You can now Follow my blog with Bloglovin!
It’s my favorite time of the year and it’s finally here! Well not technically until September 22nd but, for me, as soon as my kids go back to school it’s Fall! As a redhead with pale skin, much as I love those long sunny summer days, I’m just better suited to the cooler weather and, come September, I’m longing for the days when I can wear a sweater or a jacket and boots!!
Living in the high desert here in Santa Fe I’m wearing a minimum of SPF 65+ every day regardless of the season. In high summer it’s often SPF 110! The sun here is intense!! I’ve had my scalp, where my hair parts, sunburnt several times when I’ve inadvertently been outdoors longer than expected without a hat. You can’t mess around here when it comes to sun protection.
But as Fall approaches and the days get cooler, the kids have returned to school, and my schedule shifts back into a more fixed routine, I like to take some time for myself and that all important self-care that ensures that I can do what I need and want to do for myself and others and continue to learn and grow.
I don’t know about you but I find I too easily neglect my own needs when things get busy on the home, family, and work fronts. When that happens my mood gets lower, my energy levels head south and I’m not very effective in my work. I’m not the mother, partner or friend I wish to be, and generally become unhappy and not very pleasant to be around.
As a feminist who consumes a lot of news, reads a lot of pretty heavy articles and research pieces relating to tough issues like human trafficking, domestic violence etc. I find that it’s particularly important for me to keep on top of my self-care. If I don’t, I just can’t be of service to others. The topics that I deal with just consume me rather than me using my knowledge to better serve.
There are many elements to a self-care practice but in this post I’m going to concentrate on just one. It’s the one that I think is most important, the one that truly feeds my soul, and that’s social connection.
This Fall I’m planning a Sisterhood Gathering for a Fall Feast!
I love getting together with my girlfriends over the yummy seasonal fare of Fall after the long summer break. I love to host but don’t love to cook. Now, that may seem like a contradiction I know but it’s not really - bear with me!
I love to prepare a beautiful welcoming space with a gorgeous table. I love taking care of all the small things that make an evening of entertaining go smoothly and successfully. I can prepare cocktails and starters and desserts but, the truth is, I have no particular love of the culinary arts - apart from the eating part!
So gathering with friends, sharing the preparation of the dishes, each person contributing to a beautiful shared evening together, this is something that feeds my soul and heart not just my body.
Cheese boards and wine, chocolates and great coffee, conversation and laughter that stretch into the small hours, these are the experiences that leave me feeling replenished and renewed.
We get so busy with all of our responsibilities that it becomes easy to fall out of the habit of actually seeing and being with our friends in this digital age. Loneliness is a killer. A recent study from Brigham Young University says that loneliness is an even bigger health risk that obesity. We know too that women tend to outlive men so many of us may well find ourselves living alone in the future, if we aren’t already. Being alone obviously doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re lonely, it’s our social connections that matter here and we need to nurture them.
Having moved so often myself I have had to start afresh periodically over the years. It’s not something I imagined having to do so often. I thought that I had made my friends back in my twenties and that would be more or less that. Little did I know what the Universe had in store for me and now I find myself thousands of miles away from those dear friends.
In my new home here in America I see how dispersed families can become across this massive and beautiful country. Our friends become more and more important to us as a result. And if we end up moving around a lot ourselves, we can feel less motivated to make the effort to dig in and find our people, again. It can be tempting to slip into an online world of connection and to neglect the off-line real world of true human connection and interaction.
Personally it takes me the best part of two years to form new friendships. I’m a quality over quantity person. Time is precious and I want to spend it with people who bring high energy into my life rather than drain me. The best way that I’ve found to avoid people who will be a drain rather than a positive force is to slow down and take my time.
I don’t befriend people in a desperately needy pang of loneliness. I probably err on the other side of the scale, just dipping my toe in slowly and taking a long time to survey my new social landscape. That way I avoid having to untangle myself later from relationships with people who just don’t suit me.
I have felt and still do feel lonely sometimes. It’s definitely hard to know if someone is lonely though isn’t it? It’s not obvious unless that person tells you, and let’s face it, not many people will feel comfortable enough to do that! So, I choose to assume, regardless of how sparkly someone’s life might be portrayed on social media, that many people will go through periods of feeling lonely.
So, for my own self-care and as a reflection of my belief that most people would benefit from more social connection, I’ve decided to invite my small circle of friends here in Santa Fe to bring a friend to my “Fall Feast”.
It’s a great way to meet new people, who may well become friends. The point is to extend a welcome and to connect with and enjoy the company of new people. These are people with just one degree of separation from me already. The likelihood of us getting on is potentially quite high and there’s just that element of comfort while everyone is meeting new people that they’re also with people they already know well.
[In Santa Fe we like our margaritas and this I can make!]
Much as routine is important in life, keeping us on track as we manage our daily lives and responsibilities and strive for our longer term goals, it’s novelty that wakes us up inside and fuels creativity and growth. I believe we need both to thrive and as the beautiful spirit that was the great Maya Angelou said;
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; And to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some Style!
[ We put this Maya Angelou Quote on one of our tees. You can check it out here]
So this Fall I’m planning this Fall Feast Sisterhood Gathering for the very first time. I’ve mentioned it to my few close friends here in Santa Fe and asked them to think about who they’d like to invite. Next it will be searching for a date, a Friday or Saturday that will suit the most people, and then the fun of menu planning and more.
I’ll be sharing with you how the evening goes in a future blog post. In the meantime if you have any fall favorite recipes you’d recommend for my dinner please post a link in the comments. I’m also thinking about a seasonal cocktail so any ideas on that front would be most welcome too. We do like our margaritas here in the southwest but maybe something more season specific might make a nice change.
Do you have any traditions for Fall or are you, like me, planning on introducing a new tradition?
What’s your top self-care tip?
Looking for a gift for one of your girlfriends or female family members? Check out our range of tees, jewelry, scarves and colorful tote bags here.
Eimear Zone is an author, entrepreneur and founder of feminist brand and social enterprise, PEBBLE + ROSE. She writes on feminism, entrepreneurship, and mindset management. She can be contacted at email@example.com and IG @emtczone.
Eimear's book, The Little Book of Good Enough - Quiet Your Inner Critic, Ditch the Doubt, and Own Your Worth, is out on October 30th 2018. Join our mailing list to get special pre-launch access!
Want more of this type of content? Why not subscribe to our e-mail list to receive your dose of inspiration, insight and stories of women making a difference. Oh, and there's always the special offers and VIP discount codes too!