Self-Care and Kindness

by Ashley on November 6, 2014

self care

They say wisdom comes with age and the older I get the more I believe this true. While I still have a long way to go, with each passing birthday, understanding the ins and outs of life (well, some of them) seems to come a little bit easier. My mom and I still laugh about my teenage response when she told me I needed to get some rest, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead, mom…” which clearly was a statement just further proving my youth.

A common topic discussed amongst my friends these days is one I want to share discuss with you today … the idea of being kind to ourselves.

For the past 10-12 years, I’ve burned the candle from both ends. Starting the day I gained the freedom to legally drive a car, until recently, self-care, especially sleep, has been an afterthought.

It all started in high school as tried to balance a social life, participate in after-school activities like dance, cheer and softball, build my resume to be attractive for different colleges through club involvement and leadership, volunteer efforts and working two or three jobs for a little bit of spending money. Returning home at 11 p.m. was relatively normal on most school nights, only to start my homework at that point. I can assure you my parents weren’t slave drivers; this was all self-induced. Remember when I told you Dustin complaint about filling my cup up too much? Clearly it started at an early age.

From 18-21, my college years, I did much of the same thing with a little more time committed to school and social engagements and less time working outside jobs.

Married life has continued this way with its ebbs and flows between personal kindness and stretching myself extremely thin, such as during the time that I went back to school and also during my time at the Mayo Clinic in order to complete my dietetic internship.

In the workforce for the past year, my overworking, non-stop mentality has continued as I constantly try to cram a week’s worth of tasks in one afternoon. But more so than ever before, my body, mind and soul recently began to crave kindness.

What do I mean by that? I feel myself yearning for peace, tranquility and gentleness when it comes to my body more than ever before.

  • Surviving on 4-5 hours of sleep per night? No thanks. (Definitely still working on this one.)
  • Sprints on the treadmill at 5:45 a.m.? I’ll pass. Evening workouts have become more and more attractive.
  • Pushing my body in the gym when I’m feeling weak? Let’s go for a walk instead.
  • Enjoying my fair share of processed junk on the weekends only to leave me feeling pretty terrible on Monday morning? Pass the veggies instead!
  • Spending all day inside? I NEED nature!

I’m certainly not saying that I do or don’t do all of these things on a regular basis, but I’m finally slowing down and actually listening to my body… and it feels good.

Here are a few other methods of “self-care” that I am working on as well:

  • Expanding and deepening my relationships with those who matter most to me
  • Expanding my meditation practice
  • Daily scripture reading
  • Laughing more
  • Taking appropriate supplements
  • Balancing my hormones
  • Having an attitude of gratitude
  • Giving more
  • Opening up more

As I approach my late twenties, optimal health, fertility and simply enjoying life are concepts that seem to frequent my thoughts. I am clearly moving into a season of my life where being happy finally trumps how many check marks I have on my to-do list.

What about you? What phase or season of life are you in? Are you focusing on self-care and kindness or do you relate more to my “work-horse” type self?

Have a lovely Thursday!

Good health!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kacie November 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I am currently striving to obtain a dietetic internship, so I have to keep up with those check marks on my to-do list the best that I can. 😉 But my body and mind are definitely yearning for self care and balance. This is something I struggle with. Thanks, loved your post!

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Ashley November 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I know exactly how ya feel! That is certainly not an easy time in life to say the least but hang in there and keep focusing on balance; it will all be worth it in the end! Thanks for stopping by!

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Katie November 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I do a decent job getting sleep, and skipping workouts if I’m not feeling it. I’m still working on having a kind heart in the moment. Outside of the moment I know to trust that people have good intentions. But when I’m in the moment I tend to react negatively. And that’s not good. So I’m trying to take a step back, think then react. It’s a tough thing to do! (at least for me.)
Katie recently posted…Day in the Life: Fall 2014My Profile

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Ashley November 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm

I struggle with that too Katie! Have you read the book Unglued? If not, I highly recommend you do! It really helped/helps me with learning to breath through the moment!

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Keith May 10, 2015 at 12:15 am

Good for you working on that in your 20’s! As my wife has been dealing with some chronic health issues the past couple of years, we have been forced to do so. Wish we would have made some changes a few years back so maybe some of her issues would have been avoided. Great post!

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Wayne Trowell July 9, 2016 at 6:34 am

I love the idea of how you shift from one side to another. Self-care is truly more efficient when it comes from within.
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Aubrey February 21, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Love this post, Katie. “Pushing my body in the gym when I’m feeling weak? Let’s go for a walk instead ” it’s definitely what I need to talk with myself.

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