Okay, let's be real. Is there anyone out there in the 21st century who isn't some level of busy?
Maybe so, but a lot of people have a lot on their agendas. Between family, work, friends, proper hygiene, sporting events, holidays, and more, it's hard to catch a break.
This can leave mental and physical health in the dust. It's important to prioritize yourself, but it's tough. I'm going to keep this short and sweet - here's some ways to practice self-care when you're busy.
prioritize a 15 minute lunch break
Decide how you want to spend these precious 15 minutes. Do you want to take time to mindfully eat your meal? You could also spend the time taking a quick walk, or even resting your eyes for a few moments. Decide what your body needs at this time, but take advantage of a small break in the middle of the day.
Prep some foods ahead of time.
No need to get crazy with this, but some simple prepping can make your life a whole lot easier. Pre-chop your veggies (like broccoli) and fruits (like pineapple). Make a batch of brown rice or quinoa. Pre-cook some ground turkey or chicken. These will not make elaborate meals, but you can throw something together pretty quickly if you have these components.
Don't like cooking? I happen to know a great meal prep company...
Enjoy your food.
Stress eating is pretty common, and it's normal to want a little comfort food here and there. My advice - ENJOY IT. If you're going to eat a bowl of ice cream, take the time to really enjoy it, and do NOT feel guilty about it.
Talk on the phone with a friend while you walk the dog.
Or some other "chore" like washing the dishes. Catch up with someone. Vent about the project that is pissing you off at work. See what's going on in their life. This is a good way to make the chore itself a little less ho-hum and keep in touch with people who live far away. Connection with others is good for the soul.
Find a sleep routine that works for you.
Make sleep a priority. If you feel best going to bed at 10:00 PM and waking up at 6:00 AM, set a bedtime alarm for 9 or 9:30 PM to signal it's time to wind down. NO, not "one more episode of Friends!" Get up, wash your face, brush your teeth, and get comfy.
Make exercise about feeling good, not looking good.
There's no easier way to make yourself feel miserable than putting yourself through a workout routine you hate. Identify how you want to feel after your exercise. If you need to step back from the high-intensity activity for awhile and spend your time enjoying a nice, easy walk in the great outdoors, honor that.
Play with your pet.
Animals are seriously such stress relievers. I'm a dog person for sure, because they seriously have unconditional love for you and carry such great, positive energy. Upset? Hug a dog. Happy? Hug a dog. Pissed? Hug a dog. You'll feel better.
Don't 100% neglect the things you love.
Take time to practice that Spanish app that you've been swearing you're going to start using for months. Don't stop creating art, writing, or singing. Work on the motorcycle you've been wanting to get back running. Go to happy hour with your girlfriends. Love nature? Take a hike on the weekend.
What is life without the little things? Even if you don't have AS MUCH time for them as you used to, don't get them up.
Take care of your skin.
Yes, this is a tip for women AND men. We all should be prioritizing our skin health... it doesn't have to be elaborate. Here are the basic steps we should all be taking:
Lastly, Start saying no.
This is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed! If you're already overwhelmed, pick the activity that is lowest priority in your life. If you could quit without royally screwing someone over, decide to bow out. If you are replaceable, then by all means, be replaced!
One of the most overwhelming aspects of the holiday season is the conflicting culture around food.
One minute you’re searching rich, decadent holiday desserts on Pinterest, and the next you’re hearing your sister tell you about the new diet she’s following and begging your mother not to make her famous pecan pie, because it’ll just be “too tempting.”
This ping-pong game of your perspective on food can lead to confusion, frustration, and feeling at a total loss on how to approach food during the holidays.
Unfortunately, we can't change the way other people talk about food. But we can pull ourselves out of that culture, helping us have a healthier relationship with food, and we can lead by example by showing others you're simply not interested. Here are a few steps you can take, starting now.
1. Neutralize food by not labeling foods as “good” or “bad”.
This is one of the most important things we can do. By simply describing food in morally-neutral terms, you take the power away from food. For example, claiming candy is "addicting" gives it power over you. Identifying that candy is "unsatisfying" (i.e. no matter how much you eat, you aren't satisfied) gives you power to choose something that is going to satisfy your body better.
2. No diet or calories talk, especially at the table.
Nothing makes a meal less enjoyable than nit-picking every morsel of food and attempting to micromanage your diet.
Contrary to what most think, knowing the number of calories in a food often does not encourage you to eat less. In fact, it can often have the opposite effect, called the "what the hell" effect-- in other words, "I already blew my diet today, may as well keep going!"
Here are a few ways you can neutralize the food talk:
3. Refuse to contribute any negative body talk, about yourself OR others.
The ability to beat themselves up in public is a skill many people, unfortunately, have mastered. Although it can feel uncomfortable at first, make a promise to yourself NOW that you will not talk disrespectfully about your body. Here are some examples of things NOT to say, and ways to replace the negative talk:
4. Master the art of gracefully changing the subject, and set clear boundaries.
Or really, who cares about grace! Just steer the conversation away from negative food/body talk as much as possible.
Let's say your grandfather pokes fun at how your mother is starting to “look a little chunky." He may not have malicious intent, but that doesn't mean it can't be hurtful. Be the person to jump in and change the subject, without giving any attention to the comment. For example, “Hey, speaking of mom, did you hear she has recently picked up photography?” or "By the way, Grandpa, I've been meaning to ask about the truck you've been working on. Is it running yet?"
Comments directed toward you can be very uncomfortable, but it's still important to stand up for yourself.
Let's say someone says to you, "Hey, I thought you were trying to eat healthy. Should you really be putting gravy on your turkey? There's a ton of fat in gravy."
Again, the person was probably not trying to be hurtful or rude, yet it can definitely come across that way. Being rude back usually isn't helpful (although it's tempting). Changing the subject can help, although sometimes setting boundaries can be better in situations like this. Here are some examples of statements that establish boundaries:
5. Make the conversation about the other person.
This is basic conversation advice, but it can especially be helpful if you're trying to steer the conversation away from food. It's a win-win: you have more control over the conversation, and people love talking about themselves!
Here are some great conversation starters to help you have more meaningful conversations with your family:
Remember-- food should not be a source of stress. If you are worried about how you're going to navigate the food culture, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and ask for support.
Have a happy 2019 Holiday Season!
You are at a party with all your family. You’re surrounded by good conversations, good laughs, and good food. You are enjoying yourself and you have eaten a good meal when suddenly the hostess brings out dessert—fresh brownies with ice cream. You have been trying to cut back on sugar, but it smells so good, and the mental battle begins…