If you're like most women I know, you have many responsibilities. Your family relies on you, your job relies on you, plus all of the home responsibilities, errands, paperwork and everything else.
From the moment that your day starts, there are demands on your time and attention. You hardly get a moment to yourself. And at the end of each day, you feel exhausted.
When you're taking care of everyone and everything, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing left for YOU.
When you're feeling burned out and your tank is empty, you might reach for unhealthy food, alcohol, social media, staying up late, and mindless TV to comfort and soothe yourself. Unfortunately, the temporary pleasure of those things can't outweigh the negative impact and the contribution to your fatigue and frustration.
But, for some people, when they finally do something healthy for themselves (like saying "No" to another task, going for a walk or taking a break during your work day) they feel guilty about taking time for themselves.
Here's why self-care isn't selfish and it's actually essential to prevent burnout and self-sabotage. Strategic self-care will even help you lose weight, get in shape, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Why is self-care so important?
Every time that we fly in an airplane, we are reminded of the importance of caring for ourselves before attempting to care for others.
“In case of emergency, air masks will drop from the ceiling. Please put on your own mask before assisting someone with theirs."
The reasoning is simple: if you are not in good working condition, you will not be effective when attempting to assist others.
This concept applies to everyday life, too.
Everyday, you have the opportunity to make sure that you are healthy and whole before assisting others. I know that it’s easy to feel like taking care of yourself first isn’t even an option – since the responsibilities in your life are so good at making their needs known, and your own needs seem quieter and easier to shove aside. But strategic self-care can be easily included in your daily life, as it doesn't require a lot of time or energy. And what it will give you is a healthier, happier life!
Let’s take this moment to assess what some of your self-care needs are…
✅ Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is essential for good health, and especially when you lead a busy, demanding life. Unfortunately, sleep is one of the easiest things to skip out on, as you attempt to get everything done each day.
A normal, healthy adult needs at least seven hours of consistent sleep each night in order to function well. Many women need 8-9 hours. And while allowing yourself time to sleep may feel like a luxury, remind yourself that it is a necessity.
Staying up late to "veg out", "chill" and numb yourself with TV or internet surfing might seem like a pleasure, but it's actually contributing to your lack of quality sleep which results in sugar cravings, low energy (it's tough to work out when you're tired), and a cycle of late nights, rough mornings and lack of motivation.
✅ Nutrition: Keeping your body well fed with nutritious food throughout the day is another key component to functioning as your best self. Many people let meal-planning slide in order to meet more urgent demands, and end up getting overly hungry or hangry. You know what's next: grabbing whatever is fast and convenient, overspending money and calories on restaurant food, and feeling lousy and frustrated about your inability to stick to your healthy eating plan.
Making the habit to prepare a few meals that are high in protein and veggies doesn’t actually take that much time, and the benefit is HUGE. The funny thing about meal planning is that it ends up saving you time (and money) in the long run, and it removes the need to think about what to eat. Plus, the steady energy that you’ll experience when your body is being consistently fueled with good nutrition is priceless.
If you aren't up to preparing your own healthy meals, you can order fresh, healthy meals and keep them in your fridge and freezer to grab and "heat and eat" anytime. You'll find that in the long run, you'll save a bunch of time AND money compared to ordering food from restaurants. Reach out to me for my discount links.
✅ Hydration: The number of Americans that are suffering from chronic dehydration is staggering. Part of the problem is that when we are drinking fluids, they are filled with sugar rather than clean fresh (filtered) water.
Water is what your body really needs, so remind yourself that proper self-care includes making hydration a priority. You can jazz your water up by adding in a few slices of lemon, some fresh herbs or little pieces of fruit to infuse flavor naturally.
✅ Relaxation: Relaxation??? Am I crazy!?! I get it. You might be thinking, "How in the world am I going to find the time to relax with everything that I have going on in my life?"
I know it’s not popular to talk about giving yourself time to relax, but the benefits of reducing your stress levels are too huge to ignore. The good news is that you don't need a spa day or a vacation to relax.
Try the technique of relaxing throughout your day by giving yourself little mental breaks. This doesn’t mean that you have to step away from your desk at work or skip out on your responsibilities, just that you consciously take moments throughout your day to focus on deep breathing and to clear any cluttered or stressful thoughts from your mind. If you can stand up or take physical break from sitting, even better.
Tip: If you are drinking plenty of water, you'll need to take bathroom breaks frequently which are great opportunities to step away from your desk for a couple of minutes, physically and mentally.
There is also something to be said for cultivating a practice of relaxing when you do have time off from work. Rather than trying to do a million things on your time off, make the effort to take some time to simply "be". Deep breathing and calming thoughts will do plenty to help reduce your stress level. Avoid thinking of "all your have to do" and instead remind yourself that you are taking care of yourself by consciously relaxing during your time away from work. If you find that you have a hard time relaxing, try a hypnotherapy, tapping or meditation app.
✅ Exercise: Yes, exercise is self-care. Making time to exercise is NOT selfish, indulgent, or optional; it’s absolutely necessary for taking good care of yourself. Most of my clients will tell you that their exercise time is also their "me" time and relaxation time, which might not make sense when you first hear it. But when you walk into your workout with the worries of your day on your mind, and you walk out with a calm mind and feelings of accomplishment (plus those endorphins!), then you’ll understand what they’re talking about!
There are six areas of self care, and I'll be sharing more about this in future posts. Please share this with others who can benefit from the information.
I’m here to help you create and maintain a healthy lifestyle that you love. Part of that healthy lifestyle is consciously practicing self-care. You are needed, and you owe it to them - and yourself- to keep yourself in the healthiest shape possible.
Call or email me now if you’d like help getting there.
💕Coming Soon...I am putting the finishing touches on a Brand New Program that incorporates Fitness, Nutrition, Mindset and Self-Care.
Spots will be limited and there will be an early bird discount for fast action takers. Email me back to get on the interest list and you'll get notified when spots open up.💕