We have unfortunately made the concept of movement way more complicated than it needs to be and interwoven it with exercise and gym time and “that is not enough.” Moving your body reinforces for your brain that you care about yourself and how you feel and how you are able to function. The brain and body do not care about what the movement is, they just want movement – even 5 minutes!
Instead of calling it exercise, call it movement, and find time every day to move! It does not have to be an hour or in a certain place or for a certain duration. You can go for a five minute walk outside on your lunch break or after you finish work, or you can spend 3 hours on the weekend on a hike. You can go to the gym at 6am for a spin class, or finish your day at a Pilates studio for an hour class.
And if you can’t go to any gym or classes or studio, it doesn’t matter. Just go outside and walk. Or stand on your step and stretch and jump up and down. Something is always better than nothing!
The truth is most of us know that we are supposed to eat lots of vegetables and leafy greens, choose whole grains, focus on plants and eliminate processed foods, refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. But wherever often stumble is creating a food selection that is optimized for our own body and our body’s preferences. Some people feel great eating lots of fruit with their vegetables, while others find it makes their energy crash. Some people tolerate gluten and grains well, others feel heavy and sluggish after. One of the best things you can do for your self-care and self love is find your feel best diet.
Find the selection of foods that helps yu feel the most energized and at your best mentally and physically, and stay away from the ones that you know cause you to feel unwell or put you in a negative mindset. This can take some time to work through, but give yourself a chance and don’t fall into a diet because everyone else is doing it.
Poor hydration can actually be the root cause of many other symptoms in the body that we may mistake for something else. Things such as headaches, poor concentration, irritability, hunger, poor gut health, decreased energy, fatigue, muscle cramping and much more can, in some cases, be mitigated by just adding more water to your life! If you are struggling to get enough in, consider consuming it as herbal tea, or adding some fresh mint and lemon to your ordinary glass of water.
Sometimes the hardest part of slef care isn’t the care itself, but avoiding everything else we do that negates the care we provide. That negative voice in your head that discourages you; that line that keeps going around in your mind as you run, telling you you are slow; that voice that says you aren’t good enough, smart enough, fast enough, funny enough, skinny enough . . . just not enough.
Caring for yourself is about reminding yourself you are worth caring for. Find a mantra that you can repeat in times of self sabotage to reverse it. Things like “I am enough;” “you’ve got this;” “you can do hard things;” are all good examples of where you can start.
While we are talking about self-care, at the root of it is feeling good about yourself and in your body, physically and mentally. If you’ve ever done an act of kindness for another person, given selflessly to someone, expecting nothing in return, you know that this in turn makes you feel really good. One way you can practice self-care is to turn outward and do something for someone else. This might be a surprise – such as having flowers delivered to them at work – or it might be something simple, like making dinner for a friend who is really busy at work. Choose something you can do that will allow you to still conserve energyto devote to your other self care practices, but get in the habit of giving to others and you might see the biggest gains for yourself!