Self-Care Revolutionized

I don’t know why, but making the time for self-care can feel so difficult this time of year.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been sick a fair amount. Or maybe it’s because the days are short. Or that it’s a crazy busy time.

Regardless, it can be too easy to start pushing self-care aside and letting other things creep in and get in the way of workouts, healthy meals, stress-release time, etc.

That’s why I so love this quote from Lisa Bauer, who leads an awesome Yin Yoga class at the Transformation Center on Wednesday evenings.

Many of us equate self-care with being selfish. Self-care is filling up so you can continue to take care of others. Self-care is feeding your spirit, taking care of your body, calming your mind, so you can be more present in the world and with those you love.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about self-care as a revolutionary act: Taking care of yourself is kind of like flipping off this cultural notion that we should be going, doing, winning, striving, setting goals, meeting goals — all the time, in order to have worth. Self-care is stepping outside that cycle and saying, “Nah, I’m gonna just be good to myself, and be myself.”

I love that because the funny thing is that when you adopt that mindset, it actually becomes easier to make the changes you want to make… for all the right reasons.

take care of yourself (1)When you stop spending so much energy trying to be the person you think you “should” be, and instead love and care for who you are, it frees up the space to be able to take care of yourself.

When you find that sense of self-love and self-worth, you want to take better care of your body and your mind, because it matters to you.

Then it becomes easier to take the actions that will get you closer to who you want to be in the future, because you love and respect yourself now.

Personally, I’m adding yoga back into my fitness routine because it reminds me of all of these things. Plus, it loosens my muscles and joints and just makes me feel better. I had let it slide as time grew tight. But I’ve realized that I need to let other non self-care things slide instead.

How about you? How can you take better care of yourself? What can you do to start letting go of the notion that you must always be doing more in order to be worthy? How can your actions reflect that shift in perspective?

If you are looking for a place to start, try moving more. Nutrition plays a huge role in your overall health, but exercise can help you feel better more quickly and can give you the energy to make other changes.

Whatever it is, start now! There is no better time.

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Lessons Learned from Staying Active Every Day

We’ve always been pretty active as a family. But this year, I wanted to be more intentional about it.

I’d noticed that it was too easy to stay indoors on our short, cold winter days in Wisconsin. And, especially on those days, our boys had too much extra energy and acted out a lot more.

Plus, I recently read Younger Next Year, which is a great read that talks about how critical it is to do something active each and every day, especially as you get older.

As our lives have gotten busier, my husband and I have found this harder and harder to do…

So, on New Years Day, we decided as a family to commit to getting outside every day, even for just a little bit.

I’m tracking our progress and posting pictures a couple of times each week on Instagram with the hashtags #365outside, #activeeveryday and #outsideeveryday. (You can find me at h88emily.)

While we are only two months in, it has been a great experience so far! Here are a few of my early take aways:

  • Getting outside helps the mood and behavior of our boys. One of our sons is on the autism spectrum, and some days can be really challenging. Getting outside, even for a short period, can really help. I remember one evening in particular, where a walk on a dark, cold night saved us from hours of awful outbursts.
  • Skating

  • We think about new things that we can do as a family outside. This challenge caused us to discover geocaching, for example, which has been a blast and an easy thing to do together. I’m not sure I ever would have tried it otherwise.
  • We’ve had some spectacular moments, like this evening on the ice on a perfectly glass smooth lake. The ice was so smooth that it didn’t make a sound under our skates. It. Was. Amazing. I’m not sure we’d have been out there to discover that without this challenge..
  • Our house is messier because we get outside in all kinds of weather. We are in mud season right now as the snow melts in Wisconsin and there is A LOT of mud in our house and our front yard is a disaster. So we spend a bit more time cleaning… I still think it’s worth it.
  • It’s been easy to stay unplugged. We’ve never had a lot of screen time in our house, but the kids have watched almost no TV since we started this in January. And they haven’t missed it!

While it hasn’t been easy every day—some of those short, cold, Wisconsin winter days were tough, especially when they are in school most of the day—it’s been worth it to actually think about when we were going to get outside and what we were going to do. Although it’s not too planned most of the time—there’s a lot of creative play that happens in the sandbox and the snow banks. But knowing that we made this commitment causes us to be very intentional to think about how and when we are going to get out.

We’ve only missed one day so far. It was well below zero, with a 30-40 below wind chill, and while we could have gone out, I decided that it just wasn’t worth it. We went to an indoor pool and went swimming instead. So, still active… just not outside. =)

It’s been totally worth it for us and we’ve seen benefits already in time spent together as a family, time being active, and our kids’ behavior.

Plus, it doesn’t usually cost us a dime!

What can you do to get more active as a family? It’s a lot easier to stay in shape when you can do it together!

Post your goals in the comments here and connect with me on Instagram so we can hold each other accountable!