Is Self-Care Selfish?

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As you know, I’ve been rising early in order to work-out.  Sometimes that means that I’m up at 4:30 a.m. since I’ve been doing most of my walking in the morning, in my basement with Denise Austin.  Why you may ask?  Well, our heat index has been 105° on more than one occasion.  So, the other day, I was minding my own business when I was informed by a family member that the very fact that I work-out is extremely selfish of me.  I was taking time and doing something for myself that should be spent doing something (anything) for the family.

There was something so shocking about this statement that I was at a loss for words.  After reflection on this I wonder, what should I be doing at 4:30 am?  Vacuuming?  Washing the floors?  Dusting?  The fact of the matter is, if I wasn’t working out, I’d be sleeping.  But, how come all my time is supposed to be “for the family”?  Aren’t we all adults here?

The definition of selfish is to be concerned exclusively with oneself, to the detriment of others.  I seriously do not think that making extra time in my day to exercise has anything to do with the detriment of other family members.  I still do everything that I was doing before I started working out every day, so this statement is patently untrue.  However, the purpose of his saying this was deliberately to undermine what I was doing.  I have seen positive changes this year, and that is what is bothering some people in my immediate family, not just this one individual.  When you start to change your life, some people may see this as a negative directed at them.  For their own reasons, they were happy with the status quo and now you’ve gone and changed yourself in certain ways.  This can be a problem, but remember, if you are changing yourself for your own reasons, they don’t get to say what you should or shouldn’t do.  (As long as what you’re doing involves only you).  So, self-care is not selfish.

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Motivations for a Hot Summer Week

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It’s really hard to work toward your goals when the heat index is going into the upper 90°’s and lower 100°’s.  I know this and am right there with you!  However, since I’ve been working toward some of my goals every day since January, and I don’t want to jeopardize my goals, here are a few motivations for me and for you.

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July Goals and June Recap

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How did you do with your June goals?  Have you conquered and are you now standing at the top of your mountain, or are you like me, still struggling to get there?  Well, I guess I’ve given you and idea of how well I’ve done with all my June goals.  I’ve kept on getting up quite early, so my exercising goal is still going strong.  However, I’ve not achieved Tae Bo status yet.  Hopefully this month.  One of my exercise goals was to walk eighteen miles per week, and that went well.  My average mileage was 21 miles per week – so good for me!  My fiction writing has not gone very well, with other things taking precedence.  I did go to a movie and had some fun as well in June, so that was wonderful!

Here are my July Goals:

  1. Work on coaching certificate.
  2. Write more fiction.
  3. Keep exercising and add some Tae Bo to the mix.
  4. Organization.
  5. Cleaning.
  6. Again, and one of the most important – have some fun!

Let me know how you’re doing on your own goals.

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June Goals

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Here we are, into a new month already.  It kind of snuck up on me.  Apparently, I thought that the month of May was going to last forever.  Part of my confusion was due to the crazy weather that May brought – one day it just might be hot, but the next had us all wearing winter clothes again and having a fire to stay warm.  The month of May was not productive at all, and with the advent of a new month, I’m hoping to turn that all around.  Here are my goals, humble though they be:

  1. Finish Spring Cleaning – I’ve got the nastiest bits left, and just want it to be over!
  2. Work on my coaching – read some of the books that I’ve bought and get that certificate.
  3. Write more fiction. Work on my novel.
  4. More organizing – files to be gone through and filing to be done.
  5. Continue working out and add Tae Bo to the mix.
  6. Try to have some fun!

Have you made goals for the month?  Share if you’d like some encouragement.  May we all accomplish what we set out to do!

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Hermits and Stuff

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I recently read the non-fiction book The Stranger in the Woods – The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel.  This is the true story of Christopher Knight, the man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years.  I don’t know about you, but I often consider the option of running away from civilization and living by myself in the middle of nowhere.  Of course, I’d have to be self-sufficient, including growing my own food, etc., which would require tons of work, and that’s the main reason why I haven’t done anything like that…money being the other compelling reason.

But this account brought up a lot of issues for me.  Do I really consider someone who stole for survival a hermit?  What about his watching t.v. (yes, he stole a t.v., and watched it frequently), he also played hand-held computer games, and listened to a purloined radio.  While living alone and not speaking to anyone for 27 years (with one exception of saying hi to a hiker in the 1990’s) is an accomplishment, it’s not really what I think of when contemplating my own hermitage.  If I were going to become a hermit, I’m pretty sure that I would not want any interaction with civilization.  Actually, to be honest, this is something that I’ve thought about since I was a child and read a National Geographic story about a Park Ranger who lived in the middle of Yellowstone (I think) during the winter and was so isolated that his supplies were helicoptered in for him.  He spent the time that he wasn’t working reading and writing.  That was the life, I always felt – being paid to be alone, and to read and write!  A dream come true!

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At some point I understood that jobs like that just were not available, then I got married and had children.  Even though I am an introvert, I can tolerate being around others for a period of time.  As an aside, my children had the earliest bed-time ever, mainly because I’d had enough of “togetherness” by the end of the day and knew my limits.  I need time alone to “de-compress” after a day with others, although my patience for being with groups seems to be getting smaller and smaller as I age.  Do any of you daydream of the day when you just might turn into a full-time hermit?  How would you go about it?  Let me know in the comments below.

May Goals

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Here it is already May!  The snow is finally gone and now we’ve got lots of wood to process for next winter.  And, that’s a good thing, since we’ll need a lot of wood if next winter is as cold and snowy as this past winter was.  So, as far as goals are concerned, here they are:

Fitness Goals:  I’ve got the goal of at least 18 miles of walking a week.  I’ve been averaging about 17 or so weekly, so this is definitely a doable goal.  Also keep on doing what I’ve been doing.

Spring Cleaning:  So far, I’ve done one floor of my house, and am working (about 3 rooms to go) on the next floor and have the basement to finish after that.  My daughter who is much cleverer than I am figured out a fabulous way to dust the logs on the walls (we have a log cabin), and they look so good!  We’ll continue doing that as we keep cleaning the house.

Writing:  I’m struggling with the fiction-writing thing lately.  I’ve been so busy cleaning (actually that’s just an excuse), but I intend to write at least one 600-word story this month, and the goal is two.  We’ll see on this one.

Lessons:  I hope to finish up with my coaching stuff and get my certificate.  This is one goal that I’ve had every month for months, and I just can’t seem to attain it.  I’m hopeful that this is the month.

Health:  I want to eat healthier.  It’s amazing what different kinds of unhealthy vegan foods there are out there in the world.  With the warmer weather, there will be more fresh fruits and vegetables on offer, and I want to start adding them into my diet.  No more vegan candy!

Mental Health:  The past few months have been pretty chaotic, and there are a lot emotional events that I need to process.  I haven’t been writing in my journal, so this month I’m going to try and work some issues out by doing that.  I really need to clear my head and take care of myself.

Anyway, there are my goals.  Have you made any goals for the month, and if so, what are they?  Let me know in the comments below, and we can cheer each other on. Happy May!

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Using Affirmations

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The other day I realized that the first thought I had when I get out of bed is usually negative.  It might be about the weather, or how I slept, but it was usually negative, and it put me into a bad frame of mind right off the bat.  And that is not a good way to start any day, much less most days.  No wonder I’ve been having a difficult time of it.  Once I had my big moment of realization, I decided that this little routine that I had going had to stop.  So, what did I decide to do?  Well, affirmations, of course.

I’ve talked about affirmations before, and I know that a lot of people find them silly, but they do help to keep you positive, especially first thing in the morning.  At first, I tried to over-think the whole thing, but I ended up saying my specific affirmations that I usually say to myself as I’m falling asleep at night.  This are ones that I made up specifically for myself and my goals for life.  I wanted to get myself on track with what I consider to be the most important goals for my life right now.

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Are they working?  I’ve found that on the mornings that I remember to say them, I do seem to be in a more positive frame of mind, and I tend to get more of my daily goals accomplished.  So, yes, I believe that they are working.  However, like everything else, I need to make the effort to say them consistently.  Do you use affirmations, and do they work for you?  What do you think about them?  Let me know in the comments below.