I spend a lot of time on this podcast talking about why diets don’t work and being more in tune with what our bodies are telling us. But before we get to that point, it’s important that we are in a space of making ourselves a priority so that we can have the space to make those changes. Until we can do that, it may be hard to proceed to the bigger picture of concentrating on our health goals. Over the next few episodes, I want to spend some time talking about making yourself a priority and how to implement self – care into your daily routine.
Along the way of each podcast episode, I have shared tidbits about my own story towards creating the goal of whole health balance and my mission to help other women in creating balance in their own life. I am someone who always wants to help people, sometimes at the expense of my own wellness. I generally find it much easier to focus on helping someone else than allowing someone to help me. Does this sound familiar in your own life? A few years ago, I found myself in a particularly difficult season complete with a devastating hip fracture which landed me on crutches and scooter for over a year, newborn baby, sudden death of my dad, and a divorce. I was struggling. For most of my life, I prided myself on never needing to ask for help. I felt like this sometimes worked – until shit hit the fan during this time. The result was this: to get everything done without asking for help, I had had to move myself down to the bottom of the priority ladder. I bet you can imagine how that worked out? Not well. But I kept trudging along having too much pride to ask for help, thinking I could do it all. Eventually, the lack of self-prioritization had a devastating impact on my life and my health.
My hip took longer to heal, I gained weight, and was eating like crazy to deal with all the emotional hardship I was internalizing, was inconsistent with my therapy appointments, and overall, in bad shape. At some point, probably through therapy, I realized that I needed to start making myself a priority or things would never get better for me.
When we talk about making yourself a priority what does that even mean?
It means starting to pay attention to what your mind and body is telling you. Allowing yourself to discover what is important to you, making the space to discover what allows you to feel like your true self, and what bring you content and happiness. For most of us, this feels like something that may be unnecessary, selfish, or even to be done later when life is less hectic, and you have more free time. What I realized through my own journey is that I would NEVER make the time for self-care unless I really saw the benefit of how it could help me in my own life. Even then, it took the help of a therapist to see how much I was struggling for me to see the benefit in it. Self-prioritization seems so hard to do as it requires a change in routine from what is normal. It often left me with the thought that perhaps the status quo isn’t so bad after all. What I have realized is that the stress of home or work life will always be present. Life will always be hectic with less free time than you imagined. What I have also realized is that: we are all deserving of the love and respect that only we can provide to ourselves. If we don’t care for ourselves – then who will. We have all been given this beautiful vessel of life and that to be our most helpful to others, we must first take care of ourselves.
I know you have all heard the old saying: You can’t pour from an empty cup. This is further proof that to help others we must first take care of ourselves.
Excuse’s women make to not take time for self-care.
• I don’t have enough time.
• It’s too hard – I don’t think I can I do. I am not that disciplined.
• I feel bad/guilty for putting myself first.
One of the things I think is the most important to prioritize is self-care. Self-care helps us refuel/rejuvenate, improves self-esteem and confidence. which is the practice of taking a deliberate action to preserve or improve our physical, emotional, and mental health.
Other Benefits of self-care include:
• Improved emotional health. Able to tap into how you are feeling, what your current emotional state is, able to start identifying what you want or need.
• Less susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression
• Less stress, feeling of being more in control.
• Better able to nurture and identify what your body needs.
• Better rested with improved feelings of relaxation and calmness
• Improved immune function.
• Better care givers
• Improves self-esteem and confidence.
• helps us better be able to manage stress and uncontrollable situations that life will inevitably happen.
• allow ups to feel vulnerable, able to cope and identified our true feelings.
Consequences of no self-care:
• Tired, stress, anxious, burnt out, over-extended.
• Difficult with the grind of life to find time to schedule something that makes you feel good or reconnected.
• Not Living up to your potential
• Feelings or resentment, anger, or unhappiness
• Low self esteem
• What happens with no practicing elf-care? Feeling of anxiety, depression, anger, and tiredness as well as burnout, and decreased motivation. As I demonstrated in my story, a feeling overwhelmed and disconnected to what we what from life.
Why is self-care and self-prioritization a must?
Both self-care and self-prioritization act as a way to take some time and stop to listen to what you are wanting, what your body is feeling, and to slow down and to become in touch with you. They allow you to feel rested and ready to deal with life and to live in the moment and not like you need to run away or escape from your life.
Get enough sleep and rest to help rejuvenate and center yourself.
Start moving – start with a simple walk around the corner.
Eat foods that nourish you and calm your cravings.
Become in tune with your breathing, meditation.
Put away your phone at night to spend time with yourself or family.
Schedule self-care and stick to it. This will make you more likely to follow through and keep the commitment to yourself.
Stop saying yes to the things you don’t want to do or don’t have to do in this season.
Set boundaries and stick to them. This may be especially important for boundary breakers.
Spend time doing something you love.
Ask for help when you need to unload your burden.
Spend time with yourself – this could be meditating or journaling.
Learn your stressors and how to manage them.
Listen to music, your favorite podcast, or audio book.
Keep important doctor’s appointments.
Think about traveling.
Clean and declutter your home. If this is too hard, hire someone to help you.
Create a vision board for what you want to achieve in your future.
Study something new – a new course or a language you have been meaning to learn.
Write down your favorite affirmations to repeat often especially when you have a bad day.
Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Seek help from a mental health professional.
All these examples are a form of self – care. Your idea of self-care may not be listed here. It’s important to take some time to reconnect to yourself so that you can learn to discover what you need right now.
Now that we have reviewed the why, health benefits, consequences, and ideas, how do you start making yourself a priority?
1. Start small. Making small, consistent changes practiced repeatedly will help you achieve the bigger goal of what you want.
2. Schedule it. Change does NOT happen magically. It’s important to schedule and make a plan for how you will achieve this goal. Not having a clear roadmap will make it difficult for you to reach your destination.
3. Forgive yourself for not putting yourself first in the past and acknowledge how difficult it may prove to be in the future. Change is hard and will not happen without some effort on your part in the beginning.
It’s important to develop and practice these skills now so that you have some tools in your toolbox to navigate any unforeseen, inevitable future challenges. There may never be a time that you feel ready to make this change, but any small change now will help you navigate and prioritize changes as you enter new seasons or situations in your life. Self-care and changing your behavior is not an impossibility. It requires a small, consistent change practiced repeatedly so that you can achieve your bigger goal of what you want. It’s not about being perfect it’ about being 1% better each day. Be kind to yourself friends.
Episode 4: Self – Care doesn’t have to be so hard with Dr. Nancy Maguire
Episode 48: Reconnecting the busy mind! All things meditation! What it is, how it benefits you, and how to get started with Jennifer Boileau
Come find me at: Home – Tricia Stefankiewicz (triciard.com)
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