Monday, January 2, 2012

Manic Monday: basic self-care

Self-care is a popular term for women, but I have realized we often think in terms of girl's night or pedicures and although those are certainly a part of self-care, sometimes we need a reminder to do things that are even more basic.

ZZZZZZzzzzzz. Let's start with sleep. One of my favorites. Do you know how many hours of sleep you need a night? Have you given yourself space and grace to take a nap? For years, I thought taking naps meant I was lazy, now I know they are a common secret to many of the most productive (and happy!) people. Get your rest. So important. If you are not rested, it will not make a difference how cute your toes are. (To read: The Promise of Sleep.)

Food. My second favorite. I am a huge fan of treating myself to cupcakes and ice cream when I need some extra love, so I am all for treats, but I am talking about real food. Especially breakfast! Moms, wake up and eat. Eat some protein, eat some fruit, fill your tank for the big day you have ahead of you. You could be tired because you need sleep or you could be tired because you need food. Probably it's both. Pack a lunch and snacks for yourself, just like you would for kids. We need good food to function. Have treats in addition to real meals, but call treats a meal. You deserve healthy delicious food. Try to eat every 3 hours. It will change your life. I am also a big fan of juice plus, especially if your body has been fed by kid's leftovers for the past several years. (To read: The 3-hour Diet.)

Get back into your body. This body is yours. Does it feel like it belongs to you? Get inside of yourself. Remember how your legs and arms and muscles feel? Are you in pain anywhere? It is time to schedule that appointment to get that problem taken care of. In fact, schedule all those important annual exams. Get that tooth fixed. Do physical therapy for your shoulder. Take a walk in your neighborhood. Get a gym membership. Try any and every class that looks interesting. Consider yoga, spinning, boxing, or body pump depending on what is FUN to you. My personal favorite form of fitness is Zumba. You might make some new friends and that is a self-care two for one deal, right there.
(To read: Spark: the revolutionary new science of the brain and exercise.)

Water. Water. Water.  What do you pour yourself (or pick up at a drive-thru) when you are feeling tired or stressed? Coffee? Diet Drinks? Wine? It is a joke in my family that if anything is wrong with anyone, my solution is drink water.  It does a body good.  Like miraculous good. There is some wonderful research out there, but when you understand what dehydration does to your body, you see that of course we are tired, anxious, not thinking clearly.  If you can make no other changes to your life today but drinking more water, do it. My personal goal is to drink 100 oz. a day.  I have a couple of water bottles that I love and I keep one with me at all times, refilling it about 4x a day. (To read: Your Body's Many Cries for Water.)

Even though you already know that sleep, food, exercise and water are essential to meet your basic needs, we are so busy driving kids around and meeting deadlines at work that these basic needs get ignored.  
You cannot take care of your children, your job, or pursue your passions if you are not taking care of your basics.  It takes intention.  

Whatever you have to let go of to make this basic self-care possible, you must. Just ask Maslow.

No comments: