My 5 Essential Self Care Habits

In this crazy, busy world we live in, self care is more important now then ever. It is often so easy to get sucked into the daily grind of work and other obligations, all while neglecting ourselves. But one thing we forget to ask is “does this really benefit my performance at work and in life?” – my guess is probably not. For me personally, I need my “ME” time to be a better daughter, sister, friend and employee. Taking time for myself allows me to decompress while boosting my creativity. There are a few things I try to make time for regularly in order to take care of myself.

Reading

I love to read – and not on an IPad or device. Oh no… I love a good old fashioned, finger print stained book and I can disappear into for an hour or so. I love the smell, the texture and the satisfaction I feel as I turn each page. Sometimes, admittedly I do listen to audiobooks (helps my morning commute go by), but in general I love having a physical book in hand. About a year ago I joined the Junior League’s Book Club, which has kept me motivated to read more. When I read before bed (as opposed to watching TV), I fall asleep faster and often seem to sleep more soundly. After a stressful day, it is also a great way to leave some worries behind for a bit.

Hair Appointments

Being on a budget, this used to be something I HATED to splurge on, and would often put it off until the very last minute. But now I just view it as an investment in self care. I have also started going to a stylist who gives an amazing scalp massage, understands my need for peace and quiet at times, and who never skimps on making sure I leave the salon completely styled and ready for a night out. I always feel relaxed and beautiful when she finishes which makes it feel worth the splurge. As a woman (I think most can relate) I often feel stressed, exhausted and tired. Once I hit the age of 30, I suddenly started to notice the aging process had begun, almost overnight. So now I am more appreciative of those moments when I feel beautiful and at my best.

Spending Time with My Dog

Okay, those of you who know me know that I am slightly OBSESSED with my dog. I know this may seem strange to some, but I don’t have kids and I live alone… so she IS my baby. Regardless of my obsession, I think dogs have a lot to teach us, especially when it comes to love, forgiveness and happiness. Minnie (my dog) reminds me to enjoy the moment, let my hair down and sometimes get my hands dirty. We have been on some great adventures together and on every one of those adventures, I have been “fully present” and that is more rare than you might think. She also never holds a grudge when I don’t get home on time, make her take a bath, or forget to pick up her favorite treats. This has been a great reminder to me that holding a grudge or staying upset only hurts me in the long run.

Spending Time with Friends

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to make more time with my friends. When I first moved to Louisville I had very few friends. In fact, my first year living here I spent a lot of time alone. I do think this alone time was good for me, because for the first time in my life I had time to stop and consider the woman I truly wanted to be without any outside influence. That being said, true friendships (not just party friends), push you to be a better person and offer support when you need it most. Over the last year I have made friendships with some amazing women (mostly through Junior League). These friendships have pushed me be bold and reach for my goals. Many of this women have served as my shoulder to cry on and a listening ear when things haven’t worked out as planned. Friendships like that are valuable and worth investing time in.

Making Time to Play

This may be the most important item on this list. Yes, I am a 32 year old woman and I still love to let loose and play. Life isn’t meant to be serious all the time, and I love to laugh. I like to be silly and tell stupid (usually corny) jokes. I LOVE dancing in my living room to 80’s music with the dog jumping around in confused excitement. I love to sing at the top of my lungs in the car and I need to consistently try new things (like the trampoline class). These things make me smile and laugh, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

We all need ways to unwind, especially when life gets stressful. These are just a few of the ways that I let loose. What are some of your self care practices?

 

 

 

 

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Coping with Anxiety 3

Uncomfortable Truth

Even as I just write this post, I am beginning to feel quite self-conscious and anxious. Partially because the topic has been stigmatized, and though I have mentioned it in passing on other posts, I have never focused completely on this topic. I am the face of someone who copes daily with anxiety and depression. It is something I have struggled with since my early teens, but there are times it seems to rear its ugly head more than others. This often surprises those I’m not super close with, especially since I try to share mostly positive images of my life.

The fact is I do feel really positive in my life right now, but there’s sometimes a quiet whisper in the back of my mind that likes to focus on the fact that I’m not at the place I thought I would be at this point in my life. I have mentioned this before, but it often feels lonely that I haven’t found someone to share my life with, and that I am not sure if having children of my own will ever be something that happens for me (if my dating life is any indication – probably not). As horrible as it can make me feel, sometimes I am jealous when I see others moving through the phases of life like motherhood, and I feel left behind.

It also hasn’t helped that my dating life has been less than extraordinary. I’ve been in countless relationships that start out AMAZING, but somewhere down the line I tend to begin investing too much. I invest my time, and energy, and emotional support to make someone else happy, which is certainly fine to do in a balanced relationship, unfortunately I tend to be the giver and wind up feeling completely drained and empty. In past relationships, I have spread myself far too thin, as I feel many women probably do. I become the cheerleader, the confidante, and I try so hard to be light and positive with little given in return. Often after these relationships end I slip into a bit of a depression because I have invested so much time and energy and I feel betrayed.

This is actually how the hiking hobby began for me. I had ended a toxic, long term relationship, moved to a new city where I didn’t have any close friends, and began a new career. The first 6 months were lonely, and although I told no one, a lot of tears were shed. I desperately needed to feel strong and independent – I already was, but needed to prove it to myself. Hiking began to make me feel empowered, and I often do it when I need to clear my mind and feel strong, and capable on my own as a woman.

Aside from hiking, I try to be healthy and active which is a natural mood elevator for me. I also say “No” more – without guilt. Sometimes if I am feeling off, I back out of plans. I do this, not to be an ass, but because I know that is what I need to feel recharged. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend because I don’t text right back, but its because I need some time to myself to refocus my energy. And I am not writing this as a personal pity party, because I am slowly getting a handle on my life (I think). Really, I wanted to share this because I feel like if even one of my friends feels lonely, heartbroken, or like they just aren’t where they feel they should be, that they aren’t alone.  As we all share (myself DEFINITELY included) the happiest, most beautiful parts of our lives, and rarely give glimpses into the darker corners, it feels more important than ever to share my struggles.

I want others to know it’s okay to put yourself first, not answer your phone sometimes, and choose to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to leave unhealthy, unbalanced relationships behind, because you want to invest your energy where it’s wanted and appreciated. And it’s okay to do these things unapologetically.

Novice Runner & Yogini Begins Her Journey

A little over a month ago, I decided to get back into a solid fitness routine. I have always been very active, but I really HATE going to the gym – I mean REALLY HATE. There have been a couple things that sparked my motivation. Sometime in early November, I got a wild idea to sign up for Louisville’s Triple Crown of Running (this includes a 5k, 10k and finally a 10 miler). I also signed up for my first 502 Fit Pass in December. This has been amazing because I can schedule classes with ease and attend classes throughout the city – never bored with the same old thing. I have really focused my fitness routine on three things right now. Once I have a better habit developed, I’ll begin adding more to my repertoire but this is a good start.

Running

Well as much as I hate it, I am trying to get in at least 4 runs in a week. Lately, they’ve been on the treadmill, I know… NOT the same, but I refuse to freeze my ass off. I have never really been a runner, so completing a 10 miler this Spring is going to be a challenge that I am really going to have to work for.  Slowly, I am beginning to enjoy my runs a little more each day – despite having to get to the gym by 5:30AM to avoid the New Year’s crowd.

Yoga

Lately, I have been posting a lot of yoga pictures and that’s because I have been taking A LOT of yoga classes. My 502 Fit Pass has let me try some new studios with a variety of yoga classes including (Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram and Kundalini). I love my yoga practice because it helps me to reduce my stress level and calm down at the end of the day. I have suffered from terrible (sometimes debilitating) anxiety since my early teen years, and having a grounding yoga practice has worked wonders for my stress level.

Various Activities

I really don’t hate the gym that much, I just get really bored with it and often prefer other activities. I really enjoy going to the climbing gym near my apartment and as I am sure you know I love a good long hike with my dog (Minnie Pearl). I also like riding bikes at the park. Winter has slowed me down on a few of these things, but it is a huge part of my fitness life.

I really just enjoy staying active. I plan to add more weight training and cross training in the future, but hoping these practices will give me a strong foundation to build some positive habits. What are some of your favorite ways to keep fit? If you’re in the Louisville area, do you have any classes you would recommend?

 

5 Days In and 4lbs Down!

So to kick off the New Year I decided to read and begin Dr. Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution: 10-Day Detox Diet. Dr. Hyman is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, and I really like his holistic approach to wellness. I really wanted to start eating clean for my health, but I don’t like focusing on a number on a scale because it can be so disheartening.

The Blood Sugar Solution incorporates meditation, light exercise and it is a detox program where you are encouraged to eat… Hallelujah!! Now I do have to admit, I am only 5 days in and I have had to cheat. This diet is not easy as it cuts out all sugar, gluten, dairy, starchy carbs, caffeine and alcohol for 10 days. After the 10 days you can add a few things back in moderation. I am training for a 10 miler right now and plan to do a half marathon after, so I am running a lot. My body needs carbs to not feel like complete garbage. So I have made some modifications to meet my own needs.

I will say the first two days I was following this diet to a “T” and I had a pounding headache, and was dreaming about chocolate; however, I have not felt hungry so far. Now my body has seemed to adjust to the lack of caffeine and sugar and I am sleeping really well. The change on the scale isn’t a primary goal, but I have dropped 4lbs already and feel a lot less bloated.  So I am going to see this through to the end and I will keep you updated.

If you’ve completed the 10-Day Sugar Detox, I would love to hear comments on your experience. I would also love to hear from anyone with any questions! If you’re interested here is a link to Dr. Mark Hyman’s Facebook Page.

New Year’s Resolutions

Well it is the beginning of the New Year and I cannot tell you just how ready I am to have this fresh start in 2018. I know that New Year’s resolutions are somewhat cliché, but I enjoy taking the time to evaluate the previous year while setting some small (achievable) goals for the year ahead. For myself I plan to focus on three things in 2018 including Friendships, Hiking and Personal Wellness.

Friendships

Since moving to Louisville 2 1/2 years ago I have made so many friendships with an amazing group of talented women. The only thing is I tend to be lazy with making plans with my friends at times, and sometimes I just want to chill out in front of Netflix with my bag of Doritos (please don’t judge). This year I want to commit to making plans (outside of mandatory Junior League Meetings) once a month with at least one of my friends.

 

Hiking

Okay, so this is an easy one for me. I just want to recommit myself to getting outside and enjoying a great hike. This is definitely when I am my happiest and any stress I have just seems to melt away. I would like to commit to one hike a month this year, regardless of weather. Since I am planning to blog and record some of my adventures throughout Kentucky this will be an easy goal to accomplish. I get way more than 12 hikes in a year, but I usually don’t get out much during the colder months.

 

Wellness

My most challenging goal will be focusing on my wellness this year. I don’t really want to say fitness, because I want it to be more than that. I am not interested in losing a certain number of pounds (although I won’t be mad). Yoga has been a great addition to my life and helps me manage my anxiety. I want to eat more colorful, healthy foods and I have already committed to run more – I signed up for Louisville’s Triple Crown of Running, so come March I better be ready for a 10 miler! Did I mention I am NOT a runner.

Overall, I just wanted to share a few of my goals for the upcoming year. If you have any goals that you are working on I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment. Either way, I hope you have a wonderful 2018!

Here We Go Again…

Okay, so I have tried to blog off and on for the last couple of years. I always seem to eventually get a major case of writer’s block. This happens mostly because I cannot seem to find only one subject to focus my writing on.

My hobbies vary, and I find that I am the type of person that needs new adventures and challenges constantly. This makes it so hard for me to focus on just one thing. With that being said I have decided that this time around my blog is going to be written just for me. I hope you enjoy my adventures and the variety I anticipate that my blog will feature.

Concentrating on what currently interests me and not focusing on a theme will allow me the freedom to run with this. Lately, I have been very focused on learning the basics of my yoga practice, reading lots of books, I plan to start (stereotypically) working on my wellness with the upcoming New Year, and of course I will write and photograph my hikes that I typically post on my Instagram account (@thelouisvillelady). I am sure this will change and grow over time and I am okay with that, because we are all growing and changing and flowing through life.

Feel free to give me a shout! I always love hearing from readers and followers and I will try my best to always respond.