When I first started working with a health coach — desperate to lose weight and figure this whole “food thing” out, I was asked a question that made me completely draw a blank.
Sitting in a cozy coffee shop across from each other, my coach said to me “so what do you do for self-care?”
I, being a straight A student and someone who always has an answer for everything (for better or worse), just stared at her blankly. She stumped me.
“huh? what do you mean ‘self-care’”?
She had to give me examples (“well, I do x y and z to really take care of myself”) and even with her examples, I couldn’t come up with anything.
I just didn’t take care of myself. It was a really sad realization, and I’ll never forget that day.
I was so focused on weight loss, figuring out how to eat less calories, and how to get my butt on the treadmill, that I neglected to care for so many other parts of myself.
There are tons of reasons why self care is important, but here’s the main one that I want you to know:
Self Care helps you feel how you want to feel – beautiful, taken care of, loved, relaxed, and nourished.
Without Self Care, we feel overwhelmed, neglected, not a priority, unloved, and stressed.
And when we feel this way, we eat to feel better.
Imagine if you took care of yourself impeccably throughout the day so that you felt all of these amazing feelings. Do you think you’d feel less of an urge to eat cookies at 3pm and raid your fridge when you walked in the door?
Since that day with my coach, I’ve made it my mission to start taking care of myself better. That means my body, my emotions, my creativity, my soul, everything. I am forever a work in progress and continue to try to get better and better at this.
To get you thinking about how to take care of yourself, here are some things that I do now to take care of myself:
- I eat whole, natural foods 80% of the time and I watch my sugar intake because I’m really sensitive to it (ie. I eat it every day, but in smaller amounts).
- I eat tons of vegetables. Like, tons. I’ve found ways to make them delicious so that it never, ever feels forced.
- I move my bones only if it’s fun. I never push myself to do movement that feels like a chore.
- I wear clothes that feel comfy and cozy on my skin. Nothing’s too tight or rough material.
- I hardly ever wear heels – not worth it 🙂
- I wear makeup maybe once or twice a week. Otherwise, I let my skin breathe.
- I invest in really great face moisturizer and body lotion. I have dry skin so this is really important for me
- I keep my apartment clean and have come up with ways for my boyfriend to help out so that we work as a team to keep it feeling spacious and inviting
- If I feel that I need rest, I always listen. It may not be that second (I wish we could just take naps wherever, ya know?) but I always try to honor that whenever possible
- I create a lot of time in my schedule to be lazy and 100% unproductive. This is crucial for me to unwind and gives me the brain space to work as hard as I do
- I see my girlfriends as often as possible. This is a huge priority – a two hour lunch with a girlfriend nourishes my soul more than working an extra hour will
- I drink wine / beer frequently but not in large portions – this lets me have fun but keeps me feeling great as much as possible
- I let out my feelings — I keep very few things in to myself. This one is huge. Although I am in introvert, I have a strong need to communicate and need to get my thoughts and feelings out. I write, I talk to myself outloud (seriously, all the time), but most importantly, I talk to friends, family, or my boyfriend. This is one of the best ways I take care of myself from an emotional perspective.
- I go for aimless walks around the city, especially when I need to de-stress.
- I work on developing creative hobbies, as creativity is really important for all of us. I’ve developed a knack for cooking, photography, home decor, and getting more adventurous with fashion.
- I chat with my siblings and parents often. Sometimes a girl just needs her mom, needs to vent to her sister, guidance from her older brother, or a rational conversation with her Dad. Opening up to these people (this was a very hard one for me) continues to be one of the best things I do for myself.
- I take tons of breaks when working and listen to the natural flows of my productivity. Some days are for cranking out tons of work, and some days are harder. I work with this instead of against it.
- I try to get plenty of sleep.
It’s not always this peachy. There are weeks where I am a total stress – case, snapping at everyone and utterly exhausted. These are red flags to me to up my self-care and try to get back to the way I want to feel. I work on this every day and hope to “feel the way I want to feel” more and more as I keep learning.
I’m curious – in what ways do you take care of yourself? And I’d like to challenge you. In the comments below, can you come up with 3 things you want to start doing to UP your own self-care so that you can feel the way you want to feel even more?
I can’t wait to hear from you on this one!
Katie @ Live Half Full says
I love this list- really good ideas! This is something I’ve been working on a ton since we stopped working together. I actually wrote an entire post on it today: http://www.livehalffullblog.com/2014/10/21/investing-in-myself/
Love your post Katie — that latte and that bath! Scrumptious 🙂 Happy to see you investing in yourself! xo.
clare @ fitting it all in says
Love this Jamie! I’m trying to be better about this, but it can be hard when other don’t quite “get it” Definitely sleep, yoga, and more nourishing foods!
Glad you liked it Clare! I know what you mean, but it’s so important for us to keep doing what we need to do. xoxo.
Awesome, awesome post!
Thanks Marisa, glad you like it!!
Another great one! I’m reminding myself that moving my body and eating healthy are ways to take care of myself, and not just something on my long list of have-to-dos.
Absolutely, Shelly! Just make sure it’s fun and enjoyable and in line with what YOU want to be doing (how you want to eat and move) so that it feels like care vs. “I need to change”. xoxo.
I love the point you make about about how eating well and eating vegetables is also self care. This is so easy for forget! I’ve always looked at healthy food to lose weight, which made it have this negative connotation, thus making it more difficult to eat on a regular basis and most certainly enjoy. I’m slowly starting to realize that healthy foods are not the enemy, they make me feel awesome and they take care of my body.
Other forms of self care: as an introvert, I need me-time. I go to bed 30 minutes early to spend that time reading or in prayer. If I’m having a truly busy week filled with appointments, I will say no to something in order to spend an evening at home with me and Gilmore Girls 🙂 It really does wonders.
Maria, yep eating well is a HUGE form of self care! I always try to remember though that there needs to be a balance there… if I go so far into the “healthy” realm, I feel like I am not fully enjoying life (life without chocolate? no thanks), so finding a balance and taking care of both body + soul is important. Love your self care tactics!!
Love this post Jamie! Someone once told me to make sure I take time to celebrate small wins in my life. It’s very easy to get busy and crank on big deadlines, and then move right onto the next thing once a project is complete. and so now I try to make time to pause, celebrate myself, and be proud of what I have just accomplished before tackling the next item on my list. It helps me feel purposeful and productive 🙂
Yes this is so great! I have to work on this one too 🙂 xo.
Yes, loved reading this today (I actually wrote a post all about self-care today too!). Self-care has quickly become a #1 for me because I know when it’s not a priority or let it slip to the side, it shows up in my life as overwhelm or stress! I love easing into my day with a short walk/yoga flow and meditation or journaling. I also turn off my email after 7 pm and love reading before bed.
Love these Lauren!
My goals for October in the self care area are:
1. Write in my journal once a week.
2. Take a bath once a week.
3. Clean out my closet so it’s not a stressor.
I’ve managed to write in my journal once…the rest of the goals haven’t even happened. But, I did buy some dark chocolate and I’ve been enjoying that for dessert nearly every evening. I’ve also been enjoying reading Game of Thrones. And I’ve been putzing around in the kitchen with new recipes. And I bought new bookshelves to freshen things up in my living room so it looks more inviting and clean. I suppose it all kind of balances out 🙂
I want to come up with some little things that I can do on a daily/weekly basis. I have a difficult time taking time for myself in ways that I’m not used to. I’ll get there!
Hey Calista, My advice would be to start with the question, “how do you want to feel on a day to day basis?” and then “how do you feel now on a day to day basis”. Simply focusing on how you want to feel will help guide you toward how to take better care for yourself.Remember to have fun with it so that it doesn’t feel like work! 🙂
October-November Self Care Goals:
1. Get a hair cut and color perfect for winter at a local DC salon EVEN IF it will cost more than getting it at my hometown haircuttery. Why? The water in my new apartment is super hard, leaving me with hair that stresses me out MAJORLY in the morning!
2. Schedule doctor’s appointments I’ve been meaning to.
3. Peppermint Mochas without the guilt!!
Though I’m obsessed with self-care, it’s easy to fall off when things like school, internships & work take over.Thanks for the reminder! <3
I love your focus on self-care rather than weight loss. Such a great reminder. I have found deep care for myself through a morning ritual of walking on the cliffs above the ocean. I listen to podcasts while grounding into mother earth.
Love this! I struggle with making time for self care, but I know sooooo many people that don’t do this enough!
I am a huge proponent of taking care of myself but sometimes it just doesn’t work out as planned. I like to take long walks, watch HGTV or Food Network, go to Pilates Barre classes, call my boyfriend or family, meditate, clean my closet, do my nails, or go on a photography adventure. I think nourishing the soul is important and I try to do so as often as possible. You’re so inspiring– thank you!
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I love this piece, and the detailed yet doable examples you share! Thanks.
1. Pay the money to go back to the yoga studio and practice that I love.
2. Sleep in – at least ONCE every month.
3. Go out with my husband. We tend to give each other breaks, but we rarely get out and away from the kids together.