Self care is something we very easily overlook. As a working mom, we tend to put everyone else first. The kids, the husband, even the pets get routine care before we stop and give ourselves a break sometimes. I’ve been there. I did twenty years working night shift, getting close to no sleep because my kids were young and I didn’t want to miss anything.
Our meals consisted of what was convenient over what was healthy. Frozen dinners, pizza, take out and boxed foods that are quick made up probably 80-90 percent of our meals. I did buy fresh veggies and fruit, but then was too tired to make a salad or peel them, so there they sat, in the fridge until garbage day where I would toss them, only to repeat the cycle the next week.
Get some sun – vitamin D
We’ve always been told that too much sun causes cancer and is bad. But we NEED sun. We NEED Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps you to sleep better. More on that below. It also helps to regulate our hormones. It helps build stronger bones and teeth. It helps to regulate insulin levels. Let me say that again in another way. It helps your body to become more adapt at turning sugar and glucose into energy instead of storing it as fat. It helps our lungs to take in more oxygen and breathe more effectively. It can improve your mood to make us feel happier. I know when I stand outside in the sunshine in the summer, my mood immediately improves. Now, think of the dark days of winter. Big difference, right? Vitamin D has anti cancer properties. Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are low in Vitamin D, me included. Be sure to get your Vitamin D levels checked when you do your yearly blood work panel.
Learn to say NO
Reducing stress is a huge part of taking better care of yourself. Self care is taking care of yourself. Stop being the person that everyone asks for a favor. Say NO once in a while. You don’t need to give a reason. Just say no. Can you make 400 cupcakes for our bake sale? No. That easy. If you enjoy baking, and really want to help, you can always say, yes, I can help. I’ll make 50. We need to stop taking on everything ourselves without asking for or admitting that we need help. Spend 10 minutes in the morning on the porch drinking your coffee. Hide for a half hour in your tub while reading. Find something that you enjoy doing and make time for it. If you do not enjoy it, find a way to reduce it, delegate it or eliminate it.. Don’t clutter up your house with nick nacks if you hate dusting and cleaning. Don’t plant fifty tomato plants if you don’t enjoy being outside or gardening. Someone should have told me “don’t get three dogs if you don’t like to vacuum!” haha
Get enough sleep
Your body is actually trying to heal and reset while you sleep. If you don’t give it enough time to do so, you probably won’t see much of a difference. Getting enough sleep helps you to be more focused and relaxed. You don’t get punchy then start snacking to wake yourself up. You are in a better mood. Reaching that deep sleep cycle helps your blood sugar to drop, and can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Lack of sleep can effect how your body responds to virus and bacteria. Getting a good night sleep is a win, all the way around! Turn off the tv and the phone, get blackout curtains if you must. Sound machines work great! Get into a good night time routine to help you relax before bedtime. This is something I still struggle with. Why am I still awake at 1am? No good comes from staying up that late. Just go to bed!
I preach about this ALL. THE. TIME. We need to drink water. Not soda. And not diet soda. Sorry, juice doesn’t count. Not coffee. Ok, maybe SOME coffee. But we need water!
Water is essential to kidney and other organ function. When skin is hydrated, there are less wrinkles! Our blood is more than 90 percent water. Blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body. Water cushions the brain, spinal cord and helps to lubricate the joints. Our bowels need water to work properly. Keep that flow going! Water helps regulate blood pressure. Lack of water in the blood makes blood thicker and increases pressure. Kidney stones! Do I need to say more? They are super painful. My son passed a few last year. Each time they flared up, he would increase his water intake and it would get better. My water intake goal has been the same since my chemo days. 100 oz of water. When I slack off, I can really see it in my hands. They get very dry. I also get dry mouth very easily when I slack off on my water intake.
We all have something to be grateful for. Even when it seems that things are bad, there’s something good you can focus on. In 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That sucks, right? Yes. Chemo sucks. Radiation sucks. The side effects…it all sucks. But, I met a group of fantastic women who went through treatment with me. They understood exactly what I was going through. We still found things to be happy for and laugh about.
Cancer also changed my life. After finishing treatment I was tired. Really tired. I took a year or two feeling sorry for myself and being angry. But, then I woke up. I realized that I am still here. Some of my girls are not. So, yes, it sucked that I had to go through what I went through, but I’m still alive. I need to live my life. So, that’s what I did. I changed my diet. I started walking here and there. Eventually, I joined a gym. I decided that my life was important too. So is yours.
Each morning I focus on three things that I am thankful or grateful for. Some days I have to dig deep to find them, but I find that the more I focus on good things, the better things get and the easier it is to see the good. There are apps to help remind you to be grateful. You can write it down each morning in a journal. Do what works best for you.
All the above tips sound so simple, and they really are. They are small changes that will have a big return if you apply them.
All of these self care tips really do help you to lose weight. You cannot lose weight if your cortisol levels are maxed out. If you are super stressed or running on no sleep it just leads to bad decisions and snacking to try to wake yourself up. Self care works. What is your favorite self care tip? I’d love to hear it!