Thursday, February 9, 2017

Stress Free Zone: Self-Care 101

I'm all about taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy to fill yourself up. Making time for yourself on a regular basis to do things you enjoy. Even if it's only 5 to 10 minutes out of the day- you'll feel less stressed and happier. I learned the importance of this during grad school and my time as a school counselor.

In counselor lingo, we call this self-care. Basically, the idea behind a "self-care practice" is to spend regular time (whatever length and schedule fits in your daily life) doing something that you enjoy that relaxes and refuels your mind and body.

My favorite assignment in grad school was to do something each day for self-care for a whole week. So when I was given this assignment, I initially thought this is such a joke...I'm really being told to do this in a graduate level course?! So the joke was on me. Believe it or not, I really struggled with this assignment. But it taught me an important lesson.

My schedule gets filled with so many different things, work, kids, household chores, and the list goes on. If I do not plan on "me time," it does not happen. I need the balance in my life. I need to refuel myself so that I can be the best version of me for others around me. For example, if you are so stressed and fixated about something going on at work, you can't be fully present for your kids. Many people find that exercising helps release the stress, which also decreases the feeling of being burnt out with your job.

I really believe we don't take seriously enough taking care of ourselves. We also can't make "not having enough time" an excuse. I recently heard some statistics that we spend an average of 90 minutes a day on our phone, which adds up to 23 days in a year. That's a lot of time wasted.

Still confused why you need some self-care in your life? Check out this TED Talk. It is such a good reminder of why our emotional health and well-being matters.

So here's how I've been practicing self-care lately:

So given that I teach Pilates, it's probably no surprise that I like do Pilates, but I enjoy Yoga as well. I would also love to start taking dance classes again.

My current weekly exercise routine looks a little like this:

  • 2x a week- Pilates Reformer Workouts (I may use other equipment, but mainly focus on the Reformer,)
  • 1x a week- Pilates Wunda Chair and Cadillac Workout, 
  • 1-2x a week- Pilates Mat Workout with Standing Arm Series (using small weights),
  • 2x a week- Yoga Class,
  • And one day of rest thrown in the mix.

I love to read. Some weeks it happens more than others. But I'm a book worm and if I find a book I enjoy, I don't want to put it down. I find reading is a nice escape and I love having a quiet moment for myself to read. Lately, I just finished reading The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth.

The past few months I've picked up more on baking. I definitely have a sweet tooth, but I hate how much sugar and processed ingredients are in store-bought desserts and pastries.  So, I've been experimenting with a lot of recipes using healthier substitutions like bananas, yogurt, coconut oil, whole wheat flour and honey.
I seriously make these muffins once a week and eat them for a snack, breakfast, or as a dessert. The recipe is here. This week, along with a few plain banana muffins, I made a few muffins with blueberries, strawberries, and organic dark chocolate chips.

So to wrap it up...Here's some easy steps to take to begin practicing self-care.
Step One:  Choose one activity you enjoy.
Step Two:  Do it for at least 10 minutes a day for a week.
Step Three:  Notice the difference it makes in your day.
Step Four:  Work on increasing the amount of time you practice self-care.


  1. I needed to read this! I feel so burnt out with work sometimes and self-care definitely gets pushed to the back burner! I am going to the library this afternoon and have big plans to relax and read a lot this weekend!

  2. Totally understand. It's so hard to make time for ourselves, but so needed. I love going to the library also. Enjoy! Hope you have a relaxing weekend!