by guest blogger Amanda Giralmo:
You’ve been hitting snooze on your alarm clock for days now like it’s the Staples Easy Button, but there’s nothing easy about dragging yourself out of bed when you’re feeling exhausted again. You somehow misplaced your keys in the fridge, and you feel overwhelmed by the fact that you should put something in your fridge other than your keys and four days’ worth of take out leftovers.
In short: you feel completely out of balance! But, how do you find this elusive balance that everyone is seeking in today’s always-on, go-go-go world?
Working with my clients as a holistic health coach, I can confirm that the struggle to feel mentally well and nourished physically, while also making sure those around you are cared for, is real!
In my practice, I work with smart, busy people who face this challenge often. My clients want to feel their best but aren’t quite sure how to get there on their own, so I create space and a supportive environment that enables them to articulate and achieve their wellness and lifestyle goals through actionable, bite-sized changes.
One of the tools I use to support my clients, and one of the ways I manage to keep my sanity, is by defining basic, self-care needs.
Self-care is all about nurturing and recharging yourself with the same kindness you provide to your loved ones. I may not complete a single one of my self-care needs in a day, but if a few days go by without including at least one, I feel my balance begin to tip. Here’s some insight into how I identified my self-care needs, so you can establish your own, and how to take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
The first step to defining your self-care needs is removing the guilt associated with taking care of yourself. Understanding your basic needs and showing yourself the love, respect and nurturing you deserve will allow you to sustain and find joy in caring for others. Removing guilt will help reduce your menopause anger attacks at yourself and others.
Do you have a case of “keeping up with the Joneses”? Like Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Skip to the beat of your own drum, by getting inquisitive with yourself:
Start designing your day around the answers to your personal Q&A and get your joy back.
I’ve learned that doing intense cardio workouts on a regular basis burns me out, even though I know numerous people who thrive on this type of exercise. I flourish when I have a mix of walking, yoga and strength training; these are a part of my weekly self-care basics. I’ve also found that focusing my social calendar on more intimate events that really allow me to connect with friends energizes me vs. attending large, crowded events. I tend to shy away from larger events, even though many of my friends enjoy them.
Sleeping 8-9 hours per night is high up there for me in my basic self-care needs. The amount of sleep individuals need to feel rested can vary; however, most adults need an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
Anyone looking to find balance in their life should get familiar with their sleep needs. Remove all tempting electronics from your bedroom, play around with different bedtimes, try waking up without an alarm clock a few days per week, until you find the good amount of sleep you thrive on.
Deep belly breathing, meditation, nature walks, taking a technology time-out, calling a friend or loved one, taking a hot bath, watching a funny YouTube video can all help us relax. Play around with some or all of these, and pay attention to other activities that help to lower your stress.
The basic self-care needs that help me break through stress include daily meditation and time in nature (even if it’s just a walk around the block); weekly reiki, yoga and 1:1 time with my partner.
Playing is not just for kids; identify activities that bring you true delight! Traveling and experiencing new cultures make me feel like a kid on Christmas morning, so my yearly self-care includes at least two trips to somewhere new! Because I also enjoy new experiences, I’ve included new exercise classes, a guided meditation class, new hikes, dance lessons, and a shark dive at my local aquarium.
Once you have identified your self-care needs and their frequency, write them down, then spend a few minutes visualizing what life will be like when infused with these items. Identify the feelings associated with the visualization – relaxed, peaceful, energized, loving, etc…
When life starts to feel unbalanced, review what you wrote down and ask yourself – “when was the last time I did something to show myself love and support my basic needs?” Then choose one and go do it.
Gennev note: Certain content in this blog was inspired by content developed by Integrative Nutrition Inc. Integrative Nutrition Inc. does not endorse the content of this blog.