“There’s a spiritual connection to good health; it’s not just physical.”
The self-care journey is a lifelong process and one best approached in manageable chunks. I’ve tried to approach this wearing my superwoman cap. I’ve decided to take the advice I gave my students, breakdown the task, set attainable goals, and celebrate small wins. Physical self-care is a focus area for me this year. It is the most challenging, but this new strategy might be a winner. How about if we “chuck” physical self-care into four focus areas? Let the chunking begin!
Chunking Approach to Physical Self-Care
I’ve had periods where physical activities were an integral part of my life. I loved being outdoors and activities like tennis, bike riding, and long walks were high on my list. I think identifying what you like is a great first step. Doing what you enjoy can support the recommendations set by the American Heart Association.
The AHA suggests adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week. This boils down to 30 minutes 5 days per week. I’m not sure about you but my body is actually asking for movement.
This is an area I’m proud to say I am really good at and have been my entire life. The matriarchs in my family have always advocated getting 8 hours of sleep. My grandmother went to bed at 8:30 pm every night and without fail woke up at 4:30 am. It was certainly a non-negotiable with her and I saw the benefits. Great skin, no diseases, and incredible physical strength. I know so many people that brag about functioning on 5-6 hours of sleep. The part that must be considered is that our organs also need rest. The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ranging from 26-64 years of age should be getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Teachers are notorious for not scheduling doctor visits. They will ignore the aches, pains, and symptoms that take place during the school year. Somehow interpreting the lack of substitute teachers as permission to neglect this critical practice. Or the notion that taking a day off is more work and toughing it out is worn like a badge of honor. Toughing it out impacts early detection of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other chronic illness missed over the summer. Making doctor visits a part of our physical self-care is preventative and supports us being the healthiest version of ourselves. Go to the doctor even if you’re healthy, The Muse shares 10 reasons why this is a good practice.
Food, food, food, and more food! I certainly need to reprogram my relationship with food. I led a bible study on The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. It is a great resource. The teaching that stood out was the idea that food is medicine. We are either bringing healing or disease into our bodies. I pause right here to interject that therapy is a great place to address food relationships and what’s hiding behind the weight or lack of. Our food choices are so complex and much deeper than making a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are the leading causes of death in the United States.
If you’re like me all these diets and trends overwhelm me and I think going back to the basics is probably the best course of action. However, how you chose to reach your nutritional goals is a very personal choice. Here are a few numbers to keep in mind, the average moderately active woman between the ages of 26–50 needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight and 1,500 calories per day to lose 1 pound (0.45 kg) of weight per week. For more information, Healthline has a great calorie calculator and more calorie basics.
Dare 2 B Well,