Self-care, Nadia Style

Self care, or self love, is the voluntary practice of maintaining your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Practicing self care regularly not only keeps your mind and body in great shape, it also enables you to better care for others.

When you’re feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, disorganized, chaotic, or stretched to your limits, self care helps you gain focus and clarity, and feel calm and relaxed. But it’s not just for when you’re stressed; self care should be a regular part of your weekly routine. It also brings us joy, a more positive outlook, and the ability to better deal with conflict, anxiety and difficult situations.

There’s no official self care strategy, or right or wrong way of doing it. It’s about finding what works for you and making the time to do what you enjoy most. Whether you dedicate ten minutes of your day or a whole hour, it still counts. Try some of these self care activities and see which ones work best for you.

Meditation

Meditation

Meditation is a fantastic self care activity which helps bring stress levels way down. You can do just about anywhere, and it’s free! Find yourself a quiet(ish) corner, sit on the floor or on a chair, and close your eyes. You can pop in some headphones and tune out with calming music, or use guided meditation podcasts like this one from Sip and Om. You’ll learn new breathing techniques from the guided meditations that you can use whenever you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious. It’ll take some time to get good at clearing your mind, but keep it up and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

 Rest

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night (that’s 8-10 hours for most people), and don’t feel guilty about having a sleep in or a nap when you need it. Recharge your body, so it’s prepared for whatever life throws at it. Resting also includes disconnecting yourself from the TV and social media. Give your mind a break from all the distractions vying for your attention.

Diet and Exercise

We all know a healthy diet and regular exercise keeps us physically in shape, but our mental and emotional well-being relies on it too. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever, while a healthy diet keeps our brain sharp and our immune system strong (among other benefits of course!). Try keeping a diet and exercise journal for a week to see what you’re putting into your body, and how you’re looking after it physically. See where you can improve and set yourself realistic goals for the following week/s. There are literally gazillions of online templates, apps, and even actual “book books” you can use – even a plain lined notebook will do the trick!

Reading

Do you have a pile of unread or partially read books lying around? Reading is a perfect self care activity. It distracts your brain, relieves stress, and improves your memory and focus. If you need some motivation, join a reading club or start your own! Can’t commit to an entire book? Grab an interesting magazine or newspaper. Don’t want to read? Jot down your thoughts in a journal instead.

Colouring

Colouring is huge right now, and you can pick up colouring books at just about any store. A great anxiety-buster, colouring polishes your fine motor skills and concentration. Leave a book in your drawer at work and take colouring breaks throughout the day – even 5 or 10 minutes. Or colour while you’re on the phone. I have The Secret Garden colouring book, and love it! If colouring is not your thing, puzzle books are just as effective.

Pamper Yourself

Get a relaxing massage, take a long soothing bath, start a new hobby (how about cooking or painting classes?), start a garden, go on a trip, take the afternoon off. Set time aside to just do ‘you’.

How to practice more self care

Practicing more self care is about making it a priority in your week and committing to it. We’re all ‘busy’, but we have just as many hours in the day as everyone else.

So either set aside the same time each day (for example a 15 minute meditation as soon as you get up each morning), or book an hour of self care activity time in your calendar–just like you’d book any other important meeting–and go to the gym or get a massage. Saying ‘no’ is another way of practicing self care by freeing up some of your time to focus on yourself.To do list

You’ll soon start seeing the positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional well-being and realize for yourself why it’s so important to spend more time on you.

Now it’s your turn – what do you do for self-care? Are you accountable? Join me in my February 2016 challenge which will be to consciously practice self-care at least once a week.

The Circular Effect of the Lack of Weight Loss

April 15, 2013
Current Weight: 161lbs
Goal: Something, anything!
C25K Progress: Week 6(ish)(again)(I suck)

So, I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with running, working out and weight loss. A good swift kick in the butt is what I need. See, I get frustrated with the unfairness of it all.

If I took a snapshot of what I used to do, eat, and drink 2 years ago and compared it to today, there is no question that there is a bit of a mystery here when it comes to my scale. My all accounts, I should be wayyyyyy lighter. I eat healthy, Derek continually drives me through grueling workouts, I’m generally less stressed than I used to be, and I have cut out gluten, pop, alcohol and restaurant food. What else is there? The theories abound: I eat too much, I eat too little, I exercise wrong, not enough, too much, I eat too early, too late, too much fruit, not enough vegetables, wine is good, wine is bad, Calgon take me away.

The Circular Effect of the Lack of Weight Loss results in me participating in activities that do not promote weight loss. My self-proclaimed rationale is that if I’m not losing weight anyway, why don’t I just eat the {insert crappy food here}.

A few nights ago I was experiencing my occasional bout of insomnia, and it hit me: Isagenix. I was on Isagenix about 14 months ago, and it worked. I had lost about 18lbs (since recovered, safe and sound, and right back on my ass and gut where it used to be). So why am I fretting over whatever I put in my mouth if I have a solution in my cupboard? I decided to start the very next day.

And I did.

And it worked*.

I lost 4lbs last week! 🙂

* Side note – on Saturday I was scheduled to have a cleanse day. However, I forgot I had to babysit for Rhonda and Steve, and subsequently forgot to bring my cleanse juice to their house. So, instead I ordered a pizza. And then I ate the pizza. We’ll try again next week, stay tuned.

Wahoo!

January 30, 2013
166.5lbs*
C25K Progress: Completed week 4, day 1 – Run 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes (yikes), walk 2.5 minutes, repeat.
Current Goal: try not to keep biting of more than I can chew, in every sense.

I thought week 3 was gonna be a doozy – welcome week 4 and all your glory. For the first time in the C25K program, the running time is longer than the walking time. I suppose I had subconsiously supressed this fact, because it should come as no suprise. It’s a “running” program, not a “walk just as much as you run” program. I mentally procrastinated this day, then tried the reverse “psych” up. You know, the running dialouge we all have in our heads:

“Nadia, you can nail this!”
“Nadia, you always think the next phase will be tough, and you are always wrong, get on the treadmill!”
“Nadia, put the second ginger cookie down. Like, right now.”

It was tough. I’ve heard chatter of people repeating weeks during the program, and going at a slower pace. I figure if there is going to be a week to repeat, it’s week 4. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

I have to be fair to myself. Since my last post, I have flown back across the country, unpacked, re-entered mommy-hood and tackled the mountain of work that was waiting for me – all while keeping up the running.

And let’s not forget the Derek factor. Derek has been my trainer since November, and enjoys putting me through his “metabolic” workouts consisting of hour long interval training sessions of excercises that I thank God I can’t see myself doing, because I assume I look ridiculous. I did my first one on Monday since getting back and barely made it into the shower today.

Derek was pleased to see that I introduced a new member to my workout family: Wahoo. Wahoo is my heart rate monitor. Wahoo syncs up to Digifit and gives Derek nifty little charts and stats on what the ticker is doing during the workout.

So little, yet so smart!

So little, yet so smart!

My days of faking hard workouts is long over. Derek busted me on the rower “relaxing” because Wahoo reported a serious drop in heart rate. *smacks forehead*

See right in the middle where my heart rate dips into the green zone? That was rower.  Busted.

See right in the middle where my heart rate dips into the green zone? That was rower. Busted.

Yesterday I blurted out “I’m doing a Tough Mudder in 2014!” and immediately clapped my hand over my mouth. Did I actually say that *out loud?* What was I thinking? Now I’m stuck. Derek’s eyes lit up like he’d just won the lottery. I really have to stop saying stupid things. In reality though, I think if I work really hard, I might be able to pull it off…

*Seriously? One melt-in-your-mouth-gluten-free-ginger cookie and I might as well have just taped it to my ass. This is crap, and totally not fair (pouty face).

It’s not a fashion show….thank goodness.

January 19, 2013
165lbs*
C25K Progress: Week 3, Day 1 – Run 1.5 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes then run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes, repeat twice, 5 minute warmup and cooldown – 28 minutes
Current goal: Get through this week of the C25K program because it looks like a doozy.

So, yesterday sucked.

First thing that happened is that I checked Appy**, and discovered that I only had one day of week 2 left, not 2. “Wahoo! I’m on the last day of this week!” I exclaimed out loud.

Then came the internal struggle – I *could* get away with not going for the run, finishing week 2 on Saturday…procrastination at it’s finest. Brent even called me on this. But, I didn’t ditch. I went to the gym and ran the 31 minutes. Because he was hungry, and wanted to get to Tapa Bar before the wait time got excessive, I hopped of the treadmill and did my cool down via the walk back to the apartment.

By the time I got to the door I had burning shinsplints and a noticeable limp in my right knee. And there might have been some swearing. And some crying. I solved this problem with an ice pack and three martinis. (Side note – worked like a charm!)

So this morning, I’m looking at Appy and wondering just how I’m going to get through week three. And Brent says “Ya know, it might be your shoes.” Gasp! I went into complete shock and denial. There was, in my mind, *no possible way* that my 4 (almost 5) year old Nike Zoom’s were letting me down. I reluctantly stomped off to the Running Room after breakfast.

The salesgirl there was totally wonderful. After asking if I needed help, Brent informed her that I was 1) drastically in need of new shoes for the running program I just started and 2) in denial of this fact. I did admit that my knees hurt, and handed her my runners.

“No kidding your knees hurt!” was the response.

I tried on nearly every pair of shoes on the wall, all of which, I might add, were some ridiculous colour. I put each pair on, and took a little sprint around the store. The best by a land slide were the Brooks Pure Connect. The only colour available? – NEON GREEN.

IMG_0657

After donating my Nikes, I went to the gym and knocked off Appy’s first day of week 3. 5 minute warm up, 90 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking, then 3 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking, then repeated the sequence again. Cooled off, stretched and did an ab workout while I waited for Brent to finish. My legs feel like a dream. And now, I can be spotted a mile away with my bright green shoes.

* – OH YA BABY! Looks like this is working. (does little hip/butt wiggle, please imagine it as sexily as possible)
Some toes to scale

** – On a run the other day, I decided to name my C25K app. She has such a nice, motivational voice, and I thought she was worthy of a name, so I have settled on Appy.

Run, run, run!

January 12, 2013
170lbs
C25K Progress: Week 2, Day 1 – Run 1.5 minutes, walk 2 minutes, 5 minute warmup and cooldown – 31 minutes
Current Goal: Complete the C25K program.

It’s a strict coincidence that I started a running program in January. Really, this isn’t a New Year’s resolution or some hokey game or competition…truthfully, I have no hot clue why I decided to start running *now*.

It’s been rattling around in my brain for the past…oh…10 years. There are runners all around me. My aunts have been avid runners since I can remember. Serrah picked up running a few years back, Tamara last year and Anita most recently. All of them report the addiction they feel….and I just don’t see it yet. But, I started, so now I’m in.

I find myself saying funny things now in conversation, like “Oh, I ran today, and I don’t have a run today now until Tuesday.” The recipient of this information gives me a knowing nod of understanding, as if that is fact and written in stone. I also note that not much trumps a run. So, for example, if I were to say “Oh sure, I can do that right after my run” I don’t get any kickback. It’s like the elusive run is the 31 minutes of completely sacred Nadia time, and nothing can stop it.

I haven’t gotten to the “addicted” point yet, that’s for darn sure. I could sure do without the searing shinsplints, the swollen right knee, and the lovely sticky film of sweat that appears without my consent or control. (I.hate.sweating)

But there is something completely invaluable about being on the treadmill – and it’s that I get to be there completely by myself. No one can run for me, and there is this unspoken circumfrence of silence around me as I run. It’s me and my headphones. And my cute little C25K app. I got it for free too! It maps out exactly what I have to do each day (structure), how many minutes I have to run for, balanced by a corresponding period of walking (symmetry), and the little happy voice that tells me when I am halfway and when there is one minute left (support!)

photo

In fairness to my body as well, I have never actually given it the benefit of regular running. Maybe, just maybe, this is what will get be down to that wonderific 130lb weight which seems so far out of reach right now….stay with me, reader!