As I celebrate the 39th birthday of our oldest daughter, I reflect on the words of wisdom that a friend shared with me back in the 80s. I was a new Mom at the young age of 20 and was overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. So when my friend suggested that I take care of myself first, my husband next and then my newborn, I was confused. While I was mostly confident that my husband could fend for himself, what I knew for certain was that my baby needed me and that putting myself first seemed selfish.
While I struggled with the idea, I remember waking up one morning and deciding to commit to taking care of myself first for a full 24 hours. Those 24 hours turned into days that eventually formed my life path. I awoke early every morning, worked out, fueled properly, planned my day, spent quality time with my husband, then focused on my little one.
I quickly realized that self-care is self-love and not selfish. If I wasn’t healthy mind, body and soul, how could I be a good wife and a great Mom? I knew that one day that girl would grow up and create her own path and that my husband would be the one by my side as we grew old. Well, we’ve grown older, and our kids have started their own families. I reflect back on our younger years and I’m grateful to have learned and practiced that taking care of myself first allows me to be the best version of who I am.
But it’s not easy. So, where to start? Communicate your needs clearly. Learn to say no. Help people where you can, but don't violate your own boundaries. Say what you mean and mean what you say. No games in communication; be straight forward and honest about your feelings and boundaries.
Get some morning sun to set your circadian rhythm, start with 10 minutes every day. It's the best source of vitamin D. Stop using sunscreen laden with chemicals-if you do need sunscreen, choose a natural option.
Ditch the caffeine and drink more water. Many of us don't get enough, and water hydrates your body, naturally detoxes you, and can help balance your appetite – rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces of water.
Look at your diet. Read labels and research the big words. Start by cutting out the food dyes – there are natural options available. Reduce your sugar intake, especially addictive bleached white sugar that is completely void of nutrients and directly affecting your metabolic health. Try making some bone or vegetable broth and include onions, garlic, bay leaves, astragalus root, and mushrooms for immune support and flavor.
And the one that most of my clients struggle with is going to bed by 10:00PM. Get some quality sleep. The dishes will wait another day, your health matters.
Finally, embrace positive thinking as much as you can. We've all been through a lot in the last two years; it's time to move on and focus on you in 2022.
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