This wellness topic is so fresh for me having just come off of a weekend away for my daughter’s dance competition. Truly, the theme still applies whether I’m in a work setting, traveling or at home. The message is meaningful for anyone who devotes a great deal of time to others, really, which I believe is most people. For some, the primary focus is kids, friends or extended family. For others, it may be clients, students or a boss. Us women especially struggle to direct our focus inward when we feel needed elsewhere. Since we are designed to nurture, we naturally give everyone else our energy first. Then we gift ourselves whatever’s left in the tank. It’s a difficult cycle to break, but I’m a believer in identifying the one, doable thing that can act as the catalyst for change. For me, waking up earlier, movement and moments of productivity are those small, achievable things that work for me. Maybe they’ll work for you too…

Early to rise

I know, I knowww… but seriously, somewhere deep inside, you know there’s undeniable truth here. I’ve always been a morning person, but I became someone that developed an intentional early morning routine once kids began demanding my attention from sun up to sun down. Currently, my girls keep me busy with their theater, dance, music and social calendars, so the first moments of quiet in the morning are sometimes the only ones I can depend on all day. I generally start my day by brewing my coffee, lighting a candle, journaling, meditating and reading something inspirational. Sometimes all I have time for is one thing before my 8 month old decides my me-time is over. No matter how much I’m able to accomplish in that time, these practices equip me mentally to take on the day.

Move for your mood

Make time for movement. No excuses. Create the space in your day and just do it because endorphins make you happy and a happier you is better for everyone. There are countless reasons why you should “exercise,” but any movement has the power to cultivate joy and generate energy. For some serious inspiration and knowledge on this, listen to this podcast where Dr. Kelly McGonical talks about the Science of Movement. The key here is to do the type of movement that you truly love. You won’t typically find me in a 6am bootcamp class unless I was coerced by a friend. My preferred movements are hiking, spin, yoga, cardio and strength classes, reformer pilates, dance, running and lifting. 30 minutes or more of any of those forms of movement makes me feel expanded, capable and HAPPY.

Microburst moments of productivity

Productivity can take many forms. For me, it’s generally planning, checking boxes or creating. Maybe for you it takes shape in another way. Maximizing moments of freedom like scheduling appointments or making dinner reservations while I’m waiting in the dance carline are ways that I can check boxes instead of social media. Testing a new recipe or writing a post like this while the baby naps are microbursts of creativity. In doing this, I give her a more present me when she wakes up.

I hope in sharing the ways that I fill my tank, you’ll explore what works for you…or build onto the ones you’ve already established. You’re not selfish in doing for you first, so stop apologizing. By adopting the “me first” attitude, you’re giving everyone you care about your best self and setting the example for them to do the same.

Xo, Kristen