Friday, September 30, 2011

31 Days of Self Care

“What is genius, anyway, if it isn't the ability to give an adequate response to a great challenge?” 

- Bette Green




When was the last time you spent a full month doing nice things for yourself?  


This month Self Care Girl wants to help you change that.   For the month of October we are launching the 31 days of Self Care Challenge!   


Each day of October I will post simple, inexpensive, and indulgent ideas to help you incorporate a little self love into your daily routines.     Your mission- if you choose to participate- is to commit to doing something- anything-  nice for yourself each day.    Follow my suggestions,  or create your own- the key is to just be good to yourself.    


Sounds pretty easy?  I hope you will share your experiences and ideas too! 

Take Good Care!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Swap it, don't Stop It

The Australian government has started a new healthy lifestyle campaign that encourages citizens to become "swappers" not "stoppers".    I think this is a great self care philosophy for making lasting changes.   

So often our attempts at adopting better habits fail to launch, or quickly fall by the wayside.  If you are like me, the minute something is determined to be bad and in need of elimination, the cravings for it multiply exponentially!

In a nutshell, this campaign promotes moderation and  encourages you to find ways to stop doing one thing by replacing it with something better.   I have personal experience with this.   When I was about 18, I stopped drinking colas and began drinking sparkling water.   While my orthodontist is still not happy with this swap (the carbonation erodes tooth enamel), I have cut a huge amount of chemical and sweetener from my diet. Which is a very good thing.  I may indulge in one or two cola drinks a year now, but I find them too sweet and can rarely finish a full can. 

One more note....the campaign provides many examples of swaps you can make toward creating a healthier lifestyle.  I think information is valuable, but I think these examples should come with another message that encourages changing one thing at a time, rather than changing every bad habit you have immediately .   Lasting change takes time and focus.  A concentrated effort on one or two changes will increase the likelihood of your success.

A few more effective ideas for making lifestyle changes:

  1. Write down a specific goal.  Small, incremental goals are best.
  2. Plan ahead - it is easier to eat healthy, if healthy food is available!
  3. Focus on health and the way you feel.   Your weight is only a number- it reflects more than just body fat!  It also includes bones, water, vital organs....
  4. Celebrate small successes.  
  5. Be specific about where and when activities will take place ("after work, I will do one lap around the park", "when my alarm goes off in the morning, I will spend 30 minutes on the treadmill" etc...) 
  6.  Do not deny yourself the things you love.  Allow these things in moderation.   
  7. Pair up with a friend to support and encourage each other
  8. Keep a journal of your activity and diet.  This will help you to be mindful and serves as a good record if you find what you are doing isn't working for you. 
  9. Find activities that you enjoy and be mindful of keeping your body in motion
  10. Develop routines.   A piece of fruit at 10am.  Get up from your desk at 1:30 for a 15 minute walk.