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Simple Self-Care for Movers and Shakers
As a busy business owner, manager, and professional (often juggling work, volunteering, and family), it can be difficult to prioritize much less when you really need to take care of yourself. Sometimes this topic is dismissed as a fluffy, feminine issue. However, while men don’t often go for manicures or pedicures or go out for coffee with their friends, both men and women need to make sure they rest and restore their own energy. This is self-care.
When we don’t take care of ourselves, we are more exposed to stress, which results in reduced emotional management and burnout. While our self-care activities may not make the top 10 list of today’s priorities, it’s time to put them on the list! Before we compile a list of “ideals,” you need to understand what self-care means to you.
For years, friends and family scolded me for burning the candle at both ends and taking care of myself. At times it was difficult to understand what they meant. I knew I was busy, but I was doing things that were important to me, that I loved, and that I found energy and space for. My friends and family said it was worth my downtime, but sometimes I felt confused about what I should be doing. I couldn’t see myself just sitting at home and reading a book for 3 or even a single hour, or going out for a whole day while still trying the hobbies I love. It felt like an oxymoron: “Keep calm and take care of yourself, but don’t plan anything.” How can I get a massage without booking and where can I fit it into my schedule? I usually replied, “I’m fine.” I planned a few self-care tools into my day and I felt plenty of energy despite what I was doing, but I knew I wasn’t really taking care of myself and making time for luxuries, but planning them into the day seemed much more stressful.
What finally caught my attention, as it does for many, was when my body couldn’t keep up with me the same way it used to. After the birth of my second daughter, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Symptoms reportedly include fatigue, brain fog, body aches, and more. I thought, “What’s new? You just have to get over it.” The diagnosis didn’t really change anything, it just increased my friends and family’s concern that I should slow down and take care of myself. I enjoyed being productive and getting things done, keeping a full schedule with 2 jobs, family and a heavy volunteer schedule.
Then I hit my forties. While I enjoyed everything I did, I realized that there was a fair amount of stress that came with the low margins I allowed myself. I attribute the combination of stress and health to some of the anxiety challenges that led to panic attacks. This got my attention. I tried to mediate this new challenge, but found that it had additional side effects. I tried to go back to my years of opportunities and efforts to exercise, meditate, journal, be quiet, etc. I began to notice the activities of those who were years older but looked young to others of the same age. he looked old. That’s when I started thinking about how my low margins helped me get a lot done, but significantly increased my stress load. My stress load contributed to my compromised help and heightened anxiety, which then had its own ripple effect.
So maybe you’re still in denial about self-care and people are telling you to slow down, or maybe you’ve turned around and realized the importance of self-care. I believe everyone should take care of their body, mind, and spirit, but when you’re talking to the movers and shakers on the road, it’s especially important to take care of yourself. You connect with and influence a lot of people, and depending on your level of self-care, it will affect your ability to keep doing what you’re doing and the amount of positivity you share while doing it. So, how do you do it?
#1) The basics. Foundations are the things that contribute to ongoing sustainability. When we are healthy and young, it is easy to take advantage of that health and get away with the basics. The older we get, the more we see the impact of a lack of self-care or the amazing figure of those who took the time. Health research and articles consistently make similar suggestions:
– SLEEP. Don’t fool yourself. It takes 8 hours.
– MOVEMENT. Even a daily walk is better than nothing. Get a pedometer. Take 10,000 steps. Get out (I lived in MN, I know how hard it can be.)
– WATER. Drinking our body weight in water is ideal, but for some of us, it’s just MORE water. Add lemon rings or anything that helps you get as much as possible each day.
– GREENS. Eat more vegetables and greens (cabbage, spinach, etc.). Honestly, good greens are hard for me, but the more often we add them to our diet, the easier it gets.
– ANTIOXIDANTS. Either with good foods (turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, cranberries, nuts, etc.) or with a great supplement.
– BREATHING. Whether it’s a classic meditation or just 10 deep breaths a day, it enhances moments of relaxation, stress relief, and oxygenation of the body.
#2) Restoring your body, mind and spirit. I believe there is a difference between a self-care checklist and learning to listen to my inner self and intuition about self-care. A checklist can give you ideas, get you started, or experience different options that you might actually need. Deeper self-care is not about being a slave to a checklist, but about answering the call of the inner self. For example, when you are thirsty, your body needs water. You could look at the drink menu: soda, tea, coffee, fruit juice, water… but you know what your body really needs, listen to your body, and you’ll know that if you try to drink the other options, you’ll still be. thirsty. The body needs water to refresh itself. Similarly, in our self-care, it is important to learn how to listen to ourselves and hear what our body, mind and spirit are asking for.
– Examples of checklists that include activities from common self-care suggestions in your daily and weekly routine:
– Body (helps the body feel better physically): massage, walking outside, eating salad, exercise, stretching, 10 minute break, eating fruits, eating breakfast, drinking more water, reducing sugar, sunbathing, laughing
– The mind (helps reduce stress and clear the mind to relax): meditation, playing the piano or an instrument, reading a book, journaling, making a list, setting boundaries, reading positive quotes and inspiration, decluttering, unplugging class
– Spirit (encourages the heart, brings joy and inner peace): coffee with friends, listening to music, hiking, dinner, reading the Bible, prayer, holding and reviewing a card folder, reducing or eliminating toxic and negative people in your news feed, volunteering
– Intuitive direction. When you are able to listen to your intuition and inner voice, it tells you what you need. They may sound like things on your self-care list, or they may be completely random. You may not want to do it, but understand how wise your body is and trust it to give you good direction on what you need. It can be:
– You’ve been on your computer all day. You feel sluggish and tired. You ask yourself, “What do I need to upload?” GO FOR A WALK.
– You felt uninspired and unmotivated. You ask yourself, “What do I need to refuel?”
– You feel lonely, even though there are people around you. You ask yourself: “What do I need to renew?” CALL THE OLD BFF FOR DRINKS.
– You feel defeated and left behind. You ask yourself, “What do I need to de-stress?” MAKE A LIST.
– You feel frustrated and upset about all your projects. You ask yourself: “What do I need to relax?” LISTEN TO MUSIC AND GO FOR A WALK.
Whatever it is, the bottom line is that there is no right or wrong. It’s not magic. It means listening to your inner self and letting your body creatively tell you what it needs. This might sound a bit “woo-woo” and hopefully it’s clear that I’m not talking about anything illegal or inappropriate, but as you get into the habit of listening to your body (by being quiet, quieting your mind and listening to your heart) you’ll get useful information , that don’t come from your head and an endless list of things to do, but real refueling and uplifting self-care that is just for you, in this time and moment, to support you being there. best!
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