Self Care is the secret to a Wealthy Life. Happiness and Health is PRICELESS.

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Making YOURSELF a sacred priority is one of the smartest moves you can make. The April theme of “self-care” has been a powerful reminder of that.

In week one, I provided a few powerful questions to help you define what self care means to YOU and personalize your approach to making it a part of your life. Week 2 listed many creative ways to practice physical self care and “take care of your body when you don’t have time to take care of your body”. Week three was internal health, the mental, emotional, and spiritual self care that can transform your life. It has been a month full of information and inspiration and I hope some of the articles allowed you to define, refine, and practice self care in your day to day life. Was there a suggestion or part of the month that helped or inspired you? Leave me a comment below and let me know one of your experiences or learning lessons from the month of self-care.

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Wellness is a natural state of being and it is something that I hold as a high priority in my life. I realized as a young woman that in order to be successful in any aspect of my life I must be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. It is something that I work for every day, the road to self-care is a constant work in progress. My desire for wellness motivates me as I view it as the foundation for true wealth and joy. I have seen how loving myself first has positively TRANSFORMED my life and continues to work wonders in the world.  And let me tell you, it feels SO good to live a life in which your happiness and health comes first.

I believe that success isn’t the secret to happiness but that HAPPINESS is the secret to success. Love yourself and love your life and you will be successful.

I also believe that health is the ultimate WEALTH and that through self care and self love you can live an abundant life. If you aren’t physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually healthy then you can’t live your life fully. Nothing is worth it if you aren’t happy or healthy. At the end of the day, sacrificing your health or happiness is a waste of the BEST gift on earth, the gift of living life to the fullest and sharing that full life with others. You were given this one life to LIVE it. Your health and your happiness is PRICELESS.

When you are at your healthiest, you are at your most helpful to the world. We should all strive to thrive and do those things that make us happy, every day. Don’t feel guilty about it, you are able to show up more for others when you start showing up for yourself first.

Self care is about learning to value yourself and learning to fight for your health and happiness. With so many limiting cultural beliefs working against us we all need support. In order to see a change you must BE THE CHANGE. Join me in working towards a world that encourages others to live happy, healthy, lives through self-care. The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others, the self-care revolution starts with YOU.

While the month of April’s theme of self-care may be over, its an ongoing process that takes consistent dedication, faith, work, and sweat. Let’s make a commitment to love ourselves by practicing self-preservation through self-care. For now, I’ll leave you with this affirmation. Speak it, think it, live it: “My health is my wealth. When I take care of my health it is like depositing money in the bank of Abundant Life!”

 In Happiness and health,

Caroline

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. More great content is headed your way every week to help you live a happy, healthy, RICH life! 

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It’s whats on the INSIDE that counts. Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Self-Care.

Caroline-24We all know what it means to “take care” of our health. Eat right, exercise,  get good sleep and eat nutrient-dense foods. But, there is something deeper that is essential to self-care.  Just as important as nurturing our physical well-being is the care and feeding of our hearts. 

Your spiritual state has the ultimate influence over how you interact with yourself, with others, and with your life. I always know when my emotional well-being is out of whack. I  feel overly sensitive or struggle with negative thoughts and feelings. I get too caught up in superficial non-sense. I waste time comparing, worrying, or beating myself up. I start to believe my happiness is dependent on “the next good thing” that may or may not come my way. I have a hard time focusing on ALL the good and struggle with a narrow, negative mind.

On the other end, when I take time to nurture my emotional health, I am positive, present, grounded, and at ease. I am comfortable with myself and have strong boundaries that help me maintain balance.  I don’t take things personally and I have a clear sense for what really matters to me. I don’t sweat the small stuff and am full of energy for my life.

Can you relate? We all can. We are HUMAN. Our emotional and spiritual selves need nurturing and input, they need a focus just like our physical selves do.  Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act, it’s the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or big work deadline. The following can be physical signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
  • Sexual problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Weak immune system causing frequent colds or infections

When you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset, you may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or socializing with others. Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs may also signal poor emotional health. That’s why its important to look after your spiritual self not just your external appearance. It really is “It’s whats on the inside that counts”.

What enhances your emotional well-being? What keeps you calm, centered and operating from a grounded place as opposed to a reactionary, emotional one?  Here are some amazing suggestions on ways to take care of your spiritual self and live a healthy life from the inside out.

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Spiritual Self Care. Ways to take care of your emotional self.

A Healthy Body Helps A Healthy Mind. Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood. Here are all my suggestions on taking care of your physical self so your mind and spirit can follow (click here to read: “How to take care of your body when you don’t have time to take care of your body“).

Meditate. Meditation is proof that it doesn’t take a ton of time to do a mind and body good. Just a few minutes of quieting your mind can help relieve stress. Other benefits include a boost in compassion and emotional stability, and some research suggests that meditating could even keep illness at bay. The best part? Its benefits continue even when we’re not meditating — consider it the gift (to yourself) that keeps on giving. Meditating creates silence and stillness, increasing mental focus and the ability to stay in the present moment. Meditation can be something as simple as sitting still for several minutes and focusing on your breathing while clearing your mind or as complex as guided meditation with music and chanting. Try to Meditate in the morningTen minutes of stillness can make all the difference. Here are some guides to help you:

Cultivate and live in a positive environment.  Who you choose to spend your time with and the input you from your environment will have a huge effect on your outlook. To be able to stay positive and healthy it is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of drag you down. Consciously decide who and what you choose to spend time with.  If in doubt, I ask, “After I leave their company, do I feel energized or drained?”. Leave toxic relationships and detox your life from negative influences. Make a healthy environment a priority. Work to surround yourself with people and things who inspire, support, and give you energy for your life.

Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it—things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or discovering a new hobby.

Pay it forward. By helping others, we actually help ourselves, too. Lending a hand not only boosts mental health, but may also lead to a longer life. Volunteering also positively effects self-confidence, self-esteem, and general wellbeing.

Unplug. These days, it feels like everyone’s glued to a phone, laptop, or all at the same time. Deliberately taking a break from social media, e-mail, blogging, and all electronics can help recharge and give the brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level. Not only that but it feels SO good to unplug and actually LIVE in the real world. Set a aside a specific time daily to log off and enjoy your life.

Allow your emotions to come to the surface. You gotta feel it in order to HEAL it. If you’re tired and sad, cry it all out. If you’re stressed, don’t try to put on a mask and hide it. Get it all out, all the frustration, the overwhelm, the anger and the fear. You’ll feel much better after.

Cultivate your spiritual side. This could mean checking out a meditation class (often yoga studios are a good source), exploring the local religious centers in your neighborhood or asking a friend to recommend a good inspirational book.  Studies show that those who develop their own spirituality and their own belief system will live longer and more satisfying lives. Simply practicing the beliefs that you have through meditation or organized worship can be very helpful for developing a positive attitude. After all, trust gives way to a better attitude and mood, whether that trust is in a higher power or yourself! Good places to connect you to your spirit: Intent.comHay House RadioLive FEARLESS and Free by Terri Cole, and the DAILY LOVE .

Be mindful. Mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment. Focusing on the present — without judging how we feel and what we think — can be both a liberating and healthy practice. Studies show that getting in-tune with ourselves through mindfulness slashes stress and depression, helps us see ourselves in a truer light, and may even help keep our minds from wandering. Learning to practice mindfulness will not only improve your wellness, it will allow you to take JOY in your life. Want to savor the journey not just the destination? Read on and learn how to cultivate mindfulness in your daily actions. 

Gather a support groupWhen you feel overstretched, burnout, or too busy, gather a support group. It helps to delegate, outsource, and have others to help you manage the work that may be weighing you down. Call your mother and ask her to help you take care of the house, talk to your friends about what you’re dealing with, seek out others in the same situation as you, and make sure your partner is on your team. Not only can they help with practical tasks, they will give you lot’s of moral support and you’ll feel less alone.

Choose happy. We all know that happiness feels good, but it’s also great for our health. Research suggests that feeling happy may even prevent disease, including heart disease.  But being happy is easier said than done, right? Click here to read some simple ways to feel more upbeat, like my #1 favorite: cracking a smile! Happiness is a practice that you can exercise like a muscle – the more you choose to work it the more it works in your life. 

Don’t  succumb to “shoulds” and stay true to your gut. Nothing is worse for emotional health than over-committing, agreeing to attend an event you don’t  resonate with, or volunteering for something your not fully committed to. Before you say YES to an opportunity or commitment check in with yourself first. If you feel like you “should” do it but deep inside know its not right for you, say NO. You can use these words, “Wow that sounds like a worthwhile opportunity, its just not right for me right now.”

Compliment yourself. Positive self-speech can seriously impact your mood. Instead of adding to the monkey-brain thoughts of not good enough, too stressed and panic – tell yourself you look good, that you’re doing great and that you can manage everything that comes your way.

Brighten your days with colorful clothes and images. It doesn’t have to cost much, but it will make a huge impact on your happiness – brighten up your life with colorful clothes, images, or accessories.

Say no to anything that is not important to you.  Laundry, baking for a fundraiser, demanding girlfriends – work to say NO to things that stress you out. Give yourself the permission to focus on what’s important. Getting the unessential responsibilities off your schedule will not only create som extra time and space, it will also lighten the burden you’re feeling to keep up with it. If it’s not an absolute YES, then it is a NO. Remember: Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not what’s best for everyone else.

Ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you’ll quickly learn that most people around you actually love to be asked. What usually helps the most is to get help to do the normal things; cooking, shopping and regular every-day tasks. However, don’t underestimate how important the people in your life can be when it comes to feedback, motivation and supporting your self-confidence regarding the important work you’re doing.

Listen to your favorite music. Calm music will help you calm down and upbeat music will help you up your game.  Your favourite music will boost your mood and help keep you feeling good.

Break your self-care habits into smaller tasks and do one each day. Break up your self-care habits into smaller, and more achievable chunks. Take a bath one day, paint your nails the next day, go to yoga the next, etc. That way every day you are doing a little something nice for yourself.

Keep in touch with your friends. We need each other to stay SANE. A few text messages, tweets, a coffee, or lunch date – do what it takes to stay connected to the people in your life that matter. Too much time alone will make anyone go down the negative rabbit hole. You will feel much better when you stay connected to those important people in your life that matter.

Write a daily gratitude list. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that individuals with a more grateful outlook on life exhibited a heightened state of well being. According to the study, “research has shown that gratitude is linked with positive emotions including contentment, happiness, and hope.” At some point during the day, make a simple list of five or ten things that you are grateful for in your life. You can read all my tips on keeping a gratitude journal HERE. It’s amazing how simply taking the time to count your blessings goes FAR in helping you keep a positive mental state of health.

Write your worries DOWN. Stress makes us more vulnerable, and worry can be a nasty side-effect of a busy life. If you find yourself worrying a lot, it’s a good idea to write a daily worry-list (I call it a brain DUMP). Spend 5 minutes in the morning and 5-minutes in the evening worrying about whatever and put it down on your list. It may sound simple, but getting your worry out on paper will actually help you clear your mind.

Go On Vacation!  When it comes to taking vacation, most Americans don’t do a lot of it. But skipping out on time away from the 9-to-5 does more harm than good: Studies show that skipping the family vacay is associated with a higher risk of heart disease in both men and women. Whether booking a trip to an exotic location or going somewhere nearby, time away from work can help refresh our focus, and being exposed to a new location or experience may boost creativity. Plus, everyone deserves a break! Read more of the healthy benefits of a vacation HERE. 

Keep a planner and schedule no-appointments time. To ease stress, it’s a good practice to stay organized and keep a calendar. Make sure you write down every single appointment, to save yourself from unwanted surprises and missed meetings. Just remember to schedule time for yourself and honor your appointment with yourself just as much as you would keep an appointment with anyone else.

Accept yourself as you are. Let yourself off the hook and accept that you are human. You are doing your absolute best and you are learning how to do what is healthy, happy, and right for you. Trust your instincts, follow your heart, and keep moving forward towards creating a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside.

If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and you still don’t feel good, it might be time to seek professional help. Im a big believer in therapists, coaches, and hiring neutral professional parties to aid us in our health. Input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own. Here are a few signs its time to get help from a professional:

  • Inability to sleep
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life
  • Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you identify with any of these red flag symptoms, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional. Know that It’s OK to want help, you deserve to live a life that feels good from the inside out.

You can eat right, exercise, and sleep all you want, but you can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind first. What does emotional self care really mean?? It means letting go of the things we cannot control. It means listening to our intuition, embracing all of our imperfections, and staying authentic to who we are. It means staying grounded in the present and making mental space to find clarity. It means taking the time to discover our interior barriers and finding the courage to dissolve them. It means learning to be gentle with ourselves and enjoy our lives with a present, positive, mindset. Its daily work in progress and YOU are worth every ounce of sweat.

I encourage you to begin to explore how you can take care of your emotional self so that you can fully experience life.  The happiness of your life starts with the quality of your thoughts. Take care of your spiritual  health and you’ll live a happy life from the inside out.

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Join me in the theme of #selfcare for the month of April. More great content is headed your way this month on the topic of taking care of your very best interest: YOU. 

With lots of love,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

 

Physical Self Care: How to Take Care Of Yourself when you Just Don’t Have Time To Take Care Of Yourself

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“People always say:

‘I’m too busy to exercise,’

‘I have to be there for the kids,’

‘I’ve got too much work.’

You know what? These are little lies you’re telling yourself, and the go against the laws of self-preservation, because the more WHOLE and HEALTHY you are, the more fully you can give to other people.”

– Oprah

One of the biggest challenges we face is learning how to take care of ourselves. Physical health is one of the most important things we can prioritize, yet it often remains one of the most neglected parts of our busy lives. We all want to eat well, exercise, and take downtime every day. But when everything is moving fast, the world is screaming for your attention and you just don’t have time – the last thing you feel you can do is take time for YOU. But here’s the TRUTH: the only way you can operate at full speed without crashing is by making your health your #1.

Everyone benefits from a person who knows how to care for themselves; self-care sustains and enhances the health of all those around you. I believe it is possible to make time for healthy, self-care habits even with the busiest of schedules. Here are a few suggestions for enhancing your health through a solid self care program:

Physical Self Care Savers. How to take care of yourself when you don’t have time to take care of yourself:

    • Put YOURSELF on the Calendar. Block out time for self-care on your calendar. Include your exercise time, pamper yourself time, date night, or other self-care time. Make this time “nonnegotiable”. When a potential conflict arises say “I’m so sorry but I am not available” This time must take precedence over all but real emergencies. If you must make a change, reschedule your ME-time for another day that week. Treat your self care appointments like any other important appointments you can’t miss.
    • Get enough sleep. Sleep is usually the first thing to go when our schedules are full, but we ALL know the quality of our performance and life goes out the window when we are trying to be more productive on less sleep (epic backfire!). The best way to get to bed earlier is to define a sleep bedtime and honor it. Turn off all mail, phone, and electronics an hour before bed and do something soothing like read, foam roll, or chill with your loved ones. When Im tempted to work later than I should on a project, I kindly remind myself that my “beauty sleep” is the secret to successful work performance.
    • DRINK WATER. This advice alone can change your life. We are in a constant state of dehydration and our thirst centers are so dulled that we don’t even know it.  Not only does dehydration mess with your energy levels, often brains can misinterpret thirst as hunger so instead of hydrating we eat more food. Learning to drink more water is a habit you can cultivate (and its not too hard to do it!). I start my day with a large glass of water and then aim to drink at least 3 more large glasses before the day is over (one at each meal and with my workout!) Keeping a large water bottle nearby can be your best investment and you will start feeling the added energy of hydration immediately.
    • Eat healthy, REAL food. I know it’s tempting to order pizza or reach for candy when you are busy, but processed foods and sugar will only make you crash. If you want energy to fuel your days,  it will pay off to take your time to eat nutritious and healthy food. Not only will it help you achieve more, it will also boost your mood and give your skin a healthy glow! If you are too busy to cook or shop, order HEALTHY fast food. Apps like Zesty App or Instacart make it easy to bring healthy choices to your doorstep without having to leave your busy life. If you feed your body well, it serves you well. When your body is properly nourished, you have more energy and are able to achieve more. This heightens not only your productivity, but your self-esteem as well. Nourish your body with intention, as opposed to indulging your appetite or feeding your emotions. Your diet should fuel you with energy and power to take on each busy day.
    • Take 5 minutes in the morning to stretch, breathe, and move your body. If you start your day in a stressful way, you’ll probably feel stressed for the rest of the day as well. Wake up 5 minutes earlier to make sure your morning starts with something to ground you and give you the energy. Do 5 minutes of movements – side bends, squats, downward dog – whatever FEELS good to you. Starting the day in a way like this will make you more relaxed and get your day off to a strong start.
    • Walk as much as possible.  You might be busy and think that every minute is valuable time to put into your work, but some extra minutes of walking might be a better way to spend some time. If you live close to where you’re going, it’s better to walk than to use public transport (or your car). Not only will the exercise be good for you, you also get some important fresh air and daylight. If you have to commute, get off public transport one or two stops too early, or park your car further away than usual. The extra minutes of fresh air will save you lots of time when you start working and feel more focused.
    • Take 5-minute mini-breaks every hour. You can’t stay focused all the time. No matter how efficient you work, you’ll always get distracted, let your mind wander or end up spending time reading e-mail (and Facebook) instead. A better way to spend this time is to get up from your chair, walk outside and take a 5-minute break. The change of place, the change of physical posture and the movement will make it easier to start again when your break is over. You’ll also give your brain a chance to relax and process information, which is essential for your well-being. The human body isn’t built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard. Use computer apps like Time Out or your phone alarm to gently remind you to take a break on a regular basis.
    • Make room for rest. This one’s important. Make sure that whenever you plan to rest – really rest. That means that you will have to make a conscious effort to push all work-related thoughts and worries away. It’s also important that you rest your mind as well as your body. For me this means putting ALL of the electronics AWAY. This is a challenge but unplugging allows for so much peace of mind. 5 minutes of stillness is better than 30 minutes in front of the TV!
    • Spend your lunchtime as sacred you-time. Practice having lunch away from your desk, tv, smart phone, or other distractions. Eating is an act of nourishing your body, separating yourself from work and allows you time to regroup and replenishEnjoy your healthy food with a little journaling, reading, people-watching, or chatting with a friend. Multi-tasking work with eating is never productive anyway. Break the habit and give yourself a lunch break thats good for your mind and body.
    • Take a run or a long walk. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Any sort of exercise will release endorphins + it clears your head so you can focus on all the important work that lies ahead.
    • Mix socializing with exercising. Do you normally spend time with your family or friends by going to dinner, watching sports on TV or going to movies? Make your social time more active by planning events that get all of you moving. Go for a family hike on a beautiful Saturday morning, play a game of tag football with your buddies during halftime, or make a date with your significant other or best friend on the treadmill. There are so many options for squeezing more activity into your social calendar.
    • Drink tea. Coffee will only get you that far, before it sends you down into tiredness again. While still being hot and comforting, tea (and especially the herbal kind) won’t make you dehydrated and shaky. If you’re feeling tired and think you need a caffeine boost, go for cold water (or iced tea) instead. Cold water will help wake you up!
    • Deal With Stress with DEEP breaths – not alcohol. It can be tempting to have a drink to take the edge from a busy, stressful schedule. While a glass of wine or cocktail is nice in moderation, using it to cope or numb your stress will eventually sabotage your health long term. Develop a non-drinking means of relaxation. Think about other activities that are relaxing and enjoyable to you – working out, taking a walk outside, listening to music, reading, etc – and schedule those into your life as a means of unwinding.
    • Go to a yoga class. Or do some yoga at home. Even ten minutes of savasana is better than nothing, and will recharge your batteries (and your mind). Cant make it to a class? Try this quick end of day stretching flow when your body needs some love:

      • Take a hot epsom salt bath. Nothing helps me relax more than a hot bath. Use your favourite bubbles, turn off the light, light some candles and you’re good to go. One hour in the bath in the evening may be the best way to relax because of this simple fact – you can’t take your work and your computer with you.
      • Create some healthy routines and plans. When work, family, or studies take all your focus, it can be useful to create some new habits or routines to take some of the burden off your back. Make it a habit to cook a larger batch of dinner on day 1, and eat leftovers for the next two days. Use Sundays to prepare what to wear for the next couple of days. Plan ahead for your workouts and pre-pack clothes in yourwork bag (don’t forget extra socks!). Being organized and establishing healthy routines will allow you more time and space to breathe.
      • Keep Healthy Foods Stocked. Think fresh fruit, vegetables, and quality nutrients. Going too long without eating will cause you to crash and overeat on the at the next opportunity of food. Keep your energy levels stable and take the edge off your hunger by having healthy options on hand to snack when you’re hungry. Fresh fruits, small portions of nuts, beef jerky, and fresh vegetables (cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and carrots) are great snacks! You can read all of my favorite healthy snack suggestions HERE. 
      • Make 5 minutes count and get moving no matter what. When you are too busy for a workout, find 5 minutes to move somewhere in your day. Do it at the office, right when you get home, or even while waiting for the bus. ANY TIME is better than NO time when it comes to moving for energy. Here is a 5 minute total body routine to get you moving when 5 minutes is all you have time for:

 

  • Get more sunlight and FRESH air. Make sure you get your daily dose of sunlight if you’re spending a lot of time in gloomy libraries and workplaces. Fresh air can be a life-changer.
  • JUST SAY NO. If you’ve gone through this entire list of tips and don’t think a single one will work in your life, then it’s time to look at your priorities and responsibilities. Do you really have to bake cookies for that fundraiser? Babysit for your sister? Take on that extra project at work? Attend that wedding shower of your second cousin? Remember that there’s nothing wrong in saying no. Yes, we all have obligations to others, but don’t forget about the obligation you have to yourself to take care of your body and your health! When you say no to something you can say YES to yourself.

Taking care of yourself regularly takes courage, consistency, and work, but the pay off is in the QUALITY of your life. Small changes net big results and any time you take towards investing in feeling your best WILL pay you back in health. Give a gift to yourself, your family, and your work by opening up to a happier, healthier, more effective self. Take time to take care of you and enjoy the life you have been given.

How do you take care of your body when you are busy? Do any of the suggestions above speak to you? Leave me a comment below and let me know how you are actively working on self care 🙂

Did you like this post? Share it with your friends on Facebooktwitter, or email. Join me in the theme of #selfcare for the month of April. More great content is headed your way this month on the topic of taking care of your very best interest: YOU. 

With lots of love,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Month of Self Care. Join Me.

Self care is a hot topic in our world. So much so that I believe  it’s begun to lose its meaning and importance. We’ve all heard the “oxygen mask” analogy in nauseum and we are beginning to block it all out. Self-care isn’t just about putting on an “oxygen mask” or just taking a hot bath. It’s so much more than that. And that’s why Id like to invite you to join me in April’s theme to define, personalize, and practice self-care in your life.

OK Caroline, SO WHAT IS SELF-CARE, REALLY?

Self-care is any action or behavior that helps us avoid triggering health problems (like increasing our risk for heart problems due to excess stress, for example) and benefits us by improving our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, less stress, and overall wellbeing. These behaviors help provide balance in an increasingly over-stimulating world. Self-care makes up an essential part of a healthy lifestyle that keeps us healthy, happy, and more in-tune with our minds and bodies.

Sadly we often neglect self-care because it can be tough to make changes and manage stress in healthy ways. Self-care is also sometimes associated with selfishness and lazy, over-indulgent behavior. You can read all the “Myths of Self-Care” Here. This mentality might make us feel guilty for thinking we need to take a break from our lives to do something that, simply put, makes us feel better. But ignoring our needs has some dangerous side effects: It makes us more likely to get sick and can make existing conditions worse — not to mention the emotional toll of never taking a break.

That’s why taking the time to check in with what your mind and body needs isn’t a bad thing. In fact, researchers believe the pursuit of health and happiness is far from selfish. When we take good care of ourselves, we’re likely to see an improvement in many aspects of our lives, including our physical health, relationships, and even our income. Plus, by making the choice to practice self-care, we have a tendency to care more for others — proving its importance for not just ourselves, but the world around us.

When it comes to the definition of self-care, it is different and unique to every individual.  I want to take a step back and help you identify “high mileage self-care activities” – the little things that go a long way towards helping you live with more ease. The first step to a better self-care practice is defining what it means to YOU. Take a moment to consider and jot down the answers to the following:

Self-Care questionnaire:

  1. “What kinds of self-care truly feel like self-care to you (and not like a self-care to-do list)?”. I love this question. Theres a difference between self-care as a chore and self-care as a way to maintain balance in your life, even in the face of stress. What is truly helpful to you?
  2. What makes you take a breath of RELIEF – a big, ol’ belly breath *sigh* – as soon as you do it?
  3. What creates a sense of SPACE in your life…room to breath, think, or just be?
  4. What activities boost your ENERGY or increase your FOCUS during your work day?
  5. What leaves you feeling more RELAXED and CENTERED, sometimes all day long?

Now that you’ve thought over the questions above, tell me in the comments below…Which of these things can you do in just a few minutes almost every day

Sure self-care could mean eating well, exercising, and get enough sleep at night at night. But I believe the point of self-care is to support your ability to achieve your life goals. And it’s as personal as food and exercise is “bio-individual.”

I’d like to invite you to JOIN ME in the month of April’s theme of self-care. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving you different ways to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This is not to give you more for your to-do list, but simply suggestions to help you live a life you love. Feel free to take the ones that speak to you and ignore the rest. Start treating yourself like you would treat a small child, with the gentle kind of care that you deserve. Changing the way you treat yourself takes time and practice. Start here. Start now. Don’t waste another second.

What does ‘self-care’ mean to you? What practices do you bring into your days? Join me in defining and refining your self-care habits in the month of April. Use the hashtag “#selfcarestar”  and tag “@Caroline Jordan Fitness” to participate in this month’s theme. Post photos, status updates, or tweets and share how you make self care  a part of your happy, healthy life. I am looking forward to sharing this month with you. Heres to an April and in celebrating the art of taking care of yourself.

Much love,

Caroline

 Other Things To Check Out This Week:

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