Fitness Camp Tip, Me First!

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN

Probably the single hardest thing we do as grown-ups.  Put yourself first.

Self-care is not something that comes easy because at first glance we totally take care of ourselves. Food in your belly, clothes on your body and a roof over your head.  But, what deliberate steps do you take to balance your emotional, mental and physical self?

Taking time for you may feel like the polar opposite of self-care, it may feel downright selfish because your role has been steeped in caring or providing for others.  Whether you have little people, a house full of paws, grown children, or a partner that have relied on you to keep the wheels rolling on a daily basis; you may feel empty and tired.

Sometimes it’s a doctor who drops a diagnosis bomb and you realize if you don’t change something pronto, life will get messy.  Other times relationships change, your footing slips you may simply look in the mirror and say “I’ve had enough, it’s time”.  Clients have come because their grown children have talked them into coming to camp in order to help them improve their health so they can stick around with vibrancy a little longer.

Self-care is about creating your own groove, your own rhythm and a new routine all while being mindful about what these changes feel like.

Putting yourself first looks different to each one of us but for all of us, it comes down to having a plan.

A few Tips to Put YOU FIRST

  • Write yourself into your week of things to do.  Including exercise, eating food that nourishes you and taking time to relax and recharge with what brings YOU joy.
  • Exercise. This one is a biggie because it is not only incredible for our physical health, but it is remarkably beneficial for our emotional heath. Moving your body, even just by committing to take the dog for a 30 minute walk every day, releases a chemical in the brain called BDNF. Brain derived neurotrophic factor; miracle grown for your noggin. BDNF is our friend.  Want to feel more joyful?  You will when you exercise, serotonin increases and helps our sour moods sweeten all while increasing our energy level.  Improved mood and energy, of course we want and need that for ourselves.
  • Planning your meals once a week does take a few minutes to sit down and figure it out, taking that time can feel obnoxious and unnecessary.  The opposite of winging it, consider how valuable that plan will be in improving your ability to stay away from convenience foods that wreck your health.

We may feel like we don’t have time for ourselves, no time to do what fills us up.  I would like you to consider doing this one thing for one week just to prove a point that you may actually have a way to carve out a few minutes for your yourself after all.

  • Screens.  If we aren’t swiping, binging, stalking or liking what are we doing?  We watch on average more than 4 hours of tv per day. PER DAY.  That is a hunk of time to put toward you becoming a healthier, recharged you every single day.  Monitor your screen time. Decide what adds value to your life and see if you do have a few minutes to squeeze in what will help you fill those wheels with joy and energy.

Learning how to put yourself first does take time but it is time well spent – Allowing you to be more present and engaged in the choices you are making toward living a fulfilled life.