What is Self Care
We all need to fill our cup with the things in life that energize and recharge us. This is not about self-indulgence, although that becomes necessary at times. This is about doing the things that keep us emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy. We are better spouses, friends, parents, and siblings if we are not pouring from an empty cup. There are certain things that fill my soul. I am sure the same is true for you. This looks different for everyone. For me it’s fresh morning air, a long jog along the beach, a peaceful hike, a relaxing yoga class (again outdoors), and I love it when I get a chance to sing. I sing on the worship team at my church, and there’s just no other feeling like it. I find that when anxiety creeps in, or the circumstances of life start to stress me out, these are the things that bring me back into balance. What fills you up? How do you practice self care?
I like to have somewhat of a routine. If I don’t schedule “me time” it just won’t happen. I feel more organized and better prepared for the day ahead when I make that time for myself first. I have two 13 year olds that have to be up and out the door for school, so an hour of Yoga first thing in the morning is a bit out of the question. The key for me is to get up a half hour before they do. If I don’t I feel a bit like the tail is wagging the dog, and I am just caught in this perpetuating pattern of hurriedness. Mornings can seem a bit chaotic if the teens are distracted and running behind. When I get a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep, and an early half hour for myself, there is less yelling on my part. “Hey, you didn’t feed the cats!” “Where is your lunch bag?” “Why on earth are you waiting until now to have these papers signed for school?” “Hurry up, we are late. I’m leaving with or without you!” It is much more peaceful if I get a head start, and then can give gentle nudges when the kids are falling behind.
Ready or Not
My alarm goes off at 6:30. Now if you know me at all, you know that my least favorite sound is that of the alarm clock. I have never been a morning person. I fuss at the stupid clock, while smacking the snooze button if I haven’t gotten a full night’s rest…. So technically the whole day hangs in the balance if I didn’t get to bed by 10 the night before. Again, this goes back to planning ahead.
A hot washrag on my face and eyes, and a brush of the teeth and hair, and it’s straight to the coffee pot. Now I know that some of you are thinking, a health coach drinks coffee? Look people, this is the reason I get my feet out from the covers and onto the floor. I can almost smell it before it’s even brewing. The promise of it literally draws me out of bed. This is one of life’s simple pleasures that I am just not willing to give up. I keep it to one cup, then switch to decaf or herbal tea. For the record, green tea is a healthier alternative loaded with antioxidants, and less caffeine. While the coffee is brewing I down a quick small cup of apple cider vinegar and water. Tart, but not awful. ACV has a gazillion health benefits, and is a good way to re hydrate first thing in the morning.
At this point, I take my cup of Joe and my devotional to the patio for what I have called my “God time.” This is where I spend time in silent prayer and meditation. I read from my morning devotional, and think about my intentions for the day. If I seem grumpy or impatient, my kids will often ask, “Mom, did you have your God time?” At least they clearly see the importance of it. During this time I focus on my breathing, which physically alleviates any stress or tension I am feeling. Diaphragmatic breathing (inhaling through the nose allowing the belly to expand, and out slowly through the mouth) stimulates the vagus nerve which activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your nervous system that initiates rest and repair, digestion and reproduction. Incidentally, this allows the body to use fat more efficiently as a source of energy. No brainer! Once I’ve had this peaceful quiet time for myself, I am ready to begin mom duties with a much more pleasant demeanor.
This is not an everyday occurrence, but I enjoy experimenting with new juice recipes. I have shared a few of my favorites on my blog. Check out: Fresh Lemony Green Juice or Eden’s Pink Juice. We like juicing fresh fruits, and veggies in the morning. This takes a few minutes of prep and clean up, so this is why resisting that snooze button is important.
Once the littles (I guess they are bigs now) are off to school, I lace up the running shoes and hit the trails if the weather is nice. If not, I workout indoors. I find that if I get in a workout in the morning, I have abundantly more energy throughout the day. Seems counter-intuitive but it’s true. Try it! Exercise has many health benefits. Among these are weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, improved bone health, increased muscle strength, better coordination, and reduced risk of disease. And my favorite, after a few minutes of vigorous activity, your brain will start to secrete hormones that naturally improve your mood and relieve stress.
Nourish the Body
It is recommended that you get some protein in your system within about 20 minutes of a workout. This is when I make myself a nutritious breakfast. I usually make eggs with lots of veggies, and ½ a grapefruit. I occasionally scramble them with sautéed greens (kale or spinach) and mushrooms, garlic, and a little cheese. If I have avocado, you can bet that’s in there too. One of my favorites is two eggs over easy with spinach, goat cheese, and Kalamata olives.
Do Work that is Fulfilling
Once I’ve hit the showers, I am ready to get to work. This is when I either see clients, or work from the computer at home. I spend this time preparing for classes and workshops, writing health blogs, or doing some marketing for my business. Never underestimate the importance of a rewarding career. You can either live to work, or work to live. Either is honorable, but we only get one chance on this earth to do something fulfilling, and that blesses others. Having a career that you are passionate about can bring much happiness and sense of purpose. Do what you love. Chances are you’ll be darn good at it.
More to Give
By the time I pick the kids up from school, I am ready to be all about them. My personal self care is done. My cup is filled. I had a productive and purposeful day, and as a result, I have more to offer my family. This time that I take for myself leaves me feeling more balanced and whole. I encourage you to find what fills you up, so that you have an abundance to pour out onto those you love!
I am a certified Health Coach as well as a personal fitness trainer. I specialize in working with busy moms and corporate professionals that struggle to find the time to nurture their mind, body and spirit. I help my clients discover that they can experience healing and optimum health through real food. I empower people to take their health into their own hands, to achieve a healthy, balanced, and fulfilling life, and be their very best self. I do not put people on a diet. As a Health Coach, my mission is to help my clients make incremental lifestyle changes that help them to not simply survive, but to thrive!
I offer private and group coaching packages. Sessions are held in person, or via phone or Skype. My next group coaching circle begins February 24th. Spots are still available, so contact me if you are interested in joining.
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Strive to Thrive!
Certified Health Coach & Personal Trainer