Health Tip: Self-Care is NOT Selfishness
Article by Macy Graham
We’ve all been there, putting other people’s needs before our own, and feeling burnt out, depleted, and ready to throw in the towel. Especially as the holiday season approaches, it’s so easy to put our health and wellness to the wayside. We start making excuses about how there’s no time to take care of ourselves, yet plenty of time to go to parties, eat and drink mindlessly, and then get sick and wonder “why me?!”
How can we build awareness and change this trajectory before we hit rock bottom?
I call it “self-care.” Some of you may call it a bubble bath, a daily workout routine, a walk along Roxborough’s nature trails, meal prep on Sundays, reading your favorite book, or Netflix on the couch. We all have different ways that we like to disconnect from daily stressors, and reconnect with ourselves. The problem is that we often feel guilty, like we don’t have the time, or even worse, we think it’s selfish.
What I hope this article achieves is to give you permission to take precious care of yourself. I know this saying is probably overused, but it takes repetition in order to build new neuro pathways.
“You can’t give from an empty cup.”
If you are running on empty and putting everyone else’s needs before your own, you are actually doing them a disservice by not putting yourself first. (Cue an eye roll from every mother out there.) I get it. It’s not always going to happen. You will pretty much always put your kids before yourself because they are your kids! But that doesn’t mean you are not worth investing just one percent of your day to self care.
Here are three simple ways to add self care into your life:
1) Drink more water. Especially in Colorado’s dry climate and higher elevation, it’s crucial that we are drinking enough water. For a simple equation from the U.S. News & World Report, take half of your body weight, and drink that amount in ounces of water every day. Add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise you perform, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you need to increase your fluid intake by 24 to 32 ounces according to the American Pregnancy Association. When in doubt, pay attention to the color of your urine. It should be a light yellow when fully hydrated. Also cutting back on caffeine and drinks other than water will help maintain your hydration level. My best tip is to buy a 32 oz. Hydroflask and carry it with you all day long. (Please, no more plastic bottles; let’s save Momma Earth!)
2) Treat “Me-Time” like a doctor’s appointment. That’s right. I want you to put it in your iPhone calendar just like you do everything else. Block time off for your workouts, that monthly massage you know you need, or the bike ride you’ve been meaning to take with your friend. You are more likely to do it when you schedule it, and treat it like any other appointment you have scheduled. “Me-Time” will only become a priority if you make it one. I promise that everyone will notice how much happier you are and that they’ll want you to keep going!
3) Re-treat yourself and practice gratitude. Call the sitter, create boundaries, and for once do something extra special just for you to recenter and ground in. I’m hosting a Grateful Day Retreat at Roxborough Park Community Center on Saturday, November 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day includes a mindful yoga flow, breathing techniques, yoga nidra (deep rest), and a harvest-style lunch. In the afternoon, I will guide you through a grateful living workshop, followed by an optional acro yoga workshop. Grab your partner or a friend to go with you because there will be plenty of time to connect with each other.
If you can’t make it to the retreat, add in a daily gratitude practice. First thing when you wake up in the morning and are lying in bed, take a few deep breaths and be grateful for the day. Then, see what else you are grateful for. An attitude of gratitude has been proven to lead to greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, reflect on good experiences, improve overall health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships according to a Harvard Medical School article. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
I hope you found this article helpful, and remember that self care isn’t selfish! Visit bit.ly/gratefulretreator for more information or to reserve your spot at the Grateful Day Retreat in Roxborough Park. If you live in Roxborough, please take advantage of the “Roxborough Resident” discount at checkout! You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.