Time is that one thing that we spend without thinking about it. We rarely think about how much we're spending, on what, or even why sometimes. Yet, time rules our lives more than anything else, and we need to learn how to spend it wisely, just as we need to learn how to spend our money wisely.

Imagine you have $24 a day, and wish to spend every penny in that day. What would you spend it on? Some would say "well, I need to put aside a certain amount to save", but in this scenario, you MUST spend the entire $24 in a day. There is no saving any of it, only losing it or wasting it. How careful of that $24 spend would you be? What would you spend that $24 on?

Everyone will have different answers, and there are no rights or wrongs, just perspective, and introspection. I recently read an article where the author, and entrepreneur, spent 30 hours per week running a successful business. 30 hours! That's less than most peoples' 40+ hour week at their jobs! But how? How did the author do that? By making a list of priorities when it comes to spending time. Sounds simple right? HA! But, it can be done, and needs to be done, in order to create a life full of meaning, connections, joy, peace, happiness and the list goes on.

Our days are filled with time that is spent doing something. If we were to figure out what we spend time on, and what we'd like to spend time on, we could come up with graphs and charts and we could see where we need to tighten our spending, or spend more in other areas. There are certain basic requirements, like sleep, that should be considered "fixed" time costs. In this category we would add work, and to work we could add commute time, since we know how long it takes to get to work, and home. Each of us will have a "fixed" amount of time, depending on our needs, and of course, everyone will be different.

I'm going to use sleep as the only "fixed" time in my schedule, and work on spending the rest of my time wisely. This is an exercise in self care. We talk about #selfcare all the time, and include examples of it such as: taking a day off, taking a bubble bath, sitting quietly with a book and a cup of tea, spending time with family, friends and loved ones, skin care routines, bed time routines, workouts, slowing down, carving out "me time", etc. etc. But we rarely talk about how we spend time when we talk about #selfcare yet it is so critical to self care and well-being.

The easiest way to carve out time is to say no. No, I can't meet up with you tonight for drinks after work. No, I can't stay later. No, I can't take on another project. No, I can't stay up late. No.

By saying no you are being selfish, which is fine. It's ok to be selfish about yourself, and your time. You can't save time, or get it back but you can decide whether or not you want to spend it on certain activities. Saying no is the simplest and most effective way to exhibit and practice self care. But it has to start with how you have allotted time for certain things. We are creatures of habit, and know how much time is spent in any activity. For example, I know that I'll spend at least 2 hours a day taking my dog for walks or to the dog park for her to socialize with her friends and get the exercise she desperately needs. I also know that I'll try to spend at least an hour a day reading the news, or a book, or an article. So, how do I allot the rest of my hours?

I'll do it by assigning a set number of hours for certain things, starting with what I consider a priority. This is where everyone is very different. And, by practicing self discipline...something I really need to work on, I'll admit that openly.

Work - is it a priority? Well, of course it is, if you want to pay bills, save for the future, enjoy comforts, eat, have basic necessities, and so forth and so on. But is it REALLY a priority? Should it be the first priority? Again, everyone will answer this question differently, and will decide for themselves if work is the number one priority. If you have a job with set hours, then you know where you are spending that amount of time. But some of us don't have set hours, or even set schedules, so we need to plan around this kind of fluctuating work structure. And we do it by setting aside a certain number of hours a day to work, be it marketing, posting to social media, planning, and being at the physical location of our work, or by being present online, if that's our business model. So, if I am to set myself to work 30 hours a week, which is 5 hours a day, I'll need to really focus and discipline myself to work, without distraction, on a project, like this blog, and then allow myself to use the rest of my time for other things, like family, health, and doing enjoyable activities like going for a bike ride (either my bicycle or motorcycle), taking in a movie, going out for dinner, meeting up with friends, or getting my wild and rampant garden under control! Even when I allot time for these activities, I have to remain disciplined. Going out for dinner is such an enjoyable experience, especially now with so many constraints on dining in restaurants, that I need to stay on task...enjoying dinner out. I need to put the phone down, not answer emails or questions, not respond to texts from tribe members or others, and be in the moment of having dinner out.

In today's world of instant communication it's really hard to put that phone down. I know this. I'm looking at my phone at an alarming amount of time every day, and I'm working on "no phone time zones". Such as dinner. Especially if it's dinner out. Or, when having coffee with a friend, or visiting someone I care about and miss, or after a certain hour..no phone time zones. It sounds so easy...but we have a desire to know, and to connect, and to be heard or seen, validated in our ideologies, share our experiences with other like-minded people, or just because it has become an addiction. And it has.

I'm not going to go into statistics about the time spent on devices by age group or demographic. I don't need to, none of us do, because we are all aware of how much time we spend scrolling through feeds, posting to social media, texting people all day long, or distracting ourselves with games, or shopping, or videos of baby otters eating something (they are SOOOOO incredibly cute!), or whatever it is that we are doing on our phones all day long. Have you ever lost or misplaced your phone? The near-panic is an indication of just how attached to our phones we really are. It's like going to the mall with a toddler, and losing them. Panic. Absolute panic until they are found...same thing with our phones. So, I carve out time for phone use, and say no to frivolous time spent scrolling through social media and whatnot.

For some of us, the cellphone is money. That's how some people make a living, but it still shouldn't be the center of how we spend our time. Really getting a good grip on how much time is spent on the cellphone can free up more time to do things that don't involve technology or social media. I'm a work in progress.

#selfcareSunday is something that you'll see all over social media. Today, I really wanted to talk about saying no, and how it's critical to self care. Planning time spent on daily activities is something I'm not quite good at...yet. But I've started with my mornings spent with a coffee and reading through the news. Something I actually enjoy doing. I used to start my day with work tasks, and then getting busy with the day and getting things done, saving only the end of the day for my own time spent on doing things I enjoy, or that thing called "me time". Rather than giving myself the crumbs of me, at the end of the day when I'm exhausted, I've decided to start the day with "me time". Not taking care of anything or anyone else, just nursing my coffee and catching up on world events. I say no to emails, texts, communications and whatnot that are work related. Then, after my allotted time of "me time", I say no to distractions, like another round of solitaire, or celebrity news that I really have no interest in, or scrolling through social media. I'm getting really good at this last one! I couldn't tell you what my husband posted to Facebook only because I'm not scrolling through Facebook at all. Same goes with other social media platforms. I have no idea what people have posted to their pages, only because I have allotted a certain amount of time, and how I spend that time, on social media. This one act of saying no to constant scrolling through social media has really created more time to spend on other priorities, like actually TALKING to someone, or getting another task, like laundry, done.

I do still follow accounts, and comment on posts, and like and share, but only when I feel it's relevant to me, my followers, or the account that I'm following. So, if you've noticed that I'm spending less time on social media, it's by choice. I prioritize other things now, and it's really helping me with staying on task, and getting things done, and having more time to spend in other areas of my life. And to me, this is self care.

Well, I've used up my allotted time for creating this blog post. I know it sounds contrary to what I've been saying about spending time on technology, but I did allot this time, set it aside and planned it, and now it's time to move onto other things that I feel are priorities...like that garden. Managing my time and saying no have been the most important things I've learned this week about #selfcare. What are YOUR priorities when it comes to spending time? How do YOU manage your time? How do YOU spend it? What tips and tricks would you like to share? We encourage your input and insight. Feel free to comment!

Stay happy and healthy my beautiful tribe.

Solitude is something I thrive on, and this social distancing and isolation has brought me lots of solitude. I remember enjoying my solitude even as a child, playing quietly in my room, or building models of cars and animals. One of my favourite childhood past times was to sit in the linen closet with a flashlight and one of my favourite books. I could spend hours doing just that. Rainy days never got me down because I enjoyed the quiet of solitude.

Dreamy sky

This has carried over into my adult life with me enjoying activities like walking alone with my dog, jogging alone, or hiding out in a room with my laptop and streaming something, or reading in my bedroom until the wee hours of the morning. "Just one more chapter, just one more page..ok..just one more sentence". Alone time is something I need to recharge, replenish and keep my creative mind working.

The pandemic has forced everyone to stay home for the safety and health of everyone, which meant more solitude for me. I have enjoyed my time spent working on masks for the homeless and streaming to my heart's content, and going for really long trail walks or just resting. I've had time to create, to work on unfinished projects, to read interesting articles that have nothing to do with the pandemic, to actually have a conversation with friends I don't get to see very often, and to harass my kids daily - how are you? Are you well? Are you safe? This has been a good time for me to turn inward and re-align myself with my ideals, to take stock of weaknesses and strengths and to spend time learning new things. It's been a great time to connect with my tribe and to plan for the new future, and how I'm going to come out of it and move forward.

But I'll be honest..it will be a month since I closed my spa, temporarily, and I'm starting to feel it - the lack of daily human connection. As much as I thrive on solitude and need it to keep an even keel, I miss my tribe! I miss seeing the smiling faces, sharing life stories and experiences, sharing a lot of laughter, and just chatting. Chatting with my clients, my tribe, joking around with my assistant, having a little visit with my work neighbours or just going for a coffee. With anyone other than my dog...lol.

It is hard..this self isolation and social and physical distancing. We need human interaction and contact. We need it as much as we need air, and the lockdown is really weighing in on some people. Many of us are struggling with anxiety and depression and I've had a couple of bad days, but I try to reach out on those days. I'll talk to my husband about how I'm feeling just to talk about it. Sharing this emotional burden has eased it for me, and knowing that he's feeling a little of that too makes it a little easier to get through. I'll reach out to friends and see how they're doing, what they're doing to pass the time and how they're feeling. I'm finding that most are feeling like me - enjoying the downtime but also feeling the pressure of self isolation and social distancing. So I listen and offer the only thing I can right now - emotional support. We are all of us feeling pressure. Some are working still and some are working more than they did before and everyone is feeling the anxiety about the future and what's in store for us. It's a scary unknown, uncharted waters and the visibility is low. What to do????

I'm practicing daily gratitude. I'm finding that when I start my day with gratitude for the tiniest things, it changes my mood, and my mindset. I'm still anxious about the future, but also looking forward to it. It's going to be an adventure that's for sure! I'd rather look at it like that - an adventure - because life is an adventure. We make plans all the time..vacation plans, life plans, wedding plans, savings plans..all kinds of plans but none of us ever planned for this! Rather than viewing everything through dark shades, I'll look at everything full on, no rose coloured glasses, just with my eyes, my mind and my heart. And I'll begin it with gratitude. I am grateful every day that I'm alive, and capable. I'm grateful for the circle of support around me and tap into it regularly, and give to it regularly. I'm grateful for my sewing abilities that can help me help others, particularly the homeless. I'm presently working on a big batch of home made masks for them and feel like I'm helping others just by sitting in front of my sewing machine for hours each day.

I'm also grateful for you, dear reader. You are my tribe. You make each day so unique and so filled with laughter and learning. You are my mentors, my teachers, my friends, my muses and so much more, and bring me such joy. Words can never convey the gratitude I feel for all of you. We will head into this unknown future with each other, and to me, that's exciting! A little scary, but still so very exciting! My deepest wish is that we all carry each other into the future with a stronger sense of community and a greater respect for our earth, and for each other.

Stay safe my lovelies, my tribe. Until we meet again, which we will, stay safe, stay healthy and find one thing to be grateful for today.

Yes, we are all stressed, worried, scared, unsure, and under duress. We are all in uncharted waters here, and the future is so unknown, as it always has been (let's keep that in mind), but we must remain hopeful.

Spring has finally arrived, mostly...I think. But, it WILL truly arrive, and the sun will shine brighter and stronger, and the earth will warm, and new life will begin. New life will begin, and we will all begin with it. That's what I like about this picture..that even under intense pressure, you can actually still smile. There are many things to smile about. When you're out there picking up supplies for yourself, or a neighbour that can't leave the house, or might be too frightened to do so, smile at the people you see. A smile really is a form of communication. It tells others that you are friendly, and approachable (but only as close a 3 meters for now), and that you are sharing their experience. We are all sharing this experience together right now. A smile can alleviate so much fear, can express that you care, you understand and that even though you can't get close right now, you can bridge that space between you and a stranger with the most universal greeting there is - a smile.

Social distancing is still the best method to prevent transmission and staying at home unless you absolutely need to go out can really help stop the transmission of this virus. But, staying at home is stressful because that means we can't go to work, we can't go to the gym to get exercise that will help alleviate some stress, and we can't visit with friends to vent our fears and frustrations...there are so many things we just can't do right now, and along with financial fears, health fears and the fear of what is waiting for us down the road, can really increase the pressure and strain we are all feeling, and create even more stress. So, how can we all reduce our stress?

Get plenty of rest. 8 hours, minimum a night. I know, personally how hard that is when your brains won't shut up and you're fill with anxiety...but on the bright side..if you don't get a good night's sleep, you now have the opportunity to nap throughout the day..like when you're kids are napping. Put on a really boring documentary or one of those tv channels that sell crap..I can't remember what that channel is called but it ALWAYS put me to sleep.

Eat healthy. Even though we need to have non-perishables in our pantry, they don't all have to been canned. Rice, noodles, peanut butter, dried beans and legumes (which are high in fiber so BONUS), nuts, dried berries and fruits, quinoa and other whole grains and many other dried goods that are healthier options for your pantry. But the best food right now is lots of fresh fruits and veggies, raw, as well as anything home made from scratch. There are a number of local businesses that offer healthy premade meals, @macrofoods being only one of them. If you need to order in, then try alternatives to regular pizza by getting a cauliflower pizza, with a side salad :)

With the gyms closed, now is a great time to get outside..nowhere crowded of course, but we there are many city trails available to the public that are safe, clean, and a nice break from the confines of your house. If you really can't get out there, try online workouts. Plenty of gyms are offering online training and coaching, and social media is stuffed with all kinds of trainers offering classes via facetime, zoom, and other social media platforms. Or, you and your besties could host a Facebook live, or IG live, and everyone work out together. Personally? I follow Psyche Truth on YouTube and do the yoga workouts I find there. Erica is my absolute favourite!

Talk to someone you love and trust. You might need to text, or message, or even do some face time on your phone, but talk to someone. Sharing your burdens of fear and anxiety will lighten the load, and and allow you to vent your fears and frustrations. But, you'll find yourself chatting before long, laughing, sharing experiences, news, helpful tips, but mostly you'll be sharing hope. We are all in this together. We are all experiencing stress, fear, uncertainty, anxiety and so much more, but by sharing this, we can help each other work through these things. So, talk to someone, and listen to someone, and share you experiences, and share news about where to find the staples that are needed. Try not to share too much about the negative impact this is having, but rather the good things that are happening like communities coming together to help each other, like trading goods for services or goods for goods ( this was the beginning of human trade and economy - the barter system). Share cooking or baking tips, or what you are doing to keep from going stir-crazy while being at home.

Being at home for 2 weeks with little ones is quite daunting. They have great energy and will need all kinds of stimulation, but remember bed time stories? I used to read to my kids every night before bed. It was our last connection of the day, and it was the best part of the day. Sure, they would be in bed soon and I would get a much needed break, but as we snuggled together and I read "Fox in Socks" while the kids laughed at me twisting my tongue over the words, the bond of family was solidified. No matter what had happened during the day, this was our time to reconnect and reaffirm our bond as a family. My kids are adults now so I don't have the same problem parents are facing right now, but if I did have small kids at home, we'd be busy with crafts, reading, and lots of play. Since I wouldn't have to rush to work, or try to do much in a single day, I'd have that chance to play games with them, read a lot, watch some programs with them, teach them a skill or two, and talk. I miss my kids being young because we did have so much fun together, and they kept my mind fresh and open. I'm sure the parents out there are doing all they can to keep the kids busy and happy, and most importantly safe and healthy, and now is a good time to share your tips with other parents who are at home, desperately trying to find fun and interesting things for the kids to do. Share your fun, and your struggles with other parents right now. Grown up talk is just as important right now, so please reach out to each other and help keep each other sane.

This is definitely going to be one helluva storm that we are all weathering. But, as the saying loosely goes "smooth seas don't make a good sailor". As we all head into this storm together, keep in mind, we are all heading in this together. We are all adrift out there, feeling very alone, very scared, afraid of drowning, being lost, or being forgotten, and fearful of what is waiting for us down the road. How long will this storm last? What will happen after the storm has passed? No one really knows how long this will last but what happens after can be determined right now. Now is the time to find each other, and hang onto each other. To pull together as a whole and support each other. Do you see someone floundering? Reach out to them and let them know that if you can help in any way, you will. This is not the time to let others flounder or drown. We must absolutely be reaching out our hands (metaphorically) and grabbing onto each other and hanging on. Now is the time to be the best human being you can possibly be. Now is the time for other big companies to offer help, as Facebook has done, and I applaud them for doing this, and hope other big companies will show their altruism at this time when it is so greatly needed. Now is the time to share what little you have to move the entire world forward, away from selfishness to selflessness. If you have something that can help someone out, please share it. Knowledge, skill, basic supplies, wealth..all of these things can be shared and shared so easily. Even if you don't have a lot of money, you probably have a lot of other things you can share, and in doing so, we, as humans, can move forward to a better future. One that is less hectic, less stressful, less crazy.

I'm going to end this blog by asking each and every one of you to reach out to someone today and see what you can do to help ease their fears, frustrations, or concerns. Let's all be the humans we have been trying to be, and make a difference in someone else's life.

Be safe. Be healthy. Be kind.

Joanne Gale

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