Practical Ways to Put Self-Care in Your Life (and Why You Should Do It)

practicing self-care, lifestyle blogger, katina horton, therapy, psychology, emotional health, mental health, wellness, routine, motivation, simple functional grace-filled living

Happy Saturday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from fellow blogger Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. ***************

Self-Care Defined

When we practice self-care regularly, it works wonders for our mental and emotional health. It can boost our self-esteem because it’s a way to prove to ourselves that our bodies and minds are worth taking care of. It can enhance our self-awareness and reveal to us new interests and passions. Self-care fosters self-improvement and help us to be more productive and able to care for others.

practicing self-care, lifestyle blogger, katina horton, therapy, psychology, emotional health, mental health, wellness, routine, motivation, simple functional grace-filled living
Image by Unsplash

In short, self-care is exactly what the term suggests: caring for the “self” so that you can be healthier, happier, and more effective in your everyday life. And the best part about it is that self-care is not some out-of-reach aspiration; there are practical ways to work self-care into your regular routine. Here are some ideas from Valley of Grace to get you started:

Eat with Health in Mind

Diet is one thing that keeps a lot of people from enjoying everyday health and well-being. But nutrition is the fuel your body and mind run on, and what you put into your body matters. Cutting back on processed foods and sugary drinks and opting for more whole foods in your diet can make a world of difference. There are even certain foods that can help you fight depression, such as avocados, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, and fatty fish.

Focus Your Fitness

Aside from the obvious physical health benefits, regular exercise can go a long way in improving your mental and emotional health, and it has a way of motivating you to make other healthy decisions in your everyday routine. Consider HIIT, which enables you to get in intense, effective workouts in a shorter amount of time than many other forms of exercise. In fact, even a 7-minute workout can activate endorphins in your brain and provide you with energy for the rest of your day!

One of the best ways you can track your progress and keep yourself motivated is to utilize fitness apps. To get the most out of your apps, you’ll need a high-functioning smartphone. If your device is more than a few years old, many wireless providers offer discounted smartphones when their customers trade in their older models.

See a Counselor

Seeking help from a counselor can also make a big difference in your everyday life, as you can likely find a counselor who specializes in whatever you are struggling with. Since appointments can add up over time, be sure to review your insurance to see if counseling visits are covered. But note this can be tricky for seniors depending on coverage. For instance, Medicare Part B usually covers the costs of some mental health services. Regardless of your age, policies often change each year, so stay on top of your coverage so that you can modify it if necessary.

Make an Appointment with Yourself

Finally, it’s essential to schedule time with yourself; otherwise, it’s not likely to happen. This includes making time to care for your personal hygiene and enjoying relaxing activities—whether that means getting a massage or facial, going for a hike, or starting a hobby.

This also includes your sleep schedule. Prioritize your sleep like you do work, school, or any other activity in your life. Come up with a relaxing bedtime routine, and go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. When your mind and body are well-rested, it will make a significant difference in how you feel overall, and it will help you to be more productive with your days.

If you want to improve your mental health and well-being, start by finding ways to practice self-care in your everyday life. Pay attention to the foods you eat and find quick, effective workouts to add to your routine. Look for a counselor who can help guide you through your struggles, and schedule time for yourself to ensure that relaxation and sleep are a part of your life.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means that if items are purchased, I will receive a commission that will help to offsite the expenses incurred from maintaining this website.

DIY Pine Coffee Table

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor

Introduction

Some time this past spring, I decided that I wanted a DIY Pine coffee table for my guest room/library. It just so happened that my son was here visiting due to the changes that the pandemic brought to his career, and so it worked out nicely. I bought the items from the hardware store, and he built the coffee table.

Basically, I was blessed with a two for one deal: I was able to spend some quality time with him, as well as have him here to help me with some of the projects that had been sitting for a while. Either I was unable to do them because of not being handy with a drill and other tools, or I literally did not have the time because I was getting up early in the morning for work, and was too tired for completing projects when I got home.

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

Mission

I ended up going to the hardware store about three times. First of all, I was going to make a skinny coffee table, but the piece of wood that I bought was too short. I looked at the table and decided that the would wasn’t wide enough. In essence, the table would look too skinny. So, I set out to buy a piece of wood that was wider and longer. Come to find out, Menards stated that they do not sell lumber pieces wider than 12 inches. The store associate suggested that I place two pieces of wood next to each other and connect them together with some form of hardware from the hardware department.

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

The guy in the hardware department showed me several different pieces of hardware to connect the lumber together. However, he stated that he was more so biased towards one particular bracket. He enforced the importance of having hardware that could handle the weight of the lumber, and he’d had experience building a table for his mother, so I was definitely all ears to his suggestions. I decided upon a hardware piece called “mending braces”.

Unfortunately, I ended up going to the hardware store another time because some of the plumbing pipe flanges were bent. This was going to cause a problem with the stability of the table. I felt like a kid waiting to open his gifts on Christmas. Was this table ever going to happen? Well, it did.

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

I am very excited with the end result. The coffee table helped to make the library look like a library. The natural wood also helped to give the room more of an organic look. And lastly, the table is multifunctional: it serves as a holder for magazines, books, frames, mugs, and a footrest.

There are a couple of tips that I would like to give you in regard to building this table (according to my son):

  • The more mending braces used, the sturdier the table will be. (Especially if someone decides to sit on it.)
  • You want to make sure that the two pieces of construction lumber are as straight as possible before you start drilling the holes into the wood.
  • The flanges should be as flat and stable as possible before you start drilling into the wood.
  • Be careful that the wood that you select isn’t too split, or the table won’t last. (I like the worn split look, but not too split.)

Tools:

  • (8) 1/2″ galvanized pipe flanges
  • 2 packs of National Hardware Mending Braces (4 braces are in each pack)
  • (1) 1/2″ 48″ galvanized pipe nipple
  • (8) 1/2″ 6″ galvanized pipe nipples
  • (4) 1/2″ 5″ galvanized pipe nipples
  • 1 dril
  • 1 screwdriver
  • (6) 1/2″ galvanized tees
  • (2) 2″ x 12 ” wide X 60″ long pieces of construction lumber (this is what I should have done; instead I bought one long piece of construction lumber had them to cut it down to size; either one works. The second option give you leftover lumber for other projects.)
  • (16) 1 1/2″ construction screws

Execution

  1. Make a letter H with the plumbing pipe materials on both sides, connecting the 1/2″ 48″ galvanized pipe in the middle, per the instructions and picture below.
DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

Take a flange, screw in one 6″ pipe nipple, attach one tee, and then another pipe flange at the bottom.

Attach a 5″ nipple to the tee in the middle, followed by a tee, then another 5″ pipe nipple.

Make the right side of the “H”.

Take a flange, screw in one 6″ pipe nipple, attach one tee, and then another pipe flange at the bottom.

2. Attach the 1/2″ 48″ pipe nipple to the middle tee of the “H” on the left side.

Create the Right H following the same instructions above, and then attach to the 1/2″ 48″ pipe nipple in the middle.

3. Lay the two pieces of wood next to each other, making sure to attach enough mending brackets for stability, staggering on the top and bottom of the wood.

Turn your structure upside down, laying it on top of the top piece of the table, using 1 1/2 inch screws to attach the pipe flanges.

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.

Psalms 127: 1

DIY Coffee Pine Table Instructions: keywords: pine table, blogger, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, Valley of Grace, lifestyle, lifestyle blogger, thriving, plumbing pipe materials, interior design, influencer, minimalism, minimalist, home decor
Photo by Katina Horton

Wanting It Our Way

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The following post is one that I shared a little over a year ago on another website.  I would still love to hear your stories of wanting things “your way” instead of God’s. 🙂

Have you ever wanted it your way?  I know you are probably wondering, what does that mean?  Wanting it our way is when we have a process of start to finish of how something should go.  However, when it doesn’t fall in line with our expectations, we become disillusioned into thinking that it didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen because we didn’t check off all the steps that we had for the process.

Photo by Verne Ho

katina horton, our way, surprise, God's way, disillusionment, disappointment, expectations, sunset, sky, simple functional grace-filled living

This past week, there wasn’t anything that went as planned.  My after work naps either didn’t happen, or were later than planned.  My during the week walks/and or visits to the beach didn’t go as planned.  And then phone calls that I needed to make to take care of business didn’t go as planned because I wasn’t able to reach people. 

However, God showed me that I wanted it my way.  He had a different set of plans for the week:  I got a chance to spend some time with my young adult son watching Little House on the Prairie.  This was totally unplanned.  Just so happened that he pulled in the driveway right after me.  I turned the TV on to a recording, expecting to fall asleep, but I didn’t. We watched an episode entitled, “The Three Bullies”.  Charles had to protect his wife from some obstinate town bullies.  The children showed the adults a lesson in how coming together in numbers gives strength rather than fighting alone.

My second God moment was riding home from the library midweek after bible study and catching a glimpse of God’s glorious sunset.  There were hues of medium pink streaking across the sky.  The air felt perfect.  And all was calm.  And guess what?  My way wasn’t the best way after all.

What simple, functional, grace-filled things replaced your “wanting it your way” this past week?  Would love to hear your stories!

God bless!

Katina

Embracing Our Uniqueness in Christ

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Have you ever wished that you could decorate your home like someone else?  This someone else seems to have just the right kind of decor in their home that is illuminated with just the right kind of lighting and furniture that gives it an airy feel.  It’s the kind of feel that makes you want to stay for a while.  The kind that makes you want to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up with their perfect-looking throw. 

embracing our uniqueness, comparison, houses, cars, gifts, talents, simple functional grace-filled, valley of grace blog store, katina horton, store owner, author, podcaster, broken pieces, blogger, speaker

Photos by Matthew Henry

It’s so easy to get caught up wishing that we could have a home, a car, a job, or any other kind of material object that other people have.  The question is, have we stopped to think about how good and creative of a God that we have to give us the things that are unique to us and our families? 

Some of us are the cute cottage-style type, then we have tudors, farmhouse style, industrial, town-homes, traditional, duplexes, and the list can go on and on.  The truth is, if we could trade with these people, after a while, we’d see something else that we would feel is better.

embracing our uniqueness, comparison, houses, cars, gifts, talents, simple functional grace-filled, valley of grace blog store, katina horton, store owner, author, podcaster, broken pieces, blogger, speaker

When it comes to our spiritual gifts and talents, we play the same game.  We say things like, “I wish that I could teach or preach like him or her.” Sometimes this person does a better job than we do.  However, that is not the point.  The point is, that because we have been uniquely designed by God, we will do what we have been created to do in the way that God created us to do them.

God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  In these wonderful creations of God, there are no two people who are exactly alike.  Even if we have 50 things that we have in common with someone else, we will still find 10 more that we don’t.

Embracing our uniqueness in Christ involves making peace with all that God created us to be.  It has taken me a while to realize this.  But as the old saying goes, better late than never.  We have to make peace with our physical appearance as well as our gifts/talents, personalities, and possessions.  Just recently, I was faced with an opportunity.  It took one accidental obstacle placed in my way to help me realize that the opportunity would not fit me as a person.

I am a talker.  A very detailed, dramatic talker at that.  Sometimes it takes a while to get through my stories.  My son says that it takes me longer to give the background information before I get to the point of what happened. It is so true.

Being placed in a role with a restriction on how the conversations would have to take place would have gone against my wiring.  I praise God that this one accident helped me to realize that among other things.  Take a moment and think about what things you have been doing that totally goes against your wiring.  

Let’s pray and thank God for all the things that he gave us that are perfect for us.  We can only be our true selves when we are who we were created to be.

Let’s have a party and join together in celebrating and embracing our uniqueness in Christ!

God bless and have a wonderful Sunday!!!

Clearing the Clutter and Clearing the Mind

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De-cluttering and organizing our homes leads to de-cluttering and organizing our minds.  Clearing the clutter leads to clearing the mind. It gives us mental space to think.  One thing that I noticed at my own house is that if I am looking at too many things in different spaces, then I am unable to focus on what the task is at hand.  

All of a sudden, I am thinking, “Why is that sitting there?”  Wow, I have a sink full of dishes.  There is so much trash on the floor.  I seem to notice every little thing.  Since my workspace is in the kitchen, I like to clean this area first.  My mind is ready for clarity, and free to allow the words to come.

In October of 2018, my cousin decided to enlist my help in beginning her de-cluttering process so that she could feel free to work in her home office.  

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We were able to get the hallway closet and one of her two bedroom closets done.  The way that I decided to tackle the hallway closet was to take everything out and create three piles: a donation pile, a garbage pile, and a keep pile.  After emptying the whole closet, and creating all three piles, then I put everything in the keep pile back into the closet.

After

home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering

She had already gone through her belongings in the bedroom closet, so we didn’t need to take everything out.  I just needed to organize everything in this closet.  We were working and listening to preaching and gospel music, which made the time go by pretty fast.  If you feel led, send me a message below on how you tackled the art of decluttering.  God bless!

home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering

After

home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering
home decor, home design, interior design, cleaning, clarity, home office, decluttering

God bless!

Katina