From one perspective, it might seem like I can do everything and anything all in the 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year. It appears as if I can cook one hour, then go grocery shopping the next, workout the next, come home post a grocery haul, and then show you my Marie Kondo-ed laundry basket, and still get enough sleep.
For one - yes, I post motivational workout Instagram stories because I want to motivate y'all to join in on what I love doing. Yes - I try to get in a workout every single day of the year if I can, but when I don't post those workout or grocery haul stories... it means I'm probably not squeezing in a workout or went grocery shopping (even if my fridge is looking real bare) because I'm done. I'm tired. I am not superwoman.
Why do I bring this up now? The reason this quote really spoke to me is because I was reminded of our limitations as humans this past week. I was extremely sick. I posted about it briefly on my Instagram, and then, it appeared that my sickness was fading and everything was going up... Well, that was until all the symptoms came back and hit me like a truck in the middle of the week. (Don't you just hate when that happens?)
For me, personally, it took literally everything in me to just stop everything and do nothing. Yep, nothing. Nothing at all. If you ask almost anyone who knows me in person knows that for me to stop and do absolutely nothing is like asking me to stare at a blank, empty wall (yeah - not a fan.)
Guys - anyone who knows me well knows that I have a go-go-go- mentality. I like to be on the move, doing something, everything, anything! I hardly ever just press the pause button on life and do just that. It was like God purposely made me hit pause and experience life in slo-motion.
This really put everything in perspective for me, and a lot of positives came from this experience. First and foremost, I wanna put out there that this has certainly not been the first time I have ever been sick to the point where I could not leave my bed.... (don't you dare think I got so lucky to go 22 years of my life without ever getting sick!)
In fact, I put life on hold for many many weeks back in 2016 because I suffered an awful case of pneumonia that left me bed-ridden (during Thanksgiving of all times - one of my favorite holidays! That's a story for another time!)
So - all this to say, this isn't the first time. However, it is the first time that I've gathered all my thoughts after an experience like this and compiled them in a blog post to share with y'all. My hope is that these tips help you to take care of YOU. You are worth it. You are enough.
Here are 4 of My Best Self-Care Tips that Work for me... and I really hope they work for you too!
- Find What Brings You Joy
- This is the first self-care tip I wanna share with y'all because if what you do in life, in general, doesn't bring you joy - then, what are you doing?
- This tip will manifest itself in a variety of ways because what brings joy to my life isn't going to be what brings you joy. Different things bring each of us joy.
- Start by thinking about activities, hobbies, people, thoughts that bring you pure joy - these things that get you excited about life, and are therapeutic for your soul.
- For example, here are a few things that bring me joy - working out, shopping, indulging in food that's good for me and that I love, and singing karaoke.
- My question for y'all is - what brings YOU joy? Start there.
- Stay Hydrated (Body Weight in Ounces?!)
- Okay, okay... the body weight in ounces of water thing might be a myth (I'm not a doctor by any means), but I think it gets the point across.
- Back in my freshman year of college, the freedom to choose from unlimited beverage choices at the dining hall led to me making some decisions that I regret and don't recommend y'all to do. I drank way too many sugary beverages than I wanna admit, and they didn't make my body feel great.
- After that year, I pledged to myself that I would stop drinking sugary beverages on a daily basis (this was a huge step after I decided after high school to give up coffee!) From then on, I chose to only drink water (sparkling water ended up being one of my favorite go-to beverages - LaCroix - the real MVP!) aside from special occassions.
- I cannot emphasize how much this decision of mine years ago has impacted me to this day. Y'all - I have never felt better. Ever. No, I don't measure exactly how much water I drink in ounces (wait, did I drink 100 ounces today?).
- But, the point is - I drink enough water so I stay hydrated (this is the water bottle I currently use that I love - especially on sick days when I want my water to stay insulated). You know your body the best, and you will know when your body has had enough water.
- Will you make the pledge to drinking water and doing what's best for you?
- Getting Enough Sleep
- This might sound ridiculous to some of y'all, but this has always been true for me - in order for me to not be cranky, grumpy, snapping at people I love, or all of the above, I need to be getting enough sleep.
- For me, getting enough sleep means getting about 8-9 hours of sleep per night. This has been true from when I was in high school. I tackled more AP classes than I could count on one hand, sports practices in the afternoon and in the morning (before the sun even came up!), and I still made sleep a priority.
- If that meant putting certain tasks or assignments on the back burner because I knew I had to take care of myself by getting enough sleep, that's what I did. Sometimes, I prioritized the tasks that would take me the longest, did those first, and then saved some of my easier tasks for in the morning.
- And here's the thing - the number of hours for you to mean "getting enough sleep" is going to vary from person to person. Whatever that number is for you, make it a priority in your life to stick with it. You owe it to yourself.
- At first, that seems like a selfish thing to do. What if there are dishes piling in the sink or a child who needs help with his/her homework? Just ignore those things and go to sleep? No, that's not what I'm saying - but know when you need to say no to certain things. Because, for starters, I know I wouldn't be able to do other tasks if I don't first take care of myself. I can't help others, if I am not taken care of first.
- So - take care of you, so you can take care of others.
- Listen to Your Body
- This one might just trump all the rest. Seriously. Ultimately, self-care means you listen to your body and give it what it needs to be taken care of.
- For example, I mentioned earlier that working out, grocery shopping, and singing karaoke are a few things that bring me joy. And yes, they do. However, when I was sick - those things didn't make sense even though they bring me joy.
- I had no energy to drive myself to the gym, to jump on the stair-climber, to lift those weights. I had no energy to get myself up to go to the grocery store, to find the deals, to make it through self-checkout (which I love to use, BTW!) I had no energy to sing anything or say much for that matter (and boy, my family was a little too happy about the fact that my voice wasn't working as usual).
- Just because those things bring you joy doesn't mean that's what we need to do all the time. Sometimes, we just need to listen to our bodies and give it what it needs.
- For me, when I was sick, that meant just resting. That means laying in bed with my eyes closed for hours on end, but it was just what I needed to recover. It meant getting up to grab some water and then back to bed it was.
- It means getting something to eat, just so I had enough energy. And then back to bed.
- Y'all - have you been listening to your body? What does it need?
What does Self-Care Look Like for YOU? I'd love to know!