Candace Allen is one of the most incredible women I have met. She is a sister, a friend and not to mention my amazing photographer responsible for my beautiful brand images. She is talented, generous and authentic. I am honored and grateful to know Candace and to share her hard earned wisdom with you today. Enjoy.
Q. What does Self-Care mean to you?
I am learning that Self-Care for me is stopping when I need to. I am learning the art of infinite time. I am realizing that before I can function and move forward in my life (daily and beyond) I have to put myself in a “good feeling” place. This is certainly not mastered but it is rather easy to do. It just takes time and sometimes I forget. I often have to call my sisters to be reminded of how to pull myself out of the inevitable funk we all get ourselves into. For me, where to start depends on how I am feeling.
One of the easiest ways for me to feel good starts with food. In my life (like many of us) I have struggled with food. HA! It sounds so silly, something like food should never be stressful, it should just be, right? Anywho, what I have learned is if I put something from the earth into my body before anything else, I swear to you it completely changes the course of my day.
I also like to tap in consciously to my dreams when I am on the verge of waking up. So, when I am still sleeping but awake enough to realize that I am still sleeping, I try to think of things that I love and appreciate in my life like how lucky I am. I try to keep myself in this place until I am fully awake which is well after my shower. Keeping myself in a place of thinking wonderful things before I am fully awake takes practice. I have never made it through a morning without having to remind myself several times to jump back into a positive present mind. I also try to carry this positive present mind throughout my day and life but somedays I just feel like crawling back into bed and falling back to sleep so I don’t have to consciously feel anything. This may be good to do sometimes, but eventually, we have to get up, put on our big girl panties, and take care of ourselves!
Q – Was there a time when you did not take care of YOU and how did it affect your life & business?
Of course! This also happens often. I feel like when a person decides to create there own business, it is hard to understand that we are essentially creating something out of no where. This is also hard for the other people in our lives, i.e. our families, to understand. It takes a lot of support to make shit up! If you don’t have that support or rather the opposite of support, it is SO hard. What I mean by this is unless the people in your life are “down with” your path of self reliance, you are met with challenges like, “Mommy, why are you always working?” (I spend OODLES of time with my kids BTW) or “Are you REALLY working all day?”. Especially when you add in taking care of yourself. You cannot possibly be working if you are doing Qoya in your living room or writing in your journal before you begin your work day. A walk!? You can’t go for a walk.
So there is the CONSTANT internal battle with getting a “REAL JOB” meaning going somewhere that is already established and collecting a pay check. Guess what that means? I can’t be there for my kids in the way they need, Mama isn’t going to be happy and neither is anyone else. Taking care of yourself is absolutely necessary in creating a livelyhood and dealing with the internal battles of guilt and doubt, no matter what your job is.
Q – What are your top 3 Self-Care tips that women can incorporate into their lives?
I mentioned 2 in the first question. I also mentioned the part about stopping as needed. A lot of the time I am in the middle of working and my kids are hanging on me telling me how bored they are. In those moments, I have started several different things and finished none of them. I can’t even get close to seeing anything clearly. This is when I STOP! I turn around and say to my kids something like, let’s bake something or dance party! or let’s get out of this house. If I take enough time, I am able to go back to those five things and choose one to finish, then the next and so on. So my first tip is STOP!
My second tip is about time. We all have plenty of time. You may or may not have families, doesn’t matter. I am going to use my kids for this example. For a long time I would imply that we were late. I would tell my kids to hurry, get ready, you have school today you know! After all that we would end up being CRAZY early! I started to shut my mouth. Now I tell them how much time they have. When it is time to get in the car, I get in the car.
They are often still in the house putting the socks and shoes on, hugging the dog, drawing!!! Whatever they are doing … I just wait and while I am about to burst inside I try to distract myself by looking at my phone. (my phone doesn’t work at my house BTW) Eventually they come wandering out and guess what? We are NEVER late! So me worrying and making my kids worry is useless. Try this in your own way. I swear it works. So this tip is…We have plenty of time, realize it!
My third tip is a new one for me. I have recently decided to work on standing up straight. My thought behind this is to keep my heart in front. If I am leaning over it seems my head is in front. Try this and let me know.
Q. Do you have a morning Self-Care ritual?
Oddly enough…part of my self-care morning routine is folding a load of laundry. I wake up rather early so it feels really good to have finished something before 6am. I also go to bed very early. My routine changes but I try to get up and meditate or do some qoya (suggested by Elena) I just like to be alone in the morning before my kids wake up so I can set my day.
On the weekends I have recently started the routine of telling my girls that I am sleeping in, (sleeping in for me is around 830) when I decide to wake up, I roll over,pull the blinds, grab my book and read for about 45 minutes. My girls do come in and ask when I am getting up and what we are doing for the day and so on. I just tell them we will talk about it when I wake up and finish reading. I am noticing that they are beginning to accept and respect that time. I see this as a gift for me and a profound gift to them. I hope they learn to honor and cherish themselves. I hope they grow up knowing that there is no other way to live than to love and take care of themselves first. Love for others is all that can follow when we truly love ourselves first.
Q – What’s something (fun, silly, surprising) that we can learn about you?
I drive a little yellow VW Bus. It makes me so happy. The Bus makes everyone happy. People throw me peace signs, hearts and kisses! It is one of my most favorite things!
And a little gift for you …
Candace Allen is an artist, photographer, and Mom. She follows her intuition on a path to fearlessness, carving the way for her daughters. Candace is always game to try new things and cook good food. Spending time behind the lens provides an avenue for her innate artistic expression to illuminate the essence of a soul. She shares her work and life at www.solesnaps.com.
Candace and I want to know … are you aware of your body and standing up straight? Does it change your perspective and the way you feel in your body? Try noticing your posture right now and notice how it changes the feeling in your body.
Post your reflections in the comments below.