Self care ideas and your health may not be at the top of your list, especially with the holidays looming, but I want to you to think about something while you read my post this week. How do you prioritize your own self care?
Our health improves with every decision we make, and it starts with self care in all it’s forms. Are you ready to take on the new year with energy to spare? Me neither, but the impact of good health choices will get us the energy we need much faster than just wishing for it.
Self care ideas to put at the top of your list
Time for yourself
I know you struggle with this daily just as I do. The to-do lists pile up, emergency items knock the priorities off the list and it all rolls downhill. The stress we put ourselves through to get it all done drains the energy completely out of us.
Need some help with your self care ideas? Try this right now.
- Drop your hand off the mouse, sit back, and let your shoulders lower away from your ears.
- Set a timer for 2 minutes.
- Now, breath deep and close your eyes.
Stop reading right now and do it.
Next, take out a paper and pen and write down your average daily schedule. I’ll use my schedule as an example:
- 5:10 am – Alarm goes off and I’m out the door at 5:30
- 5:40am – Coach Boot Camp at 6:00
- 6:50 am – Back home to get ready for work
- 7:30 am – Headed back out the door to go to work
- 5:00 pm – Off to the gym to work on my own triathlon training
- *6:30 pm – Home once again for dinner, writing, paying bills, remembering what my husband looks like. Being a responsible adult is entirely overrated.
- 10:30 pm – Try to wind down, get some sleep, and start the roller coaster all over again!
How does your crazy day look? Do me a favor and look at all the details. Cross everything off the list that is not vital to you or your family’s existence. Be brutal.
Now make a change: Start by making an appointment for 10 minutes everyday for you
10 minutes to use for your self care ideas and improve your health. Walk around the block a few times, research a healthy recipe, sign up for that fitness class you want to try.
*Note: You won’t see TV on the list. Yes we have Netflix, but not live TV. It has made our ability to focus and work on our dream project so much easier. Just saying.
Get a health checkup
I am supremely guilty of waiting until I am very sick before seeking out medical help. It typically has to resort to other people commenting about how I look or act. My latest attempt in ignoring my health came with something we have all done at some point in our lives. I bit the inside of my cheek hard enough to make it bleed a lot.
Of course the wound was nasty and hurt like hell, but nothing that should kill me right?
The swelling started a few days after I bit myself and it took a co-worker to point out I should really have that looked at. My face started to look deformed, which finally made me go into the doctor. Even my doctor was surprised at how swollen I was, but one round of strong antibiotics and I am back to my pre-swelling face.
As women, self care will always fall to the bottom of the list if we let it.
Now make a change: Make that appointment you have been putting off, whether it’s an annual exam, mammogram, general health checkup, or teeth cleaning.
Repeat after me: You are important and deserve to be healthy.
Remove unhealthy habits
Getting rid of bad habits is the best health decision you can make. I have regular conversations with friends and gym-goers about their health goals and progress. You are be working out, watching your food intake, doing everything “right”, and nothing is changing.
Unhealthy habits will undermine our goals every time.
I struggled with removing these habits from my life, and it took the serious decision to get healthy to make this change.
- Snacking even when you are not hungry. This was a tough one for me to get a handle on. Boredom is a horrible reason to grab a snack, so be aware that you are truly hungry each time you have food in your hand.
- Drinking a glass of wine at night may be considered heart healthy, but only if your diet and exercise is strong enough to support the benefits that wine may bring. Otherwise, that wine is empty calories adding up in your day.
- Smoking has to be the most negative habit that I overcame. I smoked as a teen, again in my late 20’s and one more desperate time during my lowest-of-lows a few years ago. It was a habit I returned to in the most stressful parts of my life, and the only way I was able to combat it officially was to make the all-in decision to get healthy. Quitting smoking is a wonderful goal in itself, but making other changes to get healthy at the same time can make it easier to stay on track and quit for good.
Now make a change: Give yourself some positive reinforcement and chose to cut that habit out of your life. If you share in the comments, I would love to help you out with that healthy decision!
December is not known as a month of relaxation. In my family we top the holidays with a half dozen birthdays, including my son’s birthday a week before Christmas. Believe me, I know I am asking a lot right now, but I really want to help you reduce stress in your life.
You’ve heard me mention in my post 4 Tips for Fitness Motivation Through the Holidays that one of the best ways to combat the effects that stress has on our bodies is fitness. Walking, dancing, yoga, jumping up and down like a terrier, or with your terrier… It does not matter how you move. Moving your body will give you so much in return.
- Pumps up your endorphins, those brain neurotransmitters that make you feel good.
- It acts as meditation while you are in motion! Having to focus on counting your laps in the pool, or going after that whizzing tennis ball makes you concentrate on what you are doing, and let’s the worries of the day fade.
- Mood improvement is guaranteed, and when you are moving regularly, the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety can improve. Never mind the better sleep you will get!
Now make a change: Stand up and move. Stretch to the ceiling, walk in place, give me a few sit-ups.
Your health is a precious gift. Treat it with the energy and respect it deserves.
My wish for all of you dear fellow dreamers is to truly understand, if only for a moment, what it means to take care of ourselves. Self care is not selfish. It is merely the first step in giving to others.
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
I give you permission to take care of YOU this week. Let me know how it goes in the comments!
Go get your fit on – Heather
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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