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Self-Care Should Be Your #1 Priority

Written by: Leslie Gaudet, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Why are you putting yourself last on the totem pole? If you are doing that, it can be one of the most selfish things that you can do for you and for the people in your life.

notebook, tea and a candle on a white table.

When you take care of you first, you will take care of others better. Like the air mask in airplanes for example. When the mask drops due to the air pressure change in the airplane cabin, the first thing you are instructed to do is to secure the mask on you first and the reason for this is so that once you are secure, you are more calm and able to secure those that depend on you. Here are some self-care basics that we tend to take for granted:

Nutrition


You will find as you search the internet that article upon article supports eating healthy and most often you will see that some of the biggest reasons are that it will promote healthy skin, teeth, and eyes, boost your immunity, strengthen bones, and lower your risk of heart disease. All of this you can find on the internet and yet, according to tfah.org (Trust for America’s Health):

“Nationally, 41.9 percent of adults have obesity. Black adults had the highest level of adult obesity at 49.9 percent. Hispanic adults had an obesity rate of 45.6 percent. White adults had an obesity rate of 41.4 percent.” In addition, according to the CDC:

“About 1 in 5 American children has obesity. Compared to children with healthy weight, children who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.” I don’t know about you, but these statistics have gotten my attention and have made me recognize my own eating patterns and where I want to make changes for my overall well-being so that I go into my golden years with more confidence that I am giving my body and my brain a fighting chance.

Hydration


Why is drinking water important?

  • According to WebMD: Water helps energize your muscles. Cells that don’t maintain a balance of fluids and electrolytes can shrivel up which can result in muscle fatigue and when your muscles don’t have adequate fluids to support them they don’t work as well and performance can suffer… when you drink enough water, your body stays regular as water helps your body break down what you consume so that you can pass what you don’t need out of your body with more ease.”

This also makes sense and yet when you search the internet, you will find studies saying that most people are not taking in enough water for their optimal health.


In fact, according to Wikipedia:

“Most people can tolerate a 3-4% decrease in total body water without difficulty or adverse health effects. A 5-8% decrease can cause fatigue and dizziness. Loss of over ten percent of total body water can cause physical and mental deterioration, accompanied by severe thirst.” So, with these statistics out there and self-care really being so important, why are people not taking in enough water? What I’ve heard from some of the people that I know is that “I don’t like to drink water.” Or “ I don’t really think about it.” Or they don’t like the taste of water. I totally get it. Water doesn’t have any flavor but there are many ways that you can remedy that. In order for me to get my water in every day, I keep a glass by my desk and drink and refill it throughout the day. I understand how important it is for my brain health because according to womensbrainhealth.org: “Drinking water can improve one's brain health by simply increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain – which, in turn, improves concentration and cognition (supporting memory function) and helps balance moods and emotions, reducing stress and headaches.”

Mind Health and Mental Breaks


I’ve noticed that there is a lot of negativity on social media that gets bounced around and taken as fact and/or is very hurtful to others and I cannot imagine how that makes people (really) feel when they are open and honest about it or when they are afraid to be open and honest about how it makes them feel. That is one of the reasons why I made a conscious decision 6 years ago not to like, comment, or share negative posts (especially when they are hurtful to others). I also make a conscious effort every morning to follow my morning routine which includes meditation, time with God, journaling (both reflection and gratitude), reading or listening to a good book that fills my mind with ideas, and inspiration, and I get my body moving by getting up and dancing. I fully understand that my brain needs a break every once in a while. I’ve come to learn that even if you push through and stay at it, that your brain basically shuts down because it knows that it needs time to process. Taking mental breaks helps you improve performance which makes sense because you’re giving your brain a break. Besides, there are those who have studied this, and their studies have shown that “taking mental breaks every 75 to 90 minutes is key in retaining information and the ability to focus” because you can concentrate and get more done in that period of time and the break helps you reset, recharge and re-energize.

Spiritual Health


For me, spiritual well-being is extremely important. It’s important that I spend time with God every single morning before I start my workday. It helps to focus and ground me and guide me in my life through the lessons I have learned from the past. There truly are gems of information from the past that can help one navigate the present with more confidence. In fact, according to Advent Health, “Spiritual wellness acknowledges our search for deeper meaning in life. When we're spiritually healthy, we feel more connected to not only a higher power, but to those around us. We have more clarity when it comes to making everyday choices, and our actions become more consistent with our beliefs and values.” Believing in something bigger than yourself allows you to dream bigger too.

“sportsforthesoul.com says: When you believe that whatever you're doing is tied to a purpose much bigger than yourself, great things start to happen. You'll work harder, you'll be more resilient, and you'll be a lot prouder of what you're doing with your life.”

Rest


This one is so important and it’s a topic that I am hearing more and more people talk about because even this one daily routine that we all need is falling to the wayside in the amount of sleep that we get (or shall I say don’t get) and many of us are not setting ourselves up for a good night’s rest. For example, I have a no scroll rule after 7:00 pm so that I can unwind from the day, so that I don’t get caught up in the endless scroll (allowing my brain to unwind), and so that I can spend quality time with my husband. Here’s the thing. All of the above are common sense self-care habits that we should do because they will benefit us, but we often take them for granted (and most times ignore) because we tell ourselves that we’re too busy right now or we tell ourselves that we’ll get to it later. The problem is you will find that later comes at the end of your busy day and you’ve run out of time because your next course of action for the day is sleep and again even then that self-care habit, if not treated right for you, can have you ignoring taking care that you set yourself up for and have a good night’s rest so that you wake up the next day, fresh and energized and ready to tackle a brand new day. What I’m finding more and more as I speak with women I work with and through observations on social media, is that self-care is one of those things that seems hard to incorporate because it means “making the time” and for some (a lot really) it’s extremely hard for them to embrace setting up a self-care routine.


I’m finding that we as a society are leading very busy lives and we are finding ways to put off even the simplest of self-care and then resenting even the thought of creating healthy habits that support our overall emotional and physical well-being because it will take up valuable time that we (believe)could be better served elsewhere. The problem with this way of thinking is that if you keep putting off taking care of you with even the basics (especially getting proper rest and taking mental breaks) is that eventually your mind and/or your body will push back, and you won’t be able to ignore it anymore. In fact, you may be forced to recognize signs like you’re getting burned out, or you are feeling overwhelmed, or you feel isolated, or that you are ghosting your friends or family, and maybe keeping yourself stuck in “stuckville” doing busywork and filling your days with endless tasks that don’t do anything except take up time real estate, and all the while your mind and body are struggling to keep up. And I haven’t even talked about some of the unspoken but beneficial emotional self-care habits like:

  • practicing gratitude and intentionally looking for and finding ways to be grateful even during the difficult times taking you away from focusing on what’s not going right and instead focusing on all the goodness that is going right, or

  • making the conscious choice to be happy and backing it up by finding ways to support your choice and living from that space; or

  • embracing change as a positive result that can lead to new opportunities, new ideas, new connections, a new you, or

  • trusting in yourself more and believing and having faith that it will all work out for you, even when there's no evidence(yet) to support it.

I know that you are busy. We all are. But I truly believe and am living proof, because I have done this before, that when you ignore self-care in your day-to-day, it will catch up to you. Because at some point your mind and/or your body will react making it Literally Impossible for You to ignore the signs. And the reason that You can't ignore the signs anymore is because Your Mind and/or Your Body WON’T let you. Simply put, self-care should be at the top of your to-do list every single day. You should have self-care habits in place that support you emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Oh, and by the way, I didn’t even mention the importance of exercise (getting the body moving) as I was trying to keep this article short enough of a read to get your attention on the importance of Taking Care of Yourself. If I could suggest one way to get you started with setting self-care intentions, it would be this.

  1. Start your day with gratitude. Focus on all that is good in your life and be grateful for all that you have and all that you are given for when you do that you will see that you are truly blessed.

  2. Reflect daily on all that is going right in your life, document your accomplishments, and then anchor in celebration memories that you can pull on when you are doubting any part of your journey.

  3. Give thanks to God every morning for another gift of a day that you get to unwrap and explore.

  4. And when you are ready, add more that fits in alignment with your overall goals and ones that you feel good about (like journaling, meditation, going to the gym or long walks in nature).

My hope for you is that you start incorporating self-care in your daily life and create healthy lifestyle habits to support you so that you can live your life with more joy, gratitude, and love.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Leslie!

 

Leslie Gaudet, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Leslie Gaudet is a Mindset and Emotional Awareness Coach for women. She helps her clients achieve self-awareness around their emotional triggers by shifting their mindset to make better decisions when they respond, allowing them to bring more balance, peace, and harmony into their lives.


Almost 4 decades working as a Legal Assistant and Paralegal in the corporate world left her feeling emotionally and physically drained. That’s when she decided that she had to make some changes for her to live the life she loves. Those changes involved learning to love herself (without judgment or criticism). That mindset is the key to everything because our mindset influences our thoughts, and in turn, our thoughts dictate our words and actions. Thru her journey to self-love and self-acceptance, Leslie became certified as a Life Coach and attained further certifications in Group Coaching and Emotional Intelligence.


She works closely with her clients, starting with mindset because that is the foundational piece to self-love and self-acceptance. She teaches her clients about triggers and how they affect us emotionally by helping her clients tune into, spot, and understand their own so that they can become more self-aware of their trigger moments and emotional responses.


With proven tools and techniques and with her guidance, her clients tap into and discover their true potential to living their life and loving the life they are living.


Leslie believes that you will transform your life when you Change Your Brain (the way you think).

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