A hard look at taking care of myself
This week I’ve taken a hard look at self care and I have been really working hard at taking care of my physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. Notice that I didn’t write “putting myself first”. That is because I do not believe that is what self care is all about. My faith and belief system is very intertwined in service and I think that the concept of self care is sometimes twisted to mean “selfish”. They are not the same. I heard this at church one day from my favorite priest ever and it stuck with me. I might not be getting it right, but it’s what I use. “I say yes as often as I can, and no when I need to”. With that service does not mean being a door mat and taken advantage of.
Self care what it’s not
What self care is not. It is NOT all about feeling good (although it should result in that eventually, but maybe not immediately). For example, smoking feels good! Trust me it does. I was a smoker on and off for 15 years. That was definitely a moment of peace, quiet and serenity for myself and taking care of my immediate emotional needs. However, smoking surely is NOT self care whether it feels good in the moment or not. Chocolate, wine, beer, also not self care. I am not saying having the occasional glass of wine, piece of chocolate, or beer is inherently wrong, but if you are relying on this for your physical, spiritual, or emotional needs you may want to take a closer look at your life.
So what is self care?
Quiet time by yourself
Self care is spending quiet time EVERY day by yourself. Five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours, whatever your personal needs are for quiet time by yourself. This can be in meditation, prayer, a walk in the fresh air, a hot shower, sitting with your morning coffee, or reading a book. I don’t care who you are I am a 100% certain that everyone needs a certain amount of time to themselves.
Sleep is an essential part of self care. The amount of sleep needed varies from one person to the next. I feel that women need more sleep than men and there is some research to support that. For me, 7 hours is the bare minimum of sleep and 8 is better. I have worked very hard at my sleep schedule. My family rolls their eyes at me when I go to bed at 8:30 pm and get up at 4 am, but this conquers both of the first 2 on my list – quiet time an sleep.
Exercise is also self care. This does not always feel good. Sometimes it feels down right awful, but I promise if you stick with it you will feel better. I am not choosing to go too far into the importance of exercise in this post, but I want to at least plant the seed that exercise is part of self care.
Eating properly is self care. Even if for now this just means thinking about what you are eating and taking the time to actually enjoy it. I will not shove dietary advice on a self care post. You have to meet yourself where you are at and sometimes you can’t work on all the changes at once. So, start with sleep and time to yourself and the rest will fall into place better as you do these things.
Spending time with friends and family
If you are so spent up at work, it is time to take a really hard look at your life. Do you get to spend time with your children? Are you having time to go to lunch with your friends? Do you regularly attend any social clubs or events? All of these can be self care.
This is the big one I am focusing on. I used to attend a run group every single week. I used to meet my dear friend Melissa for a run every other Sunday. Covid took over. I gave up my life to my job and while I was helping and I’m glad I could help. That is not sustainable.
Sometimes self care is difficult
To go along with the above, sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes self care involves conflict. This is hard for me. You know the “say no when you need to” part. I am working on self control and the need to share everything so I am not going to put details that I’d like to include in this. I will just say that I am taking strong steps to say no on things even if it means doing it the wrong way.
I think, hope, and pray that the changes I am making are noticeable and that the work I’m putting into myself, my faith, and my service will show. I tire of hearing about my alcoholic and suicidal year – the year after my dad’s stroke. I could barely keep my head above water. And, yes putting it out there as I’m sure there are people that realized it. Sometimes self care is just muddling through in anyway necessary and praying to come out on the other side.
In closing, things I am working on
I am working hard on myself – which includes things I want to do, like this blog and building my coaching business with Beachbody. (If you are interested in changing your life or I’ve inspired you in anyway to change your health and nutrition please feel free to reach out to me for coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org. Although I love Beachbody’s videos and products, I love seeing people change and improve their health more and I’m willing to help in anyway I can whether you use Beachbody or not.)
I have not had time to work on this blog for giving my all to my job. I still love my job, but I am working on putting myself as a higher priority. Stay tuned as I have lots of fun things in store on nutrition, meal ideas, and my progress. I’m super excited at the results I’m getting from 80 Day Obsession round 3, but this blog post is going off target so I’ll wrap it up for now.
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