The Self Care Movement: Taking Care of your Mind, Body and Soul in Times of Stress
My life is especially hectic right now. I tend to take on more than I should. Maybe it’s the control freak in me, or maybe I’m just overly optimistic about what I’m capable of accomplishing. I think it’s a little of both. Either way here I am shuffling back and forth between two different nursing homes for work while simultaneously working hard to build a business, alongside my husband, that is Landreneau Physiotherapy. All while being a mother to two very adorable, yet very wild, little boys (Luke, 4 and Drew, 2). My house is never as clean as I would like it, my hair is usually thrown up into something that resembles a bun, and lets not even talk about the current state of my vehicle. I share this because I know that I am not alone. I know that I am not the only one out there hustling hard to make my dreams a reality, no matter how unglamorous it may be at times. I feel compelled to share because despite feeling like the walls are closing in on me some days I feel mentally stronger and more confident than I ever have before. For me, the game changer has been the implementation of a few daily habits. I want to share these habits with you because they have had such a profound impact on my life.
Strong Body, Strong Mind
This morning I worked out to the point of physical exhaustion. I collapsed in a ball of sweat after the workout with a feeling of euphoria. I live for that feeling. As counterintuitive as it may seem, that workout gave me the energy I needed to make it through my day. I love CrossFit because it’s hard and it forces me to do things that I’m not that good at and become better at them. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a life skill everyone should pursue. Another reason I thrive off of difficult workouts is, for the entirety of that workout the only thing on my mind was making it through the workout. No stressing about work or kids, or when I’m going to have time to clean my house or go to the grocery store. I cannot think of any other modern-day activity that has the same effect, other than meditation, and I have not mastered the art that is meditation. So in some ways, you could say exercise is my form of meditation. Lastly, when I start the day with something physically challenging, it makes everything else that’s on my agenda for the day much less intimidating. After doing 120 push-ups and 71 GHD sit-ups, that difficult patient I have on my schedule for the day suddenly becomes much less difficult. To put it simply, the benefits of daily challenging exercise overflows into every other aspect of my life. As I become stronger physically I am becoming stronger mentally and this is what motivates me to keep showing up at the gym at 5 am. Exercise is the magic drug that everyone has been searching for. The only caveat is that you have to put in the work to reap the benefits.
Nutrition Will Make or Break You
A little over a month ago we went on a family vacation to the beach. For a month leading up to that vacation, I was very disciplined with my diet. I did intermittent fasting 6 days a week and ate very clean. I felt great and told myself that I was going to maintain that eating plan throughout the vacation. I was doing well until about halfway through the week when everything fell apart. It started with one bad decision. I decided to break my fast early one day. I told myself I deserved it, I had been so disciplined and I was still working out every day. The problem is that I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and what started simply as eating before a certain time turned into eating a diet full of carbs and sugar for the remainder of the trip. I returned from vacation feeling bloated, sluggish and noticing a lot more aches and pains during my workout than before. In some ways, I feel like it’s healthy to be reminded every once in a while just how much of a role nutrition plays in how we feel and how well we function throughout the day. I try to make it a habit to ask myself before I eat something, how will this food make me feel after I’m finished eating it. If the answer is “not good” I do my best to avoid eating it.
Personal Development is a Necessity
“You are more than you have become”. When I read these words by Rachel Hollis, in her book “Girl, Stop Apologizing”, it rocked me to the core. I have always felt that I have not lived up to my full potential due to fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being good enough, and fear of people judging me. I know I am not alone in this which is why I feel compelled to share my experience with conquering my fears. I am an introverted girl living in an extroverted world and the struggle is real. Personal development books and podcasts have been my saving grace over the past couple of years. More and more when I find I am going into a negative place mentally I can catch myself and I hear the words of my podcast mentors echoing in the back of my head. I’m far from perfect. I still have those days, when it takes every ounce of energy that I have to keep myself from collapsing on the floor in tears. But progress is being made. Those days are becoming few and far between, and when I do go to a dark place, it’s usually not for long. I have found that the key to personal development is consistency. Changing the way you think is not an easy task. But if you regularly consume positive personal development content and set goals and check in on those goals daily you will eventually begin to notice a change. Just remember, in the words of Rachel Hollis herself, “NOBODY who has achieved more than you will ever judge you” and “you have to be humble enough to suck for as long as it takes you to become better”. I think equipping your mind with a foundation of positive energy helps you to stay strong when life gets tough.
My form of exercise, nutrition and self development likely will not be the same form that works for you. My husband, for example, turns to hot baths, gymnastic strength training and currently prefers people like Ben Bergeron and James Altucher over Rachel Hollis. The key is finding what works best for YOU. Whatever that may be.