Last week, I wrote about barriers that keep people from a good self-care routine and how humans are social beings who need to integrate social self-care into their lives for greater physical and mental well-being. This week, I’m writing about physical self-care, one of the eight pillars of self-care, another component of the eight different types of self-care we can utilize to achieve optimal levels of health.
Before I go any further, let me share a story about my journey to self-care. I always thought I was taking good care of myself when I would get a Mani/Pedi, a massage, or spend time working out. These are all great things, but the truth is that I was neglecting other aspects of self-care that directly affected my health and those were much more important than getting my nails polished.
For years, teaching fitness was my life. I taught several classes a week, was a long-distance runner, and hit the gym on days I didn’t teach. I rarely gave myself a break. I thought I was eating healthy, but my nutrition could have been better. I drank more Diet Pepsi than water, ate way too many processed foods loaded with sugar, and wasn’t getting nearly enough protein.
I also needed more sleep; as an athlete, my body needed more sleep to recover. Also, because working out with others was my job, I had to stay up to date with trends and pay close attention to the participants, as their safety was my responsibility. And, like any good instructor, I was my participants’ entertainment and cheerleading section. I loved every minute of it.
However, I often neglected taking care of myself the way I encouraged my students to do so. The bottom line is that my self-care was lacking in more ways than one.
So, what IS good physical self-care? Sound nutrition, a good night’s sleep, rest when needed, and body movement.
Sleep – Studies have shown seven to nine hours per night to be the most beneficial. The comment, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” will get you that much less life. In addition, chronic sleep deprivation will yield serious side effects such as memory issues, mood changes, poor concentration, accidents, weight gain, low sex drive, poor performance, and high blood pressure. And if that wasn’t enough, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke risks also increase.
Nutrition – I’ve covered this topic in many emails and blog posts, but here’s a recap: Eat more veggies, fruit, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Reduce sugar and processed foods. So, you don’t like vegetables? Go back to the basics and eat what you like. (Reduce and eliminate sugar; I bet you’ll find those veggies and fruit taste better!) Food for thought!
Rest – Need a break? Take one! Sit outside, enjoy the fresh air, and give yourself a moment to hang out in nature.
Movement – Movement lubricates the joints which we need regardless of age. Don’t like to work out? Start walking! It’s the easiest way to get movement into your day. Add one block a day onto your routine, and soon, you’ll be walking farther. If walking is challenging for you because of medical limitations, swimming or chair exercises are great alternatives. The only excuses are the ones we make.
Here are some examples of physical self-care —
- Take a bath – rest
- Eat nourishing foods – your body and brain will thank you.
- Get the 7-9 hours of sleep per night the body and brain need.
- Stretch, walk or do any other forms of exercise that feel good.
- Fresh air – can be had with rest or movement.
- Insert your idea of physical self-care here and just do it!
Don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to but find something that will light you up and make you smile, bring joy to your life, ignite your passion for life, and make you feel good inside. If you do that long enough, that feeling will show on the outside. And don’t wait until you love your body enough to start taking care of it.
I lacked self-care and ended up with a significant health issue. I’ve had to work at it and learn to put myself first. Now, I eat a balanced and nutritional diet, exercise regularly, and get more sleep each night, which contributes to a better quality of life.
As always, I’d love to hear from you, so drop me an email and let me know how you’re doing with your physical self-care.
Lots of love,
P.S. — You also have the chance to learn more about self-care with me on a live group coaching call. Your first month is my gift to you, so check it out here.