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Self Care isn’t selfish

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Self Care isn’t selfish

If you do not take care of yourself, then no one understands that you need to be cared for. No one can read our minds as to what we need. What does self-care really mean? It is like putting on your oxygen mask before you put your child’s oxygen mask on an airplane. If you don’t have your oxygen on and you are caring for your children, then all of you are at risk. You can get dizzy, you may lose your balance, you may lose your ability to think straight, and no one is safe. By putting on your oxygen mask first, you think clearly, speak clearly, process clearly, and you can move fast and operate like superwoman! Therefore, all your children who are in your charge remain safe and in control. That is the beauty of Self-Care.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, during periods of stress. Self-care includes all the things you do to take care of your well-being in four key areas: your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health. We can further break this down by looking at some self-caring activities such as:

Exercising and eating healthy, to mental activities such as reading a book or practicing mindfulness, to spiritual or social activities such as praying or having lunch with a friend. If one were to practice one or all these ideas, it might indicate that you have a full life and “take time to smell the roses”.

Let’s break down the self-caring activities, one by one and how you can accomplish one or some of them. Let’s look at exercise: when we look at exercise, we might think about joining a gym. If you have just delivered a baby, you might have tightened your purse strings and are on a stricter budget. You also might not be so proud of how you look, even though the goal of a health club is not to walk in perfect, but rather get into a routine, in order to make some changes and mostly feel better. Everyone has their own opinion about health clubs. They either excite and motivate you or you may feel judged!   We all need to get some movement in our lives. All you need to own is what you have in your closet, a pair of gym shoes. If you have a new baby, you don’t need to get a babysitter to get moving. A stroller is sufficient and to dress your baby appropriately for the weather, which is a must. Then you can start your new idea of movement. Some rules for your outdoor activities: taking your phone is important for you in case your baby gets hurt, you can call someone for help. It is NOT to use this “Self-Care” Time to talk with your friends or family. If you use the phone, it is no longer self-care. The goal is caring for yourself. If you walk with your baby in the stroller, this is “Me-Time” and put your goal on Caring for you.  Take 10 minutes the first time you go out, and pat yourself on the back for a good job. Those of you who haven’t exercised in a while, 10 minutes for the first week and then 20 minutes the next week, and then 30 minutes for the next week. Make sure that you have this time uninterrupted, or you can do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. You can work up to a total of 45 minutes to an hour. Take the time to breath in the fresh air and open your eyes to the beautiful sights around you. The flowers in your neighborhood, bushes, and landscaping ideas are always fun to see. Saying hi to your neighbors is a great way to make new friends or renew old friendships from being in the house during the winter. Change up your scenery, if you are able. Take a different block, make new friends, and find out what is new in your neighborhood. Be aware of your surroundings and watch how they change in the different seasons. All these things enrich your life by seeing the little changes that you observe. It is a wonderful tool to teach to your children, to point out the flowers, the trees, and the little animals around you. What a wonderful way to get movement without having to enter the gym.

 

If you always wanted to ride a bike, you can change up your method of movement by using different muscles. Buy a used bike at the garage sales that are now going on. You can expand your horizons by getting on a bike and being able to use different muscles and creating a new foundation for riding! You are furthering your goal of taking care of you. You are working in the moment instead of the past or future! That is the hallmark of Self-Care. Congratulate yourself every day that you meet your goal. If you don’t, that is OK, tomorrow is another day to get back out there. If it is lousy weather outside and you have a staircase in your apartment or home, use the stairs and walk up and down.

Next, let’s look at Healthy Eating. Another self-care activity for you and your family. Boring, right? Nope, let’s jazz it up! I know that inflation has us a bit crazy with prices going wild in our grocery stores. Going to the smaller independent grocery local stores  give you the opportunity to purchase fresh foods, like fruit and vegetables at a lower price. Check out some new recipes on the internet before going to the store. Check out Italian, Greek, Syrian, and various other ethnic cuisines. Make a meal plan for the week. Making your list helps keep you on target, because if you are hungry, watch out! You will be tempted to buy anything and everything! Try and use items that you have in your cupboard to start with, as opposed to purchasing everything new for your change in cuisine. It’s fun to go meatless, such as lentils, while still giving you the protein that you and your family need. I just purchased Eleni Saltas’ cookbook, “All You Can Greek” and found Lentil soup. Because she is a nutritionist, she gives you the background on the food and why it is good for you. She says, “Lentils are small, but they are a massive nutritional powerhouse. They are packed with protein and fiber and are low in fat. They are rich with vitamins and minerals. They can reduce LDL cholesterol and can cut the risk of heart disease. They provide a great energy boost. You add vegetables and you have a complete meal. I make a big pot on Sundays and serve it during the week!  Although preservative rich foods are available in the store and more convenient, they are not necessarily the best in health for you and your family.

Another self-care activity is reading a book. You can choose the latest best seller, a mindless book, fiction or nonfiction. . The beauty of all these ideas is that you get to choose which activity that you will enjoy the most.

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