Friday, May 23, 2014

My Physical Self Care Ritual

Why did I add a physical element to my self care routine?  For me I was sporadically active.  When other things needed my attention, that was the FIRST thing to go.  My parents were really not athletic people and neither were my brothers, so I was never really shown the importance of any type of physical routine, exercise, sports, hiking etc.  I do enjoy certain activities but doing anything on a regular basis was a struggle for me. Yes, this is hard to say out loud like this.  My time in the Army just made me dislike physical activity, but that was the only time in my life that physical activity was a "routine".

About 2 years ago I just decided I needed to make it part of my daily self care routine.  What I added first was walking.  I go down to the Greenway in Morganton, where it is so beautiful and peaceful that walking is just a joyful experience.  And, except for times of injury that has prevented walking, I walk every day, anywhere from 1-4 miles a day.  When it is raining I get on my treadmill (even though I don't enjoy the treadmill).  For me this is important.  I am worth it.  Since then I have added resistance exercises to build muscle, this is 5 days a week, at curves, so in 30 minutes I am done, and I am feeling so much stronger for it. I build this into my routine and reward myself with a nice hot cuppa tea and a few minutes of knitting.  I don't always jump for joy at the thought of going, but I do it.  And it has become part of my daily routine, at around 9:30 every morning, I miss it if I don't go.

I do have other activities that I enjoy, yoga, hiking, swimming, and biking are just a few examples.  But I really had to think about something that I could do DAILY.  I didn't want to make the task so much that I would regret it, hate it, find excuses to "not" do it.  I wanted this to be enjoyable and manageable as part of my daily life.

Another physical self care routine for me, is taking care of my feet.  After I broke my ankle several years ago, I have really appreciated how much my legs and feet do FOR me.  So every evening before I go to bed, I use my home made body butter and rub my feet.  While I am doing this I thank them for carrying me throughout my day.  It is just something nice to do for myself, something daily, appreciating my body, and how strong it is.

I think sometimes we can neglect our bodies.  I know I did for years while my boys were younger.  I might have kept knitting and quilting, taking that me time now and then for the things I enjoy, but there were years when the physical side of my care was put on the back burner.  And I have paid the price over the years.  I just now feel it is so important to care for my body.  And make daily time to worship that part of myself.  I worship my body by taking care of it.  I don't think daily physical self care has to be long, it can be simple, just a few minutes of stretching in the morning.

Start thinking about how much your body means to you.  How have you cared for it and neglected it over the years?  How much does your physical body mean to you?  What makes you feel strong?  How do you or how would you like to worship your body and care for it?

Here are just a couple ideas that are outside the obvious exercise ideas:
~Taking a few minutes while you shower to release the tension from your body as the hot water washes it away
~Herbal infusions
~Skin care

A couple of these might not be daily but could be worked into a weekly self care routine.

Daily physical self care is where my daily self care routine started, it was the easiest thing for me to grasp, it was concrete, and tangible and I could see immediate benefits.  Are you worth it?

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