Today, I find myself wanting to discuss self-care. It’s a whole new world I’ve recently tapped into… and cannot believe I’ve lived without for so long. The official definition of self-care, according to Google, is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
While that’s not too far off, I’d like to expand that definition a bit. But first, let’s discuss what self-care is not.
Self-care is not..
…a waste of time.
…exclusive to food.
These were four huge hurdles for me in the beginning. Learning it is perfectly acceptable to take time for myself, that it is not stupid or a waste of time and that self-care extends past food was all very foreign and mind blowing.
So how do I define self-care?
To me, it is doing things that may be uncomfortable or challenging at first but ultimately benefit my mental, physical and emotional greater good. When my brain whines, “I don’t wanna…” I do it anyway because I know I feel better when I do. Hopefully these 5 ways I practice self-care will clarify what I mean and inspire you to discover what works for you.
5 Ways I Practice Self-Care
1. Show heaps of grace and develop healthy self-talk.
This one is huge! I would never talk to anyone else the way I’ve talked to myself over the years so one day it just hit me: IT’S NOT OK TO TALK TO MYSELF LIKE THAT EITHER.
Let me give an example.
I’m 5’1″ and 160-ish pounds. My brain likes to attack me with accusations of being fat, inadequate and a health fraud without considering the impact 13 years of hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue can have on a body.
Sometimes this is still a struggle but instead of letting it spiral me, I now capture those thoughts and reroute them like a train back onto a track of positive thinking.
Mistakes get made, end of story. No one’s health journey was forged by being perfect. So when I fall off the AIP wagon, and my brain hurls insults at me, I take it as an opportunity to retrain my brain and show myself heaps of grace. ♥
2. Get outside. A lot.
Nature trails are my happy place and I always knew that about myself (and that I love running). However, I quite the trails and running anyway because, at the time, I couldn’t see how continuing was helping anything. My health declined further and put me in a constant state of fatigue but I’ve since realized resting too much isn’t good for my health either.
Now, I’m a frequent walker and love it. Last month I walked 50 miles! My goal for July: 70 miles. I used to wait until I felt like exercising before doing so. Now, I don’t wait for the mood to strike, I just go. Let me tell you, I’ve not once regretted it.
That’s not true. There was that one time I lost the trail. That 6 mile hike accidentally turned into a 9.29 mile one. My water bottle ran out and my skin burned to a crisp. Thanks to everyone who left tips via Instagram on how to heal my skin! 😉
3. Take the dang vitamins/supplements/meds.
Vitamins, supplements and medications won’t work unless they’re consistently being taken in the correct quantities and at the correct time(s). What a concept, right!
I had to learn it’s not cute to simply say, “I forgot!” for the fourth day in a row then be disappointed when results weren’t manifesting. Consistency is key. Alarms, notes, reminders from my husband and monthly check-ins with my Functional Medicine doctor all aid in keeping me on track. Plus, we’re spending way to much on Functional Medicine to not do what I’m supposed to. *internal cringe*
4. Go to bed early and wake up early.
For whatever reason, this one is way easier said than done but once consistently practiced, WOW. It works magic on a healing body.
My alarm goes off at 6:00 AM every morning during the Summer. During the school year, it goes off at 5:00 AM. First, I take my thyroid meds, a bit later my supplements, then comes my two mile (minimum) walk, next is a nutritious AIP breakfast, a shower, skincare routine, hair and then makeup. Once complete, I feel on top of the world and ready to tackle the day!
In the evening, my goal is to always have lights out by 9:30 PM. In theory, I’m asleep by 10. Of course, that’s not always the case because occasionally my body needs to toss and turn for a couple hours but it’s forever the goal. Healing is a priority for me right now so that means going to bed when I’ve promised myself I would and not taking late appointments or outings.
5. Say NO to just about everything.
Yes, I’m that person. I say no to most everything.
“Hey, Jordan, want to be a part of ______?”
“Can you do ____?”
“Want to come out with us to _______.”
“Can you help with _______.”
Why am I this way? If a potential commitment would cause me high levels of stress, I’m simply unavailable for it. Period. It’s important to note here that I do commit to some things. For example, I teach bible class on Wednesday evenings to some second and third graders and I’m on several committees at the private school I work for. When I say yes to something, it’s because I’m emotionally, mentally and physically able to fully commit.
I encourage you to prioritize yourself.
Learn that you have extreme worth and value… then live in a way that reflects this.
Finding self-care practices that are a good fit and are a perfect balance for your life is 100% worth it.
It’s been life changing for me. ♥
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