Life is busy, and whether we have children or not we’re all running around trying to balance the ten thousand things we have on our plates. It’s almost as though we live in a world where our self worth is now determined by how busy we are. With two kids and a hectic schedule myself, I’ve slowly realized that I just can’t do everything. I actually recall a few times where I was called supermom with all I did, but honestly, doing everything didn’t make me supermom, it simply made me a super exhausted mom.
I was used to always put my needs last until a conversation with a very close friend last year help put everything into perspective. Thankfully, I’ve started placing more value on quiet time with myself and my family and lowering the crazy expectations I had of myself. The first step towards a better and healthier me was understanding the value that I held and caring for myself in a way that no one else would. It wasn’t easy but I started making changes, and you can too. Sound daunting? It’s not. You can simply start by taking small steps towards changes that will eventually make a big impact. With time you’ll be feeling more at ease and have more balance in your life.
Here are some simple tips you can implement to help you take a step back and start making yourself more of a priority.
1) Piece yourself back together. Have you been picking yourself apart? Pointing out what you don’t like about yourself personally, physically, and mentally? Stop. It’s time to place focus on everything that you love and start slowly putting yourself back together. Who you are and the value that you hold has nothing to do with what the scale reads, the wrinkles that you have, the dimpling on your behind, or the roll around your waistline. Your value comes from the inside, how you speak to and treat others, how you love and care for your family, your smile, your hugs, your laughter. Not what you wear, what you weigh, what you look like. Taking time daily to appreciate everything you are and seeing the value within yourself is essential. Instead of picking yourself apart every time you look in the mirror, take a moment to find at least three things you love about your body and how you look. Yes, in essence, I’m asking you to start complimenting yourself, daily. Slowly, with time, as you build on your love for yourself and who you are today, you’ll begin to see a new and positive transformation within yourself.
2) Practice Gratitude. Do you find yourself complaining a lot? Maybe it’s time to practice being grateful for everything, not just what you have but what you don’t have. Sometimes it’s what we don’t have in life that makes us stronger and gives us the drive to acquire things that fulfill us. Everything in life is a blessing in disguise. Even though you may not understand why something is happening you have to trust that it’s all for a reason. Some, like myself, choose to write in a gratitude journal. This not only helps me feel more at piece but it puts life into perspective when I get caught up in negativity. Amazing things start to happen when we practice gratitude. We stop wishing for weekends, different lives, different jobs or circumstances, and we simply begin to live each moment with love, joy and a grateful heart. Slowly moving forward as a whole new positive perspective on life is born.
3) Stop dieting. Forget following fads, weird juice cleanses and diets found in the media. Simply nourish and fuel the body you love with foods you find energize and satiate you. When you love something, you care for it and nurture it, why would your body be any different? Fueling frequently with whole foods and trying as hard as you can to avoid skipping meals will help to nourish your body and sustain your weight and energy throughout the day. The diet industry has conditioned us to believe that we need to drastically “cut back” or follow the latest fad diet in order to reach our health and weight goals. However, drastically reducing our caloric intake ends up having us feeling hungry and deprived. This simply increases cravings and has us feeling like failures when we’re not “perfect.” Dieting simply encourages an all-or-nothing approach, promoting an unhealthy relationship with food. We need to understand that having a burger for lunch, a beer on the weekend, a piece of cake because you felt like it or a glass of wine after a long day isn’t bad. Simply put, all foods can have a place in our lives. Ultimately, fueling your body with plenty of whole foods while practicing mindfulness is the key to success. Weight loss is simply a side affect of making healthier choices more often than not. With time you’re learn to create habits, not restrictions.
4) Practice movement. Along with fueling, practicing gratitude and feeling good about who you are when you look in the mirror comes movement. Movement provides the body with many health benefits; including weight control, improving mental focus, overall mental health and mood. Movement strengthens our bones and muscles and reduces our risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Make note though that being active doesn’t have to consist of daily grueling workouts at the gym if that’s not what you’re into. You can go for a walk, a run, you can dance, cycle, or even join group classes such as spin, barre, circuit training, or zumba. Honestly, it could even be as simple as staying home and popping in a DVD or running around with your kiddos at the park. It all counts. Just do what you love, and get that heart rate up.
5) Get enough sleep. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good night’s rest. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to exercise if you’re a little tired but I hear time and time again, “I was up working all night, but don’t worry, I still forced myself to get to that 6am class!” Ummm…maybe don’t do that. If you’re completely exhausted then your body is telling you something. You need sleep. As a general guideline, experts recommend that adults get around 7-9 hours of sleep every night. When getting less than that, our memory, reproductive system, and immune system are weakened, we’re also increasing our risk of having a heart attack and stroke by 200%. As well, research has shown that the lack of sleep affects our hormones leptin and ghrelin, the two hormones in our body that are specifically secreted to help control appetite and satiety. Not to mention, forcing yourself to workout when you’re exhausted means that you’ll have less of an effective workout and will most likely feel drained throughout the day.
6) Find balance. Balance is such an integral part of feeling at peace with all that you do in your life. Finding purpose and focusing on your values is important to your inner peace. We live in a world that is constantly encouraging us to be more, do more and make more. It’s as if what we’re doing right now just isn’t enough. So we chase the dollar and run on empty all hours of the day with the intention of creating a happier future for ourselves. Unfortunately, in the end, we end up feeling depleted, run down, and we lose track of what’s important. So take steps towards finding balance with your friendships, your spirituality, the food you fuel your body with, how you move and your family. How? Sometimes this means saying no to a few things you may be asked to do. Yes, you can still be a good person with a kind heart and say no. Remind yourself that breaks are necessary, there’s nothing wrong with pushing the pause button in life so as to allow yourself to reconnect, recharge and find balance. Spend more time nourishing your heart and soul and do what makes you feel good with those you love.
At the end of the day what matters most is your health; your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. It’s time to start taking time for yourself, to start loving yourself, and realizing the value that you hold. Stop judging yourself, reduce any unrealistic expectations you have for yourself and finally feel at peace knowing that each day you are doing your best.
From one living soul trying to keep up with the chaos while trying to stay calm and balanced to another….just remember, you’ve got this!