What is Self Care?

Recently, I sat down to dig deeper into how women are defining self care. I agree it’s becoming quite a trendy term used for everything from doodling on a note pad to loosing weight to traveling to an exotic place.

I really appreciate that women are taking the initiative to be selfish when it comes to self care, and doing what makes them feel their best.

On my podcast, I always ask my guests, what is self care? They often describe it as a means of giving yourself whatever you need to feel good.

I like this perspective.

It is honest.

And it is different for every person.

I strive to help women find the balance that works for them.

Yet, there is no magic formula. What balance looks like to a single, busy career woman traveling constantly for business may not mirror that an expecting mom relocating to a new state after the unexpected death of her husband. What does self care look like for you?

There is no percentage to determine how many of the 24 hours are set aside for taking care of yourself. We can all agree on that, right?

The balance is whatever works for you. I encourage women to start the day off doing something for their own self care. It may be a 30 minute workout or a 5 minute meditation. No matter what you decide, you’ve made yourself a priority.

I want you, and all women, to be informed about their health risk and know when to seek medical care. Sometimes this is following through with preventative checks, such as a yearly mammogram or pap smear. Other times it’s getting an evaluation for symptoms, like chest pain or an irregular skin lesion.

With this said, it seems to me that self care involves multiple layers that continue to evolve. Each new layer also requires it’s own unique processes.

What you need today may be different tomorrow, but one thing I do believe to be true, you have to ask yourself these questions.

What is it that I need?

How can I make this a priority?

What and/or who can help me?

As a woman I want you to think about your health from various aspects that include mental, physical, and spiritual levels. For example women experience heart related problems, like heart attacks, primarily due to lifestyle behaviors. The risk can be reduced in this area by things such as reducing stress, physical activity, and healthy food choices.

This type of self care isn’t always the most exciting or easiest to implement, yet it is a necessity.

Again, self care is something different to everyone reading this. My hope is that you consider the other areas where you lack self care that are also impacting your life in ways that can be improved.

It’s Time to Reset

Summer is nearly over, and the kids are back to school. Now what? It is a great opportunity to stop and reset your self care needs. I know that many of you got way too busy doing ALL the things and may have gotten off track a bit. Maybe, you find yourself wondering about all those me time goals that you had.

Guess what? You are not alone. This happens. That is why before the holidays kick into full swing, I wanted to help you use this time to focus on you and your goals by sharing steps to help you reset.

Take a Time Out – Give yourself some time to declutter your mind so you can prepare to focus on your priorities. You can do this by setting a timer for 5 minutes and then writing down all the thoughts, ideas, and feelings that are occupying your mind.

Prioritize What’s Important to You – Now that you’ve done a brain declutter, it’s time to prioritize your self care needs. Start by listing your top 3. Remember this is about YOU. Be honest with yourself and know that self care is not selfish.

Create and Activate Your Plan – For each of your top 3 self care needs, identify 1 thing that you can do daily to achieve it. Keep it simple and realistic. Once you have that plan, then activate it. That means start doing it!

Now you are ready to reset and get back on track. I know you can make the most of this season. You got this!

Just Talking Won’t Get Results

How often do you just talk about your self care goals? For those goals, do you have a plan of action that you focus on daily? If not, that is the number one reason you are not getting results. You cannot just talk about what you want to do. Time is not stopping to wait for you to get it together. It is time to start doing the things that you need to make self care a priority. Here are a few tips to help get you moving.

Focus on 1 goal at a time.

Trying to do too many things at once can be overwhelming. This often keeps you from doing anything at all. It is easier to break down a large goal into small parts. For example, if your goal is to exercise one hour a day but you can’t carve out an hour yet, start with a time frame that is easily doable. Even if it is 10 minutes. Do it. This is 10 minutes of action that helps move you closer to your exercise goal.

Schedule time for yourself and stick to it.

Often women have the idea of doing something for themselves, but allow other people and things to take space during that time. So, it’s important to designate time for what you need and allow the other stuff to wait. If you’ve scheduled in a massage, training session at the gym, therapist appointment, or whatever, that is your time to focus on you. Unless it is an emergency, it is important that you stick to your plan. It’s okay to say yes to what you need and no to the other stuff.

Be prepared for what you want to do.

It’s easy to say what you want to work on. But you have to know in order to get it done, you have to be in a position to do it. You have to be prepared. This involves knowing what is needed AND having access to the tools. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier snacks throughout the day, then you have to buy and prepare those snacks. This may involve adding them to your grocery list, getting snack bags or containers, a lunch bag, cutting up foods in advance, and more. These are things that require you to take action. When you do these things you put yourself in position to succeed.

Every day you should have 1 action item that you do for your self care.

Don’t make it an overwhelming task, remember this isn’t supposed to be stressful. If its’ stressful it isn’t the intent of self care. Keep making yourself a priority daily in some way. I hope that these tips help you do that.

Tired of your exercise routine?

Can you believe it’s been 6 months since you were putting together your health and fitness plan? By now you might be getting a little bored with your workout. Guess, what? It happens to all of us.

Last year, I made changes to my routine, and it was just what I needed. Not only did I need a new challenge, but I wanted different results. At this stage of life I know that I can’t go into cruise control and expect everything to keep bouncing back into place. Can you relate?

So, here are 3 things that I did.

Added more strength training to my routine. If your workout needs a change up, adding weights, may be exactly what you need. There are numerous benefits to strength training that makes this a total win for even better results.

Participated in more Group Fitness Classes. – As a certified group fitness instructor, I love the opportunity to motivate others to get moving and be active. However, being a participant in a class keeps me challenged and pushes me to be better.

Set higher expectations for myself. I didn’t just focus on the time of the workout. I did things like increase the number of repetitions and the weight of my dumb bells. When I run on the treadmill, I aim for faster speed intervals. Ultimately, I began to maximize my exercise time frame. I mean, why not make the most of the time you have, right?

Is it time for you to change things up when it comes to exercise?

You want honest, right?

Recently, I was reading through Amber L Wright’s book Can We Talk? and there is a lesson titled Get Some Goals So Your Life Won’t Suck. The lesson gives you easy steps to set and achieve goals, which is why I am so drawn to this section of the book. 

But what motivated me to write you today are the traits she identifies for searching for an accountability partner. Now you will have to go get the book on amazon for the full scoop but let me tell you there is a part that resonates in me because it calls out telling the truth, even when it hurts!

This is me. It used to make me really uncomfortable to tell someone what they didn’t want to hear. It took some time but I have become bolder.  And when it comes to my health coaching the risk is too high for me to give you candy coated truths. I need to make it plain and clear when it comes to your health and fitness.

When you clicked this post you expected honest truths, right? Well, I got them. Let’s start with these.

3 things no one wants to tell you about your healthier lifestyle

Drinking Water – When you finally get your water intake up and get well hydrated, you will have to pee so much that you will start to wonder if you should just set up an office in the bathroom. Coworkers will stare as you walk by to go to the bathroom AGAIN and AGAIN! Your urine will become so clear you’ll look down at the toilet and question if you really used it. 

Losing Weight – Once you start getting results and showing off your new wardrobe, people will assume you did everything EXCEPT work for it. They’ll ask what about pills you took, what surgery did you get, did you starve yourself, and some will question if you have an illness that is causing your weight loss. And believe me, the list goes on.

Eating Healthy – Don’t be surprised if over time no one wants to eat what you cook or you stop getting invites to go out to lunch. Now that you aren’t into fast food and junk food as much, people will think you are weird and no longer appreciate their good food. Your food choices will somehow become the equivalent of eating grass.

Changing your lifestyle is not easy, but it is doable. Let’s be honest there are some cons that we’d rather not discuss as we think about living healthier. Sure we know the benefits but we have to talk about all the pieces that impact our lives. That is why I strive to have the honest conversations and help as many women as I can live healthier with a realistic plan. 

Do you know your risk?

Are you, or a woman you know, 1 of the 3 women who will die from heart disease or stroke this year, who DON’T even know your risk?

These statistics stay on my mind as I strive to help women lead healthier lives. Women, just like you going about their everyday routine, unaware that lack of self-care is slowly deteriorating their health. 

I think of women such as my grandmother who was often the glue that helped keep the family together. I was blessed to have her during my childhood and just a peek into my adulthood, I remember all the time she invested in caring for others. Sometimes I wonder if someone, like a health coach, had been there to help coach her about active lifestyle and self-care that maybe she would have had more time with us. 

I get an ache when I think about women, especially African American women, that don’t know or understand their health risk. They don’t know the benefits of exercise and living a healthier life that can help prevent health problems that have been plaguing generations of their family. I can help.

This is why I strive to connect with women, like you. I want you to live your best and healthiest life. This involves making self-care a priority, along with being active and making better food choices.

When was the last time you evaluated your health risk? An appointment with your primary care physician can help. Talk with your family members about common health problems that you may be at risk for, based on hereditary or lifestyle. Share that information with your physician. It is important that you take charge of your health because you can start working on prevention today! Check out the link at the end of this post for helpful information from the American Heart Association.

I want to encourage you to get the conversation going with the ones you love to help reduce your risk and also their risk. The time is now. What will you do today to take better care of yourself?

Out of all the posts that you will busily scroll through today, I hope that you make this one meaningful to reclaiming your health and fitness. Don’t forget to share with a friend who might this information. We must spread the knowledge!

By the way here is the link I promised, Know Your Risk.

Iced Coffee and Self Care

Iced Coffee and Self Care, the blog and the podcast, was created by Latorsha, Registered Nurse and Certified Health Coach, to help start more conversations among women about self care and ways to make it priority.
Is the day to day life of a busy woman like you exhausting? There’s homework to check, calendars to manage, parents to care for, friends to catch up with, and a partner to show affection, right? After all of that is done, what’s left for you? If the answer is not much. Then Iced Coffee and Self Care is for you.