Self Care – Why We Need To Focus On It More & How To Practice It

Self Care – Why We Need To Focus On It More & How To Practice It

Self care is more than a face mask and a tub of ice cream.

There, I said it.

Mental health has been a hot topic (for good reasons) throughout COVID. Everyone has suffered in some form or another.

October 1st brings the start of a new month. It’s a good time to sit down and evaluate how the previous month went. Even if the month did not play out how you wanted it to, it’s helpful to see how it DID play out as you plan for the next one.

As you look through your month, how did your self care look? Let’s be honest, things are stressful. Life is stressful. The world is stressful. Instead of waiting until we have a mental breakdown, self care needs to make its way up on the priority list.

Why Is It Important?

Self care is a piece of your overall health. You can’t be taking care of yourself without taking care of your mental health, even on the busiest of days. Not only does self care actually lower your stress levels but it can boost your confidence, help in weight loss and increase your energy.

Think of it this way… How often do you find yourself stuck when trying to lose weight? You’re doing everything right (eating and working out) but the weight is stuck. Your stress levels are through the roof… and suddenly when things calm down the weight seems to drop. The only thing that changed was your stress levels. (There are no guarantees, this just an example of how it fits into your journey)

Making time to lower your stress each day will make a long term difference.

It doesn’t have to be a bubble bath, there are so many different types of self care you can treat your body to.

Self Care Is…

  • A 30 minute walk
  • Turning off your phone
  • A dance party in your kitchen
  • Unfollowing accounts that don’t bring you joy on social media
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Doing yoga
  • Taking a nap
  • Drinking more water
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Declutter your space
  • Turning off the TV/News
  • A tub of ice cream (you know I wouldn’t leave that out)
  • Treating yourself to a coffee you love
  • Calling a friend to chat for 20 minutes
  • Asking for help
  • Wear a cute outfit
  • Waking up earlier to have time for yourself
  • Cooking dinner
  • Watch the sunrise/sunset
  • Make a bucket list
  • Turn on your favorite scent in a diffuser
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Saying no
  • Meditate
  • Play a board game
  • Plan a trip
  • Do your hair
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Spending time at a place you love
  • Exercise
  • Writing in a journal
  • Turning off social media

I challenge you to set a goal for the month of October. For 10 minutes a day, tune the world out and focus on caring for yourself.

What is your favorite form of self care?

3 Ways To Boost Immunity For The Start of School

3 Ways To Boost Immunity For The Start of School

As my husband said last week, Spring Break is finally over. Disclaimer, we completely acknowledge that eLearning last Spring was NOT Spring Break for teachers and kids. However, after being home for five months together right as Spring Break started, it felt like Spring Break never really ended. Getting ready for this change was big for me (and my anxiety) but most of all I needed to find a few ways for all of us to boost immunity as they headed back to school.

Little Man is rocking second grade in person with all of his friends. My husband is in his seventh year of teaching remotely from his classroom. Both are in unique situations and have different levels of social distancing available. One thing I’ve had to accept is that I cannot control what happens once they leave the house. We’re always concerned about ways to boost immunity after Summer break, but this year has been a little bit different with so many unknowns.

Outside of hand sanitizers, washing hands, masks, etc to prevent receiving germs, we have added in three additional steps to our routine to boost immunity for everyone in the house.

Boost Immunity With Multi-Vitamins

By far the easiest addition to our routine is adding multi-vitamins back in. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been bad about making the boys take their vitamins each day since we’ve been home.

We’ve been on the same jar of Flintstone Vitamins since early June and it was time to get everyone back on track.

They used to take a fish oil gummy with their Flintstones, however it was recently recalled. I did a little bit of research and found the Smarty Pants Vitamins had the most nutrients for them including everything from the Flintstones Vitamins AND the Fish Oil Gummy.

Boost Immunity

Turmeric in Smoothies

You know I’m all about loading up the smoothies with as many extra nutrients as possible. We always have spinach stuffed in there for some extra vitamins, but this week I started sneaking in something else…Turmeric.

Chances are if you’ve read a health blog in the last year you’ve seen Turmeric thrown out there. I had NO idea what it was but upon researching it, I found out it’s a form of ginger and it has some incredible benefits for your health.

1 tbsp of Turmeric contains:

  • 26 percent of daily manganese needs
  • 16 percent of daily iron
  • 5 percent of daily potassium
  • 3 percent of daily vitamin C

(Thank you Medical News Today for the specifics)

It is also anti-inflammatory and helps your body fight foreign invaders while repairing damage they’ve done. As we are fighting all kinds of sicknesses, it cannot hurt to fight off foreign invaders. Bonus, the taste isn’t nearly as strong as ginger!

An Apple a Day

Sure, maybe it’s an old wives tale but we are running with whatever extra help we can these days. Both of them take an apple with their lunch every single day.

Little Man is a fairly picky eater and is not a huge fan of eating anything but cheesy noodles, PB&J and pizza. I don’t feel nearly as guilty sending junk food for his lunch when an apple is there too. Little wins, right? Luckily it’s one of the fruits he will eat!

One medium sized apple has 14% of your daily Vitamin C and 5% of your daily Vitamin K. It’s an easy fruit to pack and no containers need to come home to be washed!

Overall, I’m a firm believer in any extra steps you can take to boost your immune system is worth it.

How are you handling back to school? What tips do you have to boost immunity?

 

How To Stay In Shape When You Are Injured & Can’t Run

How To Stay In Shape When You Are Injured & Can’t Run

Let’s talk about injuries and running. It’s one of those dreaded situations that no one likes to think about, however is part of the sport (or in my case, life).

A few weeks ago my 3-year-old left his duplo blocks out on the porch. This is a common occurrence and usually something I’m more mindful of. As I was chasing him out the door I forgot…and I rolled my ankle. Ultimately it was diagnosed as a sprain so I’ve been pretty quiet on any form of movement for just over a month.

For the last few weeks I’ve taken this time to slow down (literally and figuratively) and try some different exercises. Injuries suck, there is no doubt about it. Luckily this week I have been able to ease my way back into running, slowly.

If you’ve found yourself frustrated or injured lately, I have a few ideas for you!

Other Exercise Ideas

The first week I could barely put pressure on my ankle, so I took it extremely easy and stuck to just getting around the house. However, as I felt like I could move more I dove into a few new exercises.

Yoga is something I’ve never been able to commit completely to. This injury has been a wonderful excuse to change that. Between a local yoga in the park (with social distancing measures in place) and Yoga with Adriene, I have managed to start finding my confidence in Yoga. This will for sure stay in my routine as I start running again, it feels wonderful!

However, I felt like I needed something else as well. I wasn’t quite ready for 5 days a week of Yoga. Luckily, one of my favorite gymnasts had just kicked off a daily 15 minute abs. I’m sure they are geared towards young gymnasts (haha, not me) but they have been a humbling 15 minutes with some sore abs afterward.

One thing I’ve read over and over again is that the way your legs turn over while riding a bike is the closest thing to running. I tried going a few times while injured but my ankle had a rough time still.

How to Stay in Shape When You Are Injured & Can't Run

If you are looking for something else to do more long term, Youtube and Pinterest are LOADED with at home workout ideas. I also have loved Beachbody workouts in the past, although they are more high intensity, there were only a handful I would recommend while injured!

It’s not the same as a quiet run but injuries need rest… at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

What is your favorite non-running exercise?

It’s Okay To Be Afraid of Running

It’s Okay To Be Afraid of Running

Not long before my Sophomore year of high school my friend Nathalie showed up at my door and asked me to join the cross country team. For some reason, I said yes.

For three years I fought injuries (mostly) from gymnastics and ongoing ankle problems. After a three year running career I said goodbye to running forever and transitioned to throwing shot-put and discus on the track team.

Or so I thought that was the end of my running career. 

Fast forward a decade to early 2014.

I was a new(ish) mom struggling to lose that pesky baby weight. We had joined a gym and I was ready to use that membership to become the healthiest mom ever. Okay, maybe I was a little too competitive back then. 

One snowy February day, I found myself face to face with a treadmill. The ellipticals were full and I didn’t have the patience to wait for one to clear up. Up until this point I swore I would never run again. It had been a decade since I had run any distance but for some reason I pushed start that day.

The speed was nothing to write home about. With no background of how to build up mileage I told myself to run as long as I could.

I ran one mile.

To be a runner, you don’t have to run fast, you don’t have to run far.

“If you put shoes on and run, you are a runner.” – Kara Goucher (Strong)

By the end of 2014 I finished a half marathon and numerous 5k’s. After years of being scared of running, it changed my life. 

Over the years I’ve found that the hardest part of running, is putting on my shoes and getting out the door. It’s okay to be concerned about a route, fear the unknown of a race or wonder if your body can handle the miles. You never know if you don’t give it a try.

It's Okay to be afraid of running

Running can give you so many things that you would never expect a sport to give.

A Greater Appreciation For Your Body: This is something that took me a few years to realize. Running doesn’t require fancy equipment (but please get a good pair of shoes) it just requires you to put one foot in front of the other for a distance. It’s incredible what our bodies can do when our mind goes to work. Let’s not forget the extra toning and fat burning that comes with a run.

More Discipline at Planning: As a full time working mom I have to make the conscious effort to plan my running time. Whether it be (extremely early) in the morning, on my lunch hour or while the kids are off with dad somewhere… I know that planning is key. I know ahead of time how many miles I have time for and what type of workout I’m going to do.

More Love For H2O: Just getting out and going for a run I find myself already in the mood to drink more water. Finishing up a run makes it to want to chug a drink as soon as you get home. The more water you drink, the more toxins you flush out, the better you’ll feel.

I promise you, that by giving running a chance you are opening up a whole new world for yourself. So next time you find yourself afraid of the run, just try it… or as I like to say lace up and go.

 

How To Entertain Yourself While Running

How To Entertain Yourself While Running

One of the biggest objections I hear to running is “oh my gosh, it’s so boring.” You know what that means? It’s time to try something different. When you’re starting to experience running for the first time, it can take a bit to settle into your running entertainment.

Through the years I’ve learned that everyone has their own way of entertaining themselves through a run. Whether it’s one mile or twenty-two miles, you have to figure out what works best for you. Our brains are all different!

Some runners choose podcasts, others prefer to stream a tv show (if they’re on a treadmill), some like music, others like silence.

Spotify Playlists

Personally, I’m a pop on some music and let my brain wander type of runner. Spotify is my go to music solution, mainly because I’ve found so many other playlists I love on there. There is something for everyone and you can find pretty much anything.

Years ago I started a playlist called upbeat running. Not understanding the ins and outs of Spotify it never occurred to me that others could follow it.  I add to it on occasion and others have added to it as well. I will warn you, it is explicit so I don’t recommend blasting it on the treadmill if kids are around.

I have playlists in my rotation for pretty much every type of mood. Generally I stick with upbeat running since it is over three hours long, but I will change it up on occasion. These are a few of my other running favorites.

How To Entertain Yourself While Running

Bonus, you can absolutely break out into song with ANY of these playlists. Have you ever run down a hill singing “I’m Super Girl” with your arms out wide? Okay, maybe that’s just me.

Podcasts

Everyone is different when it comes to running and I know many runners who cannot stand running with music because it can affect their pace. Podcasts can be another source of distraction if you need something to listen to on your runs. Here are a few of my favorites right now that would make for great running distractions:

  • The Rambling Runner
  • I’ll Have Another
  • Ali On The Run
  • Off The Vine
  • Coffee With Kate and Kri

Some of these are running focused and some are not. I like a good conversational podcast if I’m taking it for a walk. I have another group of podcasts that are perfect for working or winding down in the evening that I love spending more time focusing on.

Take Time With Your Thoughts

This one is the hardest for me, but something I think is important to do every once and awhile. Ditch the headphones and just listen to your surroundings. Say good morning to everyone you pass, listen to nature around you, hope that someone out there is blasting some good music early in the morning…. etc.

Lots of runners prefer this time alone to run in silence. There is nothing wrong with it!

When it comes to entertaining yourself on a run, it’s something that might take trying a few different things out. It didn’t take too long for me to realize that music is what gets me through a long run. Yet there are days where my headphones are just not hanging in there and I use the time to run with my thoughts.

The most important part is that you enjoy your run.

How do you like to run? Music? Podcasts? Quiet?

What Gear Do I Need To Start Running?

What Gear Do I Need To Start Running?

Of all sports, running is one that requires very little equipment. Let’s be honest, you could grab a pair of shoes and head out the door right now for a run. Yet, as humans we tend to want stocked with all the right gear before we get started. If you are new to running or just looking for some new gear, I have a few of my favorites to share with you.

A Good Pair of Shoes

Lace Up and Go is my running motto, however I do believe that shoes are the most important gear to get right. The wrong pair of shoes will break a run (and maybe you). The biggest mistake new runners make is grabbing any pair of tennis shoes and heading out the door.

I will tell runners until the day I die the best thing you can do for your body is get fitted for a pair of shoes. Local running stores are the best place to start. They are trained to watch you walk, how your legs move, what shape your hips are, etc. They might not always have the prettiest shoes in stock, but they will have the right ones.

If you don’t have a local running store usually sporting good stores will have someone on hand to help. Right now, that isn’t necessarily possible so a running shoe quiz is a great alternative.

Clothing That is Comfortable To You

It took me 6 years of running before I figured out how to wear shorts to run in. (Newsflash: deodorant works in more than just your armpits). Until that point I always stuck with leggings or cropped leggings. Figure out what is comfortable for you to run in. Don’t forget to wash it first to soften it up!

Here are a few of my favorites from over the years.

Accessories

The truth is, you don’t need much to run. Once you have your clothes and your shoes, you’re pretty much good to go. However, there are a few things I would recommend having on hand depending what type of runner you are.

What Gear Do I Need To Start Running

In the summer, I like to carry a water bottle with me. Many people will stash them along their route but I tend to make up my route as I go so I just carry it.

My most recent and FAVORITE discovery is the Kola Clip. For many years I was using a FlipBelt to carry my phone but ever since upgrading to a bigger phone it did not fit the right way on my stomach. Kola Clip changed everything! It clips right onto your sports bra and you don’t even notice it! I’ve used it for biking as well and it is a MUST HAVE!

This year is the first time I’ve tried running with a hat or sunglasses. Truthfully, I don’t know what took me so long! A visor was a great investment and I was able to find a decent pair of sunglasses on amazon for a good price.

A GPS watch is not required to run with but if you’re a data nerd like me I don’t leave home without my Garmin Forerunner. You can also use apps on your phone or any activity tracking watch.

If you’re an experienced runner, what is your go to gear?

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