Posted in Express Gratitude, Healthy Living, Take Time to Reflect

A Path Through the Dark

Overwhelmed? Finding a path through the dark means taking small steps.

Look in any thesaurus, and the synonyms for overwhelm are pretty awful: overpower, subdue, oppress, quash, engulf, swallow, submerge, bury, suffocate. Groan.

I think everyone has been experiencing ‘overwhelm’.  The COVID pandemic made even simple tasks like grocery shopping a fearful and frustrating experience. Whether the overwhelm is sudden or cumulative, chronic or acute, the feeling is one of immobility and powerlessness.

When you feel overwhelmed, tasks that used to take only 10 or 15 minutes feel utterly impossible. When we’re overwhelmed, making dinner becomes a monumental effort, but we can’t go out to our favorite restaurant because they are closed. After a year of everything being stressful we become overwhelmed. The hope that this will pass, people can return to work, children can return to school, has been crushed by months of endless cancellations, closures and conflicting information. We seem hopelessly mired in the quicksand of anxiety and the desire to have some semblance of “normal”.

I have always been a believer in goal setting and each New Year holds promise and I set goals for what I want to accomplish. Last year, two thirds of my goals were completely unattainable on some level. I felt overwhelmed that I could not fulfill even half of my goals. After surviving 2020, I realized that it wasn’t about planning huge projects and ambitious goals, but to setting goals that were personally enriching and satisfying. 

Celebrate those small steps along the path.

My biggest revelation was that I wasn’t celebrating any of the accomplishments I had made toward a goal.  I was too focused on the final outcome and my ‘too slow’ progress toward that goal. 

For me, the key to not feel overwhelmed, is to scale back.  I often set expectations for myself that in the long term are not sustainable.  All my big goals were waiting and the path to get there seemed like a road under construction, orange barrels and stalled traffic. Until I read the book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.  In the book the author, BJ Fogg, promotes the idea of setting tiny goals that can be easily accomplished and celebrated.  My biggest takeaway was that I wasn’t celebrating any of the accomplishments I had made toward a goal.  I was too focused on the final outcome and my too slow progress toward that goal. 

I simplified my goals into categories like Health, instead of lose 10 pounds this month. In the Health category I had: Take Vitamins, Drink Water, Walk, Track food . When I accomplish just one thing in that category, I count that as a success.   Tiny habits helped me to not feel overwhelmed because I was able to accomplish and celebrate my small steps toward being healthy every day.  It was as simple as star on the calendar for each day I completed the tiny habit. It encouraged me to see how many stars I could get in a month and feeling like I wasn’t overwhelmed but, instead smiling at a whole calendar filled with stars.

In the shadows of the COVID pandemic I learned a couple of things.  First, is to appreciate the small things in life. The time with family and friends is something I took for granted and now I make time for connecting even if it is a Zoom call.  I celebrate my small achievements toward bigger goals and try not to focus on my slow progress.  Secondly, I am grateful for the everyday beauty of the world around me.  The spectacular sunset or brilliant stars on a cold winter’s night or the silence of falling snow are a moment in time that will repeat but never be the same.  I am grateful that I can enjoy them in that moment and I feel at peace, not overwhelmed.

Posted in Discover Your Purpose, Healthy Living, Take Time to Reflect

Out of Time: Rushing Through Life

Is time on your side?

Do you feel like this: too much to do, too many places to be, too little time to do it all?

On the job, in school, at home, even in retirement, we are increasingly imprisoned by the perception that time is a scarce and limited resource. We rush from one commitment or activity to another and believe that we haven’t a minute to spare. We yearn for more time, yet we often feel anxious and guilty when idle.

Until we change our relationship to time, our lives will continue to speed away from us—at enormous cost to our health and to direct experience of ourselves and the world around us. “There is no issue, no aspect of human life, that exceeds this in importance,” says Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul. “The destruction of time is literally the destruction of life.”

When we learn to shift time, our relationships become more rewarding, our time spent alone is richer, our aging is more satisfying, our work is more fruitful and our stress and anxiety are less paralyzing, or even nonexistent. To allow time to “breathe” more in your life, try some or all of the following suggestions from Stephan Rechtschaffen, author of Timeshifting, as well as others. See if your reservoir of time starts to refill.

  • Pause. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Han suggests taking a deep breath before answering the phone. Other conscious pauses throughout the day—a moment of silence before each meal, sitting in the car a few minutes before entering the house after work—help us to “come home” to ourselves.
  • Carve out idle time alone. Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that “nature requires us not only to be able to work well but also to idle well.” Just because you’re not doing anything doesn’t mean that nothing’s getting done! Don’t be tempted to “fill” every moment with a task. When you find a moment try concentrating on taking deep breaths to let go of the anxiety of being ‘idle’.
  • Live as fully as possible in the present moment. When we leave behind thoughts of the past or future, we can experience time more peacefully, says Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Release the past and surrender that you cannot know the future, but you can live in the present.
  • Toss your schedule whenever you can. Even better, schedule spontaneous time and then surprise yourself. Have you driven by a park on the way to or from work? Why not stop and take a stroll around it?
  • Examine underlying reasons for your busyness. What emotions would you experience if you weren’t so busy? What emotions are you trying to run from? Emotional work is challenging but essential if we are to stop running from our hearts.
  • Play. Whether you sing, play the ukulele, paint, shake your bootie—whatever—play helps us to step outside of ordinary time. Try something you always wanted to do, play an instrument, buy a dance video and dance just for fun!
  • Create time retreats. Once a year or so, choose to do something for a week or more that allows you to shift into a different rhythm—something where you can just “be” without the need for doing anything. Don’t be that person that won’t take their vacation time, saving it until they were forced to use it as if it were a punishment. If you can’t take a week, try an art class, a museum visit, a lecture at the local university something that can expand your horizons and give you a new perspective.
  • Spend time in nature. We can’t help but slow down in nature’s unhurried pace. Watching a soaring bird or admiring a flower garden can seem to stretch a minute into an hour. Try carrying a sketchbook and take a few moments to sketch outdoors.

We can learn to experience time more purposefully and meaningfully—so that it’s not an enemy robbing us of the joy of life. We needn’t be at time’s mercy. When we change our awareness, we can actually experience the gifts of time.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Posted in Healthy Living, Spa Experience at Home

5 Ways to Make an at Home Spa Experience

If you enjoy the feeling of going to a spa but don’t have time or the money, why not make a ‘spa experience’ at home? I have a few easy suggestions that make a spa experience at home. I thought about my spa experiences and discovered a few things I could do at home.

First, Schedule It!

Check your schedule and block out a time when you can devote an hour or more to pampering. When you book an appointment at a spa you have to schedule the time and drive to the location. Treat your at home spa experience as an appointment, schedule it!

2. Gather all your ‘Spa Luxuries’ in advance

Have a box or spot in the linen closet to store all you ‘spa items’ away from the everyday bathroom items. When it comes time for your ‘appointment’ you won’t spend time searching for them. When you pull out that spa bundle you will know its time for some pampering!

3. Spa Luxury – A Beautiful, All cotton, Spa Robe

As you are preparing for your experience and afterward, you will want a spa robe that is 100% cotton and beautiful too. The robe will make you feel beautiful and be comfortable for relaxing after your spa experience. At 3 Graces Design Studio we make kimono style spa robes that would be perfect for your spa experience but practical enough to wear everyday because our 100% cotton robes are machine washable. A luxury that you will enjoy for years.

4. Spa Luxury- A Handmade Soap or ‘Bath Bomb’

Find a nice handmade soap that has a wonderful scent and makes you feel like you’re in a spa. If your bath space is shared, you could keep it in your spa box just for you! Pick a soap that is natural without preservatives or additives. You want to make the experience healthful and nourishing to your skin. We feature Diamond Bird Soaps with our kimono style spa robes for their pure and simple ingredients. Add one to your kimono order under Spa Experience.

A plush bath towel will add to the spa feeling.

5. Spa Luxury- A plush bath towel

One of the things I have always found appealing about spa experiences is the towels! Thick and soft, the towels make it feel special. I realized the towels I was using, were old, I had them for years and although they were good quality, they lost their plush feel. I bought a bath sheet, a larger towel, in a plush almost velvet feel. This is my special spa towel. You only need the ‘one special’ spa towel, so splurge and get one that feels like a luxury.

These are just a few of the simple things that you can do to create a Spa Experience at Home. Of course you can add decorative touches like candles or rose petals to step up the spa feeling a notch. But these 5 suggestions will give you a starting point toward enjoying a spa experience without leaving home.

Sheila, Creative Grace at 3 Graces Design

Posted in Healthy Living, Spa Experience at Home

Pure and Simple: Handcrafted Soaps

Hand-crafted soaps made with high quality plant based oils, herbs and botanical ingredients.

Clean living, its more than a catch phrase, its the entire purpose of Diamond Bird, LLC handcrafted soaps. I recently sat down with Tanisha Bruns, owner and maker of Diamond Bird soaps. We talked about caring for the most important and visible part of your body, your skin.  3 Graces Design Studio is offering Diamond Bird soaps in our Kimono Spa Robe gift bundles and  I wanted to learn more about the woman behind these handcrafted soaps

A ‘Rash’ of Discoveries

I asked Tanisha, “Why did you start making your handcrafted soap?” She explained that she had been loyal to a well known brand of commercially made soap but began to notice that her skin was dry, itchy and not healthy. She decided to look at the package to see what was actually in her favorite brand. What she read was a list of ingredients that she couldn’t pronounce, all kinds of chemical additives and preservatives. As a former Army nurse she understood that the soap was not helping her skin and that these products could be harming her. She decided that she needed to learn about soap making and was determined to make high quality soaps from plant-based oils, herbs and free from harmful chemicals and preservatives.

Military Service and Core Values

Tanisha explained that the leadership values of integrity and education that she followed during her military career are core concepts she incorporates into her handcrafted soap business. First and foremost, Tanisha is service oriented. She incorporates customer input on developing new product lines and scents. She is honest about the ingredients in her product. Tanisha prides herself on having 16 or less ingredients in her soaps. She has an Artisan product line that is fragrance soap with micas or lab created coloring, an All Natural line with only essential oil scents and clay or vegetable powder coloring. She also recently added a Vegan line the has no dairy products, honey or Tussah, a type of silk additive. She enjoys educating customers on what ingredients are good for skin and all her ingredients are there to serve a beneficial purpose. Diamond Bird’s products are the highest quality and her customer service values make her product an obvious choice for 3 Graces Design Studio to incorporate into our Spa Bundles.

We are proud to offer Diamond Bird handcrafted soaps in our new Kimono Spa Robe gift bundles. The addition of Diamond Bird to our kimono robes supports another small handcrafted business and provides our customers with a total spa package to make you feel beautiful!