If there is one thing I have learned in the last four years, it is that self care is not only essential, it is non negotiable. Self care also involves much more than a day at the spa, at least as far as I define it.
If you find yourself trapped in a daily spiral of stress-filled to-do lists, a sense of being pulled in twenty directions at once or you just feel....not quite yourself, you might need to incorporate some self-care into your life.
Self care was the foundation of my business a few years ago; meaning, I started this business after taking an entire summer to work on feeling more energetic, finding my 'happy' again and finally, after way too many years, attempting to take care of myself. The truth is that I suffered from anxiety, weight fluctuations, new food intolerances and soon more serious physical issues that made me finally stop and wake up. If I had to do it all over again, I would have made changes in my life much sooner. The problem was that I felt stuck. Here's a secret: you're never stuck. I wasn't then...I just didn't know it.
The irony in all of it is that this path to self care led me to discover I can actually live a life I had only considered in my dreams prior to this and it opened up a whole new world, one I never thought was possible, all because I decided to take some time for myself. I now teach part-time and run my business while having the luxury of going to exercise classes several mornings per week and also having time with my three boys, time to enjoy my passion for travel, organic gardening, reading and walking in the woods with my husband and silly German Shepherd.
So, to share tips for incorporating self-care, I thought I would list what has worked for me to not only feel better, but to have the confidence to make some bold moves in my life that I continue to incorporate, even today:
• Try exploring something new, whether it be a new hobby like knitting, cooking or organic gardening or starting your own book club. This can open up a whole new world of friends, downtime and fulfillment. Or, if you're like me, you will get all of that plus a new career!
• Start a daily journal to dump the things that stress you and move on. Write them down and then shift to a post of gratitude. I like to use the Best Self journal to create big goals and incorporate daily actions that get me to achievable outcomes. This journal has helped me hit some of these financial, relationship and wellness goals right out of the park. (I'm not an affiliate or anything; I simply like their journal!).
• Make nature part of your life. There is something to be said for going back to the carefree childhood days of having the cool grass under our bare feet. Getting in contact with the earth actually helps to ground us. Begin with a walk in the woods or start an herb garden.
• Get some pet therapy. Adopt a pet if you can. I am not kidding when I say that training my dog or just hugging that big smiling toothy face is one of the best parts of my day.
• If you are working, and your goal is to make a change in your schedule or salary, stop settling and start asking for what you deserve. You might be surprised at what will happen. Be professional and show your worth, then write out how what you can bring to the table will work with a new schedule. I recommend Tim Ferris' Four Hour Workweek for some great ideas here. I am living proof that a job that is not at all designed for a flex week can in fact become quite flexible. I went from 5 days to 3 days to 2 days at my day job and my salary has not really changed.
• And speaking of books, find some you love and read before bed. It helps relax me and I learn something from the books I'm reading every day.
• Podcasts are also a nice way to ease into a new walking routine if you want to get out and get moving, another non essential part of my day. I love podcasts because there is something for everyone now and you can google a topic to find one you will love.
• Make moving part of your every day. I joined a gym and it took me six months to actually use it, but I started slowly and now spend most mornings there in Pilates, Barre or jogging around the track. I go in the evening with my youngest son and whip around the track above the basketball courts while he shoots around with his friends.
• Get some water into your life. Maybe because I am a water sign I need to have daily soaks in water, but it is just healing. Take a salt bath if you can. I use a mix of sea salts (Dead Sea, European Spa Salts, whatever!), Epsom salts and a bit of ground oats, milk powder and kaolin clay. I keep it in a large glass jar in my bathroom and I have an instant spa.
* I also put one of those big above the ground pools that you can get at Walmart right on my patio last summer. It looked obnoxious, but I am telling you that it was one of the best summers I have ever had. All three of my boys were around, one spending the whole summer with me, his dad and his brothers before he left for a year of study in Germany and we swam every day. It's going up again this year after my second son's graduation party is over:)
• Find a happy place and then find a way to get there once a year. For me, it's the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We go for one week with the whole family, but this year I am making a plan to spend 6 weeks there next summer.
• Get help with cleaning, cooking or food shopping. The fact is you can't do it all and you shouldn't have to.
That's enough to get you started, right?
Make some of these a part of your daily routine and, who knows, you may end up with a life less stressed and even less ordinary; you may even discover a life as a busy woman can in fact be extraordinary.
If you have a story of transformation to tell, I would love to hear it and share it here. Send me an email on the contact page!
In the meantime, get started on quick self care tools you can put to use right away, at home. I'm giving you $10 in store credit to get you started, plus a few more fun items. Also, becoming a VIP gets you self-care tips delivered to your inbox and automatic entry into monthly giveaways.