I used to think that “self-care” was the equivalent of being self-ish. I believed that by constantly doing, achieving, creating + giving to everybody and everything around me or that I was involved in somehow made me good. I believed that the more productive I was, or the more things I could check off my to-do list in a day somehow contributed to my value and self-worth. And honestly, I kinda thought that self-care was for the self-indulgent. I mean…I had things to-do, places to be and accomplishments to achieve.
Fact: I couldn’t have been more wrong!
And if you don’t know my story you can read about it in my ebook which you can get here.
Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty:
Weight gain + Adrenal fatigue + A bunch of other stuff = Burn out
And the thing is I hear this same story from almost every one of my clients. They too believe that constantly pushing themselves to do more, achieve more, and be more is the fastest path to happiness and fulfillment. Yet we all know the saying that it’s not the destination that’s important but the journey that gets us there – in the game of life, nothing could be truer.
What finally made me really get this was thinking about how I trained for Ironman Canada and my basic approach to fitness. I want to be able to go further faster. I want to get stronger and leaner. And I love body science. It fascinates me. I love learning and understanding about how muscles breakdown, heal + repair and get stronger and/or grow.
And here’s what I know – it’s absolutely necessary to push yourself in the gym or on the track (or whatever type of exercise you do) – you have to go beyond your comfort zone in order to see change (it’s called the principle of progressive overload). But if you do that day after day after day without giving your body a chance to heal – those initial gains are diminished and in fact all you’re doing now is slowing down your progress and increasing the likelihood of injury. There’s not one professional athlete out there who doesn’t incorporate “rest” into their training regime – so why oh why would you push yourself 24/7 without including a little bit of rest & recovery? The concept of rest made sense to me and that’s when I made the link to self-care.
The whole concept of self-care can be foreign to some people and many of my clients don’t even know where to start. They might be good at some aspects of self-care but terrible at others. Here are some different examples of how you can begin to incorporate a bit of rest & recovery into your life:
- Go to bed earlier. This is a huge way I see people sabotaging themselves. Especially moms. A busy mom loves the peace and silence in her house after the kids go to bed and I often hear that this is “me time” – time to be on the computer or watch TV or just “catch up on house stuff” – yet what they really need is sleep. I wrote more about it here
- Move your body. It’s so easy to skip your workout when you’re busy but scheduling exercise into your to-do list can give you the mental break your mind needs and the physical challenge your body craves. It’s simply good to move – even if it’s just for 20 min. Try it.
- Eat well. Organize your life such that you have healthy food in the fridge and that you’re taking the time to actually eat good food. Change the grab & go habit to one of being planned and prepared. Nourishing your body will always lead to positive things in your life.
- Connect with positive people. Sometimes the best self-care is taking time to hang out with your friends and laugh.
- Look after yourself. Whether that means scheduling a massage (and this one is on my list!), going to physio, seeing your chiropractor for an adjustment, booking an appointment at the dentist for a teeth cleaning, or finally scheduling that annual exam you’ve been dreading for 6 yrs.
Being proactive with your health is simply necessary. I’d love to hear more about what your ideas or actions around self-care are! Drop down into the comment box below and share away – sometimes hearing that meditating for 5 min every morning is working for someone else may mean you’ll be willing to try it too (there’s another idea!).
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