Anyone who knows me knows that FOOD, SLEEP, and EXERCISE are important to me. And not just because they are the core components of a healthy ME. I’m a bit of a food snob! I’ve always needed a bit more sleep than the average person. And I LOVE to exercise. My process might look a little different from yours, but when we discuss our routines together, we help each other on our journey to physical well-being.
Let’s start with EAT:
I really love food! Trying new things and devouring old favorites…what’s not to love about that? I never really paid attention to what I was putting in my body. If it tasted good, I ate it! If I loved it, I ate even more of it.
However, as hard as I have tried, I cannot out-exercise a poor diet. I know this because I have tried it over and over and it doesn’t work!
About 5 months ago, I moved nutrition up on my list of priorities because I had moved exercise down a few. As a middle-aged woman with a lot of stress in her life, I knew I needed to start watching what I was eating a little more closely if I was going to be taking a break from daily exercise. I hired an amazing nutritionist to help me figure out my eating habits and how to correct them. I know that isn’t always feasible for some, but it was worth it!
She helped me understand my habits weren’t always healthy. I used to be a skip breakfast kind of gal. Lunch usually included french fries and a candy bar for dessert. That is if I remembered to eat. I’d skip supper a lot because I was always so busy. I usually had ice cream at the end of the day. Who doesn’t love ice cream at the end of the day?
I will admit that I still have ice cream almost every day, but I have three balanced meals every single day. So, the ice cream is my treat for being good to myself, not a meal replacement.
Proper nutrition fuels our body so we can stay healthy. It gives us the energy we need to get through our day. Just like your vehicle motor, you need to use the right kind of fuel. This is one area I never thought that I would be able to get “under control”. I’m so glad I did because now that I eat properly, I can sleep properly, exercise well and still have the energy I need to live my life to the fullest!
SLEEP for physical well-being:
Maintaining healthy sleep habits can be just as much of a rollercoaster as diet! Some nights we sleep great and others not so much. For some, it is a constant battle, which can lead to bigger struggles.
It can be difficult to find that happy medium we all need to live our best lives, but I have a few tried and true ways to get the best sleep I can.
When I eat better, I sleep better. And when I exercise, I sleep better. We can’t just keep skimping on our sleep and think that we can continue to make great decisions, stay focused, and be productive. It won’t last.
Get proper nutrition and don’t eat late! Get proper exercise but earlier in the day. Stay off your phone or tv at least a half-hour prior to bedtime. Some experts say even longer.
It also helps to establish an evening routine for bedtime.
One way I establish a routine is by writing in my gratitude journal every night before bed. I feel more relaxed and positive and it puts me in a place to fall asleep. Plus, I stay asleep longer because I wasn’t thinking of stressful or negative things as I fell asleep. It’s an essential part of my routine.
EXERCISE for physical well-being:
A lot of activities count as exercise. It can be hiking, swimming, kayaking, walking my dogs, yard work, most sports and especially working out. Pick something you like to do. It just needs to raise your heart rate.
One of the things I used to do for myself was set aside one hour every day to exercise. This was my routine for many years. I never skipped it! About 5 months ago, I had to make a big decision about my time management.
I chose to move exercise down a couple of spaces on my priority list. I justified it by telling myself I was giving my body a break and letting a couple of old injuries heal. Physically I was adjusting well. I still found time to get some exercise in, occasionally, but mentally I was struggling! Not only was I not doing something that I enjoyed immensely, but I had also lost my stress reliever as well. Something had to change.
I’ve been working daily exercise into my schedule again this past month. Boy, did I miss it and my body did too! I’m more productive and have more energy. We all know the physical benefits but I gain the most from the mental benefits of daily exercise. I am more focused, more positive and less stressed.
Now that I have started exercising again, I remember that the hardest step is the first step. You just have to do it. Not everyone can take an hour to go to the gym to workout. I get it! I was there myself this fall. So maybe you take your dog for a walk and you both win. Push mowing your lawn definitely counts. Start with 10 minutes of walking up and down your stairs if you have them. Maybe walk around your block if you live in the city or around your office building. Just take the first step and do it!
Exercise is one of the elements of self-care I stress the most because I lived it both ways and I know what a difference it makes when I’m consistent! I will keep preaching it to anyone who will listen and wants better for themselves. EXERCISE: Get some!
As we continue to work on our physical well-being (Rinse and Repeat), we can give ourselves more space to work on our emotional and mental well-being. Physical well-being, when it isn’t going well, can be a huge obstacle to our overall health. Our physical well-being is tied to our mental well-being and visa versa. In order to be our best self, we need to keep it all well balanced.
I’d love to hear about your self-care journey! Sharing our stories inspires others to get healthy, too. This isn’t a one size fits all experience, so send me your feedback! Let’s kick it at this physical well-being journey together and help each other to achieve our goals.
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Live Life On Your Terms