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.

Feel better with exercise

Exercise can ease depression or anxiety by giving you a mood boost, a feeling of control and/or serving as a complement to prescriptions.  Here’s how:

    • Exercise provides a distraction from troubling thoughts. When your mind is racing it can feel like you are trapped in a painful thought spiral. Getting active can interrupt this spiral by shifting your focus from your mind to your body in motion.
    • Exercise gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Many things that happen throughout the day feel like they are beyond our control. Deciding to head for the gym or for a walk around the block provides a positive focus with immediate positive feedback. You benefit from pride in making and keeping a promise to yourself as well as the mood boost of being active.
    • A Harvard Health Publications article titled, Exercise and Depression asserts that regular exercise improves mood in people with mild to moderate depression. Researchers believe this is because exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that impart a feel good effect as they course through the body. You may be able to reduce symptoms of depression with just a 35 minute walk, 5 days a week.
    • Exercise may also offer some people alternative or complementary options for managing anxiety and insomnia.

      If you are looking for a fun way to boost mood, banish depression and ease anxiety, exercise is it. Countless studies have shown that exercise is like medicine. Use it as your personal prescription to not only look your best but to feel your best, too.