Well, well, well… Look at these thoughts I scribbled down a few weeks ago for a draft of an article. How ironic that today they are a perfect reminder of what I need to do to get back to a steadier place of self-care, so that I am giving myself a decent chance to be other than a crazed parent of a teenager! Here’s what I wrote.
“The wonderful thing about self-care is that it builds on itself. Progress in eating healthier food helps you feel better. Getting enough sleep allows you to feel more rested and be more focused. De-cluttering and getting organized can not only give you a sense of relief but also more energy and clarity. And engaging in stress-management or relaxation practices has positive physical, mental and emotional benefits!”
By giving you an intimate look at my current state of self-care, you may be inspired to look at your own self-care and maybe even consider making a small, doable change that can have that positive domino effect!
This week I’m focusing on the nutritional part of my current self-care checklist.
Well, I am on both sides of the fence on this one.
- Fruit? I do love and eat fruit on a reasonably consistent basis. Check.
- Veggies? Well, I love and eat spinach and tomatoes frequently and throw in other veggies here and there, but I am sure that I am not eating the recommended three servings of a variety of veggies most days. Maybe half a check.
- Whole grains? I love the Nine Grain bread that one of our local restaurants makes. I also buy whole wheat bread. But I also love English muffins, the plain old white kind. Maybe three-quarters of a check.
- Dairy? Probably only drinking a cup of milk a day. I do love cheese, however. Good for dairy requirements but not so good for low-fat fare. I take Vitamin D and Calcium supplements to round out this category. Close enough to a check.
- Protein? I love deli turkey, tuna and smoked salmon. So far so good. Also love sausage and bacon. Good for protein. Not so good for the high fat content. Love beans also. They help to add some substance to this category, plus beans are great for getting in some fiber! Some days I skimp on the protein, but overall I do OK. Giving myself a check here.
- Fat? Oops! Probably more than I need. Love half-and-half in my coffee. Also love margarine on my toast and lots of mayo on my sandwiches and in my tuna salad. Also love peanut butter and nuts, which are called good fats because of their high nutritional content. This is a category for careful attention and for flexibility. If I’ve had a ton of margarine at breakfast, then, instead of tuna salad with lots of mayo at lunch, it’s better to go for a spinach salad with mandarin oranges and a few walnuts for lunch, which I also love!
- Fat and Sugar? It’s not actually a category per se, but it seems important to mention if I’m taking an honest inventory, right? I love chocolate. And I love an occasional cookie. For some reason, I have developed a particular love for chocolate-covered cherries lately. Depending on the day, I may eat none of these, or I may indulge in a few cookies or chocolate-covered cherries. It’s not really a category to check or not, but to be aware of and notice what’s going on if I’m indulging too much or too frequently.
Overall, I’m doing reasonably well in the nutrition area. I do need to be watchful of the fat and sugar combos and also be careful to eat small healthy snacks in between meals so I don’t get too hungry or tired or spacey from not having the energy I need to function at my best! I love dried fruit and nuts or a single serving of yogurt for those snack times. Delicious, and I feel better!
What Works For Me
For this part of “beefing up” my self-care, I’m doing OK. It could be argued that I’m doing really well, or it could be argued that I’m doing terribly. That’s OK. It’s all a matter of perspective. At this point in my life, I know what kind of eating makes a difference in my energy and mood. For me, I always do better if I add food, rather than attempting to tell myself that I can’t have this or that. Denying myself particular foods only results in me craving them more. If I am really determined to banish a particular food from my diet, that’s a whole different ball of wax. For now, I am interested in balance and making small changes that can add up to a big difference, like making sure that I have nuts and dried fruit on hand to eat between meals so that my energy stays more steady.
Then I have a chance to use that steadiness to be a calmer, loving parent.
Next week we’ll peek into a different area of my self-care to see how I’m doing and decide whether another small change might be helpful. Then you can use those questions to determine how you’re doing with your self-care!