1: Fuel Your Body (Physical, Practical & Professional Self Care)
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
WELCOME TO WEEK ONE!!
We’re starting off ‘easy‘. I say that because the issues you may encounter and work on fixing this week tend to be a little easier to spot. As you can literally spot them. A cluttered shelf. Eyebrows or nose hair that needs attention. A full inbox. your phone ringing because the credit card company is calling, again. See what I mean? Let’s Jump In.
The first limb of the Wellness Tree that we’re going to cover is BODY. Now, why have I chosen body first? Is it the most important? Does it contain the most important branches of self care and wellness? The answer to both of those questions, is no. There is not one part of wellness awareness more important then another. It’s possible that to YOU, one category might be in need of a little more attention then others. But overall, our wellness is connected together in a way that makes it impossible to choose which area gets the crown.
We start with your body because it is your tool- your vehicle through life. It gets you from place to place. It houses your mind and your soul. Without your body, you would not physically exist. And because of this, we must be gentle with and honour our bodies. We must give our eyes beautiful things to look at, our ears beautiful things to hear. We must nourish and fuel our bodies in healthy ways so that it may continue homing our essence. And we must also indulge; feel pleasure and freedom- whatever that might mean for you personally.
Practical care can often be looked at, as the most boring branch of the tree that is your wellness guide. After all, not many of us enjoy grocery shopping. But we sure do like eating. I admit I am one of those types of people that loves writing lists and crossing items off said list. So for me, practical self care is the bomb! It’s also one of the easiest, as all tasks included need to be done anyway. Decluttering, organizing, running errands, completing chores and the like, instantly boost my confidence because I can see and feel the productivitY instantly.
A hip and cool way to explain practical wellness is with the term GYST. The acronym stands for “getting your shit together”. Take some time, sit with yourself and decide what is weighing on you. Look around your home, your space and see what needs to be done.
Laundry need doing? Groceries need buying? Bathroom need to be cleaned? How about those floors, could they use a sweep or a vacuum?
What about your back account? Any bills need to be paid, or have you put a few dollars into savings? Do you have a budget? Finances are a huge stressor for most people. Whether you have debt collectors calling you, or not- unless you just won the lottery chances are you have some kind of money drama weighing you down. I can tell you right now, that ain’t good for your wellness.
When was the last time you went to the doctor for a physical? Or the dentist for a cleaning and a check up?
There’s a saying; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This tells us that being proactive with our actions is our greatest weapon against disease and disaster. For when our heart and mind are at ease, so is our body.
Turn up the music, make that to do list and get your shit together! Take care of your business!
But wait...how is this wellness? Aren’t I just telling you to do regular old everyday tasks?
This doesn’t feel special. Perhaps I’m even telling you to tackle the very things that are stressing you out. After all I know first hand how disheartening it can be to have just finished the dishes to find that my husband had a plate or cup tucked out of sight. Or to have the toys and books all put away, only to come back into the room a moment later and find that my daughter has taken great, personal offence to perfectly stacked books and promptly pulled them back on the floor.
I’ve lost count of the number of times in a day that I want to throw my hands up in the air and scream; “What’s the damn point?” After all, these tasks can quickly become repetitive, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing. (Again, and again.)
To help you understand why practical wellness is so important, I’m going to give you a personal, real life example and I’m going to use laundry to do it.
If I do not wash my pillowcases often enough, my acne gets incredibly bad. There are other factors to my skin struggles but this is a big one. As a result of my acne, my confidence goes down, which spikes my anxiety which effects my mood, which then causes me to have less patience, a shorter temper causing my relationships to suffer. My energy is also usually low at this point. So then I don’t feel like cooking or eating healthy or working out. Or writing or doing any of the things that bring me joy. And then it becomes quite easy for the depression to set in. When I could have just washed my damn pillowcases. See what I mean?
We need to care for ourselves, and a good place to start is by giving time to helping our environment. By caring for our home and environment - the space we relax and recharge in - we are showing it honour and gratitude. I like the term ‘Home Blessing.’ We can easily forget and take for granted having a solid roof over our heads, strong walls around us and a safe door with a lock. It’s important to honour our homes by keeping it clean, caring for it so it can continue to care for you. To mix it up let’s try a ’Life Blessing’ too.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if my environment is a mess, so is my mind. And no amount of pampering or giggling with my girlfriends can erase the stress I feel surrounded by cluttered surfaces and tripping over shoes. Imagine coming home from the spa or a relaxing weekend away, and walking through the front door. Would your space in its current condition welcome you? Or would it stress you once again?
If we’re going to be working on every aspect of our lives, we should be setting ourselves up for success each morning we wake up. Like putting our clothes out the night before and preparing a lunch for work so that you do not have as much to do in the morning.
You wouldn’t get out of a long, hot shower and put dirty underwear back on right? So, we better do our laundry and make sure there are clean clothes to wear. This is why we are starting with Practical Care. Get those panties clean- both literal and metaphorical.
(Apologies to my husband if he reads this. He hates the word panties. Hehe.)
We’re not striving for perfection here. Not only does it not exist, but often going after it can cause us to feel worse. Instead we’re aiming for a little more progress today then yesterday.
Now we’re talking about your actual body. Your muscles, your organs, your skin and bones. Are you caring for yourself? Is your body serving you? Helping you get to the places you want to go, and do the things you want to do, while you are there?
When I think of Physical Wellness, I think of the Sims video game. If you’ve ever played the game, then perhaps you know what I mean. If you haven’t, I will give you the lowdown. You have a character you design (usually to look like the ideal version of your self) and you role play day to day life. Cooking, skill building, nurturing relationships, sleeping, going to the bathroom, taking out the garbage, etc. It also goes into career, family, owning pets and gardening.
The goal of the game is basically to keep your little simulated self alive until old age. There are status bars on the side to show you the level of your Sim’s needs. Hunger, bladder, exhaustion, fun, social and hygiene. That is if you can make it past the house building and interior design portion and actually get into the game play.
When I explain it all out like that, it sounds rather foolish right? Like...why not just live your own real life? Take out your own real trash? Play real life chess? Go to the actual gym, or learn to play guitar in reality. I see it as a grown up version of a dollhouse. A place where you can go and look your ideal way, in your dream home and achieve high status in any career of your choosing. It’s annoyingly addictive and before becoming a mama I definitely wasted a few too many precious Saturday’s playing it... and Sundays.
To keep your Sim happy, you must feed them, bathe them, keep their home clean and ensure their basic needs are met. Or rather, command and micro manage them into doing these things for themselves. Sounds a bit like having a pet or a plant. We humans are basically just plants. We need nutrition, hydration, sunlight and we’re mostly good to go, right? When we’re feeling out of sorts, a good place to start is with our physical self.
Where are your status bars at?
When did you last shower?
Have a drink of water?
Or eat real food?
Are you craving any physical intimacy?
For some of us, self harm comes in terms of purposefully avoiding physical self-care. When I was severely depressed, following a toxic relationship and breakup quite a few years ago, I would often avoid eating food and drinking water. Not to the point where I had an eating disorder, but to the degree where my body was low on energy. When I did make choices regarding drink and food, they were not normally the healthy options.
This is why breast-feeding my daughter has become a form of self care for me. Having to keep my body hydrated and nourished in order to feed her with it, forces me to make sure that I am getting the adequate amount of water and calories per day to keep her healthy. Now that we’re a year past her birth, my goal is to heighten my level of health and fitness. Not to look nice in pictures, but because I want to set a good example. I want to live a long life and do things I couldn’t do if I was unhealthy physically.
An aspect of physical wellness that should probably have its own category is sexual health. This includes practicing safe sex if wishing to avoid pregnancy. Also STD testing, and regular check ups. It is being honest with your partner about your limits, your desires and what brings you pleasure. It is being involved in a mutually trusting relationship. It is knowing your body and loving it the way it deserves.
Much like the Sims, we also have status bars too. Only they are invisible, so we can’t always tell what exactly is wrong with us when we are feeling off. When we know that we are lacking in the physical wellness department, but we can’t pinpoint exactly where our low levels are, I believe it’s important to just start from the beginning and care for all aspects of physical care. After all, a little bit of extra love never hurt no ‘body’.
Let’s get out of the game now. Out of our mind, and take care of our bodies the way we would if we were playing Sims. The way our mama’s wish we would.
Math is not my strong suit, but let’s talk numbers for a minute. There are 7 days in a week. That equals 168 hours total. Of those hours you spend approximately 8 of those asleep in each 24 hour period, and roughly 8 at work. After work (not including commute) and sleep, that leaves you with a total 56 hours a week to do everything else. Cleaning, chores, errands, spending time with friends and family, personal downtime, general life management, etc. And...no wonder wellness falls so low on everyone’s to do lists, if it’s even there at all.
Try to think of your minutes and hours in the day like money in your bank account. When that coveted payday comes around, do you rush off to the mall and blow it all before you’ve paid your bills? Before you’ve tossed any in savings? Or, do you do what needs to be done first? I sure hope we’re all prioritizing our money, and our time....right? Let’s say you have $24 to spend today.
How are you spending it? Are you still handing out change at work; a few minutes here or there, when you should be sitting at the dinner table with your family? There’s got to be a better way to spend our time. And there’s no one size fits all answer for you because each person, and every family is so different. So how can we implement change?
Well, we can’t stop working. We need money to live. And there’s not much we can do while we’re sleeping, is there? Sleep is important and we need it. In fact, it’s a form of caring for our minds and bodies. So if you’re getting enough of that, good job! You’re one step closer to wellness then a lot of us. And how about when we are at work? Whether that’s working from home or in a traditional 9-5 type setting. When we are in the professional mindset, we must remain there, right? We can’t be fielding calls or emails from clients while getting a manicure or applying a face mask.
Well...I suppose you could, if you really wanted to depending on your chosen career path. But I don’t want to encourage multitasking. Especially not when it comes to mixing wellness and work. Despite what our parents generation believes, multitasking in general is not the best idea. It can lead to distraction, forgetfulness and lowered productivity.
It’s no secret that work can be one of the most stressful parts of our lives. You’re lucky if you love your job and it’s not just a paycheque to you. But even if you are rocking your dream job, there are bound to be some aspects of it that drive you crazy. We’re submerged in it a good chunk of our days. This is why Professional Wellness can’t be ignored.
There are two sides to care when it comes to work life. Let’s call them the ‘on duty’ side and the ‘off duty’ side. Whether you work in an office, in retail or you work from home- you need to know when you are ON and when you are OFF. More importantly, you NEED to flip that switch to avoid burnout. No matter where you are, you are goal is to become intentional with your time and space.
Otherwise lines become blurred, and are more easily crossed. Let’s work at leaving work at work, and how best to set ourselves up for that success before the end of the day.
Now that you know this weeks topics, head over to the Facebook Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/507109346782318/?ref=share (it’s not too late to join) - and download this weeks worksheets and see what everyone is saying. Can’t wait to get started.