I don’t know about you, but self-care used to be a foreign concept to me. Was it a pedicure? Was it positive self-talk? Meditation? Alone time? I’ve learned that self-care is a lot of things, and above all – for me it has become an absolute necessity in order to function well, and take care of all of the other things that make up a busy life. 

Let me take you back in time to when my self care epiphany brewed out of near crisis.  The year was 2014, we had been in the home we currently live in for about a year, Jordan was an energetic 4-year-old and Harper was a naughty nearly two-year-old, James was…. well no, matter how old James was. ? But he was busy too, having just launched his business solo. 

About me.

I was working at a large medical center in Portland, with 24/7 staff, crisis on the 

regular, and with all of that came long hours at work, before work, and after work. It also included a regular ritual of feeding my stressed-out soul with chocolate covered pretzels from the nearby gift shop or fresh baked chocolate chip cookie from the café…2 for $1 after 2 pm. How could I NOT purchase those, they were on sale?!

I was stressed out.

So, in summary I was stressed out, made no time for exercise, ate those warm cookies or pretzels on the regular, and was completely exhausted – often falling asleep on the couch smartphone in hand, shortly after the kids were tucked in. Insert photos of sweet sleeping kids circa 2014 …

I don’t remember the exact moment that the straw broke the camel’s proverbial back, but it happened. Tired of being tired, stressed about being stressed, and fully aware that taking care of myself was going to have to become more of a priority if I was going to survive life, I made a change.

My journey to self-care.

That journey to self-care didn’t start by giving up the cookies. No-sir-ee. Baby steps people. I didn’t have the bandwidth to figure out proper nutrition for a few years still. First, I joined a gym, or fitness studio rather. They had early morning classes that didn’t mess with the flow of my family, they had a Groupon that didn’t muff with the budget, and they were a quick walk from home. I was out of excuses. 

What I found there was community! A whole bunch of women (and a few men) of different sizes, shapes, and ages – that were just trying to get in a bit of self-care too. So many of these women have become friends, and people that I legit enjoy waking up and hanging out with for 45 minutes at 5:30 in the morning. They are encouraging, inspiring, and they push me to be a better version of myself each day.

 Are you ready to jump on the journey of self-care?

Here are my steps for starting, paying homage to my local studio; Aspire Total Fitness. www.aspiretotalfitness.com 

A – Address your emotional needs with a friend, family member, coach or therapist; not sweets.

S – Stop feeling guilty about taking time for yourself, or the afore mentioned cookies. That was in the past. Start fresh. 

P – Pack yourself healthy snacks; maybe a handful of nuts, an apple, Greek yogurt, or a cheese stick.

I – I time. “I am going to take a bath…alone.” “And going to schedule a pedicure.” And “I am going to read a chapter from this book that has been on my nightstand for 3 years.” “I am going to bed early.” Find 15 minutes to be by yourself, every day.

R – Restrict work time when you are home, create some boundaries. i.e. No calls after 7 pm, or checking emails before dinner.

E – Exercise. Not to look svelte, but to feel better. Take a walk, join a gym, or order up a Jillian Michaels DVD from Amazon. Just do it.

Is self-care a new concept for you too? What do you do to take care of you – before you address the needs of the world around you…

Thank you for joining me on my journey to influence

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