By Brenna Robinson
2014 is upon us and you have vowed to become a better mom, wife, or daughter… It’s an honorable resolution and one that many us of make for New Years and often throughout the year. We all wish for the perfect relationship with our loved ones but we often feel as if we have failed due to stress, fatigue, and emotions. The people we love and care about the most are often the ones who see us at our worst. Our relationships suffer when we continuallyput others first and forget to take care of ourselves.
That’s not to say we forget the idea of working on our relationships, but maybe we focus on a better relationship with ourselves. That’s right, let’s talk about taking care you. When you take care of your own needs, you will have more energy to deal with many tasks and issues that pop up in your life and your relationships will benefit from doing so.
Many people believe that to be healthy you need to have good nutrition and exercise, but it is more than that, it is taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Medical practitioners are beginning to realize health is more than your physical body and turning to the idea of caring for the whole person. Researchers are finding that positive lifestyle changes such as exercising, stress relief, and good nutrition have a direct impact on good health. According to the Bravewell Collaborative “Innovative research by Dean Ornish, MD, and his colleagues found that a program integrating mind-body techniques such as yoga, meditation, stress management, and group support with diet and exercise reversed coronary artery disease” (2012).
Take the time to do one thing from each of these areas every day. You do not have to spend a lot of time, it can be something very simple. For example, do something for yourself that benefits you emotionally. This could be taking 5 minutes to call a friend before picking up the kids at daycare or taking a few moments in your room by yourself before tackling the evening list of to-dos. We often rush into the next task and end up frustrated. Taking a few minutes for yourself, calms you and enables you to put things in perspective.
Even though researchers are finding that emotional and spiritual health are important, don’t forget about your physical self. The Mayo clinic reports that exercise boosts confidence and improves your mood (2011). The most difficult parts of exercising are finding time and sticking with it. Take walks at lunch with co-workers or work in short bouts of exercise a few times a day, such as doing crunches during commercials while watching your favorite show. Wake up 20 to 30 minutes early and exercise before your day begins. This can be difficult, but ensures that you won’t skip out on your commitment later in the day. Make sure you find an activity that you enjoy so that you will be more likely to continue your routine.
Spirituality plays an important role in your well-being. It helps connect us to others, gives our lives purpose, decreases stress, and helps create better relationships (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2013). Spirituality is different for every person, but it should be something that is meaningful to you. This can be meditating for 5 minutes after you wake up in the morning, reading a morning devotion while you have your coffee or attending a religious service.
Taking care of yourself does not have to be an expensive spa day. Your family will thank the new you and your New Year’s resolution will be a success. Who knows, your family may even say thank you by giving you the day off…. at the spa perhaps (wink).
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2013, 07 23). Spirituality and stress relief: Make the connection. Retrieved 01 0, 2013, from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/stress-relief/art-20044464
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, 07 23). Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. Retrieved 01 08, 2014, from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/exercise/art-20048389
The Bravewell Collaborative. (2012). The Mind-Body Connection. Retrieved from The Bravewell Collaborative: http://www.bravewell.org/integrative_medicine/philosophical_foundation/mind_and_body_connection/