April 11, 2014 - Better You, Style

My Self Care Epic Fail + Style Challenge Inspiration

Alison Aubrey Ava Crop Happy Friday!  I have something a little different planned for today’s post.  You guys know how big of a proponent I am for self-care and feeling good about how we look.  It’s the basis of what this blog was started on.  It’s not only what I preach but it’s what I try to live every day.  When I got stuck in my mom rut, the only thing that led me out was dedication to taking care of and feeling good about myself so that I could be the best possible mom for my family.

The irony in all of that is I’m failing miserably right now.

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind.  The launch of my first style challenge has exceeded my wildest expectations in the best way possible.  At the same time, I’ve been trying to keep up with my regular blogging schedule and responsibilities, which normally fills my days on it’s own.  It’s a lot of work, but fun work.  I call that “good stress”.

Then there’s the bad stress.  My power steering went out on my car and Craig is out of town for work again.  I’ve been coordinating car repairs while being a “single mom” and trying to keep up with everything else.

Let’s just say that my self care is in the crapper.

I haven’t worked out all week, laundry is piling up to the sky, we’ve had fast food or take out for dinner almost every night and now I have a compressed nerve in my neck.  My body is screaming at me to slow down but my life is not having it.

Here’s how I’m coping with my self care epic fail.  Maybe it will help you too.

1.  Cut yourself some slack.  I’ve worn my yoga pants almost all day every day this week.  Do you know what?  No one died.  We all have seasons of life where it’s not going to work to get dressed and put on makeup every day.  When you’re in one of those seasons, acknowledge it as temporary and give yourself permission to be where you are.  Judging has NEVER made anything better.   Remember, this too shall pass.

2.  Enlist some help.  I have a house cleaner come in once a month and what a difference it’s made.  Her monthly visit fell on Wednesday of this week.  Divine timing!  I immediately felt like my life had regained some order just from having a clean house.  Ask yourself what’s outside your zone of genius (or zone of motivation) and hire help for it.  Free yourself up to do what really matters.  If you don’t have the resources to pay for help, ask family or friends if they can step in for free once in awhile or barter services with them.

3.  Make time for you.  One evening this week, I made time to meet my girlfriends for dinner.  Even though this is something I wouldn’t normally do when Craig is out of town, I knew I needed to go.  My daughters got a little whiny when I told them I was going but ultimately my need for “me time” won out over mom guilt.  When I got home, I felt recharged and still had quality time with them before bed.

4.  Refer back to what works. OK, I know how crazy this sounds, but I re-read my own book!  One night before bed, I pulled up my copy of Get Pretty, Kick Butt! on my Kindle and skimmed through a few chapters.  Sometimes I need a reminder of what it takes to structure my days properly.  In the season of life that I wrote that book, I had a really good handle on what was working best for me.  It serves as a guidepost when I need to get back to basics.  If you have a good book or guide that works for you, refer back to it often.

5.  Take a deep breath and be thankful.  There is so much good about this season of life.  Even though it’s really hectic, there’s good to be found in every moment.  Craig is out of town because he is valued and has a stable, secure job.  I’m harried from running around because I have the ultimate privilege of serving my family.  My blog is busy because I’m blessed to have readers who enjoy it.  My car might need repairs but at least it’s paid off!  Each night before I fall asleep, I say a prayer of thanks for all of these incredible blessings.

Craig comes home today and I’ve “mostly” got a handle on everything around here.  Heck, I may even find time to put on makeup today and try to look pretty too!

It’s Your Turn:  What tips do you have for making life work when you’re in a busy season?  I’d love to hear them!

STYLE CHALLENGE INSPIRATION Spring Style Me Header 2 There is something seriously magical going on in our Spring Style Me Challenge Facebook group.  This challenge is worth it just for that community.  I wanted to share with you a few quotes pulled from it these past few days:

I ABSOLUTELY love this challenge! One of the best parts of this list is how affordable it is! Each person can choose to spend as much or as little as they want on clothing items. I love that we will style clothes that can be from Target or Saks-and look absolutely gorgeous! Thank you!

Today was a breakthrough for me; I felt so good, confident and stylish, and yet still so comfortable–in my outfit and in my own skin. I wasn’t hiding under baggy clothes, wasn’t tugging on something that didn’t fit well, and wasn’t wearing something that didn’t feel like ME. What a difference! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU all!

Looking at the clothes in my closet a whole different way…not something I would of even thought of a week ago….thank you for “challenging” me to go outside my “comfort level”!

I’m getting so many good ideas here and learning so much from what you’ve shared, I’ve started a little folder of pics/ideas to take shopping. Feel like I know what I’m looking for and shopping smarter. Thanks, to all of you!

It’s nice to have a group of positive women encouraging each other. It’s very refreshing in our world-I’m feeling good about my body and clothing choices instead of feeling like I don’t measure up. Thanks ladies and Alison.

The courage and confidence displayed by the challengers has been incredibly inspiring.  Feeling great about what you’re wearing and how you look is absolutely a game-changer.  I love seeing how style crosses all borders.  We have women in the group from their late 20’s to late 50’s and from all walks of life.  It’s a universal language that we’re speaking in this challenge.  I’ve never been involved in any group that’s been more supportive, encouraging or uplifting.  My heart is bursting with joy!

If you want to get in on this amazing experience, there’s still time.  Late registration for the Spring Style Me Challenge ends at midnight tonight.  The first outfit will be released Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. CT.  You can register now and get your shopping list immediately so you’ll have the weekend to shop and get your pieces in place by Sunday evening.  Most of the challengers already had a lot of the pieces in their closets.  Click HERE to join us!

Have a wonderful weekend!  I’ll be back on Monday with my Daily Style Diary recap.  See you then!

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  1. Just take it one day at a time and do not fuss over the little things. Not keeping up with laundry is not the end of the world. Hope things calm down soon. Have a great weekend!

  2. I am betting that if the laundry piles up a little, you all have enough clean clothes to wear! ;). Take care of yourself and I am so excited to see what is coming up for us in the style challenge next week! Everyone is right – the community and support in the Facebook group has been phenomenal! What a great group of “friends”! 🙂

  3. I am just like you! No one is dying in this situation, a messy house is okay. Especially with our new house, I need to cut myself some slack! We have been busting you-know-what trying to get the house ‘finished’. Will it ever be finished? Probably not! Time to sit back, relax, and take a nap 🙂

  4. As women, I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be “perfect” when “good enough” is good enough. We all have our struggles and insecurities. We need to gives ourselves some slack and give it to others as well. 🙂 Great post, Alison.

  5. Life is like that, it ebbs and flows with busyness. It all comes out ok in the end. Proud of you for having the house cleaner come. It makes all the difference when you need it.

    I’m loving the Style Challenge to pieces. You are awesome at finding pieces that are affordable for everyone. The best part is that all the ladies are so sweet to each other. I love that!

  6. I have found that it the craziness feeds itself – life is crazy so what I need is a clean house and everything squared away but because life is so crazy, I don’t have time to make that so. So the house is a disaster, I am stressed out and it just goes around and around.

    Through all of the chaos, just try to keep in mind that you are still an awesome person Alison and it is okay to set one goal of just getting through the day. 🙂

  7. Oh man, I think we have all had those weeks and I stress out just reading about yours! I already do a lot of the same things as you, and one of my other things is using a timer. If I know I can’t get all the housework done or blog comments done etc., I set a timer for 30 minutes and just say “That is enough time to spend on this today, even if I didn’t finish that’s all I can reasonably give this.” Otherwise all the unfinished tasks bother me a lot, but for some reason if I know I spent X time on them, I feel more complete than if I just know I didn’t finish something.
    Gina ~ On the Daily Express

  8. I heartily agree with #2. When my husband was working in Ireland we had a cleaning crew come in every other week. Once he came back we continued it. It’s given us so much more time and alleviated lots of stress! And you are so right with #1, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy with too high expectations for ourselves. If comfortable clothes helps you get more done and means less stress go for it!

  9. Love this post..it is so true! Grace for yourself is a good thing! I am loving the challenge and our outfits haven’t even officially started yet. It’s a great group, so supportive and helpful. I wish we all lived close to each other, it would be so fun to get together all dressed up! Thanks for hanging in there after a rough week!


  10. We’ve all been there. For me, #2 and #3 are super important. I can’t think straight when I have a messy house so I also have house cleaners come once a month and it’s a huge help. I think a little time away from the kids for some adult fun with girlfriends is a must. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. It sounds like you have had a crazy week but i’m glad that you reminded yourself that no matter what our best intentions may be, we all can get overwhelmed!!!! I would kill for a house cleaner. I’ve been sick all week, hence the dust levels in my house have surpassed a new high and it’s driving me crazy, but I can’t do anything about it. I have to look after myself and my family. Glad your giving yourself some slack. I’m so glad that your style challenge is working out so well.



  12. This was a great read. Nice to know you’re taking your own advice and re -reading your own book. That is too funny.

    I know that when things get out of control I hate it when my house starts to look super messy. That seems to make everything worse.

  13. I love you are thankful for things throughout these trials you have been going through! You have a right perspective. Thankfulness and prayer are my number one ways to get through a difficult time. I also love that you look an evening with your girlfriends and enlisted some help. Great tips! I hope your life can return to it’s usual pace soon! Have a nice weekend!

  14. It is so nice to be reminded we are all human and we all have stress. It sounds like your getting back on track, and I think that is the key. Being ok with getting slightly off track and not letting that prevent you from getting right back to what worked before. That being said, I am so looking forward to the outfits starting on the style challenge. Maybe I won’t get it together to wear Monday, but I can just as easily wear it Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend.

  15. We are all so hard on ourselves that occasionally its ok to give in and give up a little.. I loved reading through this and feeling, I am not alone. I haven’t had the time for anything for myself lately, except for trying to cram in some sleep..but I know it will be ok eventually. I love that you are so grounded and so easily relatable. Thank you Alison 🙂

  16. Ahhhh!! LOVE this post! Yep — I have weeks, too, where I can barely keep things together. In addition to your recommendations for coping, I also tell myself that it is OK to ask my kids to pitch in a little more when my husband is out of town. This shows them that it is important to pull together as a family and my 12 year old son said “Wow — I didn’t know how much stuff you guys have to do in the house!” after an evening of tidying up and getting the laundry together. I can see the look on their face that says that they feel good about helping me out a little more than usual and it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
    I am also a firm believer in cutting yourself some slack — women are waaaaay too hard on themselves!!

  17. Oh Alison, I’m so sorry you’ve had such a stressful week! I especially love #5, because sometimes all we can do is stop for a minute and say “this too shall pass”. Your posts are always such an inspiration to me. So glad you’re hubby is coming home today. I hope you all have a really great weekend to make up for the stressful week :). P.S. I’m participating in the style challenge (yay!) but I’m not on Facebook (I know, I know, I’m the only person left). Could I use my son’s facebook to join in the discussion?

  18. No one ever really has it ALL together, and it’s nice to hear from someone who doesn’t claim to be perfect. Instead, you’re REAL and I love that about you and your blog! p.s. the pic of you and your girls is gorgeous! 🙂

    xo Always, Abby

  19. Sorry you’ve had such a hectic week, but happy you kept your head above water. It’s a great pic in your post. When were you in New Orleans?

  20. So sorry you’ve had a rough week – mine has been similar and not looking much better with hubby having some upcoming business trips. But, like you said, there’s always another way to look at things with a thankful heart. And on the plus side, I pulled the trigger last night and ordered the KS necklace. Woo hoo!

  21. I’m sorry it’s been a tough week Alison. I know as women we put so much pressure on ourselves to have a perfect house, laundry folded, dinner on the table and be put together 100% of the time. And it’s especially hard when your hubby is out of town. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen. And that’s ok. Next week is a new week!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  22. I have nothing to add! You covered it pretty well…you know what to do:)
    Please don’t push yourself too hard. We would miss you if you had a break down like your car…kidding…about the break down, but missing you. And do NOT take tone to respond to me. You are so sweet to always acknowledge our comments, but you are swamped so skip this one!

  23. What a week! I hope it all settles down again soon. When my week gets crazy like that, I always tell myself two things: (1) ‘Don’t let Perfect get in the way of Done’ because sometimes grabbing the yoga pants allows you that little bit of extra time to address an issue before it explodes into something crazier; and (2) If my house isn’t spotless, if laundry is piling up, if calls (or other social media) aren’t immediately responded to, etc., will Western Civilization come to a screeching halt? The answer has always been no when I’ve asked myself that…which allows me to take a breather (meet up with friends! stick my nose in a good book! go for a walk!) and recharge a bit before addressing the issue(s). Here’s to a calmer week next week….

  24. Sorry you have a rough week! But I think you had some great tips and good for you for getting out! I’m been feeling very overwhelmed lately too, with the impending birth of baby #2 coming in May and balancing that with figuring out how I’m going to continue to run my own biz. For me, some time alone always helps!

  25. Alison- This is why we love you! You are so real and genuine. I hope you have a great weekend with your hubby home! And please DO NOT respond to me….you are not allowed 🙂 You need to take a break 🙂 I’m so looking forward to the challenge next week!

  26. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a tough week! It’s hard to try to do it all. I often take on too much and then notice I can’t sleep because of it, constantly feel like I’m forgetting something! Best cure for me is almost always a girls night…it could just be coffee that does the trick.

  27. Thanks for your transparency today. All women have those days or weeks and all get discouraged at times. It’s important to have the tools and encouragement from friends to give us the “chin up!” Take a “yoga breath” and have a beautiful weekend!

  28. We’re all bound to have those days (weeks, months) and yoga pants aren’t all bad (says the mom who has lived in them for a year!).
    Self-care is always the last on the list for so many but I always hear the analogy about the oxygen mask. You HAVE to put your own mask on firsts or you’re useless to everyone else.
    While I’m not always the best at following this, I know it’s true. When you’re well, you’re better able to care for those around you.
    Hope things slow down a little.
    On a positive, I’m LOVING the Challenge AND the group! We have so many amazing women! It’s great!

  29. I know what you mean! We were involved in a nose to tail accident 6weeks ago and have been without a family car since. I have 3 kids and a tiny car we can’t all fit into. I work 20 hours per week and my husband works out if town four days a week. By the end of week 3 of all of this, I ended up with a headache that lasted five days. It was at that point I knew that something had to change! What did I do? I started running again. Just 3 times a week for 45 minutes a time. Calm has been restored!

  30. Sometimes I feel as if I am too busy, and I am certain that God does not want it that way. After a whirlwind winter, I am trying to get myself back on track by doing a bit of self care. I love to exercise and sew – those are my go to’s. My daughter is excellent at taking time to relax. I need to take cues from her! Susan

  31. This is a great post and a good reminder that even the mighty have hardships. Thanks for sharing with us. I LOLes on you reading your own book, but your blog is very inspirational so I am sure your book is amazing! Enjoy your self care and feel better.

  32. That’s a great list for weeks that get crazy, trying to do better on my self-care was what first led me to your blog:). Keeping my family my top priority but realizing that it’s ok, and beneficial, to spend some self care time & get my pretty on when possible, has been an ongoing process and a big blessing. An even bigger challenge seems to be saying no to things that aren’t a top priority, but that others expect me to do, I’m still working on that one:). And today is my re-set day, my house & laundry got out of hand this week too, getting them under control makes life so much better! Hope you get to relax a little this weekend, so excited for the challenge!

  33. Thanks for the honesty in your post. I love your blog! What an encouragement. You look fantastic in that photo too!

    xx, Amy Ann
    This is a fantastic look on you. You look great in that color. Found you from the link up.Newest follower!

    Xx, Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

  34. If yoga pants were an option when I was a young mom, then I would have worn them too, ALOT!
    Rearing a family and running a household, well, is so difficult! YOu were smart to regroup, read abck your own wise words, and learn from it. Move on!: we are not perfect, and life has its up and downs, it is how we grow!
    XX, Elle

  35. Beautiful photo of you and your girls! So much wisdom in this post. One of my mentors once told me that as a mom you will be juggling many balls and it’s okay to let some of the less urgent ones drop sometimes. You can always pick them back up and start juggling again! 🙂

  36. Hiring a house keeper has been THE BEST thing I EVER did for self care. I absolutely cannot imagine life without her. She comes every other week during the school year and every week during the summer when kids are home and the house is always in an uproar.

    I also agree totally on cutting yourself some slack. We all need to do that more often. I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves to do it all. Great advice! Thanks for keeping it real. And I hope your life slows down soon. 🙂

  37. My husband registered me for the challenge and I have not yet gotten my shopping list. I’m sure I have most in my closet and would love to particiapate. Could you send me the list. THe payment was confirmed in an email. Thanks. So excited to be a part of the challenge.

  38. Girl, you are a hundred kinds of awesome, but sometimes it’s okay to just need a yoga-pants-wearing no-makeup no-frills I-am-not-doing-the-dishes-and-I-don’t-care vacation. I’m right there with you this weekend. I had to be fabulous all week at a conference and I told my husband this morning that I’d be damned if I was cooking breakfast or doing anything domestic, so we walked to Starbucks and I ate a donut. And I just wrote a bunch of scheduled posts on healthy living. Hey, we’re human. Sometimes the Internet gets to see that, sometimes it doesn’t, but it happens. 🙂

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