Self care… the right wayDec 23, 2019
I have truly missed you!! I’ve missed writing you and interacting with you. I’m still here!! I’m recovering very well from surgery and pancreatitis. I’m not 100% yet but I’m doing incredibly well and healing nicely. Recovering while working full time as a music educator in the Boise Public Schools and part time as the Opera Idaho Children’s Choruses Director has meant some changes to my daily routines and schedules.
So what’s on today’s blog? Three things.
- I want you to understand how I came to change my definition of self-care because it may change things for you.
- I want you to feel empowered to take care of yourself all day every day in ways you may not have considered.
- I want you to take better care of yourself by listening to your bodies subtle signals. I have a special gift for your on the bottom of this post. Totally free. No strings attached.
A health crisis has expanded my definition of self care
As you may have read in my last blog post (here it is in case you missed it) I recently had a very serious health crisis followed by major emergency surgery. The true blessing is I’m on my way to a full recovery and am feeling better every single day. Recovery is a process and I’m not back up to 100% yet but I’m progressing every single day. In this process, I have discovered a NEW definition of self-care!
A new definition of self care
Our self-care cannot be an appointment we set for a massage once a week, once a month or whatever we think we have the time. Self care is critical and must be just done all day, every day. If we put ourselves left on our own list, we are destined for a life filled with aches, pains, illness and aging poorly. We have got to stop making our jobs more important than our health, other people‘s needs and desires more important than her own health, and our own self imposed schedule more important than our health.
Self-care starts at the most basic level
It may seem simplistic or even silly, but many of us find ourselves ignoring the small signals our bodies send us. NO MORE. My sincere desire is that we ALL begin to take better care of ourselves by listening to our own bodies and meeting our own needs. Here are 6 important components of self-care.
- Go when you need to go!! “Holding it” not only risks bladder and kidney infections but it normalizes a behavior of ignoring your body’s most basic signals. Teachers, nurses and performers… I already know you are going to say you can’t. But you can. Seriously. Email me at [email protected] if you need ideas on how. I promise you there is a way. I teach 48 music classes a week and direct 4 choirs and I have not “held it” since surgery in August. You can do this.
- Eat when you are hungry. Stop apologizing for needing to fuel your body. It’s ok for you to eat in front of other people if that’s your only change to eat. My choirs and students often see me eating a mandarin or an apple. It’s ok. No one cares! I promise! Just can’t stand to eat in front of people or there is literally no time?? Plan a smoothie. (watch your daily sugar intake…most experts recommend no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day – article here) A note… be aware of nut allergies when packing your snacks. It’s worth asking your colleagues, friends, students just to be sure a package of almonds won’t send someone to the hospital.
- Get enough sleep. Different aged people need different amounts of sleep. That said, most experts agree that adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is when our bodies repair themselves and real healing happens from our daily stressors. If you are ill, have a chronic condition or are under additional stress you need more sleep. (Source)
- Rest when you are tired. It may not work to leave a meeting to go take a nap. But you can set a timer for 5 or 7 minutes, close your eyes and rest. Use a meditation app to meditate for a short time. Or try my favorite...Legs up the wall. Sit close to the call, lay on your back with your sit bones close to the wall and stretch your legs up the wall (bent knees is ok, you’ll still get benefits). No wall space? Lay on the floor on your back and put your feet on a chair or sofa. Legs up the wall which is a yoga pose proven to help you relax, restore and may cure a variety of things. (Source)
- Reduce your stress. Say no when you need to without guilt. Manage your finances, a major source of stress. Delegate what you can. Drop what you can’t delegate that isn’t essential and doesn’t bring you joy. Ask for help. Take breaks. Get organized. Clean your pantry. Plan your meals and shopping in advance of stressful weeks when you know life will be crazy.
- Drink more water. Experts say that finding an exact amount we each should drink is tricky, but most experts say that the old adage of drinking 8 glasses a water a day is insufficient. We need much more than that. Many fitness experts say to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily. All experts agree that you might need more or less depending on your body, your health, what you eat and your lifestyle. (Source) But the bottom line is, most of us need to drink more water.
The danger of ignoring messages our bodies are sending
When you ignore subtle signals from your body (hunger, thirst, needing to go to the bathroom) you set yourself up to ignore the strong signals something is wrong. By listening AND responding to the subtle signals our bodies send, we teach ourselves that WE MATTER and we learn to better take care of our own bodies.
I learned this first hand. I pushed through pain and exhaustion telling myself it was in my head. It was potentially life threatening pancreatitis caused by a gallstone stuck in cystic duct impacting not only my pancreas but my liver. I got so good and so practiced at pushing through that the doctors commented they couldn’t believe I was able to even stand through the pain of my illness. It was only when they gave me meds to relieve my pain that I recognized how severe it had been. I am now absolutely passionate about listening to my own body’s cues AND empowering others to do the same. Unapologetically. If we don’t take care of our bodies, minds and spirits we can’t help anyone including those we love most.
My mission stands. I want to spread love and light far and wide. But it’s expanded.
My mission is to spread love and light far and wide while empowering people to live authentic lives standing in their own truths. Together we will spread love and joy. By living our own lives authentically, we empower others to do the same. This can be summed up simply. LIVE OUT LOUD. Be ready for some branding changes. 🙂
All my love,