By Barbara B. Appelbaum
As a woman, you typically play many roles in life: daughter, sister, mother, spouse, employee, boss, caregiver, nurturer, etc. You do everything for everyone; extraordinary demands are placed upon you at home and work repeatedly. Essentially, you are a superhero. Only one thing is lacking. Because you were taught to put everyone else first, self-care is something you forgo. It is considered selfish to think about you first and yet, in reality, it is necessary because what good are you to anyone else when you're completely exhausted and worn down?
According to the National Wellness Institute, "Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence." Wellness is not just the absence of disease. Wellness is about balance. When you are playing superhero to everyone in your life, it is easy to lose your own balance. Very few take time out for themselves amidst a life full of taking care of others. Sound familiar?
Wellness is the foundation of a successful life. How often do we hear "if you don't have your health nothing else matters?" Truer words were never spoken. Living a healthy and balanced life that includes proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and a spirituality practice will help you be your healthiest self.
Here are a few self-care tips to maintain a healthy balance:
- 1. Nourish your body by eating real, unprocessed food. If you can't pronounce what is on the food label, you probably should not eat it. Look for fresh items like fruit, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish (lean and hormone/antibiotic free), whole grains, etc. that will give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal energy.
- 2. Get enough sleep. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is when the body naturally repairs itself. Consult a physician if you have trouble sleeping on a regular basis.
- 3. Keep moving. Aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. Even if you don't make 10,000 steps a day, stay aware of how much you move. Many of us work at a desk and lead sedentary lifestyles. This can take years off your life expectancy. If you get up and move, even if for just 5 minutes every hour, you can add longevity and quality to your life.
- 4. Try meditation, yoga or some other spiritual ritual. Many problems are rooted in your thoughts. Calm your mind by focusing on your breath, quieting inner thoughts, and reducing your stress. A regular practice helps connect the body-mind-spirit for balanced wellness and a higher quality of life.
Achieving wellness begins and ends with self-care. It's about creating a lifestyle that nurtures your mind and body. Life is a journey, not a race to be won or lost. Try to avoid quick-fixes that often fail and instead choose to eat right for life, move every day, get adequate sleep, and develop a spiritual practice. Put You #1 on your To-Do list and live well.
Barbara B. Appelbaum, ACC, MBA, MAT
Motivational Speaker, Author, Wellness Coach & Consultant, Living with MS
As a motivational speaker, published author, certified wellness coach and consultant living with MS, Barbara is inspiring people to look and feel younger longer, even with a chronic illness, through mindful health and a meaningful life. With the publication of her first book, Live in Wellness Now, Barbara is becoming recognized as an expert in the growing field of an integrative approach to wellness.
Find her on the web at www.appelbaumwellness.com
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
Tammy Erickson, Olympic Medalist
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