April 23, 2020

Guest Post; Self Care Thursday! Saratoga Family Photographer

Hey friends!! We’re back again with another guest post.  As a family photographer I’m taking in these moments we have at home – and while appreciating time spent with my babies – some days are very overwhelming too!! it’s SO important that we take care of ourselves before we can give everything we’ve got to everyone else.  so here we go – Megan James is here to tell us about how she holds herself accountable, how she sets goals and how she takes care of herself to complete her own goals and still have enough energy to enjoy time with her family!

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“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Read that again.

One more time – but out loud this time.

Now take a deep breath … and let it all out. 

How many times have you heard that statement, or said it to someone else … but not really taken it to heart and applied it to yourself?  I challenge you to change that, starting TODAY – so come along for a ride with me, and let’s work together toward a better YOU.

Self-care is defined, by dictionary.com, as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”  Key words here: taking action.  Self-care does not just happen on its own; YOU have to make it happen – YOU have to consciously put yourself first. 

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So, what exactly does self-care look like?  It’s a combination of things that promote both your physical and mental well-being, and it will look different for every person.  Yet, self-care as a whole is essentially the same for everyone: a happy, healthy community is made up of happy, healthy families, which starts with happy, healthy individuals.  Some ideas of self-care practices include:

  • Use a guided meditation for 5-10 minutes before settling into bed.
  • Take a gratitude walk before dinner.
  • Meal planning for a week at a time so you avoid the after-work scramble, which usually ends up in something less nutritious or satisfying.
  • Set alarms: go to bed at the same time every night; be firm on the amount of screen time or how late you’re answering emails; get up from your computer and move around for 5-10 minutes every hour.
  • Exercise – movement and fresh air are two of nature’s best medicines!
  • Smile & laugh! Designate one person in your family to tell a joke or a funny story at dinner every night, and have everyone share what he/she is grateful for today.

The picture with this post is of my daily goal sheet, and it’s how I hold myself accountable to taking care of myself.  On days that I complete 4-5 of these items, I feel GOOD – I am satisfied with my day, knowing I have put in the effort to “fill my cup” so that I can be there for my family.  On days that I complete 3 or less, I feel less energized and fulfilled; I use that for motivation to do better the next day. 

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Here’s the first action item … RIGHT NOW: grab a piece of paper and a pen.  Write down 3-5 things that would make you feel GOOD about yourself every day (you can use mine as an example, of course!).  Then ask yourself these questions about each item:

  • Is this realistic to accomplish on most (or all) days of the week?
  • Is this specific and measurable on a daily basis?
  • Do I feel emotionally connected to this goal, and its impact on me becoming a better person?

If you answered yes to these questions, then stick it on your calendar.  You’ve just started your own self-care tracking sheet!  Use this to hold yourself accountable – and you might find that your family members start to hold you accountable too, because they know that the family is at its best when you are too!   

Still struggling to identify your goals, or come up with a manageable plan? Talk to me – let’s do this together.

Megan R. James, PT DPT

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Megan is a doctor of physical therapy and certified running coach.  She has been a runner for most of her life, and now competes in races ranging from 1 mile to the marathon, with a special interest in 15k-Half Marathon distances.  Megan loves to spend time outside with her husband, Alex, their daughter, Emma, and their dog, Stella.  She is also a baker, and uses her kitchen as a way to explore and support local farmers (including her husband) with some creative dishes!  Megan founded Immersion PT as a way to provide resources and knowledge to runners of all ages and abilities to help them achieve their goals.  You can find Immersion PT on Instagram (@immersion_pt) and Facebook (@immersionphysicaltherapy), or online at www.ptimmersion.net

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