The words self-care can be categorized under so many definitions and will suggest something different to each individual, but often I feel that we stop ourselves too short on what self-care really means. Often when prompted “what do you do for self-care”, responses will be meditation, reading, taking a bath, and so on. But why do we stop there? Why do we limit self-care only to these short periods of time instead of creating a lifestyle out of it?
After all, we are looking for LIFEtime fulfillment, a LIFEtime of happiness, a LIFEtime of freedom, health, and wellness, a LIFEtime of business successes, are we not? Do these things not insist upon you being the healthiest and most energized version of you that you can be?
Self-care is a daily process that, yes, includes these hours of ‘me time’, but it also includes, or should include, caring and nurturing your body, feeding it great food that leaves you feeling nourished, energized and body confident. Moving so that your body feels light, free, strong and mobile. Clearing the mind and forgiving old habits, past actions, and people and allowing room for your mind to be creative and productive. Keeping well-groomed and making yourself presentable, even if you think you ‘don’t care what you look like’– trust me this is something I highly relate to.
I spent years in this phase of thinking, I wasn’t unhappy, but I also wasn’t happy with the way my body looked and felt. Luckily for me at that point I was not running my own business otherwise I can only imagine the type of clients I would have had – none!
I reached a point where I was overweight, not enjoying the way I looked in clothes so therefore never wearing nice ones, showing up to everything looking exhausted, eating horribly and being physically sick because of it, not wanting to do any exercise (AT ALL), staying up till all hours, being shot down creatively at work, having no control over my finances, not being able to give my best to friends and family because I was tired all the time…the list goes on! Every single action or thought we have has a knock on effect. Something you’ve done, or not done, or feel about yourself plays on your mind, it makes you feel guilty or self-conscious and creates that sinking feeling in your stomach, heart racing, cringing, and shying away.
So often we look for quick fixes to these issues, but when things run as deep as this, they never stick and, unless you are ready to strap in for the long run and make some serious changes to your life, then you will keep looping through the same cycles over and over again. Old habits will come back because you are not rewiring your brain to think LIFE long. If you are looking to get in better shape, you don’t want to just look good for a week of holiday and then go back to feeling bad about yourself, right? You want to look and feel good ALL the time. Stop thinking short term, this is a long term goal, it always will be, getting healthy and keeping your body well maintained (which, once you have mastered will get you those body goals!) takes time, dedication and, like anything worth having in life, consistency.
Integrating these habits of self-care into your everyday schedule is easy – actually DOING them is the hard part. This is something that has taken me a very long time to master, and even then I still have days where I miss things, whether that’s due to me not being strong enough to tell my mind JUST GO, not quite making that first alarm, or just wanting some damn pizza! But for the most part, things stay consistent and that is where the secrets lie. I hear from clients and others I speak with a lot, ‘I am exercising loads, I’m eating healthy but nothing is changing’. Here’s why:
1) You are not actually eating as well as you think you are – you could be eating healthily but too much, healthy sometimes means high calories, the weekends are free for all, alcohol intake (even if you don’t drink ‘that much’), you are not eating enough, having other drinks that are high in sugar or calories, you have been eating great for less than a few months and expect that you should have made more progress, the list goes on. Now, I am definitely not saying, cut all these out right now, never eat them again, no carbs, no sugar, no alcohol - No way! But moderation and long term uniformity are key.
2) You are not exercising consistently either, a new client I met with had this issue; she was exercising 3-4 times per week, doing a mixture of weight training and cardio classes. But every time she came to do weights she never had a plan, she would have some exercises in her head and create a plan as she went along. Not only does that mean she was never allowing her body to make any progress in the exercises she was doing, but she was also spending a lot of her energy thinking, ok what will I do next, and therefore not focusing on her workouts and being as productive and hardworking as she could have been.
3) Moderate to high-stress levels – Being stressed is something most of us face on a daily basis. In fact, a survey conducted in 2018 found that 74% of Britain’s at some point in the last year felt “overwhelmed or unable to cope” with their stress*. This can lead to very serious physical, and mental health problems. On a side note, if you are feeling so strongly on this that you have suicidal thoughts please do reach out to a professional or organization to help you manage this.
I used to think I was never stressed, perhaps you feel this way as well however we all experience it in one form or another, but it is how you manage that stress that is important. If you are suffering from a lot of stress, then going to the gym and smashing your body may actually make things worse. When we exercise we are putting our body under stress. I had an online client who was struggling to make progress and was highly stressed at work, we changed her workouts for yoga 4x per week and the results started coming after a couple of months as her overall daily stress level was lowered so much and she was still moving and getting strong. Sometimes what we think is benefitting us is actually harming – do you take the time to totally zone your brain out of the day?
4) Being tired/lack of sleep – Everyone has different needs when it comes to sleep and yes, people do have different functionalities at different times of the day, so find what works for you but make sure you are getting those z’s because if you don’t it will make your exercise recovery slower, your mood lower, your attitude and care crappier and your appetite bigger.
5) Hydration: You’ve heard it a million times but water SO crucial as it makes up over half of our body and is needed for basic bodily functions, maintaining body temperature, removing waste in urine, clear skin, healthy kidneys, increased concentration levels, preventing headaches, reducing chances of urinary tract infections, dizziness, constipation, ulcers, etc.
6) You haven’t adjusted your mind to think you can reach that goal. Do you actually BELIEVE that you can achieve your goal? Whether your goals are to feel absolutely energized, look great naked, have a better sex life, be able to do 10 pull ups, keep up with the kids, feel confident when you present to people at work or to pitch your business, this is the toughest process of all. But I urge you to take the first steps because once you get started, you will uncover some things which will upset you, some which will surprise you, and some which will be so incredibly enlightening that you have no choice but to move forward with your life.
You can connect (and should ;) with Catherine via her Insta @catherine_wishart or reach out to her and benefit from her offer:
If you would like some help discovering your true strengths and how to put suitable nutrition, exercise programmes and progress tracking in place to help you achieve your body and mind goals and put the missing piece of the puzzle into place, then please get in touch with me and we can book a complimentary life changer call.