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Sisterhood + Sandwiches At The 2015 Self-Care Retreat

Welcome reception at 2015 Self-Care Retreat

I am still over the moon about the recent Self-Care Retreat held last month in Alexandria, Virginia. I wake up pinching myself like, Did that really just happen? 

Part of the reason why it was so magical is because it truly felt like the women in the room were the women who were meant to be there. We all meshed so well and so quickly—it was like we were meant to be friends and this was the catalyst.

In order to help facilitate the budding friendships, I put two events—the Friday welcome reception and the Saturday pajama party—on the agenda to make sure we had enough time to relax and unwind together, just as women in need of sisterhood.

Of course, no reception or pajama party would be complete without food, right? BJ’s Wholesale Club generously sponsored our evening food, from the turkey, ham and roast beef croissant sandwiches, hummus, pita chips, and fruit and veggie platters.

Reception at the 2015 Self-Care Retreat

It was so easy to plan the menu. They have a wide selection of festive, fresh and fine-quality foods, with deli platters, cookie assortments and custom-order cakes made exactly to your specifications. Ordering is easy—browse through BJ’s Party Planning brochure, then fill out an order form (either at the club or at home) and drop it into the kiosk at your local club. Your order can be ready for pick-up in as little as 24 hours! I went to the local BJ’s in Alexandria and was in and out in 20 minutes.

We had a great time, playing Heads Up! and laughing for hours. Friendships were cemented at the retreat and I can not WAIT to do it again next year.

Reception at the 2015 Self-Care Retreat

Thank you BJ’s for supporting the 2015 Self-Care Retreat!!

When Self-Care Starts With A Bottle Of Nail Polish

At the recent self-care retreat, our Sunday speaker Mia Redrick talked to retreat attendees about the concept of “blending”—where you fit in your me-time throughout the day. It was like a light bulb went off. When you think about it, waiting until the end of the day to feed yourself sounds foolish and a direct path to failure.

I immediately tried to think of ways to include myself more fully into my day. Mia recommends looking at all the errands you have to run and the extracurricular activities you end up taking your children to. How can you fit in some self-care while your child has soccer or karate practice? If you have to go to the grocery store, can you also pick up a magazine for yourself?

For me, my hands tell my stress. If I’m overwhelmed or not taking good care of myself, the first place it shows up is on my hands. If I’m struggling, my nails are brittle and peeling, my cuticles are peeling and all my nails are different lengths.

I used to be one of those women who thought regular manicures were a waste of money. Who cares what your hands look like? But I do so much with my hands. I make a living with these hands. I raise my children with these hands. I depend on them to do so much and I need to make it a habit of caring for them.

This is why I’m so thankful that Dr’s Remedy Nails signed on to sponsor the 2015 Self-Care Retreat. Their line of podiatrist formulated, vegan nail polish has been designed to promote healthy nail growth as well as give you beautiful color. The polishes do not contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, camphor or pthalates or DBP. As an “empowerment coach,” I also love that each shade is named with a wellness word.

remedy nails

This past weekend, I decided to incorporate a little “blending” in my life. My kids asked me to take them to the park and since it was still warm, I agreed. Normally, I either play with the kids or sit on the bench in the shade and wait for them to tire out.

But that day, I packed a good book and my Dr’s Remedy Nail Polish and made plans to do my nails while they played. I was overdue to spend some time on myself.

remedy nails 1

And it was great. The polish has a rich color—even one coat gives great coverage—and I love how the polish has tea tree oil and other vitamins in it to not only make your nails look good but actually become healthier as a result.

remedy nails 2

When it was time to go home, I felt immensely better. Instead of grumbling about how I had so much to do once we got home, I felt relaxed and ready to take on the second half of my day.

TIP: Try “blending.” How can you take care of yourself while taking care of your children as well?

[2015 Self-Care Retreat] Lessons On Living Boldly With Esther Boykin, LMFT

Over September 18-20, 20 women gathered in Alexandria, Virginia for a weekend of rest and relaxation at the first annual self-care retreat. Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some of the biggest lessons and aha moments we all felt as we gathered in a no-judgement zone. 

Esther Boykin and Tara Jefferson at the 2015 Self-Care Retreat

Day 1: Lessons on Living Boldly, by Esther Boykin, licensed family and marriage therapist 

I met Esther in person for the first time 30 minutes before her presentation at the self-care retreat began. We had been online buddies for months and I was love with her message and delivery (have you signed up for her 14-day love challenge? It’s awesome!). So when she said she had the day available to speak at the retreat, I jumped at the chance.

Esther challenged us in the most glorious way possible.

As a therapist, she’s great at handing people a shovel and getting them to do the hard work of digging deep. It felt like a group therapy session, with each of us working on our own “stuff.”

We had to confront what parts of ourselves we had been hiding and what behaviors we had engaged in that kept us from being seen as we truly are. Why do we have these perfectionist tendencies? Is it because we truly care that things should be perfect or is it because we don’t want people to think we’re somehow not smart enough to think of all the little details?

Esther Boykin speaking at the 2015 Self-Care Retreat

One mom shared that based on her views of what a “good mother” should do, she feels immense guilt when she does anything for herself. Esther’s counterpoint? “What if we reframe the situation? What if, instead of thinking about the guilt, we think about this: If we ask your children, as adults, what lessons they learned from their mom, what do you want them to say?”

The room went silent. What do we want our children to remember about us and do our actions today align with that?

My other big “aha” moment came when we discussed not taking ownership of other people’s feelings, particularly when we are in the midst of pursuing something that feeds us. This even extends to your children’s feelings. (I very vividly remember all those days when I would attempt to leave the house and the kids would claw at my ankles to get me to stay. Esther reminded us that, “It’s okay to have free time and it’s okay if the kids don’t like it.” They’ll learn to accept mommy’s free time.)

Esther’s encouragement to “be the star in the movie of our life” resonated with me and the other attendees.

Too often we shrink and hide who we are and why? For what reason? Fear, doubt and uncertainty can derail us from our goals if we let them. But I know attendees at the retreat have the armor they need to push forward.

The Bonds Made And Stress Released At My First National Self-Care Retreat

At the beginning of this year, I decided to lift my foot off the brake. You know how when you’re first learning to drive and you slam on the brake at completely unnecessary intervals because you’re scared and you don’t quite know how to maneuver and focus and you don’t want to crash? That was me, but with life.

I was scared of fully going after the things that I wanted, not because I could fail but MY GOD, what if I succeeded?? Then what?? People’s expectations would rise and what if I can’t keep up?

But I made the conscious decision to take my foot off the brake and step on the gas.

It was a necessary decision, as 2014 was a pretty bad year, personally and professionally. I lost about 40% of my income due to forces outside of my control, my depression was getting worse, and we got into an accident with a drunk driver.

I was determined to have 2015 be my year and I realized I had to get out of my own way to do that. So I thought to myself, “What does my community need?” It needed the same thing I needed—time to myself, away from everyone else and all my responsibilities.

So I began planning the 2015 Self-Care Retreat. I put together an amazing three days of girl talk, soul searching, great food and authentic community.

Now it has happened. This past weekend, 21 women joined me in Alexandria, Virginia for what I had been billing as the “best weekend of the year.”

self-care retreat group photo

We cried. We hugged. We laughed (and got security called on us—oops!). We ate good food and explored a new city with new friends. We enjoyed swag bags from generous sponsors ranging from Dove to Younique Cosmetics.

In short, we did exactly what I hoped we would do—came together for a life-changing weekend, filled with “aha” moments and lifestyle shifts, that leave us with the space to become those women we always dreamed of being.

I have a few more posts that will go more in-depth on the major takeaways (and man, they are extraordinary), but I wanted to write this brief post to share how incredibly grateful I am to the women who decided to join me for this first retreat. I had no track record of successfully executing an event of this magnitude, and yet they came. They arranged for someone to watch their kids, to leave work early, to get a plane ticket or a rental car and join me as I pursued my goals. There are no words to express this gratitude.

More posts on the weekend are coming, but for now, check out the #HereWeGrow15 hashtag on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a peek into the magic. All I have to say is, You gotta be there next year!

Tara Jefferson at the 2015 self-care retreat



3 Big Myths About Self-Care That Are Keeping You Stressed

3 Big Myths About Self-Care That Are Keeping You Stressed
1) Self-Care involves spending money

Do a simple Google search and most self-care tips and advice do indeed have some type of financial cost attached. But to think that taking care of yourself costs always money is to do yourself a disservice. Self-care, in its simplest definition is “care of self” and you can do that no matter how much is your bank account. Self-care is about honoring yourself—your mental state, your physical condition, your emotional needs.

2) Self-Care isn’t something you need to do daily

You should do at least one act of self-care per day. Monthly manicures or massages sound great and I say, go ahead and do that. But you should also be waking up with intention. Simply going through the motions and swinging from item to item on your to-do list leaves you without space for yourself.

When you wake up, ask yourself, “What do I need today?” Some days I wake up and I just know I need to give myself extra time to get things done because I’m sleepy and probably not on top of my game. Other days I wake up and I know I will need some physical comfort later on (AHEM). Think about what you need (every day!) and make sure you find a way to get it.

3) Self-Care must be done by yourself

Just because it’s called “self-care” it doesn’t mean it needs to be a solo activity. Hanging out with friends or spending time with family certainly qualifies if it is something that refreshes you and honors what you need at the time. Remember, the “rules” of self-care are yours to create. Whatever YOU need is what qualifies as self-care. Feel free to disregard everything I said if it doesn’t fit what YOU need. Honestly. That’s how all of this works. :)

It costs nothing to move yourself up on your to-do list, but the rewards are immeasurable.