A few months ago, I was asked to write about self care for my friend Haley to share on her lifestyle blog. At the time, I was just doing my regular thing, working my normal day job, attending my weekly fitness classes, coming home and going through all of my typical evening routines. Self care was second nature.
I had started this post immediately because I absolutely love sharing my heart with people ESPECIALLY if it can help them on their journey. Also, I couldn’t believe I’d never really written specifically about something I am so deeply invested in. *But then, I quickly realized that getting sidetracked is very “on brand” for me.
Fast forward through the last month where my life was legit flipped upside down and my own well-being was in question. Needless to say, self care looked drastically different and it took a few weeks and a few therapy sessions to start feeling myself again. So, here we are.
It’s become quite the buzz word, right? Self care. Everyone is talking about it, but what does it really mean? How can you apply it to your life? Is it really that important? In short, the answer is “yes.”
Self care can be broken down into many different categories and practiced in many different ways. It’s not just a bubble bath or a glass of wine (although those both do still count!) I’d like to walk you through a few of the ones I am passionate about and share some examples of how I’ve found healthy balance in life by implementing simple-yet-effective routines. These daily practices have helped me maintain good habits and have ultimately helped me to keep my priorities in check at all times.
Physical Self Care
I wanted to start with physical self care because I think it’s one of the most important categories. Unfortunately, I think it’s also the category that gets pushed to the back burner when life gets tough. Physical self care involves all of the things you do to keep your body healthy. When you think of ways that you can nurture your physical self, what types of things come to mind? Here are some of my favorites:
-Exercise: Everyone has different limitations, but I make it a priority to work out 3-5 days/week. Check out this article from Harvard Medical School which talks about the four most important types of exercise and how you can safely fit them into your daily routine. I personally love variety, so each week, I sit down and plan out workouts like I would any other commitment. Making exercise a non-negotiable part of my weekly routine has allowed me to see consistent results and feel my absolute best through all of the ups and downs in life. I have attended Haley’s Boot Camp for a few years now and absolutely love what she has to offer! You can follow the link to see her monthly schedule or even contact her with questions you may have! Haley is extremely knowledgeable and certified in many areas, so when you attend one of her classes, you should feel safe knowing that you’re in good hands! She’s been amazing to work with through injuries and recoveries and I can’t say enough good things about her weekly workouts! If weight training and kickboxing aren’t your thing, find something that works for you. It could be spinning, yoga, walking, jogging or even swimming! Get moving!
-Diet: There are so many “diet” trends out right now that it makes me hesitate to even use the word, but a healthy diet is the key to physical health and wellness. Find a nutrition plan that works for you, but make sure that you’re incorporating a variety of real food and that you’re eating ENOUGH. When I started seeing my friend Kara Goss for nutrition counseling, we discovered that I wasn’t seeing any progress because I was actually under-eating. This is a thing, guys! We focus so much on cutting calories that our metabolism stops working properly and we end up not seeing results despite how hard we may work in the gym. For me, a healthy diet means filling most of my cart with a rainbow of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, organic dairy and whole grains, but I also make sure to save a spot in the cart for Kit Kat bars because LIFE should be enjoyable! Your diet may look different depending on your needs. Try to remember that there is no “one size fits all” with nutrition. If you need some extra support, click here to check out Kara’s website and see if she may be a good fit for you! Kara offers one-on-one coaching support and completely transformed my view of nutrition in a short time. We know so much more now than we ever have in terms of food being medicine. I love the quote, “if you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness.” Read that quote again, go buy some broccoli, drink your water and crush your goals!
-Meal Prep: Going along with a healthy diet is the weekly process of planning and prepping all of your food ahead of time in an effort to free up your precious minutes throughout the week. My husband and I spend Sunday morning on the couch with a cup of coffee collaborating on our grocery list together using Google Keep. It is a total time saver and it allows us to add/delete things whenever we see that we need them right from our phones. We spend Sunday afternoon meal prepping our breakfast, lunch and snacks to make sure that we have healthy choices ready to grab each day without giving it a second thought. This is hands-down our favorite productivity routine and if you would like to know more about how we do this, I would love to share!
-Rest: I can’t tell you how shocked I am to hear that there are people who run on only a few hours of sleep each night. This article (again from Harvard because, HARVARD) speaks about the importance of sleep. There are just so many reasons that you should be getting at least 6 hours if not more. Also, did you know that there are specific times that are better for you to go to sleep based on when you want to wake up? If you’d like to learn more about REM sleep cycles and how you can dial in on getting your best sleep, click here!
-Massage: I can’t say enough good things about regular massage therapy. Not only is it one hour (or more) of peace and relaxation, but massage has been shown to do so many positive things for your body. For starters, massage improves the flexibility of your muscles, helps with blood circulation, aids in recovery time and flushes your body of toxins. In addition, regular massage therapy can help to improve your sleep patterns and even boost your mood! What are you waiting for? I recommend Bella Spa 100% hands down. All of the ladies there are extremely knowledgable, thorough and do amazing work. Also, you can go early for your appointment and enjoy their beautiful waiting room complete with drinks and snacks. *Always snackin’
Social Self Care
Social self care is made up of the ways you nurture the relationships in your life. What types of things do you do to keep your relationships healthy? Here are some of mine:
-Boundaries: By identifying, establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries, you will be setting yourself up for long-term positive relationships with those who choose to respect them. Boundary setting can be uncomfortable, but it is vital to your own self care. If someone is violating or disrespecting your boundaries, it’s probably time to reevaluate the degree to which they get to be a part of your life. FYI: You will be working on boundaries for the rest of your life, so try to remember that every single day is a new opportunity to practice! Remember to give yourself grace through the process and even when your boundaries get unclear, know that stepping back and checking in with yourself will be so beneficial to rebalancing and finding clarity.
-Find Your Tribe: My two best friends and I always start every uncomfortable conversation with the phrase, “healthy friendship.” Doing this makes us all hyper aware that the topic may bring some tense feelings, but that we need to remember to be gentle, love and support each other through whatever it is. This friendship has seen years of highs, lows and everything in between. It’s a friendship I wouldn’t trade for anything and although it may look different now than it did 5 years ago, the quality and undeniable loyalty are stronger now than they’ve ever been. What did we do to get here? Simply stated, we put in the work. If you have a friendship that you value, do yourself a favor and never stop working to keep it going.
-Stay Mindful of Social Media: It’s very easy to spend hours of your day scrolling through social media. It’s not even a terrible thing if you do every once in awhile. Social media has given us amazing resources and has brought so much positive energy to the world. Unfortunately, it has also given us some negative energy. Regardless of your social media habits, I just want to remind you that there’s an unfollow button for a reason. Don’t be afraid to use it! Are you following someone who you’re constantly comparing yourself to in a negative way? Unfollow. How about someone who exhibits behaviors that aren’t aligned with you? Unfollow. What about that someone who is constantly posting negative comments, pictures or videos? Unfollow! We may not have complete control of everything we see on social media, but we can do a really good job of filtering the content significantly by just staying mindful of what we allow into our headspace. Follow and unfollow accordingly!
-Find a Therapist: If you know me, you know I’m a mental health advocate to the core. A therapist saved my life and I will forever speak out about the value of finding someone to help you navigate through the ups and downs. Does it take time? Yes. Do you have to stay consistent? Yes. Is it a lifelong commitment? Not necessarily. Will you find the right match on the first try? Maybe, but maybe not! There’s no doubt that we all need a little bit of help sometimes! Please don’t ever think that seeing a therapist means there is something wrong with you. Try to reframe your thinking into, “life is hard and it’s okay to ask for help!” I am 100% willing to speak more on this topic, so reach out if you’d like more information on how to get started!
-Positive Self Talk: A beautiful friend recently shared a quote that made me feel so strong. “Own your story.” We talked through our respective “life stuff.” We shared the highs and lows we were currently working through and it made me feel so good talking about how those lows weren’t immediately associated with a bad life. Rather, those lows changed the direction of my life and taught me something bigger. I’d love to see more people loving themselves through the journey of life. It’s certainly the biggest commitment you’ll ever make. I used to live in the land of negative automatic thoughts (NATs). “If I don’t get this job, I’m never going to find one.” “I didn’t get invited to that party.” “What did I do wrong?” “I hate my _________.” Living in this headspace was not only dangerous, but it was damaging. I spent a lot of time journaling through this and found that NATs will continue come around, but the healing comes from reframing my thinking. *Real girl isn’t perfect. Perfect girl isn’t real.
-Forgiveness: Not too long ago, I discovered Jay Shetty and I hope this post helps you to discover him, too! He’s an amazing coach who I really admire for his wisdom and story telling. He created a Vimeo on forgiveness sharing how we can release so much of the weight we carry by releasing the things that no longer serve us. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of forgiveness and I hope after watching this quick clip, you might feel the same way.
Spiritual Self Care
When you hear the word “spiritual,” what words come to mind? God? Faith? Nature? Crystals? Reiki? Healing? All of these are valid! To me, spiritual self care encompasses anything and everything you do to connect with and nurture your spirit. So, how do you take care of your spiritual self?
-Church: This is probably one of the most common places you think about when you think of nurturing your spirit, but remember that church doesn’t have to be a building! My mom always said that church could look like your couch with a cup of coffee and a good friend. I am here for it. There is no wrong way to worship, so let your church be what you need it to be.
-Holistic Healing: I like to think of holistic healing as anything from reiki to crystals, Tibetan singing bowls to lavender essential oil. Do you love to burn sage in your house? What about daily meditation and yoga? All of these things fall under the umbrella of holistic and I am here for them! Sure, they may not be the only way to find spiritual balance, but they are an amazing way to recenter yourself and connect with your soul.
-Kindness: Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
I am so grateful that you invested your time into reading this post. Self care is an ongoing journey that you’ll be on for the rest of your life. Try to remember that you are human. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to be okay. It’s okay to not be okay. You’re going to spring forward and you’re also going to fall backward. Love yourself through it all. Feel the feelings. Cry the tears. Laugh. Be gentle and take care of yourself.