Just this week alone, I spoke with some amazing men and women who have hearts of gold taking care of everyone around them. A father stepping up to help his kids & provide for his family, a mother working as well as going the extra mile taking care of her kids and husband, a woman with a passion for helping and inspiring others and a young lady pushing thru with her work load everyday even though she feels awful. I’m sure these might sound a little too familiar because chances are this is you. The one thing they all had in common was that they were focusing on everything else but themselves to the point of brushing their own health issues aside. I get it because this is something I’ve struggled with, too. Our society somehow has labeled self care as selfish. So we get stuck in our busy worlds of caring for everyone else and make excuses for ourselves.
I can’t change my diet because…
- I don’t have time to cook
- I travel and it’s too hard
- My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy
- My kids don’t like those kinds of foods
I can’t take any supplements/pills….
- I can’t remember to take them
- I am so busy in the morning I run out the door
- I carry them with me but then forget
- I don’t want to take any pills
I can’t exercise….
- I don’t have time
- I’m too tired to do any exercise
- It’s too expensive to do any classes
- I have a hurt knee, hip, shoulder…..etc
What’s your reason? Where are you stuck? We ALL struggle with some variant of these at one time or another. Life happens and gets in the way of taking care of ourselves. We forget that if we don’t take care of ourselves then who will take care of all the things and people we are doing all this for?
Taking care of ourselves is not a new concept. God worked hard for 6 days and then HE rested. If you are a Christian, over and over in the Bible there is scripture of how Jesus took care of himself. He withdrew to pray, to rest, to spend time with his disciples, and to spend time alone. Here are some verses if you need them.
Virtually every religion promotes self-care. I am not mentioning this to create a discussion on religion but to hopefully open the possibility that taking care of ourselves is not selfish but actually self-sustaining.
Taking care of ourselves doesn’t mean we have to spend an hour in the gym everyday and go to Whole foods and cook gourmet meals. Here are five easy tips you can do right this minute to start working on the self-care mindset. READ ON.
Notice I didn’t say exercise. Just simply moving is enough. Get up in the middle of the day from your desk and take a quick lap around the office, do some stretches at random times during your day, take the stairs when you can, park farther out from the store, step outside and take a few breaths. It all counts and it all adds up.
Now, how easy is that? You are already doing it but when I say breathe I want you to take one minute every morning before you get out of bed and do some belly breathing. Inhale thru your nose to the count of 4 and fill up your belly to the point it looks like you swallowed a basketball and hold it for a second. Nobody is looking so make sure it is good and big. Then slowly exhale thru your mouth to the count of 4. Your next breath is to the count of 5 and then 6. That’s it. Pay attention to your breath. Maybe you can throw in a mantra of what you are thankful for or start with positive thoughts of this is going to be a great day. The good news is that you can use this tool anytime you want. Close the door in your office, take a minute before you run into the grocery store, take 3 mindful breaths before you call someone. Look for those little moments that you can slow down even if it’s only three breaths!
- Eat mindfully
Of course, it would be great for you to work on your eating habits and start eating healthier food but sometimes that’s just overwhelming. Instead, focus on eating mindfully. It’s so easy to swing thru Sonic and pick up a burger and before you know it we’ve already eaten it and have no idea if it even tasted good! Slow down! Chew your food slowly and just notice the flavor. It can still be the Sonic burger but take one minute to at least chew and notice your food. When you start doing this you might just realize that you prefer the healthier food because it tastes better and this opens the door for changes.
- Laugh and play
I cannot stress the importance of laughter. Science has proven all the positive benefits over and over. It is so easy to find something to laugh at these days. Just pull up youtube and there is joy to be found. Bookmark a few favorites so you can reach for them when you really need that lift. Get together with your friends and just be silly and laugh.
So often, we find ourselves just squeezing one more thing in at the end of the day which delays our bedtime. Maybe you are like me and solve all the world’s crisis at 3 am and just can’t turn off your brain in the middle of the night. Working on finding a sleep solution becomes a key point of self-care. We make cortisol at night and when we don’t sleep eventually our tank starts to run empty and we start getting afternoon fatigue, more belly fat, maybe some anxiety among many other symptoms. Watch for an upcoming newsletter where I will dive into options just for sleep.
These are about as simple as I can get. Pick one and just start. YOU are important and it is time to make your health a priority. If you want more then add in some meditation, add in exercise, try something new, change your diet, or read some books that motivate you. There are so many resources available. It is all up to you. And guess what?? I think you are worth it!!
To your health,