As women we often find the list of priorities we place before our own self-care is long and daunting. Getting the laundry done seems to be more important than taking a 5 minute break to just sit and be, breathe, or look at an amazing sunset…
Perhaps if we were to re-frame that and look at taking better care of ourselves so that we can better care for others then we might just put in a little more effort.
The demands on our time may include work commitments, parenting demands (aka guilt if we take time to do something for ourselves), health conditions, our own expectations or our perception of the expectations of others, lack of time, energy or money, or maybe even a complete lack of motivation as a result of all of the above!
By incorporating a healthy, active lifestyle we can reduce a number of health risks and feel more energetic. To start, identify the barriers you feel may get in the way of taking better care of yourself – an active lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean structure that takes time. It could be as simple as walking the kids to school or sports training, enjoying a morning tea break with a girlfriend by walking and talking, dancing around the lounge room with a partner or kids (believe me, it’s liberating, even if the kids are not impressed by your killer 80’s disco dance moves!), parking the car at the rear of the car park instead of doing an extra lap to find a closer spot, use the stairs; we all know using the stairs is beneficial and yet I still observe people arriving and departing gyms via an escalator in the belief that ‘exercise’ doesn’t truly start until you enter the holy doors of the gym! Let’s look at it as movement, incidental, fun, free movement that we don’t have to take seriously.
We recently had a guest stay at Golden Door in August for two weeks. Pat’s goal was mostly centred around weight loss and over the years she had grown to despise the way her body looked and operated. By setting herself the goal of running 9km (never having been a runner but having a running husband!) in Sydney in September, she set out to slowly but surely increase her fitness level and tolerance of movement. Last weekend Pat ran the 9km fun run in 1hour 15 minutes (she tells me her husband ran the half marathon in 1hour 29minutes but quite obviously he didn’t exude the same style!). In the process a couple of things happened – she lost 8 of the 18kg weight loss goal, but more importantly she developed, if not a love, then at least an appreciation of the machine that is her body. There are still a few areas that Pat tells me she is somewhat uncomfortable with but the hatred is gone and the journey continues – I wonder what the next race will be?
By Mel Ingram, Wellness Consultant and Retreat Physio – Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia