by Jeana Walz, CAP
I was recently reminded how important it is to have a foundation in place before we start reaching for the stars. Before we learned to run, we first learned to walk. We must also ensure we have our foundation of success in place. Success will be difficult to enjoy if you’ve given up your health in the process.
Your well-being is the most important block that builds your foundation of success. It’s not about how you look or how much you weigh; it’s about your health, how you feel, and being at your best. And it starts with the decision that you matter; you are worthy of self-love and doing what it takes to take care of yourself.
No matter what your other goals are, if you find yourself not taking proper care of yourself you really need to back off those big “reach for the stars” goals and start at self-care. Make the decision today; get your foundation of success in place. Because if you’re not well, how are you going to be able to reach the stars?
In order to do it properly, you should have a wellness strategy. Here are some basic self-care practices that often go by the wayside, but are very important to being well and having the stamina to move forward:
Stress can rob you of your energy. On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading, or listening to music. I have found that practicing yoga while playing soft music is relaxing and refreshing. Even just taking five minutes to clear your mind everyday can work wonders in the fight against stress and anxiety. Take a walk, or look out the window and focus on the beauty. Close your eyes and take five deep breathes.
Get plenty of shut-eye.
When you’re tired, your self-control is depleted. It can sabotage all your good intentions. You need sleep to have enough energy to make good choices and work toward your goals. Sleep is fuel for your mind, body, and spirit. Develop a routine that your body will get used to. Keep the same bedtime each night of the week. Prior to bedtime, avoid anything mentally or emotionally demanding and do something that you find relaxing and calming.
Eat and drink mindfully.
Eating and drinking improperly can cause fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, lower endurance and performance, increased body fat storage, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Practicing mindful and intentional eating can help improve all these symptoms and more.
A balanced diet—one high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and consisting of easily digestible foods—helps your body work more efficiently. Eat plenty of fruits, whole grains, and fresh vegetables. Minimize meat portions to 3 ounces or less per day. Minimize or restrict white flour products, white rice, white potatoes, and sugar/sweets.
Drink lots of water to wash the toxins from your body. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and soda. Our bodies need to stay hydrated for every function to operate optimally. Dehydration will create a variety of negative symptoms; it’s an easy problem to fix—just drink clean water.
Get plenty of exercise.
Our sedentary lifestyles are killing us. We can counter-act this with increased activity each day. Exercise helps to use oxygen more efficiently and it also increases focus, which may help you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them. Regular exercise will also lead to relieving some of those aches and pains that are brought on by stress and anxiety. Make an exercise plan and try your best to stick to it.
Take time to relax each day. Stop for a few minutes several times during the day and take inventory of your body. Notice where you feel tight or have aches. Take a deep breath and think about relaxing those specific spots and clear your mind of other thoughts.
Find something you enjoy away from work. Pushing yourself too hard puts yourself, your family, and the company at risk. A change in routine or environment can help improve your state of mind. Your coworkers and customers will be glad you did.
Don’t try to tackle them all at once. You may need to just focus on one at a time for a few months; then move on to the next item. And don’t view self-care as insignificant, sabotaging your success before you even reach it. Build your foundation so you will be ready and able to grab the stars when they’re within reach. Without your foundation, you may not even realize why you failed. It all starts here, because your wellness will affect everything else in your life.
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