By Nathalie Lacombe, M. Sc.
As leaders in the fitness industry we spend a lot of time telling our clients, participants, and staff that self-care is the ultimate source of health care. We help them find time for their workouts, meal prep, even now mindfulness and meditation. We have them rate their desire to commit based on the importance of fulfilling their need to feel and look better. We sing the praises of balancing time for themselves in order to be better parents, friends, employees, lovers, etc.
How much we listen to the lyrics of our own beautiful songs?
As February is touted as the month of love, let’s challenge ourselves to live by our words and take action in self-care and even self-love! Here are a few ways to practice what we preach:
All movement is an exercise in self-care
If the intention is in the right place. We can choose to see movement practices like Yoga, active recovery, meditation, etc. as the sole opportunities for “mind-body” exercise or we can choose to be mindful in our intentions for each workout we undertake.
Thankfully, long gone are the days when fitness professionals would “work off” extra calories by punishing themselves with a workout. We now understand that pleasure comes from moving our bodies in ways we were born to do, and that variety creates cravings for more movement. Let’s continue down that path by taking a few extra breaths before each workout to ensure we enjoy how remarkable the human body is each time we decide to move, run, sweat, push, pull, turn, jump, etc.
No one likes a cheater
I’m putting it out there: enough with the concept of “cheat meals”. Words matter! We’re setting ourselves up for negativity by not only telling ourselves that we deserve cheat meals, but then even posting them on social media for all to see (no offence to The Rock).
Let’s consider instead the ideology of leading a life filled with pleasure that includes “treat meals”. Caring about ourselves includes using self-talk that is positive and empathetic.
Reading vs learning vs growth
We made it through the January rush, and now we can look back on the pile of books we committed to reading in 2019 and crack them open. Before we do, let’s first ask ourselves what we will do with the wealth of information we gather and gain. Let’s go passed the assumption that if we read something, we learn something, and remember that what we truly desire is an opportunity to grow. This likely means we need to pace ourselves as opposed to power-reading through a set number of books we set out as a goal.
To grow, we need to give ourselves time to read and reflect. Reflection keeps us in the realm of curiosity and hones the desire to seek to understand better. Reflection is a uniquely human experience between input and reaction and is the key to moving beyond judgement and opinion towards insight, and therefore growth.
My bad, sorry
We will falter, and we will fall. Not fail but fall. Taking ownership for our imperfections and apologizing for mistakes, like any other ability, comes with practice. We will feel genuinely better about ourselves if we cut ourselves some slack, own up to our mistakes, apologize, and forgive ourselves.
The act of apologizing not only impacts our own self-esteem but also build much stronger relationships with others based on trust and optimism. We can then be our true selves and celebrate the imperfections that make us unique.
January is traditionally the month when we give all of ourselves to our clients who have committed to self-improvement, let’s make February the month we tune in to our own needs and desire for growth thanks to mindful moments of true self care and love.