Why does it seem so hard to take care of ourselves in the midst of everything going on? It can even feel unimportant and unnecessary.

Oh contraire my friend, I am here to tell you it is incredibly important and monumentally necessary.

No matter if you’re starting a new business, working your butt off in your current job, taking care of a family or a sick loved one, you MUST take care of yourself.

Why?

Simple. You’ll burn out. You’ll become ornery as a snake and unpleasant to be around. Your mental and emotional clarity will become clouded which has numerous negative side effects. You’ll become resentful. You’ll become disillusioned. You’ll become a shell of yourself. Do I need to keep going?

Maybe they won’t all happen at once. You may not even notice, but those around you will notice for a while.

It’s so easy to say this to other people but implementing it can be hard. I know. Trust me. I still struggle. 

 

I spent over a year supporting and caring for my mom who had leukemia. To say that it was an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.

It was such a crazy year but I felt the only things I could control was to keep my life as normal as possible outside of my time with her, which included working out, seeing friends and coaching my high school volleyball team. Did I necessarily WANT to leave my mom and do all these things? No. Of course I wanted to stay with her every second, but I knew it wasn’t good for either of us. I forced myself to go through the motions to live life, even if I felt like a zoned-out zombie at times. The returns were always greater than the output. 

Leah Carol DC Life Coach - self-care

Life is always going to be nuts. We know that. In an effort to alleviate HOW we handle it, I'm sharing with you my Top Three Self-Care Practices you can do for yourself when times are crazy (or everyday).

 

Sleep

Shoot for 8 hours and stick to a consistent bedtime and and wake up time.

I’ve always valued sleep, but never in my life did it become as apparent of how important it is until I was taking care of mom. The less sleep I got the more emotional I became...like crazy emotional. Whenever I got a good night’s sleep, things just seemed better. I could think clearly and was rejuvenated and happier and probably a lot more pleasant to be around.

Secondly, the more emotional I became the more physical pain I experienced. Never before had I experienced the direct correlation between stress and physical pain. I’d always read about it, but never thought I was “that stressed” to make my body hurt. I remember hysterically crying on the phone to my dad about my back pain and he just said, “I had no idea it was this bad.” Well, it usually wasn’t that bad, but it had flared up in recent months due to what was going on in my life.

Get some sleep and you’ll be able to think clearer and make better informed decisions which will reduce your likelihood of screwing something up which will only add to your stress!

 

Exercise

It doesn’t have to be a Crossfit workout or a 5 mile run (but great if it is!) it could also be just going for a walk. Exercise releases endorphins (feel good chemicals) and if you’re going balls to the walls all day, you need these chemicals. It’ll just make your day better. Also, it’s an incredible statement to that you’re going to honor your body and give it what it needs in all the craziness/busy-ness rather just using and abusing it all day while you’re “getting it all done.”

I recently spent 4 days in the hospital with my grandma after she fell. On day 3, I chose to arrive an hour later so I could go to spin class that morning. If I was going to sit in a chair all day at a hospital, I needed to get out all the energy I could. My grandma didn’t care. I wasn’t doing anything, other than just being there keeping her company. My legs were so tired I was happy to sit down for hours and I just FELT GOOD and didn’t feel like a bump on a log for sitting all day because I had just burned a ton of calories and sweated my ass off!

 

Feed Your Soul

This is an incredibly personal one because what you do will not look like what others do. You MUST take time to do what lights you up. Maybe it’s music lessons, dance class, curling up with a good book, having a glass of wine and convo with a best gal pal. For me, it’s coaching my high school volleyball team. I would drive from mom’s chemo sessions to the gym- usually arriving with a red, swollen face from crying on the 5 minute drive from the hospital to the school. The girls would hug me and we’d get to work. It was 2 hours of my day that wasn’t about cancer. It was 2 hours where I could focus on refilling my emotional tank. It was 2 hours to myself and for myself.

I would head to my mom’s house afterwards and she would want to know all about the team and how my girls were progressing, removing any guilt I had about leaving her. She’d ask about my friends, what new body part hurt from working out, or if I had any new guy news. She wanted the distraction more than anyone else, which is why it became more important to live life. I needed stories to return to her with. By refilling my tank, we both won.

There’s a reason they tell you on airplanes to put your air mask on before helping others- you’ll pass out within 15 seconds if you don’t. You are no good to anyone if you are not well maintained- mentally, physically and emotionally - not your kids, not your boss, not your spouse, not anyone! No matter what situation you’re in or even just the day-to-day stress that comes with life, not taking care of yourself is a recipe for disaster.

So agree today that you will do something for yourself. Self-care is not selfish. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You'll be thanked in smiles, hugs, and kindness. Trust me. 

 Self care is not selfish

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