By Brittney Stefanic
2019 – The year of self care
The topic of self care is pretty trendy these days. In fact, if you scroll social media, it’s tough to make it through your feed without stumbling onto a least a post or two with a friend getting her nails done, a celebrity taking a bubble bath or a random stranger posing in front of a treadmill with that post-workout glow. Luckily, #selfcare is one of the most popular hashtags of 2019. If you ask me, it’s about time that we start slowing down our busy and showing up for ourselves!
As a mom, however, it can be tough to prioritize and even trickier to maintain this self care mindset. When you are the cook, maid, chauffer, nanny, counselor and primary hug giver, it is HARD to step away and even harder to step away without the mom guilt.
But what if self care came from the kitchen?
When the end of December rolled around, I knew I wanted to show up for myself in January, but I also knew that I couldn’t/wouldn’t make time for weekly manicures or nightly binging Netflix sessions. I wanted to make a change and prioritize myself and my health. Enter the Whole 30 Challenge.
Starting January 1st, I embarked on my journey to self care in the kitchen… 30 days without grains, dairy, added sugar, alcohol, legumes or the scale. Why? Well, self care of course. I wanted (and needed) to feel better about myself and with myself, and I had some stomach/gut issues that I wanted to get to the bottom of. I knew that cleaning up my eating would be the best place to start. I have to cook anyways, so I decided to use that “chore” as a way to prioritize myself!
30 days of showing up for myself
From January 1 to 30, I was able to successful complete the program with NO CHEATS. This meant lots of time meal prepping, lots of careful planning and very minimal time out with friends or at restaurants. I knew that I needed to stay in my kitchen and be in charge of my own meals if I were going to be successful! I didn’t want to “give in”, so I didn’t! I showed up for myself by taking care of myself day after day and meal after meal.
I was so excited to complete this challenge. It felt SO GOOD! I am feeling better (for the most part), my gut isn't sloshy and yucky all the time, my food cravings are under control, my sugar dragon has been SLAYED, my daytime energy levels are through the roof, and my boobs shrunk which may be the only negative side-effect?! And there are even little tiny baby abs peaking through. I think!
But best of all, my hubby and I connected over these 30 days. He was SO THOUGHTFUL to join me in the journey. I knew that I needed him as my accountability buddy, and luckily he played along. We made a weekly habit of hitting the store together as a family, we meal prepped a few times a week, we worked out on our own and as partners when our schedules allowed, we went to bed early to avoid cravings, and we DID IT TOGETHER! It felt great to show up for myself, and even better to show up for each other.
The process was not NEARLY as hard as I thought it would be. But – I’ve gotta say, we were really excited for the reintroduction of #allthethings! To reintroduce, we selected one of the eliminated groups to add back in every 3 days. This has allowed us to determine what foods we will limit in the future in order to continue feeling good!
Why is “it” so hard?!
I’m sure you are thinking… Wow. That’s a lot of change. I don’t think I could do it. It seems too hard. And you are right!
Breaking old habits is hard.
Creating new habits is hard.
Trusting your (hungry) gut is hard.
Sticking to a plan is hard.
I agree 100% with all of these thoughts. Trust me. By the time we were a few days into our official Whole30 Challenge, I learned firsthand that breaking old habits, creating new habits, trusting your gut and sticking to a plan is challenging. Especially when wine, cheese and chocolate are on the line. But guess what. You have done harder things. I know you have. Showing up for yourself in the kitchen will NOT be the hardest thing you do. I promise.
How to show up for yourself to love yourself
During my 30 days, I made note of the two biggest factors that allowed me to be successful, and I know they will apply to your commitment to yourself, no matter what your self love looks like.
Whether your self care commitment looks like reading one book a month during some alone time or doing yoga 6 days a week, BE SURE THAT YOU ARE CONSISTENT. You owe it to yourself, your body and your mind to send steady and dependable message. When we get off track or waiver in our expectations, confusion results and most of us just throw in the towel.
Next, get yourself a buddy to hold yourself accountable. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who has successfully done what you are aiming to do, maybe your mom is willing to come over to help you meal prep, or maybe you need a support coach such as a personal trainer or counselor. No matter who is helping you show up for yourself, realize that it’s okay to ask for help. After all, we all need somebody to lean on.
Brittney Stefanic is a certified all-age sleep consultant specializing in sleep for mom bosses and their families. She gets that showing up for yourself and making time for self care can feel overwhelming and impossible at times, especially when sleep is out of the question! As an educator, Brittney believes in the power of teaching and loves supporting families in meeting their sleep goals through her customized sleep plans so that everyone can fit in the self care they need. You can follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook @brittneystefanicsleep for access to her free sleep tips and tricks and opportunities for virtual sleep Q&A sessions.
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