Take time to take care of yourself

In a recent issue of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Helena Oliviero offered an article titled, Balance in Life Starts with you.  Oliviero shared tips from various life coaches and wellness gurus. Gabby Reese, fitness guru, mom of three and entrepreneur, contributed these eight nuggets of advice for achieving balance in life. I added some thoughts about Gabby’s advice. Take what works for you and make it your own.

  • Schedule exercise – Appointments with yourself are just as important as appointments you make with and for others. Write workout time on your calendar and show up for yourself just like you show up for everyone else. Think investment rather than chore.
  • Plan meals in advance – Deciding what you will eat in advance makes it more likely that you will choose foods that help you feel your best. Last minute or convenience choices usually dishonor healthy eating goals.
  • Leave work at work – Technology makes it easy to blur the lines between work and home. For many of us it can feel like we are always working, even when we are “off” Blurred lines between work and personal time can rob us of the rest time we need to restore and be our best.
  • Decide what is important and write it down – It can be very clarifying to commit to personal priorities in writing. Use your list to stay on track and minimize distractions. As you make daily choices it can be helpful to look at your list and ask yourself – is what I am about to do going to move me closer to or farther from my goals and priorities?
  • Concentrate on one thing at a time – Multitasking may seem like a good idea but studies show that doing one thing at a time is more efficient. Multitasking slows you down and increases stress levels.
  • Keep only one calendar – Writing everything down in one place can make it easier to see all work, life and family plans so you can spread them out and not become too overwhelmed. Wouldn’t it be great not to be overwhelmed at all? Work on that!
  • Schedule at least one thing you look forward to everyday – This is something just for you. Pick something you love – it doesn’t have to cost money – and find a way to fit it in for at least a few minutes everyday. It could be coffee on your deck with relaxing music or a book, yoga, a walk with your dog or a visit with a friend. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to make it happen.
  • Set up some accountability – Ask someone who is emotionally healthy enough to be supportive of your self-care plans. Check in about how you are doing. You may even consider doing some things together. Maybe if your goal is to try a triathlon or learn how to swim, you can sign up and train together. It is harder to skip your workout when you know your fitness buddy is waiting for you.

There is a saying that goes, if it is to be it is up to be. That is especially true when it comes to taking care of yourself. It really is up to you. Make it happen for yourself.

Start a garden project

Not able or willing to start a garden project and you want fresh veggies at home? If this is a goal switch your focus from what you can’t do to what you can. For example maybe you can:

  • Grow microgreens- these nutrient dense greens grow easily in a shallow container. Place in a sunny window and you will have a healthy addition to your salads and meals in a week or two.
  • Join a food co-op.
  • Check your neighborhood for weekly farmer’s markets
  • Barter for veggies with a neighbor that has planted a garden
  • Start with some easy to grow lettuce like arugula – it grows quickly with just a small investment of time and money.
  • Consider planting a shared container or roof top garden at work, at your community center or place of worship if possible. Everyone can share the workload and the bounty.

Eating with self care

Not quite ready to overhaul your diet? It is okay to start where you are. One easy way is to add instead of subtract from your diet. Look for ways to include a serving of fruits or vegetables with all meals and snacks. For example, have a small salad before the burger, add some broccoli or zucchini to your eggs, or enjoy an apple before the chips. You will create a win-win by eating more of the foods that nourish you and less of those that don’t really do a body good….all without feeling deprived.