Investing in self care

As much as I love reading girly magazines and tabloids, there’s one magazine that I look forward to each month: the IDEA Fitness Journal. I always end up with some new knowledge and tips to use during my classes. In the most recent issue, there was an article that struck a chord with me: the importance of self care. (There is a similar blog post here on their website if you’d like to check it out.)

The full article is not available online, but here is a snippet from the synopsis:

In an industry of caregivers, prioritizing your own self-care is necessary to your health and happiness.

At the age of 40, Seattle-based France Marien, certified instructor and creator of the Remix Workout® app, was taken by ambulance to the hospital, complaining of chest pain. Coming from a family with a history of heart disease, Marien was very frightened and underwent a battery of tests. “The conclusion was quite simple,” she says. “I need to take care of myself. I was stressed out. I had to stop saying yes to everything.”

As a fitness instructor, it’s easy to wear yourself into the ground. It’s not something I’m currently experiencing, as my teaching schedule is pretty mild, but when I was teaching 15-20 classes a week, it was prevalent not only with myself, but with my fellow instructors. When you’re teaching a lot, you use your voice, your body, and your energy; it’s invigorating, inspiring and amazing, but it’s also physically and mentally draining. There were times when I’d drive home after a full a day of teaching with the radio off, relishing in the complete silence. 

Gina dancing

(I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining, because teaching fitness is something I LOVE, but just saying that it takes a lot out of you. If you aren’t careful to give yourself downtime and rest, it can lead to burnout and injury.)

When I was teaching so many classes, I realized the importance of self care, and how critical it is not only for frequent instructing fitness classes, but also for LIFE. As a mom, student, busy professional, teacher, whatever your situation may be: it’s important to take care of yourself so that you can give, show love/happiness/kindness, and nurture others. 

I feel happier and am more productive when I take a little time for myself, and over time I’ve realized what those things are:

-Almost daily workouts. If I teach a cardio class, like spin or Zumba, that’s counted as my workout for the day. If it’s more of a coaching class, where I just demo a few moves and walk around to correct form, I like to get in my own workout. They vary in intensity, and I’ve found that five is my magic number; five workouts varying in moderate to high intensity, with two days of total rest or active recovery.

-Alone time. As an introvert, time alone recharges my battery. Reading before bed, taking the dogs for a quick walk, or listening to a podcast during Liv’s nap are some of my favorite ways to restore my energy.

-Occasional spa treatments. While I prefer to paint my own nails, I love massages and facials. They’re a rare treat, but it’s funny that even little things like getting my eyebrows done puts a little pep in my step.

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Some other things I’d like to get into (or back into):

-Accupuncture. So relaxing, and I find that it provides a host of wellness benefits.

-Meditation. Adding to my list of random hobbies (you can roll your eyes along with the Pilot haha), I’m trying to learn kirtan so I can sing during savasana for yoga classes. Lyric memorization and practicing songs has been my form of meditation lately.

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From this article:

“Ladies, self-care isn’t selfish, it’s self-preservation!  

This is an important point to remember. Taking time out to treat your body like the temple it is can be very beneficial. It can remind yourself and others that you and your needs are important, too. Having a well-cared-for body can make you feel good about yourself and your life, and conveys to others that you value yourself. This can contribute to long-term feelings of wellbeing.

People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem and feelings of resentment. Sometimes people who spend their time only taking care of others can be at risk for getting burned out on all the giving, which makes it more difficult to care for others or themselves. Taking time to care for yourself regularly can make you a better caretaker for others.”

How often do you invest in self care? What recharges your mental and physical batteries?

Take some time for yourself today, mmm k? 🙂

xoxo

Gina

More teaching-related posts:

-Confessions of a personal trainer

Confessions of a group fitness instructor

Fitness conferences

Gym class etiquette

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Comments

  1. I invest every day to my self care. 🙂

    Some things I do to recharge: yoga, meditate, go for walks, read a book, take a bath, paint, organize/clean, get a massage/pedicure, or go see a movie alone. 🙂 I know I’m a much better person when I take time to myself daily. Thankfully, I have a partner who understands and supports that. 🙂 (Probably because he knows if I don’t, then I’m not a very nice person). 😉

  2. I became a health coach for exactly this reason. I was a PR exec working non stop, stressed to the max with my health and marriage suffering. When I was told I was too stressed to carry a baby, I woke up. I left my job and went to school to learn about health and wellness. Prioritizing our health is so important- one body, one life. Now I am a health coach and pregnant! I loved this post, so important!

  3. Amen to all of the above! I totally hear you on this one, and it’s something I need to remind myself of a lot as well. For me, regular workouts, alone time, and creative time (whether that means cooking, writing, or chopping up magazines and making vision boards) help me de-stress and relax. Meditation is something I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of this month, but I think what is “meditative” is different to each individual. I’ve found that trying to practice really deep breaths in the car to and from work has been quite relaxing, and it takes my focus away from the annoyingness of stop-and-go traffic!

  4. I really want to try acupuncture. I’ve heard great things but have never done it. What are some of the biggest benefits you’ve found from it?

  5. Awesome post! 🙂

  6. I like occasional spa visits myself! So much fun. and I do like occasional mani’s and pedi’s! Sleeping in is fun as well.

  7. A recharge for me is getting out of my home on the weekends and enjoying nature in peace and quiet.
    I run an in home daycare and my weeks can be loud, busy, stressful and long sometimes. When your home is your home and business it’s important to get out and leave those four walls when you can.

  8. I love this because I think with busy schedules it is so easy to forget this. Thanks for the reminder Gina 🙂

  9. This is something I need to work on. I am that person that tries to do everything and then I collapse because I’m not taking care of myself. This post is a great reminder to do things for myself once in awhile!

  10. Yes! Definitely self-care is important! I feel like I’m always trying to cram stuff in, even when it is fun stuff. I’ve gotten better at tuning out emails on the weekend to focus more on what I’m doing. Yoga and stretching definitely helps me too. And I love to get pedicures! 🙂

  11. Love this post! I’m not great at remembering to take time for myself and it’s something I’m trying to be better at.

  12. I go to work.

    This is a BIG deal to me, because it feels so indulgent. At first, for many weeks, I felt guilty leaving behind my doe eyed girls (with my totally capable husband, who happens to be a wonderful father.) They weren’t at day care. They weren’t with strangers. They got to spend time with their daddy in the evenings, while I worked a super part-time evening job.

    I did it for balance. I hadn’t worked in 13 years, since my oldest daughter was born. We certainly don’t need the money. But I needed it. I feel good being there for 3-4 hours some evenings, making friends, laughing, making other people laugh, making a difference in another way. Now I don’t feel guilty. I do it for me. The girls are fine. And I am fine too.

    My Mom passed away a long time ago. But, I’m pretty sure she’d be proud of me too.

  13. Great post 🙂 It’s definitely something I need to work on. I feel the best when I am able to work out 5 days a week as well as doing something active on my rest days…It’s hard to fit everything in but I know I will be a better mom/wife/friend if I am able to have some time to recharge my battery with a great workout or class 🙂

  14. I love this post! I’m completely with you on the importance of self-care. So important! I like to recharge with a yoga or barre class, cooking a yummy healthy meal at home (even grocery shopping is enjoyable for me!) and sometimes just a run outside for fresh air. I’m also a huge fan of getting ready for bed early and just relaxing in bed reading for an hour or so before falling asleep:).

  15. I don’t spend enough time on self care which is why I end up stressed and tired. I don’t love my job which makes it worse. Sometimes I have to remind myself to make small steps. Not everything can happen at once.

  16. I absolutely agree!! I think self-care is SO important. I will admit, since I’ve become a mom, it’s more challenging. It’s harder to find the time and money, and it’s easy to feel a little guilt. But, I’ve learned that I should not at all feel guilty — I NEED that time to recharge so I can be a better mom, wife, fitness instructor, etc. Great reminder!

  17. Self care is critical for me as a Mom and yoga teacher. I like to start my day with oil pulling, skin brushing and massage. I get bi weekly pedicures and monthly massages. Playing golf and teaching yoga is my “me time”. Girls nights/weekends, time with friends, date nights with my husband, vacations- all important. HOWEVER- many of these are luxuries that i am intensely grateful for. Sometimes I worry that our “self care” lists turn into ” privilege” lists- it’s a slippery slope. I’m acutely aware that if I worked full time outside the home or if we were on a tighter budget things many of the luxuries I call self care simply wouldn’t be possible. I try to keep that In mind and stay grateful and grounded.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i don’t think it’s too much of slippery slope if you stay true to your values and what you know in your heart that you need. i know many people who work full time and have kids, and still manage to get in daily workouts or occasional nights out with girlfriends. if it’s important to you and you enjoy it (and it fits within budget), i think it’s worth it to enrich life. many of the best things don’t cost money either, and can be a huge boost in productivity and enjoyment 🙂

      • Well sure, but “need” is one thing when one can afford it, and an entirely different thing when one cannot 🙂 Lots of people can’t afford babysitters, massages, facials, pedicures, gym memberships, etc, and still have needs for self care. In fact, they probably have greater needs as they may live more stressful lives. That was all that I meant.

        • Fitnessista says:

          Totally! Agree entirely

          • YES. THIS. We’re starting to tighten things up a lot looking at Patrick possibly going back to school for his MBA full-time, but one of the things we value so much is self-care. Its so so important to your health, and we think you can’t put a price on that.

            There’s definitely a balance that each individual family has to find. I’ll do my own nails and toes, but I know when its time for a massage or a visit to the chiro, and I go without feeling guilty. I squeeze in short, effective workouts in our garage while my son is napping so we don’t spend money on a gym membership or a sitter for me to leave, but we make sure to schedule date nights or tag team nights out with friends so that we both get our down time. Its all about balance. 🙂

  18. I just had this discussion with a few clients this past week. I totally agree self care is of vital importance. It took me a few years to “figure” this out. I like to get massages, an occasional pampering of a pedicure but one thing is for sure I get regular acupuncture treatments.

    Another “selfcare” tip I shared with my clients is to just get away for the weekend or even the night, change of scenery works wonders.

    Have a great week.

  19. I would definitely like to start working toward spending more time and money on massages and facials because I crave them so much, but then end up spending my money on clothes (an immediate gratification) rather than these types of self care appointments that I want so badly. It is definitely important to remember how important taking care of ourselves is for our mental and physical health. 🙂

  20. I also love reading IDEA Fitness Journal and that very same article resonated with me as well. As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I’m definitely guilty of doing too much, moving too much and trying to fit too much in everyday. While I do a good job with my own workouts, I definitely need to take more time to recharge with massages and services to recover my body. I’ve never done acupuncture and would love to. This is a great reminder to care for ourselves. Thanks for covering!

  21. Amber Schumann says:

    Ahhh… preach on sister. I recently read a blog piece by Kate Baer – “When You Are Tightly Wound” and it helped me take a big deep exhale (you should read it too!). That’s the first step.

    The next step is doing what you said here: take care of myself. I don’t do it. And I don’t receive the support from my partner to do it. That’s the hardest.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i will definitely check that one out.
      that’s a fought one. i really hope you’re able to find some YOU time that works with your schedule, and your partner will realize how much happier you are when you can. that’s definitely worth supporting <3

  22. Self care is SO important and definitely something I fight myself to include in my daily life. I’ve gotten into a new habit of writing for about 5 minutes every morning in my journal and then ending my day with sit-ups & planks. Both may be super simple but have a huge impact on my overall well-being, physical and mental.

  23. I couldn’t agree with this more! These things are truly necessary!

  24. I invest in self care every time I take a group fitness class or session with my trainer. With out all of their inspiration and help I wouldn’t be 50 pounds lighter and more fit than I ever thought I could be! I also treat myself to a once per month massage. Before I found the gym, I was always putting my health and fitness last on the priority list. Never again…….

  25. Self-care is so important! I used to think it was selfish, and then I’d wonder why I was always getting burned out (in the gym and just in life). Burnout translates, for me, into being a lot more of a beeyatch and I hate that! So I finally learned that self-care is something I need to do for my sake and for those around me. 😉 We’ve been blessed with these bodies/minds/souls, so we need to take care of them so that we can pour out our energy and love for others. Like you, I’m an introvert, so time alone is my “safe space,” and I can’t go more than a day or two without at least a little 15 minute “me-break.”

  26. Awesome post. We are getting ready to go on vacation soon, and I told my husband I need a spa day. A one-hour spa treatment, even. I’m still battling that mommy guilt for leaving my daughter to do something for myself. Does that ever end? Sheesh.

    That picture of you is super awesome by the way!

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you!!
      and yes, the mommy guilt is REAL. i’ve finally had to let go of it and trust that i’m a better mom when i’ve taken a little time for me each day.

    • it NEVER ends haha. I took a trip with girlfriends to the Bahamas for 3.5 days when my son was 8 months old and cried for the first half of the plane ride. When I came back, though, I was so refreshed, much more patient with my baby and my husband, and ready to tackle my “mom duties” with so much energy. It made me realize how important it is to take that “me time” and (thankfully) my husband is super supportive of girls nights/me taking a long run alone/etc.

  27. Thank you for posting this! I think some people don’t realize how important it is to take care of yourself. I’ve never tried acupuncture before but I recently purchased a groupon deal and made an appointment for this week. I’m nervous but excited to try it at the same time!

  28. I love this post so much! Self-care definitely is self-preservation! Last year I went back to school to start a post-bacc while I apply for my doctorate and for my first semester I took 20 credits and spent 3 hours a day commuting. By the end of the semester, I was so burnt out and had nothing in me. The next semester, I started prioritizing my sleep, I moved closer to school and work, and started creating practices to help with my stress. Baths are the number 1 way I relax and I begin each day reading something uplifting or spiritual, like Gabby Bernstein’s Miracles Now or May Cause Miracles, or Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention! It’s my favorite way to center myself! Also–lots of Sephora 😉

  29. I’m an introvert, too, and I just recently figured that out! It’s been so helpful to know that while I love bring around people, I just have to have some time to myself to recharge! This post was great – thanks for sharing the article!

  30. totally agree. self-care is what helps me do my best at work and be the kind of person i want to be in my relationships. if i didn’t take some time out to nurture myself, i’d be grouchy and burned out. i don’t always have the time for a workout due to the sometimes long hours at my job (when people are in surgery and i’m waiting for tumor etc). but sometimes, even taking 10mins to go just have a cup of coffee and visualize something that makes me happy can be so beneficial.

    if i have had a particularly rough day, sometimes i’ll just go upstairs, close the door and play my guitar singing at the top of my lungs in our bedroom. it’s silly because my husband can totally hear me in our little house but it feels like a little sanctuary in there.

    i also love facials so they are my splurge! pedis are amazing too but i probably only get one or 2 in 12 month period…it’s quite a luxury!

  31. Great reminder, Gina. Thanks! 🙂

  32. Self-care is SO important, and equally as important is it for people like you and I to [continue to] get that message out there!!

    I love to go for leisure walks in nature (super sloooow, in flip flops, Bizzle in hand… preferably 😉 ) and I also love to read! Whatcha reading these days?

  33. Jennifer says:

    Great post, Gina, especially on a Monday! Time for self activities I’m work into the busiest of days (like today!) – I try to walk to the coffee cafe for my afternoon coffee or park farther away for an errand I must do for a quick, solo walk. Also, I slow down my walking pace to the errand, instead of flying, I really try to act like I’m walking on vacation and breathe.

  34. Read that article too and loved the weekly chart they made to track your “you” time.

  35. Love this post! Self care is so important. I’m lucky that I grew up with a mama who taught me this. She is a full time nurse who works long stressful hours. As I am following in her nursing footsteps, she has instilled in me the importance of taking care of myself. Our favourite pampering, and what is actually on the agenda for tomorrow… Pedicure! Such a special treat when you work on your feet all day. For all the Parks and Rec fans out there, “Treat Yo Self!” 🙂

  36. Il ove this post (and only partially because I’m quoted in the original IDEA article 😉 ). I still teach more than I’d like (but that annoying “making a living” thing keeps my class load where it is) but I’m transitioning into more classes where I can coach versus ones I have to do myself. And I’ve cut down substantially on the hours of cardio I’ll teach. Heart palpitations are not my idea of fun.

  37. Massages are incredibly expensive where I live, but a massage school recently opened with lowered rates. I try to get monthly massages!! I need it. 🙂 I also like to float around in the water… beaches, pools, ponds, wherever I can feel weightless.

  38. Ugh….I need this reminder often. I typically workout 6 to 7 days a week, and I find lately I’m just tired and uninspired. I need a pool float 🙁

  39. I LOVE when yoga teachers sing during savasana!!

  40. I LOVE when yoga teachers sing during savasana!!

  41. Thanks for this post! I just got a puppy and balancing work with taking care of him is new to me. At first I felt guilty for enjoying a workout in the morning while he hung out in the crate at home, but then I realized it was good for both of us—I got some “me” time and he started to figure out that when I leave, I come back, which help us both feel more calm!

  42. I have a six month old and am training for a half marathon. I’ve been doing 2/3 runs with her inthejogging stroller and was running out. I started going to a 2.5 hour meditation circle. I have a lot more patience now that I take that time to truly unplug and focus on myself!

  43. I’m an introvert as well, and am getting better at identifying my need to just be alone for a while to recharge. After a busy weekend with lots of friends and get-together a, I was completely burned out by Sunday afternoon. Fortunately my very spathetic husband took the kiddo out for a few hours so I could be at home alone to do the things I needed to regroup! It helps so much when your partner gets what you need as much as you do!

  44. i have always felt ashamed to do things/buy things or treat myself. I have beat myself up over the years and have finally realized the importance of being good to myself!

    I am an introvert too! So I def. need my MEEEEE time. Here are a few ways I take care of myself and love myself now :

    1- tell people I need my ME time, no excuses, no lies, JUST tell them I need my space
    2- being honest – with others AND myself
    3- yoga
    4- morning coffee from wawa
    5- spoiling myself for my bday. I am taking myself on a little getaway, alone (with my pup) to do what i want, when I want , eat what I want, etc 🙂
    6- reading my blogroll each night
    7- massages and/or facials…….ahhhhhhhh

  45. Thanks for sharing! This was so great, and something I definitely need to do for myself. As a group fitness instructor and blogger I feel like I always want to be doing, inspiring, motivating, moving, thinking…and I often forget to just stop and listen to what my body needs. I have been trying to do more “self preserving activities” like yoga each week, but it’s definitely something I can improve on.

  46. Just taking time out to go running and be alone with my thoughts is my self care!

  47. Reading is something I love and I put it aside for a long time after I had kids and then even moreso after I started my blog. I finally picked up a book again recently and it felt so good to spend time reading again. Now I’m making it more of a priority. It’s important not just for me, but also for my own writing. Reading people’s work that I enjoy will only help my own writing.

    Also, exercise is a near daily recharge for me. I drop my kids off in the childcare at the gym and enjoy a full 1.5 hours to myself (not all of it exercising). It’s great!

  48. I definitely need my alone time to rejuvenate and keep my head on straight!

  49. I’m so glad you liked my article. Thank you for sharing the message about self-care for all of us fitness pros.

  50. Elizabeth says:

    This post was a great reminder for me!
    I’m a nurse, I spend all day caring for everyone else. But I’m horrible at caring for myself…Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost my spark. Burnout is real man!

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