On My Mind – 03 – Self-Care

One of my goals for this month has been trying to take things up a notch when working on Nourishing myself. Part of that has been exercise, part of it has been nutrition and then part of it has been kindness to my body like taking care of my skin, flossing, sleeping enough etc. 

But then another component was self-care. I wrote that I’d get one bonus point for a Self-Care item. When I wrote that down, I didn’t have a lot of ideas about what that could be, so I made a list for myself. Here’s what I had there:

  • face mask
  • soaking my feet
  • bubble bath
  • essential oils
  • mani/pedicure 
  • getting my hair done
  • connecting with friends
  • massage
  • meditate
  • nap

So that’s my list. But I would like to expand this list a lot more. I would like to end up with 30 items so I have something different to pick each day and some days I might want to do several to pamper myself.  I also want to understand what self-care means to me. Many of these are taking care of my body more but what about my soul and my mind, how do I practice self-care on those? Obviously journaling and art help. And meditation can serve both, but I still want to find others.

That’s what’s on my mind this week. I’d love to hear your ideas if you have some.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 02 – The Boring Middle


I haven’t felt like doing art lately. I still find myself going to the websites of different art courses and looking wistfully. There is a big part of me that wants to jump in and take all the classes. Watercolors, sketching, art journaling, give me all of them. 

But here’s the truth: there’s almost no magic to learning something new. Sure, there’s proper technique and there are materials that make it easier than others and there’s perspective, etc etc. But the biggest trick in learning something is putting in the hard work. It’s not the shiny beginning but the boring, long, dull, windy, and frustrating middle that matters most. You don’t just start. You have to show up again and again and again. Day after day. Even when you think you suck. Especially when you think you suck. When you’re tired. When you are frustrated, when you want to give up. When you believe there’s no way you can ever get this right. When you are convinced you have no talent whatsoever (and then remember that you believe in growth mindset.) 

If you want to see results, you have to show up again and again. This isn’t just true for art, of course. It’s true for music. For eating well. For exercising. For work. For school. For anything where you want to achieve consistent and positive results, you have to do the work. 

There are times when the work feels like fun. Some people love running. The endorphins, the joy of the fresh air on their face, and their feet hitting the dirt road is all they seek. To them, exercise is not hard work. Some people love cooking. Preparing nutritious meals is not their boring middle. There are things that we love to do so we make time for them. Like I do with books.

But then there are things that don’t come naturally. That require discipline and planning to do. Art is like that for me. (So is exercising and eating well!) And even though I’ve loved doing the monthly art pieces, I just haven’t been feeling it. And because I am not feeling it, I am not showing up regularly. And because I am not showing up regularly, I am really out of shape. So it’s that much more frustrating when I do show up because I’ve rusted. 

So that’s what on my mind this week. How do I get myself to fall in love with art again? How do I make room for it in my daily life? How do I continue to foster this because I know that when I do do art regularly, I am always happier. Always.

It’s just a matter of finding my way back.



On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 01 – Karen’s Point System

Years ago, when I was in my twenties and lived in New York City, I did Weight Watchers. There are many reasons I thought it was effective, but, by far, my favorite thing about it was that every single thing I ate had a numerical value attached to it. I am good with numbers. I liked having a number that helped me make decisions. I had 18 points a day and if I wanted a piece of chocolate, all I had to do was decide if the chocolate was worth four points. That was almost 20% of my daily points. If it was worth it, I’d eat it and if I thought it wasn’t, I wouldn’t. This is when I pretty much gave up pizza and muffins. Knowing how many points they were, there was never a time when I thought either of those two were worth it. Being able to look at food this way, as in I get something but I also give up something, made it easier for me to make a decision. In general, I think if we could all see the cost as well as the benefit easily, I think decision making becomes more fair and clearer. 

Anyhow, so I as I was thinking about 2018 and my goal to nourish myself better and my goal to get stronger and my goal to focus on self-care more, I decided maybe a point system can help me here, too. So I am going to try this out. We’ll see if it’s effective.

Here’s how I am breaking things out:

  • Exercise
    • Minimum 10 minutes of Cardio  – 1 point
    • Minimum 10 minutes of Strength Training – 1 point
    • Minimum 10 minutes of Stretching – 1 point
    • Minimum 5 minutes on the muscle roller – 1 point
  • Food
    • Each Meal that contains fat, fiber, protein – 1 point, up to 3 points
    • Caffeine-free day – 1 point
    • (Processed) Sugar-free day – 1 point
  • Self-Care
    • Floss – 1 point
    • Skin Cream – 1 point
    • Face Wash – 1 point
    • 8-hours of sleep – 1 point
    • Journaling/Art – 1 point
    • Any Extra Care including: mask, bath, oils, etc. – 1 bonus point

This is where I will start. This might look overwhelming to most people and the list might not make sense to you, these are things I want to work on so they make sense to me. It’s a way to keep myself honest. I specifically decided not to have any negative points. This is not about what I won’t do but more about what I will do. This is my January plan and as I do it, I will come up with a plan for February so we’ll see what happens there. I leave for Sydney on the last day of January so it will be a good reflection point for me. 

If I am doing my math right, the maximum points possible for a day are: 15 (including the bonus point).  

I am not sure if this is crazy or brilliant or something in between. I will find out. I strongly believe that the key to success in being intentional and I believe this will help me stay intentional about my goals. And if it turns out this doesn’t work, then we’ll try something new.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.