VIDEO: Setting Time for Self-Care

Do you take time each week for self-care? Do you even know what self-care actually is?

We get so caught up in our daily lives — taking care of family and kids, working, volunteering and taking care of everyone around us, but the majority of us completely neglect ourselves.

In this week’s video, I explain what self-care is, ways and examples to nurture yourself, and I pose a self-care challenge for you. Try and report back to me with your results!

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Download my FREE Gratitude Meditation here!

Editor’s Advice: My New Year of Self-Care

Last year I wrote a blog post “Five Resolutions for a Spiritual New Year,” and got great feedback from our readers about it. These five resolutions are still amazing ways to start your new year off right, so be sure to take a look if you missed it.

This year I wanted to share a little more of myself with you, and ask you to embark on a journey of self-care with me. So many of us spend time taking care of others – whether it’s at work, at home, with friends or extended family. If someone we care about is in need, we will drop everything to be by that person’s side. But do we do the same for ourselves? In fact, I bet some of you are so busy, you haven’t even noticed your own body and mind crying out for attention.

Do you keep getting sick, or still can’t get rid of that cold from last month? Maybe your immune system is trying to tell you something.

Are you suffering from chronic pain in some way, but just keep popping ibuprofen in hopes that it will go away. Maybe your body needs rest, or your mind is creating a distraction in the body for something emotional that is going on.

This year, I decided to focus on self-care because for me, it has always been an area I am lacking. It really became clear to me this summer when I found myself in bed with Shingles, and then a few months later with a neck spasm that wouldn’t let go for more than three weeks! I decided to take a look within and see where I am abandoning myself. And it wasn’t a pretty picture.

Here is how I am starting the year off differently:

1– I found a new yoga studio in December, and have been going to classes two to three times per week. It’s only been five weeks, but I notice a big difference in my mental, emotional and physical life.

2– I’ve decided to try acupuncture since three different people in a matter of weeks told me how wonderful it was, and how much they believe I would benefit from it. (O.K. universe, I got the hint. I’ll make an appointment!)

3– I am doing another cycle of the 28-day book “The Magic.” If you missed my blog post about this book, you need to take a look. It produces amazing results and helps to keep you in a state of gratitude – the best place to be!

4– Recently, I received a new book to review. It’s called “May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness,” by Gabrielle Bernstein. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I decided to embark on this 40-day journey of learning to release fear and replace it with love. Bernstein’s work is based on “A Course in Miracles,” and so far (it’s Day 5) I am amazed by the simplicity yet effectiveness of its exercises.

5– In the coming weeks, I plan to review an online course by Sonia Choquette called “Creating Your Heart’s Desire,” which helps bring you back in touch with your spirit, and tap into the power of attraction. Stay tuned for a review on this in a future Editor’s Advice column!

These are just a few of the ways I’m focusing on self-care and improving my life – physically, mentally and emotionally. I’ve incorporated each of these into my daily routine, and I already feel lighter.

I encourage you to pick at least one thing to do for yourself this year, and stick to it. Whether its taking yoga once a week, meditating for 5 minutes every morning and night, taking an online course, following a self-help guided book … or just doing something nice for yourself at least once a day. The goal is to check in with yourself and find what area of your life needs you the most. And then show up for yourself the way you would your best friend.

Join me, and let me know how your mission goes! Leave a comment, or email me at

Blessing and love to you all in 2013!


Tammy Mastroberte
Founder, Publisher & Editorial Director
Elevated Existence Magazine


Tips for Thriving Through the Holidaze

By Keri Nola, LMHC

We are entering into the holiday season, the time of year when we can allow ourselves to get carried away in the hustle and bustle of excessive commitments, lengthy to-do lists, traveling, shopping, and more. Instead of repeating old patterns that keep us feeling unsatisfied, overwhelmed, and tired, we have the opportunity to choose to glide through the remaining months in joyous and peaceful ways. Why not stop for a few moments today and invite yourself to discover and practice a few tips to support you in thriving through the season?

Four Tips for Thriving Through the Holidaze

1)      Establish a clear intention. Rather than allowing the season to happen to you, consider setting a mindful intention and empower yourself to create an experience you actually look forward to having. For example, “This holiday season I intend to be present with myself and my loved ones, even if that means I cannot cook the ‘perfect’ meal, get all the ‘perfect’ gifts, or say ‘yes’ to every invitation I receive.”

2)      Put yourself on your priority list. Making time for YOU is not optional if you want to thrive. People who experience peace understand they are worth making time for, and they make it a point to create space and time for themselves on a regular basis.  Consider making appointments with yourself and then honor them without excuses or justification.

3)      Say “No, thank you” to events, people and circumstances that do not resonate with you. Just because you have participated in a tradition, event or relationship in the past, doesn’t mean you have to agree to it now. Check in with yourself and honor what your heart desires this year. Even family? Yes. Even family. Saying yes to others and no to ourselves is not loving or kind, and it certainly does not contribute to our ability to thrive. We have a right to spend time with people, doing things that resonate with us—consider giving yourself this generous gift this season!

4)      Practice Gratitude. Engaging in a practice of conscious gratitude can help take the edge off during busy and hectic times. Consider choosing to mindfully acknowledge your blessings each day by either writing them down, sharing them with loved ones, and/or saying them aloud. Our hearts and lives expand when we honor that which lights us up.

Interestingly enough, these tips are also valuable year round to welcome more peace and less struggle, so you may choose to keep them on hand to practice even beyond the holidays. May this season be filled with abundant blessings for us all as we take responsibility for creating the experience we desire this year!

Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.

NOTE: Picture of Keri Nola by Monica Alfonso

The Importance of Being Selfish

By Jennifer Garza

As children, we are taught to share. We are taught this in school, in the home, and in church. As adults, we learn about compromise. Both are wonderful lessons, but can be devastating when sharing and compromise turns into unhealthy sacrifice.

At its most benign, sacrifice means something given up, lost or surrendered for the sake of another.  The harshest description of sacrifice means the destruction of one thing for something else.

While giving is a wonderful and necessary part of life, as we connect with others through sharing and giving of our love and affection, when giving becomes sacrifice, it can indeed be destructive. It’s important to your emotional and physical health to ensure you maintain a balance, and make time for yourself, too.

Here are two ways to tell if giving has turned into sacrifice for you:

1. You feel drained and tired physically and emotionally. This is a sign you are putting others or situations ahead of your own personal care. Yes, life can be stressful and draining, but you must combat this by taking time for yourself to re-charge.

The cure:
* Start setting limits. Sometimes, you have to say “no.” This is not saying the other person isn’t important, this is saying you are just as important. It’s about survival. Think about what you are told to do on a plane in case of emergency – secure your own air bag before attempting to help others. You cannot help anyone if you run out of oxygen yourself.

*Schedule time to decompress – make time for leisurely walks, to meditate, or read a good book with no interruptions. If need be, negotiate with your spouse or family members to schedule “me” time and then reciprocate. This way, everyone wins.

2. You make excuses for other people’s behavior. When you become accustomed to giving without receiving, you justify why it is acceptable for the other person to withhold. You tell yourself this person is wounded and therefore doesn’t know any better. You rationalize their behavior by focusing on the good and ignoring the unhealthy. The tough lesson to learn is you cannot heal anyone else’s wounds, no matter how much you give to them. They must heal their own wounds.

The cure:

*Remember sacrifice is a choice, and if you continue to do it, the responsibility for your emotional state is yours.

*Realize no one has the right to cause emotional or physical harm to your being. There are absolutely no excuses for being treated poorly. Yes, we all have flaws and are human. We react to others unfairly sometimes. However, when it becomes a never-ending cycle with little change occurring despite efforts to tell someone what you need from them, it’s time to set boundaries and choose to be selfish.

Visit our Self-Care section for more articles on taking care of you!

Jennifer Garza, M.S., has a master of science in counseling and psychology. She is a former therapist and has taught life enhancement classes at venues including college campuses, state conferences and prisons. She is the author of the inspiration journal “365 Days to Happiness: Use Your Strengths, Thoughts, and Dreams to Manifest a New Life.” Garza has been featured in Natural Health magazine, AOL,, Young, and on FTNS radio. Visit her website at or connect with her. 

September Self-Love

By Amy Leigh Mercree

How many of us have less than stellar memories of the first day of school? The odds are at some time in our lives, we had a bad opening school day. Whether we were made fun of for our fashion choices (me), or didn’t feel like we had any friends (also me), or had trouble at home clouding our day. We may have not felt fully supported, nurtured or safe.

Children and teens everywhere are heading back to the classroom. You can use it as an opportunity to reprogram any past trauma associated with going back to school, back to structure, and losing the freedom of summer. One simple, potent and miraculous cure will soothe and heal any old hurts: Self-Love.

Self-love is a pervasive acceptance of who you are. It’s believing in your true core that you are alright – that you ‘re worthy and special. Self Love is also making a commitment to treat yourself with loving kindness and working at that skill. Loving kindness toward yourself gives your body, mind and heart the clear message that you are important, worthy and valuable. When we steep ourselves in self-love, our bodies’ may heal, our hearts will lighten and begin to feel safe, our minds can relax, and our spirits will feel free to soar.

Right now, ask yourself the following question and just let the first thing that pops into your mind be your answer: What is the most important thing in your life you must change to demonstrate your love for yourself, to yourself?

Your actions give your body loud, potent messages. In your love life, if you are not loving yourself and accepting nothing less than kind, loving treatment from a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse, you are literally giving your body a negative message. This is multifold. It’s energetic. It’s emotional. It’s physical. And it can wear away on your spirit and inspire you to leak vital life force in a way that is detrimental to your health.

A client accepted hostile treatment from her boyfriend for too long and said nothing.  She came down with a throat-based illness that completely and totally cleared up when she broke up with him and ejected him from her life. In our treatment together, she realized she needed to demonstrate some major self-love to herself to even have the option of feeling emotionally safe in a relationship again.

Here are some ways to love you today!

1) When making a life choice, consider your heart. What choice would make it soar?  Do that!

2) Tell yourself, in the mirror, “I love you. I love myself.  I love ______ (insert your first name).” Try it for one week, every morning and night. You will be amazed at the difference in how you feel.

3) Listen to your needs and take action to fill them. Make this a top priority.

4) In your love life, let every choice be an extension of your love for yourself. If a choice doesn’t honor you, don’t make it. Put your health and happiness first.

5) Feed your spirit. Sit in a meditative posture and take a few moments to hug yourself while doing deep, gentle breathing. Feel your heart and use the mantra

“love” repeating it every few minute to focus on love for self, love for nature, love for the universe. Open a little bit more each time to love and feel the love the Divine has for you. It’s unconditional. Absorb it. Let it fill your body and expand within you and commit to giving that same unconditional love to yourself daily.

This September bring your focus to self-love and feel any old hurts melt away as you wash them with deep, encompassing self-love.

Amy Leigh Mercree is the author of “The Spiritual Girl’s Guide to Dating: Your Enlightened Path to Love, Sex, & Soul Mates,” a Spiritual Dating & Relationship Coach, and a Medical Intuitive. For more fun articles and her dating advice column visit her blog and

Cultivating a “Self”-Centered Life

By Keri Nola, LMHC

I think most of us are familiar with the common analogy used during the airplane safety talk that says something like: “Parents, in the event of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then on your child.”

The question is do we actually apply this sentiment to our everyday lives?  How often are we agreeing to help another person when we have yet to help ourselves? This is a topic I help my clients explore on a regular basis (and truthfully often visit for myself as well). Aren’t we trained to believe being self-centered is a bad thing? I think many of us would rather be accused of any number of things before being called self-centered, which we likely feel implies something painfully horrific. Would you agree?

It’s been a long journey, and I am here to come out of the closet as a self- care junkie – a new approach to being “self”-centered. Hi my name is Keri and I am “self”-centered. There, I said it. I make it a priority to take care of me first so that when I commit to supporting others, I know I will be able to be fully present and available in my relationships with them.

Curious about how you can shift your perspective on the definition of “self”-centered and cultivate a lifestyle that decreases resentment and increases joy? Here are some tips for cultivating “self” centered living:

1. Decide to choose YOU – Realize others are generally going to take what they can get from you, so if you need a break, YOU have to be the one to take it. This includes our roles as partners, parents, friends, siblings, employees, family members, etc. Choosing YOU is one of the kindest things you can do for your relationships because it allows you to show up completely when you agree to do so.

2. Remember YOU are worth taking care of – Most of our caretaking behaviors originate from our fear of being unworthy of such compassion and peace. When we remember our worth, we make choices congruent with this belief, and we choose ourselves with ease.

3. Practice saying NO – Did you know that “No” is a complete sentence? Yup! It doesn’t require fluff or justification. Just give yourself permission to answer with “No” when that is your authentic response to a request.

4. Prepare for attempted guilt trips – Our loved ones are used to us interacting with them the way we always have. When we make a change like becoming more “self”-centered, it shifts the dynamic of our relationships and people often consciously or unconsciously make attempts to get us to shift back to how it’s always been. Be aware of this possibility and continue to give yourself permission to choose you. When you come up against resistance from others, I recommend saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with my decision to take care of myself in this way right now. Our relationship is very important to me so I am committed to being honest about what I am and am not able to do, as you make requests of me.”

5. Remember the rewards. Being “self”-centered has the potential to generate tremendous rewards within ourselves and our relationships. When we say “yes,” but mean “no,” that energy blocks the flow of genuine love between us and welcomes resentment. So when it gets hard to choose yourself versus someone else’s needs, remember self-sacrifice is actually one of the least compassionate things we can do in a relationship. It may feel good in the moment, but it is a breeding ground for disconnection and inauthentic relating in the long run.

Here’s to stepping out of our “self”-centered closets and recommitting to living authentically!

Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.