Tag Archive for ‘self care’

You can’t pour from an empty cup

Cindy and I have been friends for a long time – 20+ years now, but we have the kind of friendship where we can go for months and months without seeing each other but when we do finally get together, we pick up right where we left off and spend the next several hours talking nonstop. 

Early last week, Cindy was on my mind and I made a mental note to myself to call her and make an effort to meet up for lunch with her soon. Then late last week, I noticed that she was posting lots of photos of her husband on Facebook. Later that night she texted me: her husband had been diagnosed with cancer just a few months earlier – he didn’t want anyone to know – and hospice had been called in. Early the next morning, another text: he had passed away in the early hours of the morning. He was 58. 

I am so sad for my friend. She and her husband had a very loving Christ-centered marriage and were the very definition of a “team”; they depended on and supported each other greatly. He often referred to her as his bride, even though they had been married for over 30 years. 

I talked to Emily a couple of days ago and she gave me some very good advice. She said, “I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but you need to prioritize yourself right now – you need to take good care of yourself and accumulate some positive experiences so that when you see your friend, you can be in a place emotionally to bolster her, not weigh her down.” It does sound counter-intuitive to look for positives during such a hard time, but she’s right. I don’t want to bring my negative energy to Cindy, I want to be strong enough to let her lean on me if she needs it. And it’s not about being Suzy Sunshine and glossing over the tragedy of his passing, it’s about taking care of myself, so I can be healthy enough to bring a little light into her day, the last thing I want is for her to feel bad that I feel bad! So even though I am sad, I am trying to do things that will make me feel better instead of just wallowing in the sadness (caveat: I did spend the day Saturday feeling sad and cranky. The dam finally broke when late in the afternoon I went to make cookies for my husband and realized we were out of brown sugar. I threw a little temper tantrum, then dejectedly threw myself onto my bed, covered my head with blankets and quietly sobbed. And sobbed. And sobbed some more. Obviously, my tears had nothing to do with brown sugar.) 

Since my cathartic little meltdown, I have felt better. I have no doubt that I will again shed enough tears to fill a river when I go to the funeral tomorrow, but that’s okay, it’s expected. However, in a few weeks or so (or sooner if needed) when Cindy and I get together I will make sure that I have filled my own cup with self-care and kindness, so that I can pour some of myself into her cup and maybe it will lift her spirits, even if only a little bit. 

Cindy and I getting ready to run a 5k back in 2014.

No Screaming Banshees Allowed

I woke up this morning and thought “I can’t wait for this week to be over.” I immediately started thinking about everything I need to get done and where I need to be at what time and trying not to be mad at myself for things I didn’t know…

Okay, let me back up a bit. This week is the last week of volleyball with tonight being Senior Night. Until 9:00 last night, I had no details about what we needed to do, what time we needed to be at the gym, what would be expected of us…I had no info and neither did my Volleyball Player and having no info makes me a little anxious. I finally texted another Senior Mom to ask if she had heard anything and she hadn’t, but she had a call in to the coach. A little while later she texted me back and told me what time to be at the gym and oh yeah, Senior Parents are supposed to decorate the locker room today (Monday).

Son of biscuit eater.

Granted, I should have done some asking around last week but I’ve been preoccupied with some extended family stuff and other things. And honestly, I have never been, nor will I ever be, THAT classroom mom who has her shit together and thinks ahead about things like decorating or getting (or God forbid, making) cute little gift for all the Seniors. Luckily, one of the other Senior Moms is that mom (and I thank God for her every day!)  and is going to decorate today, so it will get done but I’m so frustrated that none of what is expected was communicated to us. Is this common knowledge that I “should” have known about? And how would anyone be expected to know if they’ve never had a Senior in a sport before??? I’m so frustrated right now. I am going to get my Senior some flowers, but is there anything else I’m supposed to know? I guess it’s too late now anyway.  :/

Tomorrow is the Volleyball Player’s 18th birthday, but they have an away game tomorrow night, so we are going to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday. I’m running through all the things that I need to get for her tomorrow and Wednesday and all the errands I need to run, then on Thursday, they have the Regionals tournament which I will have to help provide snacks for (along with a table and a cooler). I guess I could do cute little gifts for the other Seniors then? That might be an idea…

Anyway, all of that to say: this is a busy week with a lot going on, so I need to make sure I make time to do the things that will save my sanity. Which feels counter-intuitive because my Emotion Mind is screaming “PUT EVERYONE ELSE FIRST!!! YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR SELF CARE!!!” to which I say “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP YES I DO!!” I have made an appointment on Wednesday to get my hair cut (these are some bad hair times, friends. My hair needs an intervention), I am going to somehow squeeze in a trip to the gym if only to sit in the massage chair for 20 minutes, I am going to make sure I drink a lot of water, eat some nutritious foods (I’ve already got a meal plan for the week with all the groceries bought. Vegetable beef stew is in the crockpot as we speak), get some movement in  – that might mean I walk laps in my office if nothing else, and my BFF and I are trying to make an overnight girls trip happen this weekend (<—this is the main thing keeping me going – I am really looking forward to this).

Even though this is going to be a busy week I have to make myself a priority, otherwise by Friday I will be a cranky screaming banshee and nobody wants that. Least of all me.

 

Cull of the Wild

Remember my post where I was totally crabby about social media? Well I’m happy to report that I went through my Instagram and Facebook and UNFOLLOWED a bunch of people and/or pages that were messing with my zen vibe. I totally deleted Snapchat off my phone because I just find it irritating. I also deleted Pinterest because I just don’t look at it anymore – I don’t like the layout now and it doesn’t seem as intuitive as it used to when it first came out. I don’t have Twitter on my phone either because I feel sort of “meh” about it and I rarely check it. So FB and IG are the main ones that I took a fine-tooth comb to.

What a difference!!

Perusing IG is now a pleasure because my feed is now filled with baby animals, gorgeous scenery, funny webcomics, and actual people I actually know in my actual life. Facebook…will always be Facebook but I decreased the number of popular pages I follow and sought out actual people who I haven’t heard from in awhile. I think that’s the difference for me – filling my feeds with friends instead of randos who think they’re famous. Except for that one news chick who does funny posts from her car – I love her. I feel a kindred spirit with her. She made the cut.

I noticed at my local library a book on the New Release shelf that I was tempted to read but I decided to save it for another day because I was already checking out 2 other books. It was called:

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier.

Wow. Delete ALL social media accounts??? That is awfully tempting except who would validate all my choices and my very existence??? I’m kidding! I’m just kidding. But yeah… I wonder if I would be happier or at least more content (and probably more productive) if I didn’t automatically pull my phone out and open up a social media site whenever I have a few minutes to spare. I often wish social media had never become a “thing”, along with wishing phones had never become smart. Yes it was exciting, and cool, and innovative when smart phones first appeared on the market, but has it improved our lives enough to counter balance all the not-so-good side effects of having a mini computer in our pockets or purses all the time now? I can see myself going off on a tangent here – that’s a post for another day.

Anyway, I do feel better since I culled the nonsense from my social media. Gone are the people and posts that annoyed me, made me anxious, or made me feel bad about myself. I need to remind myself to do this at least once a year, because as I change so do my social media needs. When I first started really working on myself (my body image, my self-esteem, etc) I needed pages that were radically body positive or preached self compassion, now I find that I don’t need those messages as much so I unfollowed some of those sites (I kept a couple for good measure though). So if you haven’t gone through your social media accounts lately, I highly recommend taking a critical eye to the pages/people you follow and getting rid of any that bring you anything less than a pleasant feeling. Social media should make you want to be more social…not less.

 

 

 

 

 

Therapy Thursday: It has to come from me.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who is particularly stubborn or tenacious. I’ve always sort of pictured myself as someone who rolls with the punches and just sort of goes with the flow of things, but  in my sessions with Emily, I’m learning that maybe I’m not as laid back as I thought when it comes to certain things.

I don’t like being told what to do. Unless I specifically ask you to tell me how to do something, chances are your directives are going to be met with a hard stare and a chill in the air. If you ASK me to do something for YOU, I am 100% willing to help you out, but if you tell me I have to do xyz…well pardner, we’re gonna have a problem.

I never liked diet books that had perfectly laid out menus that said you had to eat a specific food at a specific time. What if I don’t feel like eating tuna for lunch on Tuesday? What if I hate cucumbers and don’t want to eat them for my snack on Saturday afternoon? You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!!!

And if you tell me that I have to go to an exercise class twice a week? Guess who’s not going to show up to said exercise class at all? I’ll show you! I’ll just sit on my couch and get fatter and fatter just to prove to you that I do what I want!

Yeah…I never said it made sense.

What I am figuring out is that it all has to come from me. Eating well, working out, self-care – it all has to be my idea on my terms or it’s a no go.

Emily made an interesting statement in one of our session not long ago. She said when you spend too much time in your head, you don’t spend enough time in your body. A lightbulb appeared over my head and I said “I think I spend A LOT of time in my head!” When you are too much in your head, you aren’t paying attention to what your body wants/needs. For example, if I am so caught up in my Diet Brain and all I’m thinking about is WHAT to eat and HOW MUCH to eat and WHEN to eat, I’m not noticing if I really even WANT to eat at all!  I rarely stop to consider how my body is feeling – am I too full? Do I have enough energy? Am I able to move around easily? Am I hungry or am I just bored? Do I even like this food that everyone says is super healthy? Does it make my body feel good or does it give me heartburn? Seriously, I hardly ever ask myself these questions (well, I do NOW but before we had this particular session, I didn’t). When you don’t notice how your body really feels, things can get out of hand while you’re not noticing (Big Butt – I’m looking at you).

I’m working on becoming more mindful of what’s going on below the neck these days. I woke up Sunday morning and asked myself “what do I want today? What would feel good?” and the answer was: “a walk in the park would feel really awesome today.” That’s when I took the pics in yesterday’s post. Just last night, as I was finishing up my dinner, I started to automatically go for another round when I paused to check in with my body. I noticed that I was plenty full and didn’t really want anymore. So I stopped there and wasn’t tempted for more during the rest of the evening. And I was perfectly happy with that decision. Amazing!

I have ignored myself for so long that actually paying attention to myself and giving myself what I need at that particular moment feels revelatory!  One revelation I’ve had is that…and I feel like I have to say this in a whisper because it’s just so crazy…I don’t think I really even like sweets as much as I thought I did.

I KNOW!! CRAZY, RIGHT?!?!

When I really check in with what I want, I want FOOD. You know that feeling when you’ve been to a party and you nibbled on cheap appetizers and desserts for 3 hours and when you leave you just want some real FOOD? That’s how I’m feeling lately. I’ve been at this party for way too long and now I just want to be nourished and cared for and comforted and sometimes that means having some brie with raspberries and crackers, or a bowl of homemade vegetable-beef stew for dinner, or even a big breakfast of eggs, avocado, and toast. Lately, the sweet stuff just isn’t doing it for me and I’m perfectly okay with that even if does feel like I’m wearing my pants backwards because for 44 and half years I have been all about the sweets. But that’s okay – change is good, right? When it’s time to leave the party, it’s time to leave! Nobody likes a lingerer. 🙂

This goes way beyond food and exercise too. Some Saturday mornings, I sleep in and spend the morning sitting on my patio with a cup of coffee and watch the squirrels chase each other around. Some Saturday mornings I want to hit the ground running and be as productive as possible because working full time means I only get 2 days to play to catch up on household chores. But I don’t try to make myself be super productive when I’m feeling tired and run down – now I just do what I can and let the rest go and go rest, because that’s what I need at that time.

gorest

The feeling I get when I pay attention to myself and actively strive to meet my needs and wants is amazing. Every time I decided to go for a walk because it would feel good and not because someone told me to work out 4 days a week, feels like a win. Every time I choose something nourishing because it sounds good and not because the diet plan told me to, feels like a win. Every healthy choice that comes from ME and not from an external source, feels like a WIN.

Because as Emily said in our session: The choices that you make, that come from YOU, are the things that stick with you. Those are the changes that last.

Therapy Thursday: Emotions

Therapy Thursdays are for sharing with you what I’m learning in my weekly sessions with Emily Roberts. Here is where I’ll share interesting info, tips and tricks on self-care, self-compassion, and how to be Rad. Let me know how you like Therapy Thursdays!

 

Today we’re going to talk about emotions – the state of mind that comes from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationship with others. Or if you’re like me, the thing that drives and overwhelms every aspect of your life. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought emotions were just something that we were born with and couldn’t necessarily change – kind of like eye color or height or fashion sense. I thought emotions were an accurate measurement of how I was doing…I thought emotions were TRUTH.

Yeah, not so much.

Turns out, instead of emotions being the end all be all, they’re actually a means to an end. Emotions are simply INFORMATION. A big neon sign telling you that either something is great (this thing is making me joyful, so I want more of this thing!) or something is wrong and needs to be changed (I’m feeling really scared right now – I need to get out of this dark alley ASAP).

The emotions that seems to have taken over my body in the last few years are Frustration and Overwhelm. Yes, with a capitol “F” and a capitol “O”. I’ve spent so many years feeling frustrated and overwhelmed that I sort of made them part of my personality (which made me super fun during holidays and parties). What I didn’t realize is that my body was trying to tell me something every time Frustration and Overwhelm showed up to play – that something needed to change.  Being the rather dense sort that I can sometimes be, I didn’t realize that I could indeed, change things, so I just gritted my teeth and seethed on the inside and tried to make the uncomfortable feelings go away. The funny thing about emotions is that they’re like that chick from Fatal Attraction:

giphy

via Giphy

If you don’t deal with them…they keep coming back. The more you try to stuff them down and away, the bigger they become until one day they come exploding out of you and you go Full Metal Jacket on the box of plastic cling wrap because it clings to nothing but itself. Or you flip your lid over the fact that your daughter tells you at 8:30 on Sunday evening that she needs supplies for a project that’s due…you guessed it…tomorrow. Or you gain 50 pounds because you try to eat those feelings away…which only leads to more frustration and overwhelm…*sigh*

So, yes. Dealing with the emotions. How do we do that?

The simple answer is this: there is no simple answer. I wish there were, but this isn’t a short story. Dealing with emotions is more like a Harry Potter novel. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not all drudgery and hard work – learning about emotions has been fascinating to me and completely worth it. Here are some things that I’ve been doing that are helping me:

  • Name the emotion. When you are feeling frustrated, say “I’m feeling really frustrated right now!” or “Wow, I’m feeling so sad today” Acknowledge the emotion and call it by its name.
  • Check in with yourself periodically throughout the day. Ask “how am I feeling right now?” and notice how your physical body feels too. Then think about what prompted this feeling, and ask yourself what would make you feel better.
  • Ask yourself “what do I need RIGHT NOW?” Do I need to turn off social media because I’m doing too much comparing? Do I need to go outside and walk around in the fresh air for ten minutes? Do I need a nap? Do I need to call a trusted friend and vent for a few minutes? What can you do that will lessen the intensity of the emotion?
  • As I said before, emotions are information. Think about what this particular emotion is telling you…what does this emotion need you to do? If you are feeling resentful because no one helps you around the house, maybe that feeling is telling you to delegate something to someone else. If you are feeling angry with someone, maybe that feeling is telling you that you need to express your opinion (in a respectful, calm manner) to that person more clearly. If you are feeling sad, maybe you need to set aside some time to properly grieve or mourn for something (I’m talking about garden variety sadness here. If you think you might be depressed, please talk to your doctor or a therapist. There is help out there for you.)
  • Don’t be afraid to feel the feelings. Remember, they are there to help you!

We will talk more about emotions in the future I’m sure because there is so much to talk about. I am learning a great deal about why I feel the way I do and what I can do to change the situations that have led me to feel so frustrated and overwhelmed. And the great thing about this is that there are always opportunities to practice what I’ve learned, and I keep trying to do better and learn more each time.

If this resonates with you, let me know. Don’t be afraid to do the work that is ultimately going to benefit you and those around you. Take care of YOU.

Therapy Thursdays

Since I started working with Emily the Therapist, I’ve had all sorts of blog posts rambling around in my brain but I haven’t been organized enough to get them written and posted. I decided that a weekly post would be the best way to plan for and to actually write those posts, so welcome to Therapy Thursdays! On these days I’ll share what I’m learning from Emily and pass along some helpful tips and tricks to navigating The World According to Jill (feel free to insert your own name there). So let’s go!

When Emily and I started working together, one of the first things we discussed was having self-compassion. I’ve already talked a little bit about this here so go check out that post if you haven’t already. (Also, this article and this page are great too.) This is the foundation on which I am building my new thought patterns. It is not selfish or arrogant or prideful to consider your own feelings – it is NECESSARY. You matter, your opinions matter, your feelings matter, and you need to remind yourself of that fact often. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself – a mantra, a note on the mirror, a reminder on your phone – DO IT.  (I seriously have a reminder that pops up on my phone every evening at 6pm that says “You’re so RAD!” True story.)

What does having self-compassion and self-care look like in the day to day? How do we make that a practical application in our lives? One thing Emily and I talked about was how even though I am at the beck and call of my family, I don’t have to let that drown me. As The Mom, I think I am naturally the go-to person – the mother tends to be The Manager in the family as well as the glue that holds the whole darn thing together (sometimes precariously so). Dads are great, and super helpful too, but moms wear so many different hats and by default take care of so many different things every day: we’re chauffeurs, chefs, housekeepers, homework helpers, wives, mothers, employees, etc… we do so much and sometimes the things we do aren’t fun. But what we can do is improve the situation. We can do these things on our terms.  Let’s say you have to shuttle your kids from one activity to the next and you just really aren’t feeling the chauffeur vibe but somebody’s gotta do it and today that somebody is you. So, how do you improve the situation? You can maybe get yourself an iced coffee and listen to your favorite playlist while you’re driving, or listen to your favorite audio book while you’re waiting for your kid to get out of practice. Make the situation work for you. What about going to the grocery store? How do we improve that? Maybe you can bring a couple of kids along with you to the grocery store and give them each a few things on the list to find and bring to the cart (assuming they’re old enough) in order to cut down on the time you spend in the grocery store. You could make the grocery shopping a sort of date-night with your husband or S.O. (but that’s kind of a crappy date, if you think about it, unless you both really enjoy it) – but you get the gist. Even though you might feel like you are at the beck and call of everyone else, is there a way you can do these things on your terms? Of course there is! You just have to ask yourself “What is going to make this pain-in-the-arse chore more enjoyable for me?” and then DO THAT THING.  And this isn’t just for moms – it’s for anyone who feels overwhelmed with their busy lives. There’s no reason we can’t get something positive out of a task we’d rather not be doing. Have a boat-load of filing to do at work? Grab a fun coworker and have them help you for a few minutes. Facing an impossible deadline and have to work overtime? Call your favorite restaurant and have dinner delivered to you. Folding a mountain of white laundry on the weekend? Fire up Netfilx and watch your favorite show while you fluff and fold. If the situation is dis-pleasing to you, find a way to make it a little better. You won’t resent doing the task so much and next time you might actually look forward to it!

This thinking and questioning and considering and then actually doing…this is how you shift your mindset. This is how it happens – one small decision after another. Knowing that it’s perfectly okay to consider my own feelings and wants and needs is a different mindset for me and it’s going to take some time and lots of practice, but I feel like I have to do it in order to keep from losing myself. I’ve already made some good progress and I look forward to making more.

For your weekend viewing pleasure

Here are some videos I’ve watched over the last few days that I thought were really inspiring. I think it will be well worth your time to watch these videos when you get some downtime over the weekend.

The first video is by Kristin Neff who specializes in Self Compassion. After watching this video, I realized that self compassion is typically something that we think is just a nice accessory, something that would be nice to have but we don’t really put a big effort into it…but guys, let me tell you it’s ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. She explains why very well.

The next video is by Gala Darling. I just really loved her message that women are powerful and we can make ourselves powerful.

I dig this next woman. Her accent is enough to keep me mesmerized, but I love her message – The Art of Being Yourself. Because you deserve to be who you are, not who someone else thinks you should be.

Can you tell I’m a big fan of Ted Talks? 🙂

What do you think of these videos? Any insights? Share below!

No Sweat! – if you are not a fan of exercise, read this

For about the last six months or so, I have had the hardest time trying to get motivated to exercise. For awhile last year, I really got into doing Zumba, but then it became something I HAD to do, so I lost interest and I couldn’t find anything else that interested me enough to get up off the couch or out of bed in the morning to do it.

Then in mid-May I read a book called No Sweat by Michelle Segar, PhD, and it completely changed how I view exercise. Seriously, this book got me off the couch and working out regularly and I’ve been loving every minute of it.

NoSweat

I sort of expected this book to be another work out plan, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn’t. Right off the bat, Segar declares that any and all activity counts as exercise. Wha??? That’s right – it ALL counts. As long as you are moving, you are in the game. Just finished scrubbing your bathroom for the last hour? Boom! You just did an hour of exercise. Took your dog for a walk? Pow! Exercise! And guess what? YOU get to decide what exercise means to you. If you hate the gym, you don’t have to ever set foot in one to get a healthy dose of exercise. If you like walking, then walk to your little heart’s content! Spending time in the garden is a great way to move your body as well! Find what you like to do…I mean really ENJOY doing, and then find ways to fit that into your day.

Segar’s approach is structured in MAPS, which stands for Meaning, Awareness, Permission, and Strategies. Here’s a brief overview of how each segment works:

Meaning: Here you are guided to figure out what exercise means to you and how you can change that meaning so that exercise becomes something you like doing. I talked to a young woman not long ago about working out and she was talking about how many miles a day she runs. I casually mentioned that I don’t particularly care for running when she yelled out “I EFFING HATE RUNNING! I REALLY REALLY HATE IT!” Concerned, I asked her why she does it then and she said it was because she felt like she had to run because that’s what you have to do to lose weight. I felt so bad for her! Conversely, I talked recently with another woman who said “after work, I like to run in the park because it helps me wind down and transition into evening. It really helps clear my head and I love it.” For her, it was an enjoyable experience. Same exercise, but two different meanings. The section in the book on meanings explores why we feel the way we do towards exercise and then guides the reader through questions that help achieve a new meaning. This chapter helped me to see that working out is a gift I can give to MYSELF – it’s something just for me that makes me feel better. It’s an hour of time that is MINE…and I now protect it without apology to anyone. This sentence was one of many light bulb moments for me: “…the messages that have been directing your exercise choices are pressuring you instead of fueling you.” When I stopped looking at working out as something I should be doing, it helped me realize that I actually do like working out – on my own terms. That’s the key for me. Finding your meaning for exercise gives you permission to work out on your own terms, in a way that feels good to you.

Awareness:  The section on awareness is all about doing what feels good. It’s about getting real and asking yourself, okay, what am I willing to do every day? What kind of activity will feel good to me and I will actually look forward to doing? Here’s the gist: As Gretchen Rubin says in The Happiness Project “The twenty minute walk that I do is better than the four-mile run that I don’t do.”* If you enjoy taking a walk after dinner because it gives you time to connect with your partner or your kids or your friend, you will be more willing to fit that into your day, rather than if you tell yourself you HAVE to do that DVD workout first thing in the morning (even after getting only 5 hours of sleep the night before). Which activity are you going to look forward to doing? But if you legitimately enjoy lifting the heaviest weight possible at the gym because it makes you feel like a BAMF, then that’s your jam! Get quiet with yourself, ask your body what activity would make it feel better, and then do that thing.

Permission: The next section is on Permission, and I’m sure by now you’ve heard that you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. I used to hear that and think “yeah, yeah, it’s easy to say, but you don’t know my family and my schedule!” But listen well, ladies, because I’m finding out that it’s true. It’s counter-intuitive to think that the more I let myself do the things I love, the easier it is to care for my family, but that’s how it’s playing out in my own life. What that looks like is this – when I’m doing activities that I enjoy and doing them regularly, I am LESS RESENTFUL when my family asks me to do things for them. For so long (so, so long) I felt resentful towards my family for making me feel like I was pulled in 4 different directions – it ain’t pretty, but it’s the truth. I constantly felt like I was at the bottom of the list, and I was because I was putting myself there! In the last month that I’ve been working out regularly, I am more patient and less cranky because I take an hour after work to go to the gym and sweat and lift heavy things and dance and just bask in the tidiness and femininity of the area. And as I said earlier, I make no apologies for taking that time – my husband recognizes how much it helps me and not one single kid has complained that dinner is now an hour later than it used to be.

One of the topics I loved in this section was the Self-Care Hierarchy. Modeled after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it asks what your absolute needs are when it comes to self care – what are the things that are important to you in feeling cared for? For me, my foundation is SLEEP. If I don’t get enough sleep, everything else is just wonky. You might be one of those people who can function perfectly fine on just a few hours of sleep (my husband is one of those people), so your foundation might be different. My next level up is SOLITUDE – I get cranky if I don’t get some alone time (and no, being at work by myself for 8 hours doesn’t count) – one of my favorite things to do is to flip through a magazine in the evenings when I’m alone in my room. The next level up for me is ACTIVITY – working out makes me feel more confident which in turn makes me feel more comfortable being ME. Even if I’m not at the gym, just moving around and being productive at housework or something like that makes me feel better about myself. Probably my last level is PERSONAL GROOMING – having a nice lotion, painting my nails, having clothes to wear that I like…all of these little things make me feel as if I am caring for myself. These are all the things that I need in order to feel fulfilled. I could probably also add things like time spent with friends, quality time spent with my husband, eating well…those things make the list too. I loved thinking about what my needs are and how much of an impact they have on how I feel. I highly recommend doing this exercise – it was an eye opener for me.

Strategies: this is the last section in the book and this covers the HOW – how are you going to make everyday activity a thing? This section covers how to fit activity into your life, talking to loved one about your new activities, and negotiating challenges. There are so many good strategies in this section, you’ll never be able to use your old stand-by excuses again. But the great thing is, that even if there is a day when you can’t/don’t want to fit in your activity – THAT’S OKAY TOO. Sometimes our bodies just need a break…so if your body is telling you that it wants to rest, listen to it.

There are SO MANY more things in this book that I would love to talk about, but then this would be the never-ending blog post and nobody got time for that. Seriously, this book has changed the way I view exercise and for a former couch potato like myself, that’s saying something. If you have a hard time finding your motivation to exercise, please go pick up this book and read it with an open mind. Honestly, I had no expectations when I read it and what I felt when I read it was relief. I just breathed a sigh and thought “well okay, yeah I can do this!” I joined the gym because of this book…I’m making self care a priority because of this book…basically I’m getting my groove back because of this book and I feel awesome. So please, please, please…go read this book if you just can’t find your WHY in regards to exercise. Then come back and let me know if/how it has changed the way you view exercise.

I received a digital manuscript copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given to me and my review is my honest opinion. I have no affiliate links with Amazon.

*This quote was also used in the No Sweat book. 

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