Goya honey that I already had in my pantry.

I left it on for 30 minutes, and rinsed it off in the shower.  Results:  Even cleaner, smaller pores.  That's about it, but I'll take it : ) .

Days 8 through 16:  I stopped scrutinizing my face . . . and fell down on the job a little bit (a lot).  I didn't use any products not on the menu, but, as I had earmarked several days to do nothing but generate content to share with my divorcees, no one was going to see me during those days, so I stopped bothering about using the products in the morning, and only did the regime at night.

So, Day 17:   My message is:  Don't love the results so much that figure you can slack off now.  The results are dramatic only if you keep at it, day and night.  So, if you're someone like me, who works in solitude in your creative cave and has the luxury of video conferencing (in less than high-definition) when with clients, don't skip doing the coconut oil/shea butter/baking soda cleaning and moisturizing in the morning as well as evening.  My face went almost all the way back to square one.

Day 18:  Back on track, with coconut oil and all of the other ingredients twice a day -- morning and night.  The twice-a-day regime is essential to keep getting the results that I was getting early on in the first ten days, so do stay with it.  Otherwise, your skin will go back to Day 1.

Day 21:  By the final day of the experiment, there was just one thing on the regimen left to try:  The DIY coconut water mask.  (Soak a paper towel in coconut water; apply to face for 5 minutes, and approximate the results of a high-priced Korean or Japanese sheet mask.)

I'm not a big fan of sheet masks, since, at $6 or more each, I feel there should be significant bang for buck, and that's never been the case, no matter how expensive the masks I've tried.  I usually leave them on for a minimum of 20 minutes.  But, I wanted to follow my correspondent's instructions to the letter, and she said, just five minutes.  If I could notice an improvement in just five minutes, I'd be more likely to do this little ritual on a weekly basis, since I'm not much of a fan of lying still with my eyes closed when it's not sleepytime!

So.  I tried it.  Didn't notice much of a difference after five minutes -- maybe a slight tightening effect, but no discernable difference in the way my skin looked pre- and post-mask. (I went to the magnifying mirror after the mask dried, before applying any other products.)  For me, it had kind of the effect of a toner (which I don't tend to use), so I may start using my left-over coconut water (there's lots left over!) as a toner.

Or . . . I have enough left to do at least 30 additional masks, so I'll probably try again and leave it on for 20 minutes.  The sequence I used was dermaroller, coconut oil/shea butter/baking soda cleanser, then the mask (and don't wash it off).  Then I continued with the essential oils, my Roc retinol product, and finally, the Cetaphil lotion.

Why bother?  Maybe you're thinking:  "I can hardly make myself get out of bed in the morning."

#1  The coconut oil/shea butter is soothing and feels good.  The essential oils smell great and have aromatherapy benefits as well as helping your skin.  The honey mask feels gooey and nourishing.  It all costs next to nothing.

#2  You'll be looking much better by Day 2 -- and when you see your true self in the mirror, rather than someone who looks like your grandmother, it's a big, emotional lift.

#3  You'll start getting compliments -- and who doesn't feel better when people ask you what you've been doing because you look well-rested, chill, and, well, like your old self . . . only better. 

#4  Because of #2 and #3, you'll feel an uplift in your mood, and be able to look around you and have the first glimmers of what's next, what would be good, what might you be up for?

Divorcees:  Here are my DIY skincare results, and it's really worth a try!

Plumper, more hydrated skin.  Less-prominent 11 lines, upper lip lines, and nose-to-mouth lines.  Much much much smaller and cleaner pores.  Smoother-looking neck.  Even less-crepey eyelids.  Lightening of sun spots.

I haven't used any soap-based product on my face for 21 days, but my skin looks much cleaner than before.

Makeup goes on smoother -- so the results look even more incredible with makeup.  If you've given up on wearing matte lipstick because it makes you look like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, try again.  If you're like me, it will glide right on, and no feathering.

Plus, it's cheap, ladies!  A box of baking soda; tub of coconut oil; a tub of shea butter; and 1 oz. sizes of frankincense, lavender, and lemon oils (combine a little of all three in a small bottle for easy application) will last you for-ev-ah.

This is not a miracle, but it's pretty darn incredible, considering that no expensive products were used.  The only actual "products" were my usual Roc retinol day and night.  I stopped using Strivectin during this 21-day test, and I can't say that I notice any difference.

Thanks to all my Facebook crew who chimed in with their favorite products to help stressed out, post divorce skin!

In the Amazon product links below, you’ll also find two gadgets that help with skin tone and sagging, and which I’ve been using for years. They’re both pretty indispensible when you’re trying to recover from the ravages of divorce and don’t like what you’re seeing in the mirror. The Dermawand uses electric pulses to tone and lift facial muscles, and the neckline slimmer gizmo is the best beauty gadget for under $10 that I’ve ever used. Check ‘em out if sagging is something that bothers you.

If you try my 21-day skincare experiment, will you comment below with your results, or share your own nature-based DIY skincare regimes?  Thank you!

spring cleaning: 24 hours without negative self-talk

You've probably read various challenges that encourage you to go without complaining for 21 days.  And, when you find yourself complaining, you have to go all the way back to day one and start over.

I want to suggest a special "spring cleaning" exercise of trying to go just 24 hours without complaining.

The point isn't to be a perfect little trooper, and get through the entire day as Pollyanna.  And the point isn't to beat yourself up when you inadvertently start thinking negative, angry thoughts.

The whole purpose of my spring cleaning exercise is to notice when you feel most down and negative.  By trying to live a full 24 hours in a "here's what's good about my life" frame of mind, you'll inevitably notice the times of day, events, and circumstances that tend to bring you down. 

This knowledge is priceless!

Times of Day
For me, it's first thing in the morning when I tend to feel the most down about things.  Knowing this, and knowing that in an hour or so I'll feel much more enthused about my day, I can just smile and give myself a hug when I start getting on some Eeyore-like jag.  It will be better as soon as I get going with my day.

It really helps to pinpoint when the most negative thoughts are occurring because it can help you spot patterns that you may not have noticed before.  For instance, I can replace the habit of worrying over things with a more positive early-morning routine, something that makes me feel good and supports me.

Events and Circumstances
During your 24-hour complaint-free day, make notice of the kinds of events that really get your growl-o-meter going.  For me, it's overwhelm.  It's times when my team isn't supporting me the way I'd like them to, and my workload doubles as a result.  It's when all kinds of "emergencies" push back my #1 goal for the day. 

Again, I can do something to change this -- when I recognize the pattern.  When I feel overwhelm starting to strike, I can do a pre-emptive strike of my own:  Shut down my email (the world won't really end).  Ignore the requests that are unknowingly sabotaging my day.  There's almost always something you can do.

Is it waiting in line that drives you crazy?   Your kids being lazy and creating more housework for you?  Is it a co-worker?  Identify the challenges to your peace of mind.  See how many of your stressors -- when you think about them dispassionately -- can be placated and soothed in some way before you get to the frustration point.

Complaining Makes It Worse
By the end of your 24 hours, you might also notice that complaining about something tends to make you feel even worse.  The more you focus your mind on what's going wrong, the bigger and more important it can seem.

Try It and Share Your Results
Try this little experiment tomorrow, and see what comes up during your day.  It's a great time of year to start clearing out the cobwebs of self-defeating self-talk before spring arrives!

Of course, I'd love it if you share your revelations and results in the comments below!