SELF-CARE IS ESSENTIAL
Women are taught from a very young age to look after and help others. Whether it is our younger siblings, helping mom in the kitchen or around the house, or being aware of friends who need help or support we are taught to step in and do what we can to help. As we mature, we are taught to think on a broader scale, of our extended family, our community, our world. It is wonderful that we grow up thinking of and helping others. There is a basic premise that we sometimes forget: If we don’t look after ourselves, we are unable to properly look after or support any one else!
SELF-CARE IS NOT INDULGENT!
I believe that many of us see looking after ourselves as unnecessary or indulgent. The reality is if we are not healthy, happy and physically fit, we are not able to help and support others as well as we might wish to. Self-care does not mean spending money on expensive manicures or pedicures or other services. It means making the time to look after ourselves. For me, there are several aspects to self-care. Some require daily attention, others are intermittent. Here are a some of the ways that I try to ensure that I am physically and mentally fit and healthy so that I can function at my optimum level.
I try to start everyday with an hour of quiet time for myself. (This may require getting up early, before the rest of your household.) The first 30 minutes is all about my emotional well-being. Being centered. Being aware. Being grateful. I spend 15 minutes in quiet meditation and speaking my affirmations. Then 15 minutes organizing my day and reviewing priorities – sometimes shifting things to another day or time. I think of all the things I am grateful for in my life. I think of how I want to feel during the day, and how I want to be perceived. I consciously think about how I will interact with family, friends and business associates.
I have learned many lessons about nutrition and its relationship to my overall health and sense of well-being. At the age of 49 I went on a journey to learn more about nutrition and how I might improve my health and well-being. After retiring from the corporate world, I suddenly found myself more than 40 pounds over-weight. I spent a full year learning about nutrition, changing my eating (and other) habits, and creating a lifestyle for myself and my amazing husband that would keep us healthy and fit. I learned for the final (and last time) that diets (especially crash diets) do not work. Eating habits need to change, creating new lifestyle habits. I learned that I can eat many foods and even indulge in chocolate from time to time, and still feel perfectly healthy. Today I have more energy and feel better than I did in my 30’s. I have clarity of thought, energy for family, sports and my business, and sleep like a baby. I feel the difference when I start to indulge too often with foods that do not serve me. I LOVE food and I eat extremely well. The difference is I know which foods are best for me. I am very careful about what I eat and how often I eat during the day. My food is not boring. I love flavor and variety and change. I just pay attention to the basics. (If you have any interest, check out my cookbook on Amazon.
This can be a tough one for many people. Especially busy moms with or without an outside job. We spend so much time and effort looking after everyone else, that there seems to be little or no time for ourselves. I, for one, know that 10 in the evening is not the time for me to try to get in a workout or yoga class. Just not happening. Again, I try to fit this in early in the day, so that I am looking after myself.
I have friends who have busy families, who get the 30 minutes of daily exercise done before the rest of the family gets up in the morning. These moms often combine the meditation and daily planning with physical exercise in the early morning. It might seem difficult at first, but everyone I know who has tried it, loves it. They can always fit the life-long learning at the end of the day, when others are asleep. Thanks to Arbonne, I have full and complete time freedom. I can manage my schedule to easily fit work and play into my day. I am very devoted to my Bikram Hot Yoga and attend classes at least 3 times a week. I love to golf, especially with my guy, and try to do this 2-3 times a week. And on days when I am not golfing or going to yoga, I always find time for a long walk.
The second 30 minutes of my day is usually spent reading something that will help me become a better person, better partner, better business leader. I have read many amazing authors in my journey to seek excellence. Occasionally, this 30-minute time slot is not available to me first thing in the morning, but I ALWAYS manage to find 30 minutes (even if the last thing in the evening) to get some learning done. In my desire to continually better myself, I have realized that reading is not sufficient. I almost always take notes while reading, and I try to implement (put into action) the ideas that I believe will move me forward in life. As with so much in our life, actions speak louder than words.
I am not talking about religion here, although if you are religious it will undoubtedly be a boost to keep your spirit in tune with what works best for you. I am talking about keeping yourself in balance. Keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind. Allowing yourself to feel your emotions but taking care to recognize them and deal with any negative emotions that arise. If I feel frustrated, or unhappy, or disappointed or angry, I try hard to sort out where these emotions come from. Is there something that I can do to change them, fix them, overcome them? I journal about them. I try to learn from them. I try to change how I react to certain situations. I try to listen to music or walk in nature when I am sorting out a difficult or negative emotion or feeling. Nature soothes my soul and knowing that helps me regain my equilibrium.
CREATE SELF-CARE HABITS:
Creating new habits will help you feel your best and become the best you can be in the many roles you play in life. My self-care habits involve buying the best foods I can afford, maintaining my healthy eating, maintaining my exercise regime, reading every day, meditation every day, looking after my skin using clean, plant-based products, being sure to show love, affection and respect to my family, friends, colleagues, and others. When we feel great about ourselves and our lives, it is easier to live every day to the very best of our abilities. I discover new ways to seek excellence and be my best self almost daily. I hope you will too!
It all starts with Self-Care!
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