Fitness And Self Care

There are lots of “new” terms being thrown around in the last few months. Some I’ve honestly come to despise….social distancing anyone?

However, one phrase,although not newly coined, has been something overlooked in many lives. “Self care” is something that many have put on the back burner even before the global issue became a concern.

I think self care is even more relevant and important now than ever. With so many forced to stay home a new, weird daily life has formed for many. Our routines are displaced and many of us have tried to maintain normal activities as much as possible.

Yet, sometimes it requires extra effort to make it happen. I’ve heard many say how they are trying to get back in a fitness routine, that life has gotten them off track.

Oh do I understand about fighting back to get in an established routine! My year started off with my husband having cancer surgery mid January which turned into a 36 day stay because of various things. My workouts were hit and miss as my days were in a roll of waking up and heading to hospital and spending the day there. I had no energy to even contemplate it when I got home. I squeezed in workouts where I could and when I could dial up the mental as well as physical energy to do it.

Once he was home ( end of February) we had a couple weeks as we tried to get back to normal. He required some help and care and I was still focused on getting him settled back into home life. Work outs were sparse but I always felt better after.

Then when all the world weirdness started and days were a blur into another it made it a bit harder in some ways. I did however, have one thing going for me in that, I’ve always worked out at home. It meant digging deep into my discipline ( cause motivation can be a fleeting thing) and taking myself out the back door most days of the week.

There is a wonderful beauty of working out in my own little space. Whether I choose to hit the road

All matchy matchy

or stay in to do strength training or use the elliptical ( my surrogate running for now) I can do it. I’m not bound to someone’s arbitrary rules and my sweat is all that I’m dealing with. Not to mention, I don’t feel a need to look a certain way.

I may resemble a hot mess.

So how do you get back on track

You start. You start somewhere. You determine that you will do something that is positive for you. If you prefer mornings, know the night before what you are doing. Maybe it has to be later in day or after work. Whenever your preferred time of day is, set it to your schedule. You might set out clothes and accessories you need so you see them waiting. Don’t make any excuses to cancel out.

Engage your mind

I often have people tell me they admire my motivation. My response is motivation is fleeting. Yes, you can get motivated to do something but that feeling can quickly leave. Discipline however, that is what often drives me. I’ve disciplined my mind to push into what I know I need to do . Discipline feels powerful and controlled. It is the thing that moves me from merely thinking about it to actually doing it. To get started again, you need to mentally engage yourself .

Do what you love

Doing things I enjoy and that challenge me have kept me at it. If I find myself doing too many days of an activity that is making me feel…restless…I change things up. I always tell people they should have more than one activity, but no matter what they should enjoy those activities. If you hate running, don’t run. Brisk walking can give you lots of good benefits. Get back to the thing that makes you happy and you enjoy.

Take it easy on yourself

As I’ve been pushing back into more athletic activities, I’ve had a few moments of frustration feeling like I’m not where I was like, 6 months ago, and yeah that annoys me. However, I was out on the bike this week and I’ve been hitting really big hills I haven’t seen in awhile and I scaled them just fine so maybe I’m not the weakling I thought I’d been reduced to ūüėÖ

Staring down that hill I came up a few minutes before

No matter what activity you may have gotten off track with, be kind to yourself as you get back to it. You might be surprised that you are in better shape than you thought.

Your self care is important

During these trying days, with conflicting information, disrupted life and schedules, lack of work for many, self care is more important than ever. It may not be about achieving a certain level of fitness as much right now, as it is about your mental care as well. Exercise is one of the best tools to combat depression and anxiety, as well as potentially helping you sleep better and overall feel good about yourself. I find I do my most creative thinking during exercise, as well as problem solving. Self care isn’t selfish, its necessary for you to be healthy inside and out.

Your turn

How are you doing with self care during these trying times? Have you had a plan or do you need to get on board and get back to what you were doing?

The Art Of Self Care

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In todays adventures boys and girls, we’re going to branch out into something a little broader, something that encompasses more of us than “just” our bodies.

One of the buzz words out there right now is “self care”.¬† It’s a term¬† who’s meaning is most likely fairly obvious.

Let’s define self care as any activity we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health.

In a world that is increasingly more hectic and busy with lives that sometimes have us running in different directions with all kinds of responsibilities it’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do list of important things.

Where I’m at now in life, at the age I am, I’ve learned not only is self care perfectly ok, it’s also necessary. Self care for me involves everything from my daily exercise to reading something I enjoy or escaping to a warm bubble bath if the day has left me stretched thin as well as many other things that can soothe my body and mind and keep me a happy, healthy functioning woman.

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Somehow, being upside down, is one of the ways I enjoy self care ūüėČ #yoga

 

I make no excuses for it or apologize for it. Nor should you. We don’t get any extra awards in life for not taking care of ourselves.

Even with all that said, many do not, or think they aren’t important enough, to practice self care viewing it as perhaps selfish to do so.

Eh.¬† Perhaps some may believe it’s selfish.

I don’t really think it is.

Honestly, if you don’t take care of you, who will? And no one will take care of you better than you. ( gosh that’s a lot of “you’s” haha)

Self care keeps us not only healthy in all aspects of our life for (us) it benefits those we are involved with too ( family, friends, co-workers etc) I’m pretty sure they enjoy us when we’re at our optimal best.

So where do you start if you aren’t already practicing it? Or maybe you are to a degree but are looking for other ideas.

Let’s consider the three points mentioned: Mental, physical and emotional.

The most important thing to understand on this topic…. it isn’t a one time deal.¬† Much like eating properly, exercising, and anything else we do, it’s an ongoing process. Practicing small self¬†care things each day should be something¬†you¬†train yourself to do. Now with that in mind let’s move on. Below you’ll find a few tips or suggestions to help you get going. I’m offering up five various ideas but¬†you will probably be able to come up with others for yourself.

Mental self-care

Social media. Pretty much everyone is on it in some way. There can be a lot of negativity and things that aren’t positive when we log on. Some days I don’t spend much time¬†there because honestly,¬†¬†I just don’t need to view what’s on¬†it. Weed out people who don’t offer positive¬†vibes to you or at least mute them if their posts are troubling or pull you down. Unplug and walk away for awhile.

Do a mini-declutter. Nothing makes me feel more frustrated or overwhelmed than things seem disorganized or out of hand. Spend a few minutes on a drawer, closet or any other area that might be bothering you.

Take another route to work or change the way you go if you ride a bike or run. It’s mentally refreshing to have a different point of view.

Get out of your comfort zone. There’s nothing I’ve found more mentally engaging than getting out of that place I’m most comfortable. It will grow you.

Be selfish. Yeah there it is. The selfish word again. Do something each day for you that you enjoy that brings you pleasure or happiness. It’s really ok.

Body self-care

Exercise. Of course this doesn’t come as a surprise that this would be my first suggestion. Moving your body will not only help you physically, it helps mentally too.¬† Find mini times to move through out your day as well. A quick 10 minute walk or some basic stretches to loosen you up.

Learn to breathe deeply. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in yoga it’s practicing those deep breaths through all the moves. You can simply learn to take three deep, slow breaths anytime in your day. Breath in deeply, let your diaphragm expand and feel your lungs really fill with air. Slowly exhale.

Laugh. Read something funny you enjoy or watch a show that evokes laughter. Laughing is good for the soul too.

Make small changes in your diet. Maybe drink an extra glass of water, try a new vegetable or swap a sugary treat for something healthier.

Take a quick nap. A power nap can refresh and energize you for the rest of your day. Remember to keep it between 10-20 minutes

Emotional self-care

Let’s refer to emotional or care for our souls. After all we aren’t just a body wandering around and our souls need some care too.

Write out your thoughts. For me personally, writing can be the most¬† cathartic thing I do for myself. There are times I let my humor out and there are times I write and feel like I’m bleeding all over what I’m sharing. Write out what makes you happy, sad, angry etc

Help someone. That’s explanatory enough. There is satisfaction in helping others.

Make a small connection. Connect with the checker at the store, the barista who serves your coffee or the person in line with you. Hubby often wishes I wasn’t so skilled in this area of making connections ¬†haha

Splurge a little. Buy yourself a treat that you might not always indulge in.

Pray or meditate. Whatever you choose to do find sometime to just be alone and reflect. To let life breathe over you. Use that time to center your thoughts and reflect on the things in your life.

There you go.  A few ideas, some suggestions, to help you with this idea of self care.  Hopefully you will come up with a few others that are specific to meeting your needs.

The most¬† important thing to remember is that you are valuable and self care is not a special treat or a one time thing. It’s to be practiced in a variety of ways every day to keep you healthy and well for you and those you love.

Tell me. Do you have any special self care tips or suggestions?

The Sacrifice Of Self Caring

I was chattering away at hubby over breakfast on Sunday talking fast and excitedly as I’m prone to do when I’m really passionate about something.

He made careful work of his breakfast while I was shooting things off at him wondering when on EARTH the waitress might wander back and bring me more coffee….for real.

What passionate thing was I engaging him in ?

Something that has gotten closer to my heart more and more in the past couple years.

Health. Fitness. Wellness. Being empowered and strong… and more importantly… wanting it for others… to help them achieve that.

Here you thought I was gonna say running… didn’t you¬†? Well, you know I’m passionate about that, but we’ll save that for another blog ūüėČ

I am passionate about people “getting” it. When they figure out there’s no magic pill or secret formula, shake, drink or potion. When they get off the crazy carousel diet wagon. When they understand they can do things in a sane and sensible way and lose weight and still have a life….

When they find the balance that works for them that’s sustainable and allows them success.

I freaking love that.

But what I was particularly going on about with hubby was this…

I was reflecting on how people give up, give in, and walk away from the very thing they want to accomplish.

They quit. As if quitting is going to get them closer to their goals they have set for themselves. Why do so many quit? Give up? Throw in the proverbial towel ?

I’ll tell you. (uh… did I mention this might be a rather hard hitting post? )

Losing weight and getting fit requires A LOT of sacrifice. It requires a level of discipline that can make people uncomfortable. It means getting out of your comfy comfort zone. And honestly, it’s more than some want to give, and they quit.

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I saw a meme on Facebook recently that said “There are only two options: Make progress, or make excuses.”

If we are to be successful in our pursuit of being healthy, fit and strong, we need to focus on slow, steady, and constant progress.

The other option is where people¬†make excuses and quit. ¬†There’s always a reason “why” they aren’t being successful or a reason why they can’t eat better or exercise or ate half a tray of brownies.

I’ve worked with some people who I (think) expected that somehow I’d lose the weight for them, or be along to slap food out of their hands.

It doesn’t work like that. It does come down to this….

You’ve got to determine you want it bad enough…for you. Not for¬†your bf/gf, husband, wife, or anyone else… it’s got to be for you. And no one can do it …for you.

And then… then comes the hard part… because to do this…to get on the wagon and get moving… requires that sacrifice I was talking about.

Self care requires sacrifice.

Sacrificing old ways, old beliefs.

Sacrificing ways of eating, things that you do eat, how you eat, and how much of it you eat.

Sacrificing time to get out and get your body moving in purposeful exercise on a daily basis. Sacrificing your comfort for discomfort that comes with exerting your body in new ways.

Sacrificing your sense of “entitlement” that you should be able to have or eat certain foods in the amounts you want.

Sacrificing old habits for new ones.

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It’s not easy boys and girls. I’d be lying if I said changing ingrained eating habits you’ve had for years and training your body to like exercise ( and look forward to it!) is easy.

On my journey I’ve had good days and bad days. Days I didn’t WANT to exercise and couldn’t imagine a day that it would be so ingrained in me that I couldn’t imagine NOT doing it. I’ve had days where I knew I ate more than I needed or ate when I knew I wasn’t truly hungry. I just shook it off and kept moving forward. In time, the bad days became less, as my new habits settled into place.

Remember what I said about so many quitting the process….you must take some not so good days on your journey along with the ones that make you feel on top of the world… and keep moving forward.

But… it’s so worth the effort invested… the sacrifice you will make. ¬†So worth your time to take care of your body…. which contributes to all of your overall health ( mental and spiritual too) and no, it’s not selfish. ( we’ll talk more on that in another post)

Which brings me back to my passion… to help others get it.. to encourage them that those daily sacrifices they make will in time add up and it really will get easier and become much more of a habit to do than something they have to “make” themselves do.

Maybe you’ve sidelined yourself more times than you can count. Perhaps you’ve given up after a few weeks declaring it was just “to hard” or “nothing is happening”. You’ve allowed self-defeating talk to rule you and your choices.

Come closer and I will tell you something…. are you ready ?

You don’t have to stay in that place. You have everything in you to be successful and achieve your goals.

Yes, sacrifice and struggle will be involved. Yes, there are times it will not be easy.

Don’t quit… you’ll never arrive if you do.

In the end though, you’ll see, it was all worth it.