When you think of Self-Care, what is the first image that comes to mind? Is it a vacation? A massage? Time with people you love? These are wonderful things.
Self-care? Maybe later.
Now, once you visualize these things, how quickly do you take action to make your day dreams happen? Or do feelings of fatigue and procrastination immediately derail your plans? If you can relate, then it’s likely that you are lacking in one or more of three fundamentals of Self-Care.
The 3 fundamentals of Self-Care are Sleep, Nutrition and Movement.
Catch some zzzzs
Sleep is important. When you sleep your body heals, recovers and integrates the information that you learned during the day. Lack of sleep is a primary cause for reduced brain function. This manifests as poor short-term memory, brain fog, mood changes, anxiety, depression and reduced motivation. When your brain is not functioning optimally, then finding the motivation to make healthy decisions is hard to find, in addition to being overwhelming. Transformation does not happen with a sleepy brain.
Don’t skip a meal
Nutrition is important in order to feed your body’s system with the essential nutrients and minerals to survive and perform optimally. Skipping meals or fuelling your body with unhealthy options in the short, or long term can have negative effects on your metabolic rate, energy levels, body composition and stress levels. Transformation does not happen with a nutrient deficient diet.
But I walked to my car.
There is movement, and then there is moving well. Moving well means you’ve moved for at least 20 minutes continuously. This is enough time to get out of your head and into your body. Movement, no matter the method releases endorphins which are the “feel good hormones”. Healthy movement is the antidote to mobilizing fear, stimulating creative flow, improving physical strength, flexibility, brain function and more. I think that’s called transformation!
Need a vacation?
The key to understand here, is that when you are sleep-deprived, hungry and sedentary you are STRESSED. Sleep, food and movement are basic metrics to keep the body happy. If you are missing any of these daily, then the stress response is automatically triggered. Chronic stress leads to the development of chronic illness and morbidities like high blood pressure, obesity, Type II diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction etc.
Hijack Your Stress Response
The secret to Self-Care then is making sure that your body isn’t stressed by taking inventory of the three fundamentals. Of course, there are many other triggers of stress that exist. Even during other stressful events, your resilience to these factors will be highly dependent on the quality of sleep, food and movement that you’ve committed to at any moment in time.
Self-Care doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
It’s easy to believe that you can continue at the same pace and intensity from where you left off last spring when you haven’t trained all winter. The weather is warmer and you may have registered for some races to motivated you. Here are some tips to keep your goals realistic and increase activity in a healthy way.
1. Are your shoes still good?
Even if they look good they may have run it’s course (no pun intended). Running/walking shoes should have a cushiony and supportive upper (ball of the foot part of the shoe). There should be some resistance when you bend your shoe in half from the sole. If you can do this too easily, then you need new shoes! The more mileage you have, the more often you need to replace them. Even if you are a minimalist runner, meaning you are anti-cushioning, running footwear must still be up to date. This will not deter your ability to feel the road.
2. Be realistic.
If you’re a bit rusty, be honest with yourself and don’t pick up from where you left off last spring. Increase your level of intensity in a gradual way. There are many apps and resources that can help you with a running training program. When you use an objective method to increase your running distance, injuries can be prevented. If you signed up for the Toronto Nike 15K run in June, Nike has great information here: http://content.nike.com/content/dam/one-nike/en_us/running/nwes-toronto-15k/training-program.pdf The information integrates information on how to safely increase your running distance and incorporate cross training.
3. Cross Train
Strength conditioning of your core muscles like transverse abdominus, obliques, glut medius and pelvic floor will help prevent IT Band issues, low back and knee pain that often develop from an unstable lumbar and pelvis. Remember, distance running is about endurance not power, so make sure that your muscles are ready for the distance. Overall resistance training of upper and lower body will also improve performance.
4.Stretch it out
Working out new muscles will cause muscle soreness as your body adapts to your new activity. Stretching will reduce muscle stiffness and pain. Keeping the fascia mobile will help to prevent injury and improve motion. Also, don’t just focus on your legs. A loose jaw, neck, chest and hand help to ensure that breathing is effortless during your runs.
5. Begin! A body that hasn’t run in a while will think of many excuses. Just get started and remember you run for the joy. Enjoy being outside. Running is fun.
If you need help with your alignment. I am happy to get your body back into shape. A body that is aligned can absorb shock better and injuries can be prevented. Chiropractic, acupuncture, myofascial release and kinesiotape are all tools to keep you moving. Email email@example.com for more information.
Realign. Strengthen. Live your Life.
Hi there! I am currently on a Leave of Absence. Dr. Chryssafis is covering my caseload at PPHC. Call 647-352-7742 to book your appointment. Dismiss