5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

By General, Self-Esteem No Comments

Self-care is complex. Anyone can tell you to do it, but only you can bestow the gift of self-care onto yourself. But before you can begin bestowing, you’ve got to first recognize that you are worthy of caring for yourself as you do others.

How do you do this? By noticing the ways in which you are currently not taking very good care of yourself.

Here are 5 signs you aren’t practicing self-care. If any seem familiar, it is time to make more time for yourself:

1. You Get Sick More Often

When we don’t take proper care of ourselves, our health takes a big hit. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can lead to a taxed immune system, which in turn makes you vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.

2. Increased Moodiness

What happens when a child does not get the care and attention they deserve? They begin to act out in order to get any attention. In much the same way, a lack of self-care and feeling of unimportance can lead to increased irritability. Leaving this unchecked can result in personal and professional relationships being negatively affected.

3. Unpleasant Physical Symptoms

What can start out as unpleasant (and even scary) physical symptoms, can be a sign of poor self-care. Symptoms may include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, headaches, and fainting spells. All of these symptoms should be checked out by your healthcare provider immediately.

4. A Feeling of Isolation

When you feel you don’t deserve to care for yourself, you naturally feel unworthy of enjoying other aspects of life, like socializing and a true connection to friends and family. This can lead to a detachment of others and a sense of isolation.

5. Depression

Feelings of worthlessness can snowball into feelings of hopelessness and depression. If you have noticed yourself slipping farther and farther into a depression, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you recognize where the darkness has come from, and how to break through back into the light.

If you or a loved one is experiencing depression, or would simply like some help practicing self-care, please be in touch with me. I would be more than happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

At Home Family Physical Fitness Ideas (during COVID-19 and beyond)

By Sports / Exercise No Comments

As many families continue to shelter in place together, they are finding it challenging to beat the stress and stay in shape. Exercising as a family is one-way families can accomplish both of these goals! And the good news is, there are plenty of ways families can exercise without the need of going to a public gym.

Make Fitness a Game

Take a pack of regular playing cards and turn them into fitness cards. Hearts stand for crunches, clubs push-ups, diamonds for squats, and spades for jumping jacks (or any other exercises you may want to substitute). Have each player take turns selecting a card and doing the activity. So for instance, if someone draws the five of hearts, they need to do 5 crunches.

Go for a Bike Ride

Strap on your helmets, hop on your bikes and take the kids for a nice bike ride around the neighborhood. You can also decide to bike to the library or to the park for a picnic. Just be sure to pick a route that is safe and isn’t too much effort for your child.

Have a Dance Party!

Decorate your living room with a disco ball or other fun string lights, turn on some good tunes, and have a dance party. You can even choose to record yourselves and share your dance party with others on Youtube.

Play Classic Outdoor Games

Chances are over the years your kids have begged you to play certain games like hide-and-seek or kickball. Now is the time to embrace these requests and head outside for some family fun. There is also tag, jump rope, dodgeball, and kick the can.

A Timed Scavenger Hunt

This game will get everyone moving to get some aerobic exercise. Take turns and split the family up into 2 teams. Team A will start by hiding objects around the house or yard. Then team B has 10 minutes to find them all. This means they’ve got to really RUN around looking for all of them. Then swap so Team B hides items and team A has to find them. The team that finds the most items wins and doesn’t have to do the dishes that week.

Go for a Family Walk

Walking is such a great form of exercise and an equally great way for families to connect. Try and build walking into your daily schedule. Maybe after dinner take everyone out for a walk around the neighborhood. If you have dogs, take them, too!

 

These are just a few ideas you can try with your own family. Get creative to come up with some ideas of your own. While Covid has definitely made our lives more stressful and challenging, the silver lining is that it has helped many of us reconnect with our families. Take this time to do the same and stay fit at the same time.

 

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Contemplative Spaces: The Connection Between Prayer and Mindfulness

By Religion / Spirituality No Comments

In the frenetic, fast-paced world we live in, mindfulness has become increasingly important. When we talk about being mindful, we’re talking about the ability to be fully in the present moment, aware of our surroundings; where we are, whom we’re with, and what we’re doing. Mindfulness keeps us grounded, keeping us from overreacting or becoming overwhelmed.

By its nature, prayer helps us become and stay more mindful. By connecting in quiet reflection to something deeply spiritual and meaningful, we’re able to see our life and experiences from a broader perspective.

Increases Focus
Studies have shown that prayer, a type of meditation, helps to increase your focus. Prayer makes you better equipped to quiet your mind and avoid becoming lost in thought. With increased focus, you’re able to control mind wandering and stay in the moment.

Controls Impulses
According to a 2009 study on religion, self-regulation, and self-control by the University of Miami’s Department of Psychology, being a religious follower can promote self-control and self-monitoring.

Additionally, when studying the effects of meditation on the brain, brain-imaging studies have shown that meditation increases frontal cortex activity. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for, among other things, emotional expression, problem solving, and judgement.

More Gratitude
Gratitude is a feeling of gratefulness for gifts and blessings. By practicing gratitude, we’re sharpening our attention towards the good in our lives. We see and appreciate everything around us that’s positive.

Prayer helps you maximize gratitude by helping you reform your thoughts, much in the way that mindfulness does. We can surmise that regular prayer for religious followers may help them feel more clear-minded and able to concentrate on what’s positive.

Gratitude is also a feeling that we choose; we can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be ungrateful. By utilizing prayer to concentrate on blessings or mindfulness to concentrate on the good in our lives, we help keep our mind distracted from negative thoughts. Both techniques help you appreciate the moment in which you’re living.

When your life is busy with work and family, it can feel impossible to make time for either mindfulness meditation or prayer. But even five minutes a day will make a difference over time, as your steady practice of quiet contemplation will help you learn to redirect your thoughts and focus your attention.

 

If you’re looking for guidance and direction on how to become more mindful through prayer, give our office a call today. One of our specially trained staff will be more than happy to help.

The Best Foods for Pre- and Post-Workout

By Nutrition No Comments

You’ve committed to an exercise routine, but do you find you run out of energy halfway through your workout? Or maybe you feel good during your workout but kind of crash a half-hour later?

Your body requires proper nutrition to perform optimally. With this in mind, here are the best foods to eat before and after your workout.

OPTIMAL PRE-WORKOUT NUTRITION

Eating the right foods before your workout will help to fuel your body so you can perform your best. Here are some of the best foods to eat before your workout.

Carbohydrates

The glucose derived from carbs will help to power your muscles during your workout. Some great carb options for a pre-workout snack are bananas, whole wheat toast, oatmeal, fruit salad, and pasta.

Protein

Eating protein before exercise has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis. Eating protein before your workout will help your muscles recover and help you to see more gains.

Some good pre-workout protein options include eggs, meats, yogurt, and whey protein drinks. If you opt for the protein shakes, just be sure your protein powder doesn’t contain copious amounts of sugar or unnecessary fillers.

Fat

Glycogen from carbs is what will help fuel your shorter, high-intensity workouts, but to fuel your longer moderate-intensity workouts, you’ll want to make sure you eat some healthy fats before your workout. Some great fat options are eggs, full-fat dairy, avocado, and fatty fish like salmon.

OPTIMAL POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION

You’ve eaten the right foods to power your body through your workout and now you are done, stretched, and showered. That doesn’t mean your work is done. Your post-workout nutrition is just as important as your pre-workout nutrition.

You see, when you were working out, your muscles used up all of your glycogen stores for fuel. Some of the proteins in your muscles also got broken down and damaged by physical activity. Your body naturally wants to rebuild and replenish and so you’ve got to make sure you give it the right tools to do so.

And guess what those tools are? They are the very same MACRO nutrients you gave your body before your workout: carbs, protein, and healthy fats. Here are a few more ideas of foods to try under each category:

Carbs

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice cakes
  • Potatoes
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables

Protein

  • Cottage cheese
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar
  • Tuna

Fats

  • A salad with olive oil
  • Nut butter
  • Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)

The bottom line is, if you give your body the proper nutrition, it will work and work hard for you, so you can reach your fitness goals! So be sure to eat the right foods before and after each workout.

 

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