Have you ever wondered how some people just seem to make being healthy look so effortless? They drink their water daily, get plenty of sleep, practice self care, eat healthy, and just seem so calm and happy. ALL. THE. TIME. Yet you are running 90 miles an hour from one thing to another just trying to survive and can’t remember the last time you even THOUGHT about taking care of yourself.
But the truth is that we can’t take care of others very well, if we don’t FIRST take care of ourselves.
It’s like when we are on an airplane listening to the safety speech and they always tell you to put on YOUR oxygen mask first before you put on your child’s. If you have ever flown with children you know they even come by personally and remind you of this. It’s. That. Important.
So if you are someone (like me….) that always thinks about others first, it’s time to stop and think about yourself. And NO, it does not make you selfish. I still struggle with those thoughts in my head sometimes too, but when you are happy, healthy, and rested, then you can be your best self to help others even more.
Your kids want the best version of you. Your spouse wants the best version of you. And even your co-workers want the best version of you.
And you can’t be the best version of you without first taking time for yourself. However, this doesn’t have to take a lot of time! It’s all about creating simple habits that just become who you are and what you do on a daily basis. Healthy habits that stick.
At first this can be challenging, because you are really going to have to THINK about these things to remember to do them, but after a while it will become autopilot.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Getting More Sleep
This is PROBABLY the most important one for all of us, yet so many of us don’t. And about the only ones who get a pass for a short time would be moms with a newborn baby. But even you can nap when your baby naps. Trust me, the laundry and dishes can wait!
You need to plan to go to bed earlier, stop drinking caffeine past 2pm, and turn off the screens! I personally have to go to bed 9 hours before I plan to wake up. Why? Because it’s not like I fall asleep right away and I NEED 8 hours of sleep to be my best self. Otherwise I am sluggish and grumpy all day. I also learned from wearing my Fitbit watch that I don’t stay asleep all night. I might wake up a few times which can affect how much sleep I get.
So after I put my kids to bed, I go to bed too. I then set my alarm for before they wake up so that I can get started on my day, have my coffee, and not be in a rush.
Find Time to Move or Exercise
Moving more and exercising is probably almost as important as sleep AND can actually help you sleep better. We spend so much time on our screens, sitting down, on a computer, or watching TV these days that it should be no shock that our healthy is declining.
I make exercise a priority and do something almost every single day. Whether that is running, yoga, taking a walk, going to the gym, or stretching, just moving more each day can make a huge impact on your energy and health.
On the days when I’m more sedentary I notice I’m not as productive and can’t think as well. Getting the blood moving really helps our brains and improves our mental health. Studies show that depression rates go down as exercise increases. I know I always feel more uplifted from the endorphins after working out!
Nurture a Healthy Mindset
We really are what we believe we are, but not all of us are just naturally positive thinkers. Yet our thoughts and mindset really do create who we are and what we can achieve. As Napoleon Hill most famously quoted, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
But for most of us, having a healthy mindset takes practice. We have stressful lives and stressful situations so sometimes it’s not always easy. But having a positive mindset can really make the difference in how we perceive and react to events in our lives. A positive mindset can help you choose a better reaction to your whining kids when you are exhausted…
Writing in a gratitude journal, meditating, reading personal development books, and saying daily affirmations can truly be life changing. Take just 5-10 minutes a day to work on your mindset and you will see positive change in your outlook and feelings.
Healthy Eating Habits
For me, I have probably struggled with food addiction since I was very young. Even now looking back at when I was 9 or 10, I can remember eating an entire can of Pringles on my own and how it made me feel good if I was sad. But then feeling guilty after I ate the whole thing. Yikes. Not a healthy cycle and it started young.
So to help combat this, I focus on eating healthy foods and paying attention to my body to know when its full. That means not eating processed foods or animal products, because they trick the body into not feeling full even though you probably just consumed 1,000 calories or more. It’s too easy for me to forget what I’ve eaten (probably my defense mechanism from binge eating in earlier days) so I have to be conscious and aware of what I eat. That means writing in a food journal so I can be aware of my decisions and not just blindly eat and eat and eat.
It’s not about counting calories since I eat primarily Whole Food Plant Based, but about seeing all the healthy foods I’m eating to fuel and nourish my body. And, also if I have something that isn’t WFPB (oil is my most difficult one at restaurants), then I can help myself recognize patterns and get back on track faster before I have an unhealthy guilt spiral downward.
You need a visual or written reminder to create habits
I know that writing things down and seeing a visual daily reminder really helps me to be successful with my goals. For me personally, taking care of myself has had such a positive impact on my life, my kids life, and my husbands life. I now have the energy, mindset, and health to be my best self and GIVE MORE to others than I could before. I thought I was doing my best before, but really I was running myself ragged and I was pretty grumpy most of the time. No one wants to be around that!