We all lead busy and complicated lives, right? Often, in our quest to be the best wife, mother, employee, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, parishioner, mentor, boss, (you get picture)…we do the one thing that is most detrimental to our ability to be there for others and excel in our roles…we forget to take care of ourselves!
Here are a few statistics on the current state of women’s health:
Women’s reported “happiness” has been in decline despite the positive social changes for women. The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness
Only 32% of women 18 and over engage in regular leisure-time physical activity. CDC’s most recent report on women’s health
64.1% of females over age 20 are considered overweight. JAMA 2010
Social Support is one of the key indicators – and possibly a key driver – of health. Yet a poll by the National Sleep Foundation shows that 40 percent of women respond to overwork and stress by cutting back on the time they spend with friends and family. Live A Little, Susan M. Love, M.D. & Alice D. Domar, Ph.D.
Here’s a term for you to think about…self-care! Ever heard of it? Do you practice it regularly? If you are finding yourself increasingly frustrated, anxious, short-tempered, or maybe you have just lost your bright-eyed smile, maybe you aren’t getting enough of it.
What is self-care?
It’s the activities, behaviors, etc that you regularly engage in that replenish YOU! They give you energy; improve your mindset, your mood, your health, etc. Basically these activities fill up your physical and emotional gas tank so you can be YOU and do all of the things you do!
If you are reluctant to take this time to “fill up your tank”, just consider what would happen if you had that same attitude about your car? You would be sitting at home a lot! This re-fueling isn’t really an optional behavior, although many of us treat it as one. We feel guilty, and put everything else in priority before it. But, here are the cold hard facts…if you don’t take care of yourself, YOU, along with everyone you are trying to take care of will suffer.
Consider self-care any activity that you can get lost in that replenishes your physical and mental energy. These are different for everyone. What might strengthen and replenish one person may actually deplete another. (For example, I have many friends that love to work in the yard, mowing, planting, etc. …but I wouldn’t step foot behind a lawn mower unless at gun point!)
Ask yourself these questions:
What do you currently do for self care?
What would you like to START doing?
How would you (and those around you) benefit from increasing your self-care activities?
Now that you have done a little reflection…are you ready to take action? Fantastic! Write down your goals and get started.
BUT, if you are like many of us and you not sure how or where to get started in making these changes to take care of YOU (you might not even know exactly what you want yet), consider seeking the help of a wellness coach to help you find those answers!
A wellness coach is a certified or licensed professional trained in applying coaching and positive psychology principles to helping people identify and reach their health and wellness goals. This resource is proving to be so helpful in improving health and wellness related outcomes that many insurance companies, employers and physician practices employ them.
Wellness coaches assist YOU in mobilizing your strengths and realizing your potential by helping you identify the best path for achieving your goals and providing support and accountability along your journey.
You owe it to yourself and to those who rely on you to take care of yourself and your total health (mental, physical, and social). If you find yourself always putting you last, remember this…you can be even more helpful and successful in all of your roles if you invest some time in taking care of YOU!
Guest Blogger Michelle Meredith-Bowen ACSM CPT, Certified Wellcoach® and Founder of CoolLime Life