We all have them. Some of us put a lot of thought into our priorities. Others still don’t think twice about them, but rather go through their lives dealing with things as they come up. The rest know that their priorities aren’t where they should be, but haven’t taken steps to change them. No matter which you are, sometimes things that make the top of the list shouldn’t.
What’s at the top of your list? Think about that.
What’s missing? YOU are not at the top of your list.
But that’s selfish, right?
Not as selfish as it may seem. Many of our clients are the primary caregiver for their home. Many are key players at work. Other people rely on them to be healthy and available. Take a look at your number one priority. Can you still put that as a priority and give it the same quality attention if you become very ill or see a significant decline in your health? We are so quick to think about how other people will suffer if we don’t make them our first priority, that we forget to think about what will happen if we don’t put ourselves first. You can most effectively benefit those around you if you care for yourself first.
Here’s the point: You are valuable. You have worth. You deserve to take care of you.
What does taking care of you look like?
Eat Good Food. That means eating enough food to properly fuel your body. Hit your calorie goal. The idea here is NOT to be under your calorie goal, but rather to be right at it or a little over. Under eating counteracts all of the work you are putting in at the gym. It’s simply not worth it to under eat. Your energy levels will be low, your ability to exercise will be hindered, your weight loss will be stalled or reversed, and you’re creating horrible habits. If you already have those habits formed, it is very hard to reverse them. BUT, you can do it. You’re important, remember?
Move Your Body Every Day. That doesn’t mean being in the gym and lifting weights every day. Nor does it mean killing yourself doing high intensity cardio every day (or hours upon hours of moderate intensity cardio, for all you cardio junkies out there). Get those intense workouts in 2 to 3 times a week. The rest of your week get in a walk. Dance your socks off. Play with your kids, grandkids or furry kids. Do some gentle yoga. Go for an easy swim. Get outside and enjoy the beauty around us in Sonoma County -go for a easy hike, walk on the beach, or picnic at a park. Remember, there is another side to exercise. Not only do you need to sweat and work your butt off, but you also need to rest and restore. You’re taking care of your body, remember?
Get Enough Sleep. Ideally, you should be getting around 8 hours of sleep. Although this is not always possible, do the best you can. It is vital to get in enough sleep – this is the time when your body restores and repairs. Give your body the time it needs to repair your muscles from your workouts, amp up your immune system, and restore your energy for the next day to come.
Have Fun. The power of play is immense. As adults, we forget to just have fun. What makes you smile? What brings you joy? What do you enjoy doing? Take time out of your week to do that something – have fun. It’s beneficial to your wellbeing, your stress level, your health. What are you waiting for? Go have some fun.
Don’t Worry So Much. We get it, life is stressful. But remember, worrying doesn’t do you any good; in fact, it is quite damaging. The stress hormone, cortisol, wreaks havoc on your system. It can stop, stall or reverse weight loss efforts, ruin sleep, reduce immunity, and increase inflammation – just to name a few. Stress is omnipresent in our current society, so rather than fighting against it or giving in to it, try to learn to manage it better. Meditate, go for a walk, pray, play, or any other activity that helps you feel more relaxed and in control on your stress.
So today, take some time for you. Exercise, meditate, do some yoga, or just get outside. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, but rather a conscious effort to make yourself more available and able to help, love and care for others around you.