This past year has been an eye-opener for me. Probably one of the toughest years I have had in my life so far. Through all this craziness, I learned so much about myself and what I need in order to take care of me. Turns out, I gave away everything I had to my teaching job, business, social life, volunteering for different events and planning my wedding. I did nothing to take care of me. My nutrition went to hell, I stopped working out consistently, I hardly got sleep and my confidence was lacking big time- I was a train wreck.
I knew I couldn’t continue on like this. I needed to take a step back and come to terms with what I was doing to myself. If I charged forward with this lifestyle, I would certainly be on the fast track for some serious health issues. I felt embarrassed that I spend all my spare time helping others achieve success and reach health and fitness goals, but I couldn’t do it for myself anymore.
I took some time to re-evaluate my life, what was going on and what needed to change. I built a support team, I prayed a lot and I started taking care of me.
Maybe your current experience isn’t this extreme. However, if you don’t prioritize your self care you could end up in a place like I did.
So, here are some things that I learned. Trust me, these aren’t the only things you can do to care for yourself, but they really help me a lot. Before creating my self-care “toolbox” I tried so many different strategies, some unrealistic and un-enjoyable for me and the one’s that made the list you are about to read.
My Top 10 Self- Care Strategies
- Set Boundaries
- Essential Oils
- Prioritizing and Planning
Setting boundaries means prioritizing what you need each week to feel your best and take care of you. Setting boundaries for me meant looking at my time each week and what I needed to be a part of this to actually enjoy my life and prioritize my needs. What did this look like for me? I know I wanted time for exercise- this is my stress relief, my confidence builder and my “me time.” I need time to grocery shop, meal prep, do my laundry, spend quality time with my amazing husband of now 4 months and scheduling time to do absolutely nothing with nothing on my calendar of any sort. I also needed to decide when I would communicate with clients, work on my business and do my teacher work like grading and planning.
I used to take on absolutely everything and tell my clients we could talk 24/7. This was unrealistic for me and didn’t allow me to give my full attention to my clients. Now I have set time that I work with each client and I ensure that they get the absolute best experience so they can get real results. I used to bring work home from school and whether I did it or not, the thought of having it there stressed me out each night and didn’t allow me to truly relax.
What does setting boundaries look like for you?
Try it out: Make a list of all the things that are the absolute most important to you to take time for each week. Next, make a list of all the things that you NEED to accomplish, like deadlines, work and taking care of family. Next, make a a list of all the things that you do that aren’t necessary and don’t leave you feeling any better, like scrolling through social, watching Netflix etc. Get out your planner or open up that calendar app and plan one week. If you feel like you don’t have time for you, you need to start having some important conversations with your loved ones to get support on this. Maybe you even need to reschedule things like that routine dental cleaning to a week that has a little less going on. Maybe you only choose 1 event to go to each week rather than all of them. Unless, of course, going to events is your self- care time.
Just start writing, write anything. Here are some things I write about that are so therapeutic to me!
- Gratitude- write daily about the things you are grateful for- big or small.
- My fears and anxieties: Just slowly writing any fears or anxieties I have completely unfiltered and with no judgment can really help me navigate them, rationalize things and leave them right there on the paper and out of my mind. At this point, I have addressed these and they no longer need to be played on repeat in my head.
- Mind Dump: I literally just dump everything in my mind on paper. Some times this helps me realize that nagging thing that was bugging me or that I forgot to do. It can also help me live out the happy moments that happened throughout my days or weeks.
Try it out: Get an old notebook, or a pretty new journal and just start writing. Your journaling doesn’t need to be anything fancy. You don’t need to decorate your entries with pretty pictures and bullets and post it to social media- of course you can if this is your thing though!
I love yoga. I don’t do it as much as I’d like to, but when I do, I’m always like “yeah, I need to be doing this like every single day.” Sometimes I sign up for a full hour or hour and a half class at a studio and sometimes I use my Gaia app which I love. The reason I love this app is because you can do any length of yoga and yoga of any type for any level. If you want a hardcore, killer, sweaty yoga session that’s 70 minutes long- you can do that. If you want a 10 minute pick me up for all levels- they have this too. This app makes fitting yoga into my life more realistic. I always feel rejuvenated and calmer after each session.
Try it out: Download the Gaia app or another yoga app and try one quick and simple session. You might find a new hobby!
I love me some essential oils. I am still learning about these but I have a little bit of knowledge on how to use some of my favorites and Pintrest helps me out with the rest.
Essential oils can help you relax, boost your energy, help with digestion, stress, anxiety etc. If you want to learn more about essential oils you should talk to my bestie Leah Smith. She is probably the most amazing human and knows what she is talking about. She can hook you up with some great oily healing for your unique needs.
Try it out: Many oil representatives from places like Doterra or Young living will gladly give you samples so you can try out some essential oils. Here is my friend Leah’s info:
ID #: 1417253
Facebook: AweNest Essentials
When I am eating mindlessly, eating junk or highly processed foods- even ones that are marketed as “healthy” and not meal prepping so I can ensure I get that quality nutrition in even when I am busy. I feel like garbage. My energy, mood, sleep and performance suffer. I find myself wanting to engage less in the things that make me feel the best like exercise, journaling etc. Proper nutrition can help you with so much! It can boost your mood, increase your energy, help your body function at it’s fullest potential and, bonus, help you reach those weight loss and fat loss goals.
Try it out: Try adding in 5 servings of fruits and veggies to your daily menu. If you are struggling with your nutrition or feel like you just can’t remain committed to the healthy habits you try to set, reach out. I would love to help you work through this and get you on the right track.
Prioritizing and Planning:
This kind of goes off of the set boundaries tip we talked about earlier in this post. Take time each week to prioritize your self- care. Schedule in your workouts and stick to them. You will get a surge of confidence when you follow through with your goals each day. Maybe your self care is meditation or yoga. Put this on your agenda and don’t take it off the list if other things come up. This time for you will help you be your best in all areas of your life.
Try it out: Go through your planner right now and add in self- care for today. Even if it’s only 1 5 minute walk or 5 minutes of quit time.
Ah, my favoriitteeee one. Sometimes, when I am overwhelmed and stressed I want to take exercise of my list. I rationalize this to myself of course- maybe I’ll just go to the gym later, or this week is so busy, I’ll get my routine going next week. I learned the hard way- this past year, that when I do this, my whole world suffers. Exercise is known for it’s benefits of relieving stress, improving sleep and boosting confidence. It’s easy to want to erase this from the plans because you are too busy. Don’t do this. It just reinforcements that habit that you can cancel on your exercise plans.
Try it out: Check out my Instagram for some exercises or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a free workout!
This is what many people think of when they think of self- care. I don’t do this nearly enough, but when I do, I really appreciate myself and love myself more. For me this looks like taking a hot bath with essential oils or a bath bomb. Doing a face mask or hair mask, painting my nails or toenails, getting my nails done or getting a massage.
Try it out: Take a hot bath you can add essential oils if you have them, Epsom Salts or a bath bomb. You can even get some super cheap, quick and easy face masks at target, CVS, the grocery store- really any type of store like this.
It took me a while to get into this. I always thought meditation meant sitting with legs crossed and each hand in the “okay” sign doing some hmmmmm’s and stuff. It really doesn’t have to look like this. I experimented with apps, guided meditations and more. What works for me is this: setting a timer for 3-5 minutes closing my eyes and laying on my bed on my back. If thoughts pop into my head I acknowledge it and let it pass by instead of following this thought to the end of the line. It’s hard to do this, but it really can leave you feeling refreshed and more positive. It’s just nice to give my mind and body absolutely NOTHING to do except exist.
Try it out: Set a timer for 3 minutes. Get in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Just relax and get mindful of the world around you rather than the noise in your head. Notice what sounds you hear, what the temperature feels like, any scents in the air.
This can mean many things. Sometimes I get home from work and sit on the couch too tired to do anything but reminding myself of my never ending to do list. I want to take action but I am drained. Sometimes the best self care is just taking a short nap or even going to bed early. Listen to your body, if you can’t seem to bring yourself to do anything after a long day of work, your body may be telling you something. We live in a fast paced world that promotes non-stop productivity and the hard worker. Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup. Sometimes a nap or an early night isn’t a step backwards, but a step in the right direction.
Try it out: Next time you find yourself feeling drained, even if you have been getting really good sleep, listen to your body, a quick nap or an early night may make you feel on top on the world heading into your evening or your next day.
Okay, so that’s a wrap on today’s blog post. I hope you found this useful and can start to build your own self-care habits! Please share this with anyone who needs to read to this or can benefit from this post. Thanks for reading friends!
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