4 Easy Things You Can Do to Take Care of You

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We’re on Zone Defense this month, putting into place a game plan for organizing home — and life. This month we’re talking about personal space. What’s more personal than your own body? Health coach Lisa Byrne offers us expert advice today.

One of the paradoxes of mothering, is that it is so easy to lose sight of taking care of yourself when you habitually become focused on caring for the needs of everyone else. And yet, there is no getting around the fact that those who we care for can only get what we have to give them.

Giving from a depleted and drained place is very different than giving from a full well.

Here are 4 simple things you can do to refill the well and take care of the minimum requirements for healthy, vibrant living.

1. Hydrate.

One of the most simple principles of good nutrition is to give your body the water it needs to do all the hundreds of thousands of functions it needs to daily. Staying well hydrated helps your body rid itself of toxins, promotes clear thinking and curbs cravings.

2. Eat nutrient dense foods.

We can get sucked into thinking that healthy nutrition is all about following a specific set of food rules, when the best advice is simply to focus on bringing IN more nutrient dense, whole foods for every meal and snack you have.

Don’t worry about what to take out of your diet when you are just starting. Instead, for each meal, ask yourself: what could I ADD that brings in fresh, whole, real nutrition? When in doubt, always reach for more veggies!

3. Move.

Our whole beings — body, mind, and spirit — were meant to experience movement and activity.

Sometimes remembering to bring in simple stretching or a brisk walk everyday can do wonders for our well being. And if you can get your activity out of doors all the better!

4. Breathe.

Every cell in our body needs the proper amount of oxygen to function optimally. Our metabolism depends on it…as well as our mood states. Breathing properly is a short cut to triggering the calm response. And a calm, relaxed mom has the necessary inner “pause” to stop reacting and begin responding to her day from a place of grounded control.

Simply practicing three deep longs breaths through your nose whenever you feel your stress level rising can make all the difference in how you experience your day.

So often we think of healthy living as an insurmountable goal, but the truth is small consistent steps everyday in the right direction are always the fastest way to major change.

Which of these four things could you do today to get started taking care of YOU?

— Lisa Byrne writes on health and taking care of yourself. When she’s not burping a baby or chasing a toddler, she teaches and coaches busy moms about holistic nutrition and whole person approaches to health at the Well Grounded Life. You can learn more about her work and sign up to get her free 19 page Break the Sugar Habit workbook here.

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    1. Yeah, I suppose pouring myself a glass but not drinking it doesn’t count, either? 😉

  1. I am really trying to work on the move more part. Not sure how I get sidetracked so often since I only have a 4 year old. I tell myself being stuck at home & without sidewalks but I need to figure something out…..
    I’ve increased my water intake by drinking a cup of water whenever I’m in the bathroom. It’s 10oz & I drink all or almost all whenever I go in there (even helping my son wash his hands) & since I’m drinking more I go to the bathroom more, so I drink more LOL
    But I was finding myself just carrying my water around too (I did this yesterday & have a headache today)

  2. So funny. I’m just waking up while reading this and kept thinking “that sounds like Lisa” or “yeah, I’ve been doing that as part of Lisa’s class. “. Guess I just needed to read the intro a little closer. Loved all of these but what has made the biggest impact is the idea of crowding out poor food choices with healthy ones. It really has made a difference in my cravings.

  3. I started running nearly two years ago. I started very slowly — kind of a homemade couch to 5k plan. Now I run nearly 40 miles a week, and I find that the early morning run time is a perfect time for reflection, sorting and organizing my brain and other meditation. Running has saved me from depression and anxiety as well as migraine headaches. Now, if I am having a bad day, my kids ask me, “Mom, do you want to go for a run?”

    1. I love that your kids associate such positive things with running! I used to run but haven’t quite gotten serious about it again since my second child was born. Your post reminded me of how good I felt after morning runs and how much better my day was afterward!!

  4. I fill a large, BPA free, reusable bottle with fresh water every morning before heading out to work. I’ve found that keeping the water bottle on my desk encourages me to keep hydrated. I’ve often heard it said that by the time a person experiences thirst, the body is already dehydrated.

  5. Of course I agree with most of these, but whenever I hear someone suggest stretching, or a brisk walk, or ‘just take the stairs’, I feel like it’s not doing anyone any favors. That isn’t really the level of exercise our bodies need, and reading a suggestion like that almost validates putting exercise off even more. I know it is well-intentioned, but it just seems to fall a little short.

    1. I can understand your perspective. While I’m no athlete, I have been exercising almost daily. I still find the reminder to move helpful, especially as a lot of my day is spent in a sedentary way. I think that reminder can be valid in a myriad of situations.

    2. I caught the tail end of one of Dr. Oz’s episodes last week and he said one of the top things someone can do for their body is incorporate daily stretching. He demonstrated how easy it was by sitting in a chair and reaching his arms up and bending to one side….then again to the other. I, too, used to balk when someone said, “remember to stretch”…but now I think twice!!!

  6. I need help balancing better. My husband has an on call schedule- it throws routine in my household off. I need to be better at asserting myself and not letting this derail good habits(While he was home this time for 5 days, I walked a total of once . )

    As far as habits go I’m pretty good at 1-3. My kidney stones back in the 90s forced me to hydrate better and relook at my eating habits. I walk 3-7 miles at least 3(I’m trying to up it to 5 and add in some simple kettleball exercises 3 days a week to try and keep muscle tone since those of us over 30 are prone to its loss).
    My personality type is type a though. One of my best traits is also one of my biggest detractors. I’m part pit bull. My determination has pulled me through ALOT. However, my inability to let things go means I spend alot of time and energy on rehashing things. I need to do better at creating an inner calm and breathing. Maybe then I won’t drown out that inner voice that asks whether rehashing something is productive or simply wasted energy that can be better spent on other things.

  7. I do pretty well on nutrition, but I love the idea of thinking of what to add instead of what to eliminate. Sometimes it is just a simple choice of words that makes a difference! That was great!
    My hardest category is the moving one. I have lots of “excuses” but I just need to stop it an do it! Great tips!

  8. I’ve been doing all four of those things consistently for a few months now. I thought that, eventually, I would get to a place where those things were just normal, but they aren’t. I takes conscious choices every single day to take care of my body and live a healthier life. Thanks for the great reminders!