Recently there has been a great article buzzing around the internet about "self care." The article is titled "This is What "Self Care' Really Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake." The title really says it all, being truly good to yourself and for yourself requires something a little bit grittier than the occasional self indulgence.
As the holidays and colder months visit us, it is easy to get caught up in the changing tide. It becomes less comfortable to get up and get moving, the holiday blues can hit out of nowhere, and we become bombarded with conflicting messages of "treat yourself" followed by "earn it or burn it" when it comes to said treats. The heightened emotions, the time change, the cold...it can all get a bit overwhelming. The way to not only survive but thrive during this time of year is to create a game plan in advance. "PPPPP": Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Create Goals. Your goals can range anywhere from being able to lift the weight of your suitcase overhead, being able to jog a mile, or running your first half-marathon in the spring. Focus on one task at a time. What small tasks need to be accomplished on a daily and weekly basis in order to reach your next milestone and eventual goal? "How do you eat an elephant? ...One bite at a time." Break it down, complete each task as it comes. Stay grounded by asking yourself the right questions before making emotional and reactive decisions. Is this what I really need right now for my long-term health and goals, or is this merely a temporary band-aid that might actually wind up making me feel worse afterward, tomorrow or weeks from now long after the initial discomfort has passed? Before you know it, weeks will have passed and you will be either further away or closer to where you want to be.
Prevents Poor Performance
Play the long game, not the short game. If your goal is to become a healthier and more fit person that all begins and ends in the mind. If we fall prey to the idea of frantically trying to earn or burn off our holiday meals or chronically skipping exercise, what does that mind-set look like in the long term? Does it create long-term health and fitness or an endless cycle of over exercising, extreme dieting, burnout, binging and guilt? When it comes to long-term health and fitness, balance and moderation always wins. The key is to create daily lifelong healthy habits which have room for occasional treats, rest, and most importantly living a life that you don’t need a constant retreat from.
Be well this season, enjoy the gift of movement, and take good care of yourself this winter.
Nichole Scaraglino is an Artist, Athlete, outdoor enthusiast, and dog mom. She has competed in figure and fitness in both the INBF and NPC, nationally qualifying in 2010. When she's not out adventuring or training for it, she enjoys time with her family and helping to raise money through community fitness events for veteran non-profits such as Mission 22 and Gallant Few. Check her out on Instagram @thatgirlnicholesomething.