Resolutions for Self-Care

self-care for our mental and physical health

I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions.  I always found the process discouraging.  I typically had lofty goals that were too difficult to maintain over the course of a year.  My early lack of success with this pretty much killed my desire to make this an annual priority.

However, I began to think about resolutions differently last year.  I began the year with a general desire to be healthier than I was.  This included working out more, eating less sugar and less processed foods and focusing on self-care to keep my brain and spirit nourished.  I did not set specific goals, but rather focused on “healthy” as the background for life throughout the year.

This inspired me to make positive changes. I joined a fitness challenge at my healthy club and invested in a personal trainer to learn the right types of exercises for me and the correct way to do them.  This was an amazing process that completely transformed how I worked out and ultimately, began to transform my body.  Because I had been so physically active and fit when I was younger, to include running marathons and other races, I was pretty smug about my level of fitness.  Hah!  I was very, very wrong.  The group fitness classes I did kicked my butt.  I set a goal to be able to do 30 push-ups, something which used to be very easy for me to do when I was in the Army.  I focused on core strength and balance and drinking lots of water.  I worked out a LOT!  And I loved it and how I felt.  Go endorphins!

All of these physical triumphs led to a natural desire to put better food in my body.  I began to slowly cut out more and more processed foods, although I have to confess to an absolute addiction to gluten free honey mustard pretzels.  In the fall, a friend invited me to join her in a class called ReStart. The program is very intense – not only do you give up processed food and sugars, but you cut out a lot of natural sugars and carbs.  It’s like the Whole 30 on steroids!  The value of ReStart is that it resets your body’s relationship with sugar and with a lot of foods, especially those that are inflammatory.  After completing ReStart, the idea is that you gradually add in foods that are in harmony with your body, but you avoid processed foods and sugar, unless you choose to indulge periodically.  Then, if you choose to have a dessert, it’s special and you can enjoy it without guilt.  I really enjoyed ReStart, and I learned so much about healthy fats and the connection between sugar and diabetes and Alzheimers.

I also focused on self-care during 2017.  I made small changes that added up to big wins for me.  I took time off from work to enjoy a few hours relaxing at the pool. I took more baths.  I walked the dogs and enjoyed being outdoors.  I read more books.  I planned times with family and with good friends.  I relaxed.  Why is self-care so important?  The answer to that is another blog post, but in general, I think it’s important because it’s hard to put good energy and love and light out into the world if you aren’t investing the same energy and love and light into yourself.

In general, 2017 was a positive year if my resolution had been to live a healthier lifestyle.  But it’s not really a resolution to me because taking it slowly and gradually allowed health to become the background music of my life.  And it’s here to stay.

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