I read an article recently about how self care is not all spa trips and girls’ night outs. It’s more about doing things that make your whole life better rather than trying to recover from a life that’s wearing you down. I realized that many of the changes I’ve been making in my life in the last 6 months had exactly that goal. I was tired of feeling run down and stressed and I started making some changes. I’m still very much a work in progress and there are definitely areas that are as yet untouched, but I feel like I’m moving in the right direction now. (Links below may be affiliate links that if you use them to buy, I get commission.)
- I joined the Faster Way to Fat Loss program. I’ve been struggling with balancing running and my weight for the last couple of years. I just kept steadily gaining. And it was definitely not muscle because all my skirts were getting tight. I began to worry that it was going to continue and just get harder as I got older and my muscle mass decreased even more. I finally just bit the bullet, paid my money, and made 100% commitment to using Amanda Tress’ program. And it worked (and continues to work for me.) The best part is it hasn’t really hurt my ability to run races. The hardest part is that it’s a lifestyle change – not a temporary change. My next goal is to figure out enough body weight exercises to continue to workout when we are on vacation.
- I made sleep a priority. 90% of the time I’m in bed by 11 now. Since I often was letting sleep slide until midnight or 1am, this is a huge change for me. Sometimes things don’t get finished, and often I don’t have as much down time or as much blog time as I’d like. But I feel so much better and I actually wake up much easier in the morning.
- I take care of my health issues sooner rather than later. After dealing with some weird symptoms for months last fall, I now pay more attention to what’s going on with my body. I have monthly appointments with an acupuncturist (my headaches are much reduced!) and my massage therapist (helps that she’s also my running buddy). I’ve also recently had a mammogram, a skin check with my dermatologist, and a visit with my dentist. Getting older is hard, but I want to keep doing it. The alternative is way worse!
- I got another job. I know that actually sounds crazy because it’s not that I stopped working my old job – I added another job on top of everything else. But the benefits of my ZOOMA job are twofold. First, I love it. It’s the career field I should have been in. Or maybe I should have been an event planner. Anyways, it totally plays to my strengths and makes me happy. Second, it provides the “play money” that allows me to do some of the other stuff. Some of these changes would be a lot more stressful if I had to find money in our regular budget to afford them.
- I started using Beautycounter. I’m cheap. Crazy cheap. I look for sales. I’ve never bought makeup anywhere besides Target and CVS. But I’ve been using various different organic and zinc based sunblocks for years. I have the lovely combination of super pale skin and being a marathon runner who is not a morning person. When I tried the Beautycounter sunblock, I was sold. It smells good, goes on better than any other zinc sunblock I’ve used, and has none of the crap I don’t want. Apparently that was my “entry drug”. I now use many of the Beautycounter products and I love them. I chose them because I liked the way they smelled and how they go on, in addition to the mission to get harmful chemicals out of skin care products. I’m staying because they work and my skin looks amazing.
I’m not trying to be all “preachy”. I’ve just had a long building epiphany this year about my health. I’ve always been relatively healthy and I was relatively fit thanks to the running, but I realized I could do more. Do I still sometimes eat all the wrong foods and way too much of it? Yep. Have I seen 1am on a week night in the last month? Yep. But I’ve borrowed the motto “Progress not perfection” and I continue to find ways to practice “self care” that are purposeful and make my life as a whole better.
How do you care for yourself? Are some of the things outside the usual definition, like staying on top of your budget or keeping your kitchen spotless? (I just emptied my entire professional wardrobe from before my 16 year old was born and got it out of my house. Talk about a freeing experience!)
I’m joining Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.
8 thoughts on “Practicing Self Care in my 40s”
I think it gets easier to focus on self care as your kids get older. It’s had to balance everyone’s needs and your own. Exercise, eating well, massage and sleep are my top priorities for self care.
Oddly enough, I do find it hard to schedule in the stuff I enjoy doing — like going to the movies! We’ve been like once this year.
As I often tell people, though, we all have the same 24 hours. It’s how you choose to use it. Letting go of perfection (doing it all) is probably the best step you can do. I’ve heard good things about Beautycounter, too.
Spotless? Bwahaha. Yeah, no, never — although I have been better lately. Well, with some things. 🙂
Sleep and taking care of health issues right away are big ones for me.
I love going to get massages and always wonder why I go so long in between them. I need to start doing them monthly.
Changes are hard, but if you want them, you’ll make the time. I finally made yoga a priority for me, and realized I can stop wasting my time on SM and focus on me. Yoga at home is great because I can do it before bed, which now gets my brain ready. If I skip it, I don’t fall asleep as easily.
I’ve evolved in this direction as well, especially after my diagnosis with RA last year. I still need to see the derm and get a colonoscopy (ick) but I’ve definitely taken charge of my health. I’m working on reducing stress in my life but my sons haven’t gotten the message yet. It’s a work in progress…
One thing I do that is on your list is make sleep a priority. I loooooove to sleep and I don’t have kids so I am able to get to bed early so I can wake up early and run before work.
I’m right there with you, esp #2’s attentiveness to sleep routine. I’m quickly learning– what I don’t track with precision will likely fade from my mind’s eye. Keeping an eye on my sleep routine, as well as specific self-care steps throughout the week, makes a heckuva difference. I’m feeling more refreshed these days and enjoy an overall sense of calm, previously elusive. Thanks fir the reminder!