Are you neglecting yourself?
This post is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare. All opinions are my own.
So a few years ago I came to a sort of breaking point where my spiritual, emotional, and physical health weren’t where they should be. We were living in Huntington and I was working an emotionally stressful job as a home based therapist and case worker for kids and teenagers. I saw a lot of junk. And it began to wear on me.
Spiritually I was dealing with a family situation that was only semi-resolved and left me spiritually weak and guarded around other Christians. Physically, I was “dealing” with my stress in a basic white girl fashion of margaritas and Pinterest. My Friday night margarita became a “necessity” on Tuesday too and slowly became an unwinding crutch for me after work. I was in no way an alcoholic or drinking excessively, but when my sweet husband came to me and suggested that maybe my margaritas were happening more often than they should be, I responded with a very defensive, “you don’t know what my days are like; you don’t know what I deal with.” He responded, “Well, I know honey that things at work are discouraging, but do you think to help you deal with it instead of a margarita you could, you know maybe take a walk and pray about it?”
Take a walk and pray about it. I knew he was right. I may have looked healthy and “together”, but I wasn’t. So with those simple words I began my journey towards improving my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. At this time I started blogging as a way to keep myself accountable for weight loss and as a creative outlet, and so my website Kate Moving Forward was born. For the next year or so nothing in my life changed….the stress was all still there, but I changed and was able to find joy and purpose again through restoring my health.
Spiritually I knew I needed to stay connected to God, even when I was busy. There is a principle in running that says, even when you don’t feel like running, give it 10 minutes and see how you feel. Spiritually the principle is the same, just taking 10 minutes to read a short devotional, meditate, and pray is huge for me. I love the book Jesus Calling and the app She Reads Truth for the hectic days when 10 or 5 minute snatches are all I have. I wish I had more time for longer stretches of Bible reading, journaling and the like, but right now I align spiritually more with short prayers, listening to praise music and those simple devotionals. The important thing isn’t how, when or where, but that you take time to move your heart toward Jesus everyday.
Emotionally, I was probably struggling the most at the time (which was ironic, since I was working in mental health). Thankfully I found great methods for coping with stress and processing my feelings in a healthy way. Here are some of my favorite ways…
- Journaling and creative writing
- Talking honestly about my feelings to someone (Don’t be afraid to get professional counseling if need be!)
- Walking or running outside in nature
- Saying “no” to overextending myself and giving myself grace to NOT be perfect.
- Taking rest (literal naps, time away to recharge, restful rituals like my morning cup of coffee) when I needed it.
Self care is so huge for emotional health and an easy thing to pass over in our busy lives. Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional counseling if you are struggling emotionally. Many insurances cover mental health benefits, so be sure to know what your insurance covers and many communities have low-cost and sliding scale fees.
Physically taking care of myself was huge, too. When I think about physical health I try not to get hung up on aesthetics, but rather embrace a whole-life picture. My ultimate goal is to be a healthy 70-year-old, still active and enjoying life with my kids and grandkids, NOT to have a thigh-gap or wear the smallest bikini. My focus is eating healthy, “real” food most of the time (see this post for more about my clean eating philosophy) and enjoying treats on occasion. Moderation is key and I want to enjoy my food!
Other key components of my physical health:
- Fitness! Duh! I love working out and being active. It took me awhile to find out what motivated me physically and activities I enjoyed, but
- Drink water
- Sleep! Ah, glorious sleep. I only dream about it these days, but normally I am an 8 hour a night kind of gal. It makes me feel my best and keeps me making healthy choices.
- Regular doctor visits and check ups. I admit, I spent a few years avoiding my doctor (and dentist) partly out of busyness, a little fear (ugh-those teeth cleanings!), and just a lack of knowledge about what my health insurance covered. It’s a little sad to avoid services that you have covered just because you don’t know you could!
This month UnitedHealthcare is daring YOU to learn more about your health coverage! Each dare offers a chance to win $400 and weekly $25 gift cards are given out too! I had a fun time checking out the dares–it’s so important to utilize the healthcare professionals and resources that we have!
2. Build a puzzle while also learning about UnitedHealthcare insurance tools
3. Watch a video on how to use your health plan benefits
Pursuing good health across all areas of your health is an ever-changing balance. I’m re-discovering that balance again right now with a new baby, but it’s a goal I’m constantly striving for. I dare you to live your healthiest life–don’t accept mediocrity. Look for new strategies and steps for improving your health—spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
[tweetthis]Embrace your healthiest life-emotionally, spiritually & physically! Love this advice! [/tweetthis]
How do you embrace healthy living spiritually, emotionally, or physically? What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?
it is so easy to get wrapped up with wine and greys anatomy…esp when i am having a stressful day. i often forget how a good workout can really change that energy level, im glad you are back at it. and sleep girl, you are on point about it.
Yes! It’s easy, but not always what is necessarily best. Checking out doesn’t always make me feel better. And yes to sleep, such a huge component in health!
What a heartfelt post! Thanks for sharing.
Saying no to over committing! Yes I need to do that more often
Girl, it is hard. I definitely like to do all the things, but at the same time am the type of person who needs quiet thinking and alone time to recharge. It’s a hard balance.
I love this. I love the idea of a whole life picture! Thank you for sharing this with us!
Yoga and living whole is my answer to both of your questions. Love this Kate.
Yes! I really want to find a way to go to a yoga studio consistently this fall once things settle down with the babies.
I really need to work on journaling more! You’ve encouraged me!
I have learned to create better boundaries to not allow the negative people in my life to run me and to run me over. I always enjoy unwinding with a run, that’s what gives me the most balance. Thank you for sharing your journey!
Yes! Boundaries are so healthy–and running is one of my favorite ways to unwind as well.