This week we have been focusing on self-care, the behaviours, habits and actions that help us avoid getting tired, sick, burnt out, stressed, overwhelmed, unhealthy and unhappy.
Today Janey Holliday, creator of the 28 day SELF-CARE bootcamp, talks about the reason exercise is at the core of self-care.
The self-care umbrella for me includes eating nourishing foods, thinking positive thoughts, being kind to myself, having good work-life-kids boundaries, resting when I need to, relaxing and having fun guilt-free, living a life that is authentic to me and my values, not worrying what others think and of course, creating the time for EXERCISE!
As a busy working single Mum of three (8 year old twin boys and a 1 year old girl), the ultimate act of self-care is to get my trainers on and escape from the daily grind! It keeps me sane, it energises me, it shatters any stress I have going on, gets me away from dirty nappies and homework and it makes me feel SO good (well afterwards at any rate!). It makes me a better coach, writer, speaker and manager of my team and without a doubt I am a happier and more relaxed mother too.
But many busy women, whether Mums or not, often allow other things to get in the way of exercising regularly. I’m always being told by my clients that ‘ I don’t have time’ or ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘I have to work’ etc. But when I get them to change their language and say ‘I’m just choosing not to prioritise exercise and my health right now’ there is a big shift in their self-motivation.
I struggle as the next woman to get going sometimes. I used to be a former exercise hater, so I know how it feels to dread your workout and make other things a priority and come up with lame excuses convincing yourself that you’ll do it tomorrow or next week or whenever. But over time I’ve taught myself to always find time to exercise, especially when I’m busy or tired and to focus on the benefits you get from it – in particular, how you feel afterwards.
The other key is to find exercise that you enjoy doing and something you can consistently do. For me personally, I blend long fast power walks in the countryside, with online workouts from the bootcamps I create at Making Things Easy, or Combat DVDs, swimming and teaching classes at Fit for a Princess- my female bootcamp company based on Wandsworth Common. Every week is different for me. I need that variety and flexibility.
Self-care is most definitely about listening to what your body and mind needs. If I need fresh air and to get out my house, I head to the hills. If I’m short of time, I’ll workout in the lounge with my children around me or before they get up. If I need a day off exercise or a nap instead, I happily do that too –guilt free!
And self-care is massively about looking at what works for you and what doesn’t. So with exercise, make sure you keep asking yourself whether what you’re doing is working for you. And what I mean by that is a) do you enjoy it b) are you doing it consistently c) is it making you fitter, stronger, leaner, happier etc.
I also know how it feels to have deadlines, needing to be available for my clients and financial pressures. I could work an extra hour in my day and yes that would have a significant impact on boosting my income and allowing me to do more, but this would be at a cost to my health and well being. And I don’t believe money and other people’s demands should ever be at the cost of our own health – whether physical or mental.
We are sitting on a female burn out, estrogen dominance, cortisol overload time bomb at the moment. And I believe it’s because of a lack of self-care. And it’s scary. Very scary.
I always ask my clients, if you don’t find the time for exercise and really looking after yourself, where will you be, what will you look like, what illnesses might you have if you carry on doing what you’re doing in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years etc. It is very hard to have a long, healthy, happy life with a body that is weak, toxic, and imbalanced.
I know that for many women not prioritizing exercise is not always a deliberate, conscious choice either, but because they get pulled from pillar to post with this that’s important and that that’s important.
But YOU are important, your health is important, your body functioning properly is important, your physical strength is important, your mental well being is important, endorphins are important, ME time is important, feeling good about yourself is important, your metabolism is important, having a healthy body weight is important, good sleep is important. And exercise gives women all of this and more.
Need help with more self-care? Want to create a stronger body? Fancy leading a life where you are in control of your choices and boundaries and priorities? Sign up to Janey’s 28 day SELF-CARE bootcamp that starts on 24th April (earlybird offer ends Friday 31st March) and be part of the self-care revolution!