self care

Self-care? Self aware.

Well, guys, I’ve finally made a decision. I’m gonna start talking with you a bit about my struggles with self-care. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s something I truly need.

A recent edition of Chivon John’s #sidehustlechat focused on this subject. She asked us an important question: “Self-care has a different meaning for everyone. What is your definition of self-care?” I offered up a short, vague idea of what it meant to me. I even had the cojones to talk about taking “true” care of myself. And in return she asked


After that, Chivon and another chat participant (Hey, HecticDad!) encouraged me to share my thoughts. I’ve wanted to do so before, but hesitated. Now, I don’t know what’s come over me lately, but here we are.

“Self-care” is a pretty well-worn buzzword. I can’t tell you what to do about your journey. But what I can do is share why I’m investing in mine.

First there’s the matter of self-preservation. The fact is, women in my family age well. I’m at the halfway point in my life, and I feel as though I’m in bloom. Also, I’m in the process of rebooting my existence. I need energy and strength so that I can live through what’s ahead.

Speaking of “what’s ahead”, I’d also like to help build a better world. I’ve been talking about going back to work in education. If ever there was a career that demanded all of you as a human being, it’s teaching. I took horrible care of myself during my first go ‘round. I can’t afford to do that again. It’s bad for me—and my students.

Lastly, directly tied into improving the world, there’s the idea of service. Whether you’re teaching, cooking, singing, parenting—you name it—you can’t serve others effectively if you’re in pieces.

Overall, I’m learning that the greatest key to success lies in honouring my God-given self—body, mind, and soul.

I’m no guru. I’m just a regular woman. And I’ll admit it. I have fewer obligations than most: I’m single and I have no children. However I know that people with a variety of responsibilities can benefit from investing in themselves. I’ve heard them preach it, and I believe it! The more I work at self-care, the more I look forward to seeing what happens.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

Food, let's get physical

RUNday: Resolution #1

There are many goals that I’d love to see come into fruition this year. And in this season of surrender and promises to self…Here’s one thing that I’m going to do my best to give up.


Junk food.

A small thing to some, I know. Still.

Eating trash hasn’t served me well. It’s left me looking a lot like the before pic on this page.

Along with my cousin and her cronies, chickentuna‘s photo is my new fitsperation. I lost a few pounds last year. However, her “before” photo is similar to my present.

I came back into this post to edit the above so I wouldn’t sound that bad. But big or small, a tummy is still a tummy, no?

I almost wish I was the type of person whose mass increased at an even rate. Because at least then, my body type would make sense to me.

But no. If I eat too many bad calories, a dash will show up on my thighs, a wisp on my butt…

And a TON on my tummy.

Which is fine for some people. But I’ll be honest. I don’t like having a one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other physique.

And it’s been funny. I’ve tried not to tweet about my dietary concerns. Because I’m slim everywhere else, I worry that people might look at my profile photo and assume I’m one of those women who whines about what she eats while sporting a perfect figure.

Meanwhile, these new rules that I’m trying to adopt really aren’t all that new. Some today refer to the practice as “eating clean”. I call it common sense.

I was raised by a health nut. I eat well most of the time. And yet…I remember the week last year when I baked at least 3 different times. During that period, I binged on just about everything. (Here, the word “binged” means “sat down and munched half-to-all-of what I made within a few hours”.) I enjoy a salad as much as any other girl. But when it comes to “bad” foods, I have almost no impulse control.

So here we are at the dawn of 2013.

I can’t bring myself to start P90X. Instead, I want to give chickentuna’s method a try. I’ll keep doing normal exercises. I won’t make any special effort, apart from me being at my best. My main changes will be culinary.

They say abs are made in the kitchen. I intend to see if it’s true.

let's get physical

RUNday: RunKeeper

Let’s talk about exercise and technology.

Do you use any apps when you work out?

My phone already had Nike+ iPod preloaded on it. But as popular as the Nike name is, their software and I got into one too many fights. (In short, it refused to sync some of my runs.) Furthermore, I was fed up. I found their insistence on using their chip to track me a little unnerving.

What if my next pair of shoes aren’t Nikes? How would I record my runs?

(I knew I could by a device like this to hold Nike’s chip. But I didn’t feel like getting one.)

Enter RunKeeper.

Not only is it a free app, but it records my workouts via GPS. Which means I can wear any shoes that I like.

It also keeps track of things such as my pace and distance.

Since I first began using RunKeeper, they have made improvements. Recently, they launched a set of free training programs. These include useful features such as pre-programmed intervals.

Thus far, I have only two complaints.

Firstly, RunKeeper automatically pauses its recording when you aren’t moving. Say, if you stop to re-tie a shoe. However lately the “pausing workout” prompt has been going off without warning–while I’m still jogging.

You can also listen to music while you run. Yet users should know that the software will only accept your music if it’s a part of a playlist. If I want to listen to a particular artist or a podcast, I have to go outside of RunKeeper into my Music app.

Now, this may not sound like a problem. But in RunKeeper when you play music, it pauses the music so that its audio cues can remind you of things such as your speed. Outside of RunKeeper, the app’s voice and your music will overlap. I found this out the hard way one day when I tried to listen to an episode of This American Life.

In hindsight I realized that there’s a way to work around this problem. I should have turned off the prompts or changed their frequency.

Ah well. You live, you learn!

Overall, though, RunKeeper’s a useful program. I figure over six million users can’t be wrong.*

*I was looking for statistics on RunKeeper’s users. I found that information here.

let's get physical

Ok. It’s not Monday.

But Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were last week’s RUNdays.

Wednesday I went out the latest.

It was nowhere near midnight. But it was awfully close to my bedtime.

On my walk back home, I felt like a zombie. An exhausted, sweaty zombie.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has been a problem. I’ve been looking up tips on how to handle it. I keep thinking about what I should do with my body after I run, and what sort of supplements I ought to take. I figure it can only get better.

Right now my post-workout routine consists of showering and laying down to die.

let's get physical

Monday? RUNday.

I’m back at it.

Although I hate to admit it, I haven’t done much exercise since my last running post.

Today was a different story.

It was gorgeous out.

I’ve taken myself back to Week 7 of the C25K program. I figure it’ll be good for me to get my bearings again before I go any further. Or farther.

Mind you, I don’t know if it was the heat, or the fact that I’d skipped some runs. But I had to pause for a break at least twice on my route.

And another thing…

I’m casually hunting for sun protection. What I have is fine for now. But I really would like something that melts into brown complexions–and stays there.

I did my best to work my sunscreen into my skin before I left. But the more I sweated, the more it popped back out of my pores.

And it’s a sports formula, too. I thought it would’ve known better. 😉

let's get physical

“A little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody.”

Thus sayeth Beyoncé.

And man, I rocked it today.

I didn’t run at all last week. I’m still working my way through C25K. And even though I didn’t go on Monday, Wednesday and today I hit the road.

I went early.

It was just after 7. I keep fantasizing about going around 5 o’clock. But I think that’ll come.

And at the end it was worth it.

I enjoy a good sweat.  Even though I’m still under 5K, I know I worked hard.