Women are wired to carry the weight of the world. By nature, we are doers, organizers, and nurturers who can keep multiple plates spinning with work and family and still make time to volunteer for our favorite charity. People rely on us, and we deliver. This is all wonderful and certainly something to be proud of in many ways, except when we begin to cut corners with our self-care.
It’s typically not one big event, but a million little incidences that add up over the years that will eventually take us down. That missed doctor’s appointment, one hour less of sleep, eating on the run, no time for the gym or even a walk, and when was the last time you went on a vacation? One day you find yourself unable to get out of bed, or you lose your balance and fall, twisting an ankle or breaking a wrist, or worse yet, you are diagnosed with cancer.
You ask yourself, what happened?
Where did my health and wellness go?
When was the last time I even felt well?
When you are not well, you are disempowered.
When you are disempowered, you make bad decisions that end up costing you money, and you react emotionally, have accidents, stress eat, drink too much, and make mistakes.
Empowerment means taking care of YOU first.
It means getting the rest you need, eating right, and exercising regularly. It may seem difficult to change your daily habits, but consider the alternative – if you are not well, you cannot accomplish your goals and dreams, which in turn will have a ripple effect in your life, and the lives of those around you.
If you relate to this in any way and desire to change, I recommend you start by doing a self-assessment using the Seven Dimensions of Wellness, which are:
Sit down with a journal and a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of wine! Clear your mind — maybe do a quick meditation, take a few deep breaths, or do some stretching. Then take 30 minutes and write a few notes about each dimension. Start with whatever comes to mind. Are you taking care of your physical body? What emotions are you feeling on a daily basis? Is your work intellectually stimulating? Are you getting out socially? What are you doing to feed your spiritual life? What about your environment – your house, yard, and workspace? Does your occupation fulfill you?
Once you’ve done one pass to assess your current state of wellness, then try to create one action step for each dimension. You may find that some areas are okay, and others are more in need of your attention. Focus on the dimension that needs the most attention first, and prioritize from there. You will start to see how one action step in one dimension of wellness, may begin to affect several others. The idea is to stop, look and listen to your mind, your body and your spirit. We are often so busy, we don’t hear or see our souls crying out for attention.
Once you are mindful of where you stand in these seven dimensions, you will begin to notice more small ways you can make changes for the better.
Here are a few self-care tips that can get you started:
One very simple way that I have integrated health and wellness into my daily life is by using Essential Oils. I love drinking a tall glass of water first thing in the morning with a few drops of Lemon to gently detoxify my digestive system, using Lavender on the bottoms of my feet and on my pillow when I go to sleep every night, or diffusing Peppermint in my office to clear my mind and stimulate my brain. The simple act of stopping for a moment and inhaling a beautiful scent helps me to stay mindful.
Another fundamental way to stay in tune with our wellbeing is Meditation. I use the Insight Timer app. It has thousands of free meditations or you can use the timer. Start with five minutes and work your way up to 20 or 30 minutes a day. Studies show that meditation physically changes our brains, increasing the areas that govern learning, memory and emotional processing, and decreasing areas that dictate fear, anxiety and stress reactions. These changes can begin to show up in as little as 8 weeks of meditating 20 minutes a day. Proof that taking a few minutes each day to check in with our mind, body and spirit is empowering.
The bottom line is self-care is empowering. What one step are you going to take today to begin empowering your life?
Sheila Melody is a Health and Wellness Coach and Host of Sound Mind & Body Podcast.