Chef Ellen


Self Care

I was recently asked to answer questions about self-care for a potential feature in a magazine. I am still waiting to hear about that, but in the meantime, I thought the topic would make for an engaging blog post to share with my readers.

At this time of the year, being grateful and taking stock of what’s meaningful should take center stage. Having your head in the game and feeling your best doesn’t have to be a constant all-consuming struggle. Sometimes we have to take a step back to move forward. Change is never easy, but self-care and the positive changes it could bring about are worth exploring.

-What does self-care mean?
Self-care not only requires food, water, and exercise. A well rounded human being needs quality time spent aligning their overall spirit, eliminating stress, finding joy, and holding onto happiness
-Why is it important to practice self-care?
Because your health is invaluable. Self-care should be a priority. Without our health we lack self reliance. I go back to the simple task our flight attendants remind us of each time we fly. You must first put on your oxygen mask before you can help others.
– How does it affect all areas of your life?
It’s a snow ball effect that could go either way. You could aim to benefit from self-care and look at situations in a brighter light or you could continue to be the care-giver that will eventually run themselves into the ground full of resentment and anger. It’s a choice.
-What are your recommended ways to practice self-care during the holiday/winter season?
Showing gratitude by helping others. That could be as simple as donating food to a shelter or volunteering at one. Meditation is something that someone could implement into the weekly schedule gradually. Find an app or practice you like and see how closing your eyes for 10-20 minutes can completely change your mood. I like to go on YouTube and meditate with Lee Holden. 10-minute smile meditation makes me happy. If you are hosting a party this holiday season, find time for yourself prior to events. Ask for help and delegate if someone is offering. Saying no is ok and completely acceptable if that’s what you feel.
My husband and I got a massage recently and we noticed how unusually busy the reception area was. I said “Everyone must be getting ready to see their families.” We laughed but in all seriousness, tackling a gig like hosting Thanksgiving is a daunting task. There are many facets to pulling off a day/evening where your entire family is present and you must take care of their needs. Practicing self-care is an excellent way to care for your own needs first and put you into the giving frame of mind the holidays represent.
-What self-care rituals/practices do you recommend to prepare for the new year?
Write your goals, make them realistic and use the 80/20 approach. Put positive changes into practice but don’t be so strict and hard on yourself. If you are where you want to be 80% of the time, you are creating realistic expectations. You will be more likely to choose what makes you feel good in the long run. When you work with me, I aim for the 90/10 approach for three weeks to eliminate inflammation and cravings. From there we take those positive changes and implement your triumphs into a kind and realistic version of where you’d like to be
-What are your tips for making time to practice self-care during this busy season?
Don’t look at something you want to change as anything but positive. Self-care is not a chore. Put value on your health and lost the guilt we associate with self-care. Talking a walk, seeing a movie, reading a book and just breathing creates a focus on your needs and gives them value.