This is a collaborative post and contains links to outside websites. The photos are recents that make me happy!
I’ve been talking a lot with my kids about being intentional in their actions. Intention means not taking the lazy route, pausing to consider more carefully what their next step should be. Like taking notes in class or adding a calendar reminder for that next haircut. We’ve had a lot of personal issues lately due to the negative ripple effect of not being intentional in our actions. Taking one extra minute to make an intentional decision can eliminate a lot of stress later!
For me, I have to focus on being intentional regarding self-care – top-to-bottom and inside-out. It’s hard! But I know at heart that making the right decisions for my body, mind, and spirit can have a tremendous impact on my well-being, both immediately and over the long-term.
Diet, Not Dieting
A friend of mine recently posted some truths regarding our relationship with food. Several of the points hit home, but a few stood out from the rest – the only appetite suppressant that works is food. Food is the only things that truly makes us feel full and satisfied. We are active beings that are designed to eat and enjoy food.
How you eat is one of the most important aspects of self-care, as what you eat can have a massive effect on your overall health and well-being. Eating healthy isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t need to be complicated or boring – you can find plenty of delicious and nutritious food options. Creating and maintaining a healthy diet starts with getting the right balance of nutrients that your body needs to function optimally: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
When you fuel your body appropriately, you escape the trap of trendy “dieting,” which we all know rarely results in long-term life change. We need food! We need fat! We need carbs! We need the things that the latest diet craze tells us to avoid. We just need things things in appropriate moderation and unprocessed when possible.
For me, living intentionally with a focus on self-care means meal planning. I make better choices when I have a plan for the week and the ingredients on hand to make it all possible. I use eMeals for my meal and grocery planning and it has changed my relationship with cooking (not an affiliate, just an avid user!).
Many factors have changed my ability to be active the way that I used to. I have back and hip issues that require a lot of careful attention. It has been a mental and emotional challenge to step back and take it a bit easier on my body.
But exercise is an important part of self-care, not only because it helps keep your body physically healthy but also because has a positive effect on your mental health as well. For example, regular physical activity improves cardiovascular health, lowers stress and anxiety levels, increases energy levels, and boosts mood.
I strive to walk for 30-minutes each day, preferably outdoors for the extra Vitamin D! I walk at a pace that gets my heart pumping. If the weather forces me to use the treadmill, I make sure to spend time next to my “Happy Lamp” to get that dose of sunshine that I’m missing. It has really helped during this season of short days and cold weather!
I have to be intentional about setting aside time to do this daily and it typically happens after school drop off. I tried to fit it in before school, but found that it was just too stressful to race against the clock! I find that when I walk, I have less overall pain during the day and my anxiety is more manageable. But it requires intention to make it happen!
Learning how to recognize when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious has been an important practice over the past few years. Silly as it sounds, I have found that deep breathing actually does help to minimize the oncoming attack!
Talking to a therapist has helped, as well. I work from home and have somewhat limited interaction with people beyond my family. It’s easy to lose touch and feel isolated. Having an unbiased person to talk to is incredibly helpful when trying to stay grounded and focused on reality.
If you don’t have access or a desire to chat with a therapist, focus on staying in touch with those you love. Schedule regular catch-ups with family members or friends – even if they are over video chat or phone calls – and make sure that you are taking time to nurture your relationships. It’s so easy to fall out-of-touch with even your closest connections. As an act of intention, I now have time blocked off on my weekly calendar to sit and chat with my dearest friends. It makes my heart and mind feel focused and peaceful!
Don’t Discount a Routine
Are you motivated by to-do lists? I am! But even without a written list, my routine acts as a virtual checklist that pushes me towards a feeling of accomplishment. Developing a regular routine is an essential part of self-care and overall healthy living. Even my children thrive off of our regular routine. It’s the best way to start the day off on solid footing.
First, start each day by setting your intentions – what do you want to get accomplished today? Then, take a few moments for yourself – this could include reading or writing in a journal, meditating or doing some simple stretching, and getting some quiet time in before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
Consider Adding Supplements
Investing in quality health and beauty products is an important part of self-care. This includes taking the time to find skin care products that are free from harsh chemicals and toxins to prevent itchy skin at night, as well as opting for natural beauty brands.
I take a small army of supplements to support my body and mind, including an organic multivitamin, St. John’s Wort, 5HTP, Lion’s Mane, and Glucosamine. There are more, but these few have made a tremendous difference in my overall wellbeing.
Mindfulness is an essential part of living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It helps to provide clarity, focus, and even stress relief through simple practices like yoga or meditation – both of which can be done in the comfort of your own home.
The goal with mindfulness is to stay in the present moment and observe what’s happening around you without judgment; this helps improve emotional well-being as well as overall happiness. Additionally, try incorporating mindfulness activities into your everyday life – for example, take a few moments before bed to practice some deep breathing exercises or spend time each day noticing how your body feels.
Balance Work and Play
Finally, it’s important to remember that life is all about balance – between work and play. Work can certainly be rewarding, but it shouldn’t take up every moment of your day. Set aside some time each week (or even each day) for yourself and make sure you are getting enough sleep as well as paying attention to any signs of burnout or stress so that you can address them before they become unmanageable.
Striking the right balance between work and play doesn’t just make for a healthier lifestyle – it also helps create a more positive outlook on life in general. So, don’t forget to take care of yourself amidst your busy schedule!
Remember to be kind to yourself – that’s the core of self-care, isn’t it? If something isn’t working out the way you planned, don’t be too hard on yourself – simply try again tomorrow. Living with intention doesn’t require perfection. It simply requires consistent effort and attention. Give it your best and strive to make tomorrow even better than today!