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There isn’t one of us who doesn’t sometimes need a kind word, just a little word to lift us up when we’re down, or a smile or two to brighten our day, and help us through. We need a word of encouragement to remind us that a bad day doesn’t make for a bad week, or a bad month, it’s just a bad day and tomorrow it’ll be gone and we can start afresh.
So here’s our Encourager of the month to do just that. To remind us that at any point in this game of life we can redefine our lives. We might be stuck in the mud, but we can still look up and see the stars.
Meet Poppy Marler of Facing40.com. who began a new journey, when she decided to face 40 head on.
Take it away Poppy.
When I was a young mother, I completely lost myself. Like so many other new mothers, I was so in love with my child and hyper-focused on her care, I put my own life on hold. I neglected old friendships or droned on to my childless friends with incessant stories of first smiles, first steps, and potty training. On the rare occasion I’d find myself in a social situation, I didn’t add anything to the conversation that had to do with me. Sure, my kid was an extension of me, but I had put my needs on the back burner.
I didn’t care that I had gained weight or no longer participated in group exercise classes. It didn’t bother me that I would go days without talking to another adult. The fissures starting in my marriage weren’t clear to me at all. I needed to move out of La-La land.
The realization I had no life outside of my child was gradual. It wasn’t a glance in the mirror of a person I didn’t recognize or even a profound unhappiness. I had dug myself halfway out before I truly realized the disservice I was doing to myself.
My path from selflessness to self preservation wasn’t a sprint. I started small with the encouragement of a dear friend who seemed to have mastered the motherhood thing. She knew what I know now; taking care of my own needs is essential to creating a better caretaker and ultimately happier person.
Older and wiser now, I see this happen to women all the time. While it is important to take your role as caretaker seriously, it is so important to take care of yourself, too. Side effects from self neglect include weight gain, depression, and outside relationship problems. There is a reason, in an airplane, you are instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before rendering assistance.
Taking steps to care for yourself every day is so important. The little things you do add up to big changes in attitude and perspective. I want to encourage everyone to take the time to take care for themselves.
Ways to Care for Yourself
Move your body in some way every single day. You don’t have to engage in a formal exercise plan and it doesn’t have to be strenuous to see benefits. Whether it’s dancing with your kids or a walk around the block, you can and should make time to move.
Wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps.
Break a sweat doing yard work.
Vigorous housework counts, too!
Wash your car the old fashioned way. You will double dip and get sunshine and exercise.
Take the stairs whenever possible
Park your car as far away from the entrance to your destination.
Nothing can beat that natural high of physical activity. When you do something active, notice the positive effect it has on your attitude and your life.
Eat 5-7 servings of fruits and veggies…even if you’re struggling with other aspects of your diet, make sure you get the nutrients you need from fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, if you eat enough healthy stuff, it will displace some of the room you have for junk.
Maintain relationships outside your family
Of course your family is your priority, but don’t underestimate the power of good friends. Just having someone to talk to about what you’re going through can help immensely.
Get enough sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, the quality of your life suffers. Sleep is where your body recovers and repairs so do whatever it takes to make sure you get 7-8 hours. Avoid television as well as snacks high in fat and sugar before bed.
Get dressed every day
Shlepping around in sweats day in and day out is not good for anyone’s self esteem. When you look good, you feel good.
Maintain a positive attitude and surround yourself with others who do the same.
Have a hobby
Have an interest outside your home and family. Maintaining your individuality by doing things you enjoy is the key to maintaining yourself.
Spend some time alone
Even if it is just a bath with the door closed for 30 minutes. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it.
Ask for help
If you find yourself struggling, ask for help. We can’t do everything alone.
Learning to take care of your own needs isn’t selfish, it’s essential. It also makes you a better caretaker. Your health is your number one asset.
What’s non negotiable for you in the self care stakes? We’d love to hear how self care works in your world. Or does it? Let us know in the comments below.
As always your brilliance is appreciated and thanks for reading and sharing. You are loved.
Encourage one another
Love Elle[success] Poppy Marler is a writer, mother of 3 and fitness enthusiast. Her latest project, Facing 40, is a healthy lifestyle blog devoted to fun, fit, and fierce women. She might be a mid-pack runner, back of the pack swimmer, and a reluctant triathlete, but she is fitter at 40 than she was at 20.[/success]