• Heather Marie Jessop

The Saying "You Can't Pour From an Empty Cup" is Stupid

Self-care is arguably the most important aspect of a healthy relationship. I don't mean ditch your husband every night or every weekend to hang out with the girls. That will most certainly lead to disaster. This simply means that it is time to take care of yourself. If you aren't happy neither will your relationship.

The picture above is from a few years ago. A group of other moms and myself did a day hike up to Baker Lake then continued our hike up to the other 2 lakes. Behind me is Middle Lake. This day was exhausting at times. Yet, energizing!! To me, that day is the epitome of self care.

What is self-care you may ask? It is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health, well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Keep in mind that how you treat yourself is how others will treat you. So, taking care of yourself will not only remind YOU and those around you that YOU are important. It conveys to others that you value yourself. You become more in tune with your emotions and can better manage them. Having a well cared for mind leads one to also care for their body in exercise and eating healthy. This then makes you feel good about who you are inside and out. Which, increases self-esteem.

It is a WONDERFUL trickle effect!!

Let me ask you a question. Do you ever talk to yourself? I know I do and think you are crazy if you say you don’t. For those reading this that admitted to talking to themselves. What are you saying? Are you talking yourself up or tearing yourself down. One of my favorite self care activities to manage my thoughts is to say affirmations daily. After time, the negative thought pattern becomes re-written to become a more positive and uplifting inner thought. Almost like brainwashing but in a good way. :) This does amazing things for mental health.

That mental health leads to a better ability to FOCUS!! A clearer mind leads to more productivity at work and at home. Believe it or not but productive relationships as well. And it isn't just focusing on a task but being able to focus on the present. The here and now of what is going on around you. Many of us are not only wives but also mothers. Have you ever been playing with your kids but your mind is off on something else you need to do? The dishes, laundry, vacuuming, that report due for work. The list could go on. What about during intimacy? I have been off in my mind thinking about elephants and their hierarchy while trying to make love to my husband. Seriously!! And it isn't a good combination. As mothers and wives we need to take the time to protect our well-being.

Taking the time to spend time with YOU is a way to do it.

And speaking of being a mother. Self-care gives you more energy to manage your household and provides a mental ability to have more PATIENCE!!! Lord knows we all need it. Yeah, I have seen you yelling at passing cars on the highway. Maybe, even flipping the bird. Getting annoyed at your kids at the grocery store and keeping it together just until you get to the car. You are not alone, sista! Yup, and I will be the first to admit that I have been there before. So, don't feel bad. I was a hot mess before learning the benefits of taking care of myself. We have such a huge plate to fill, that at times, can be overwhelming.

Along with mental and emotional well-being. Self-care provides some amazing physical benefits as well. It triggers a relaxation response that can prevent chronic stress. Sign me up!! And did you know that having less stress means you have an improved resistance to disease. Leading to fewer colds, flu and upset stomachs. Heck ya! Cause, ain't nobody got time for that!!

I am a huge fan of personal development. Books, podcasts, YouTube, conferences, seminars, coaching! You name it. If it expands the mind and gets me to think and grow I am all over it. This can also be a form of self-care. Think about an area you struggle with. What avenues could you go to to learn about your specific struggles. Maybe it is communication, personality differences, raising kids or finances. Research those areas and dig in, my friend!

Okay, so now that you have warmed up to the idea of self-are you may be wondering what to do. "How can I stay calm on a crazy day?" No worries. I got you, girl!! These are just a few ways to take an active role in promoting your health, happiness and well-being. Take 10 minutes to read a book YOU want to read and will enjoy. Dr. Seuss can wait a few minutes. Bonus points if you read your book in the bath WITH bubbles. If writing is your thing start a gratitude journal. I mention all of the time the importance of showing and expressing gratitude. Instead, of just writing things down each night spend time throughout the day being grateful. Keep a jar on the counter with scrap paper and as a happy moment or thought crosses your mind, write it down and place the paper in the jar. Take some out and read them as little reminders when you may be having a bad moment. As there are no bad days.

One of my favorite ways to pamper myself is a massage. The best part! You don't even have to leave your house. You can rub your own feet, hands, arms, etc and it still feels amazing. I am partial to a foot rub myself. Maybe taking a brisk walk is all you need. Being one with nature. This simple act boosts endorphins, the feel good hormones that improve mood and lowers stress and mild depression.

My go to is yoga and meditation, though. These two combined impacted my life the most. Practicing yoga improves balance, endurance, flexibility, and strength, while meditation helps keep the mind sharp, relieves stress and anxiety, and can strengthen your immune system. With yoga and meditation I found an inner peace that I have never felt before. Allowing me to better connect with myself, my husband and my kids.

Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is my favorite at home yoga instructor. Check her out here >>

What kind of self care do you practice? Do you even practice self-care? Why or why not? What are your favorite ways to take time for yourself?

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