My How-To to Self-Care: 5 Easy Steps You Can Take Today

BY Amy Leever

One of the biggest excuses I had about not taking care of myself was, “I don’t have time.” On so many occasions I chose my Facebook update or watching some senseless tv show or the my kids were young and needed my attention

I created as much distraction as possible because I didn't want to deal with my issues … there was too much of it! Honestly, I didn't know where to start. I tried so many different things, but my ADD & OCD & self proclaimed 'Perfectionism' kept reminding me I wasn't able to do anything right. Eventually, I would end up on the couch surrendering my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream or a package of Oreos. Or I'd find myself complaining in a Facebook status about how my life sucked. It seemed the more I tried to make myself do something the more excuses I came up with.

My life had spiraled out of control so far that I wanted to just end it. Thoughts of suicide raced through my mind. My epiphany came in a grocery store parking lot, while talking to a friend I hadn't seen in years. Feeling so disgusting, lethargic, sick and embarrassed -- I finally understood what I needed to do:

1. Take some 'me' time every morning. 

I am NOT a morning person. If you know me well, you know not to speak to me until I've had some quiet time & my cup of coffee. BUT, I find it's best to take personal time in the morning. I get up almost an hour before everyone else so I can take time to reflect, breathe, make peace with my day ahead. I read a few versus out of my bible. I say a prayer. I go over my daily 'to do' list & schedule. I scroll through Facebook or read a few emails. Just time to wake up and connect with myself.

2. Fix your attitude. 

Your attitude is a very important aspect of your life. The excuses you make create a negative attitude. Walking around with a chip on your shoulder isn't the right way to create joy in your life. Blaming other people or the economy for your circumstances doesn't create peace and happiness either. Get over your ego! What we feel, we manifest. Therefore, allowing your emotions control your attitude is a definite no-no! Take a deep breath and let it go. Take responsibility for your own choices that lead you to the circumstances you are in. If you want something to change, YOU MUST BE the change. Get rid of the sob story and go after what you want. You are the only thing stopping you.

3. Food matters. 

Taking care of yourself means watching the food you eat. We live in a microwave, drive-thru world that demands we eat on the go. Fast foods, junk food and sugary drinks, eventually add pounds and increase burnout. It really is the truth - when you eat crap, you will feel like crap! Remember, you are what you eat. Do your well-being a favor and select the food you eat with a clear sense of what exactly you're putting in your body. It is not expensive to eat a clean, organic, whole food diet. It's a misconception because people just don't want to take the time to know & understand the difference. 

4. Get rid of the bad apples. 

Sometimes the company we keep become our worst enemies (literally). If a person or a relationship is not positive and nourishing to the soul, get rid of them. Distance yourself from the negative, sulking, whiners in your life. Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive and energetic people who will lift you up and push you to move forward. There's a little cliche that happens to be true: You are a combination of the 5 people closest to you. Who are you allowing in your circle?

5. Disconnect. 

Email. Cell phones. Social Media. Video Games. Even television are constantly THERE! Give your mind-body-soul a break and develop an 'Unplug Time' of day. For me, having the family & myself unplug by 7pm every night is our rule of thumb. There is absolutely NOTHING so important that you can't unplug for a few hours every night. 

Developing the keys to wellness that work within your lifestyle is easy and cost free. All you need is a little time and determination to be your best self. With persistence I've developed healthy habits that suit my life, you can too.


3 Tools You Need to Beat the Economy

Figuring since it's Tax Day, I could offer a little insight on how to overcome the Economy. Will it be easy? Heck no! Will it be useful info? Maybe. Will it guarantee success? That's up to you!

There are 3 skill sets that make you valuable in any economy - professional skills, people skills, and leadership development skills. All of these skill sets will increase your value and your income.
  • Professional skills. Whether you are a doctor, real estate agent, mechanic, waitress, teacher, home business owner, or customer service rep, you must know the basics of your profession. You must be willing to learn new, specialized skills. The difference in a professional and an amateur is your skill.

  • People skills. People are everywhere! You work with them, live with them, buy things from them, and sell things to them. And where does money come from? People! If you learn more about people than you do anything else, you will be unusually successful. If you learn great people skills, you will attain income security. Those who do not have people skills are usually the first to be laid off.

  • Personal development & leadership skills. People with high leadership skills have extremely high influence and high value in the marketplace. They are consistently working on improving themselves, and they raise up other leaders. They have a "no excuse" mindset. They focus on producing results. They do not let circumstances define their success, but they take personal responsibility to create their own success.


Unique Position

I'm in a very unique position right now with life. I'm in a very good place, yet it's also a place that feels kinda lonely too. Not many people are in the same place I am, so it's difficult to find others to talk to with similar experiences and common ground. 

I am 39 years old, I have 3 children; one who will be 21 soon, who is off making a life of his own & I don't get to see often since he moved 4 hours away. Another is 18 and will graduate high school in June, already making plans to be off on his own by the end of this summer. And the youngest will be 14 soon, and will enter high school next fall. 

Yes, I had my children at a young age and am now getting a taste of 'empty nest syndrome' at a young age. I love it and hate it at the same time. I love that my kids are grown up, and I'm almost done being 'mom' all the time. I love that I'm in a place where having young kids around is a thing of the past. But I hate that I'm a minority in this situation. It's difficult not to have others to talk to who are in this same stage of life. If I do find others like me with adult children & teens, they are much older than I. Those who are more around my age, still have young kids or are just starting their family. They aren't in the position of having the freedom to do 'adult' things, because they have to find babysitters or take into account that they do have children at home who need them. 

So that is why I say I'm in a very unique place. I am a unique person with a ton of 'life' experience and I'm still a young woman. Forty may seem old to some, but I'm just getting started in life. I'm at a place where I can explore the world around me. I sacrificed that in my late teens & 20's because I had my children young (and other reasons). Now I've raised them, and am free to be ME! 

I'm unique in the life experiences I've lived through. From teen pregnancy to a failed marriage by the age of 19 to living with a drug addict & alcoholic to attempted suicide, depression and other very personal trauma. I've seen a lot, done a lot and made a lot of bad choices. I am who I am now because of where I've been in the past. 

I'm also unique in my hobbies & interests. I'm very eclectic! I've found it difficult to find others with the same interests and who are around my age. I don't get out of the house much, because I really don't have anywhere to go. I do not drive, somewhat by choice. I do not drink alcohol or smoke anymore. I do not do drugs or smoke pot, I really try not to judge anyone, but I don't want to hang around or be associated with people who do. That makes finding friends or like minded people, very difficult. 

I do not like rain, cold or snow. Anything outdoors has to wait for nice weather! But I love living in Oregon. It's natural beauty speaks to my soul. I crave heat, sunshine & the ocean, but do not want to live in a beach house. Vacation home yes, to live no! I am a country girl. Pure and simple! I want to start a small farm & be self-sufficient and sustainable. 

- Outdoors: hiking, camping, nature photography. Anywhere there is a body of water, the forest, the mountains. Bird watching, wild life, gardening & sunshine! 

- Earth Science, geology, geography, history, abstract art, astronomy, astrology. 

- NASCAR, College football, motocross, bull riding, the NBA, Indy car racing, 4x4 mudding, riding quads. 

- Country life, small town-country living. Simplicity rules!

- Healthy living: Eating clean, nutritious food, fitness & personal/spiritual development. 

- Home decor. Graphic design. 

- Vintage, Victorian, Country, Medieval are some of my favorite eras and design styles.

- Business: entrepreneur, building a 'fit-nut life' business, helping & teaching others to live a healthy, simple life & pay it forward.

- Travel. I want to see the world. I want to explore and adventure! 

- No political party, but I'm a very independent conservative with a few 'liberal' views. Hard to find people who think like I do: I believe in the Constitution, the Amendments & Bill of Rights the way America's forefathers wrote them! I believe in the 10 commandments of the bible, and I believe in the Golden Rule. 

- Not religious, but I have Christian beliefs/values & my faith is my guide. However, I don't relish being 'preached' at. 

That is just a small portion of who I am and what I'm 'into'. I'm very diverse and as I've said, eclectic. But I wanted to keep this story short.


It's National Nutrition Month!

It's National Nutrition Month! If you've given up on your New Year's Resolution to be healthier and eat right, it's never too late to give it another try. Don't know what to do? We've got you covered.
  1. Figure out what energy your body needs. Use this tool, Free Dieting, where you can get recommendations designed specifically for you. This tool calculates your personalized daily calorie needs, recommended range for total fats, and provides you with your body mass index (BMI). Write down or print the info, and keep it handy so you remember. 
  2. Manage your limits. Now that you know your personal limits for calories, fats and cholesterol, you have a better idea of how to use the numbers on the Nutrition Facts panel. For example, if you only need 1800 calories, then the Baby Back Ribs with 734 calories per serving (a big chunk of what you should have) don't look so tempting because that is 40% of your daily calorie allowance. Remember to watch the serving size, too.

    Think of it like your checking account--don't spend more than you earn, and don't eat more than you burn in one day. It's a good rule of thumb for both. 

  3. Shake the sodium habit. The AHA recommends that everyone consume less than 1500 mg of sodium per day. Low-sodium foods have 140 mg or less per serving. Keep that in mind to guide your choices.
  4. Fill up on fruits and vegetables. The AHA recommends 4.5 servings per day of each based on a 2000 calorie diet. A serving is 1 cup of leafy greens or 1/2 cup of frozen, raw or cut up vegetables, or 1 medium fruit. If you have a serving at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then at your morning and afternoon snacks, you'll have exceeded the recommendation. You'll be on the road to getting the nutrients you need to fight disease, feel good, and improve your health. 
  5. Balance calories by increasing your activity level. You don't have to go to the gym. Do something you enjoy, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Take a brisk walk with your favorite music or podcast, play tag with your kids, or grab a pal and try walking together.


Stay at Home Mom, Get's Paid to Get Healthy & Help Others

Ok, I know some people think it's distasteful to boast about money and income or whatnot, but I have to just throw this out there to the universe. I received my 1099 from Beachbody for taxes. I am very impressed with how much a 'Stay at Home Mom' can make in a year just by helping others get started on the right track towards health & fitness. I'm not saying it was enough to make any really large dreams come true (yet) but the extra money brought in from this little side job, this business that I'm building helped pay for school clothes, kids' sports, shoes, extra groceries, date nights, camping trips, weekend getaways and many other things we've gotten to do the past year that wouldn't have happened without my 'Stay at Home Mom' pay. I'm very confident that this year, 2013, I will have DOUBLED my income and many more 'extras' will be affordable for me and my family. So what I'm saying is: If you've been thinking about becoming a coach but you just haven't taken that leap yet, what's holding you back? There will NEVER be a "perfect time"... sometimes you just gotta GO FOR IT! What would you do with a little extra 'change' in your pocket?


Balancing Heart Health and Candy Hearts in February

Is it cruel fate that brings together American Heart Month and Valentine's Day? In a month devoted to heart health and candy hearts, how can we celebrate both at the same time?

Is it cheating on one to celebrate the other? The American Heart Association is pleased to say that you can enjoy both. You can enjoy an occassional treat, in moderation. Just balance what you eat with how much you move.

Just so it's clear, the American Heart Association highly recommends that you avoid foods high in added sugars, sodium and saturated and trans fats; but Valentine's Day only comes once a year. If that's the day that you choose to to indulge, then enjoy it but remember to balance it with smart choices including fruits and vegetables and physical activity during the rest of the week.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind when celebrating Valentine's Day:
  • Note the serving size. A couple of pieces of candy? OK. The whole box? Not so much. Split something with your Valentine - like ordering one milkshake and two straws.
  • Make a date to get active. Pick a fun physical activity such as indoor rock climbing, ice skating or rollerskating. Be silly and run around a playground.  Or go somewhere that requires lots of walking, like an amusement park or an outdoor festival. Parking in the farthest spot from the door also counts, as does anything else that gets you moving more and sitting less.
  • Limit the booze. Strawberries and champagne are so romantic. A one-glass limit is best for women. A single serving of alcohol is one 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine or champagne, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.
  • Enjoy a candle-lit dinner at home. Preparing food yourself is the best way to make sure the good stuff (fruits and vegetables) is in your meal and the unhealthy stuff (salt and added sugars) is limited. Your loved one will appreciate your extra effort, and it's nice to avoid the Valentine's Day crowds. Get some menu ideas at www.heart.org/healthyrecipes.


The Half-Hearted Hero

To kick off the month of February and the start of Heart Health Awareness I am doing a special story about a little boy with a big, half heart! Meet Owen Jones...

Owen Jones is a 10 year old boy who was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, essentially half a heart. Owen had the odds of life stacked against him as he had to undergo four open heart surgeries before the age of two. Owen is a fighter and has never given up. For the last few years Owen has become determined to fight back by raising money for the American Heart Association. This money helps educate, raise awareness and provide life saving research. Owen is determined that one day, no one will have to die of a broken heart. Owen has affectionately been called The Half Hearted Hero for his efforts in helping others. Owen has never had an easy path to walk but he has never stopped walking it. He has never had self pity over his limitations or doubts in his ability. What Owen has is faith and determination that one day he can make a difference.

If you would like to learn more about Owen and his story click this link The Half-Hearted Hero and read his inspiring story. There is a way you can help him in his fight to raise money for the American Heart Association as well. You can go to this link Team Owen to donate. 

Stay healthy. Be healthy.


Gearing Up for Heart Health

It's been a while since my last post. I've been terribly busy getting things done this new year. Now it's closing in on February. The month of Love. The month of Heart Health. I'll be doing some research and sharing some health facts and advice during the month of February. I feel it is super important to share the facts, stories and help raise awareness in hopes of saving as many lives as possible. 

I have a family history of heart disease. I have friends who've had experience with heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have.

Between clean eating, healthy living, sharing statistics and posting about fund raisers as well as sharing stories of people who live with Heart Disease or have had a loved one die because of Heart Disease -- I think that would be the best way to use this blog. Don't you?

For more information on how you can learn more about Heart Disease and Stroke, how to prevent it and maybe how to help others in need, go to American Heart Association