Healthy Living as a Selfless Act

This blog post is part of my personal challenge to take one quote from this beginning of the year compilation and dive deeper into what the quote means to me! This would be a great challenge for not only someone diving into blogging, but it could also be great for a podcast challenge as well. It would also be great for student prompts as well!

Check out the quotes from the January 2022 post, and if you decide to write or talk about one of them in-depth, please feel free to tag me on Instagram or Twitter (or both) to share your learning!

On to this week’s post!

 


 

In the past several years, I have noticed that I have started to find success in my own health journey.  

I am nicer to others.

Many people closest to me have mentioned it as well. To be honest, when I hear that, I am a) grateful they noticed and b) embarrassed they noticed.  

This is not to say that I don’t have times where I haven’t been as good to others, especially those closest to me, as I should have been in the past, present, and probably future. 

But I have noticed the following…My patience has increased. I feel calmer. I seem to be more understanding of things that before I would struggle with,

And the one person who has noticed these things and benefitted from this kindness is me.

I seem to pull myself out of things that I used to beat myself up over. I have always had high expectations for myself, but I am more open to ups and downs than ever. 

Before, when I would “fall,” I would also seemingly have trouble getting back up because I was not as forgiving of myself as I was to others.

Now, I am quick to extend a hand of help to myself when I need it most.

Not always, but more often than I can remember in the past.

Ultimately, when I have been able to give attention to my own needs and forgive myself, I have been much better to others.  

This isn’t just a me thing either.  

In this article from the New York Times titled “Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish” health psychology, Kelly McGonigal shares a similar perspective.

 


 

If you’re someone who has always said you don’t have time for self-care, or that self-care seems selfish and self-indulgent, you’re not alone. “One of the things that you come across all the time is the idea that ‘I can’t invest in things that are good for me, because it’s taking away from my ability to be a good parent or do what I need to do at work,’” said Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. “Wouldn’t it be great if we learn to lean in to our interdependence, and that we can actually take some kind of joy in knowing that when I take care of myself, I often am also taking care of others?”

 


 

Although the article was written with a 2021 focus, the ideas can still be applied. I especially appreciate the emphasis on redefining self-care.

 


 

Start 2021 by redefining what self-care is. Self-care is not just making time to recharge your batteries with a nap, meditation or by taking a break from your family — although all those things count.

Self-care ultimately is about setting priorities, setting boundaries and finding purpose.

 


 

When I started to see progress in my own health journey, I would often visualize things like fitting better in clothes and being happier with what I would eventually see in the mirror. As much as I appreciate those physical changes (I would be lying if I said I didn’t), a considerable shift happened from what I could see on the outside to how I felt internally.

I started seeing myself having more energy for my kids, increasing opportunities to help others that wanted to better themselves, and just being happier with myself. People often notice changes on the outside, but my most significant shifts are easily with how I feel mentally and emotionally. 

Here are four things that have helped significantly for me improve my mental, emotional, and physical well-being:

 


 

 

  1. I am focused on eating in a way that leaves me feeling good after I am finished my meal. I have one bad meal a week, and I think that helps to remind me that sluggish feeling after eating is not something I want consistently!
  2. Plan out time every day to exercise in a way that makes me sweat! This is a non-negotiable meeting in my calendar, as it would be if I made the appointment with anyone else.
  3. Share gratitude daily for myself and others. One thing that I think is essential is that I never leave an authentic compliment for someone else unsaid. We do not talk enough about how often we regret the things that are unsaid.
  4. I am very conscious of my time on social media. I used to scroll and engage on social media mindlessly, and although I do love the occasional TikTok binge when I am feeling overwhelmed, I spend most of my time creating content and then moving away from the phone rather than focusing on “likes and mentions.”  I also turn off all notifications on my phone and only go to it when I feel I should; I never allow my phone to “pull” me towards it.

 


 

These are just a few things that have helped me in my journey.

(There are many more in-depth strategies in our collaborative “Recalibrating Your Health and Wellness” course!)

As I have said before, the focus on taking care of myself has helped me to better support others. 

Self-care ultimately has the opportunity to be a truly selfless act.

 

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