Ramblings on Motivation and Self-Care

What motivates you to do something good for yourself? How do you build good-for-you stuff into your life?

These are some of the questions floating around in my brain today. A little while ago I had a terrific interview with a UC Davis doctor on the subject of the benefits of exercise, even if you have significant health problems. We talked about the Mind-Body-Spirit connection, depression, and self-image. We discussed how it’s never too late to begin to exercise, or to take up exercise again after a long, sedentary hiatus or injury. We talked about how exercise can make us feel beautiful, even if we are only making small improvements over a long time. He says people begin to exude confidence when they exercise. They begin to see themselves as attractive beings: He has seen this transformation take place in thousands of patients of all ages, sizes, fitness levels, and infirmities.

Our talk was so great, so inspiring that I went to the gym immediately after we ended the interview. Nice! Points for Sara! 45 minutes on the treadmill (280 calories, hr avg: 162 bpm) some weights and sit-ups.

I’m working on making some positive changes. There is no question about how increasing my activity level and getting more exercise is a major component of the positive change that I currently crave. Now that it’s spring, I’m feeling the need to renew my (formerly) good habits and develop new and better ones.

I recently went to a conference and found myself in a workshop taught by a life coach. (I didn’t realize she was a life coach at first, or I probably wouldn’t have gone to her workshop.) Nevertheless, I decided to make the best of it. The workshop was on self-care. We did some interactive stuff, shared with our neighbors, and said affirmations, one of which was: “I am a more balanced, whole, and joyful gift to the world because I take care of me first.”

Dr. Davis said something very similar. He tells both his residents and his patients, “You can’t take care of anybody else unless you take care of yourself first.”

Yesterday I interviewed an 84-year-old woman who teaches yoga. She is awesome and my newest heroine. Maybe that will be me at 84.

I warned you I was going all new-agey.

10 Responses to “Ramblings on Motivation and Self-Care”

  • noodlboy
    April 7, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    Hey! When did you add me and why didn’t I notice until now?!?! Yay!

    I have always regretted that I never got to spend more time getting to know you and Ian better. I’m really happy that you added me! I just figured it out because I saw a comment you made in ‘s lj and I said, “Hey! I know her!” So, I went and read a few of your posts and noticed that they were friends only posts! Heehee. Hi!!!

    Okay… back to work for me. I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be reading your posts now and that I’m really happy you found me.

    Oh, and Lucas sounds like a crack-up!


  • dakini_grl
    April 8, 2006 at 12:24 am

    Yay for the gymness, that’s no small thing! What a challenge. This is a provocative post, and has me thinking. If I can, I will post in my journal this weekend. I love new agey, bring it on.


  • sarabellae
    April 8, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Hi there! It’s lovely to hear from you too. Actually, I only just realized there was a Noodlboy and who Noodleboy was! So I added you. Now we can keep track of each other better. I would like to spend more time with you too. Life is long and I’m sure our paths will cross again—like they just did, so to speak.

    Warning: I write a lot about my kid. I fear that makes me boring. Read or don’t read, as you wish. 🙂


  • sarabellae
    April 8, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Honestly, you have inspired me to get back on the treadmill, Dakini. Again. Actually, you inspire me all the time, about all kinds of things!

    I think it’s really interesting how we take in images and information about how to take care of ourselves, and the benefits of self-care, constantly—every day—but choose either to shunt those messages off into negative, self-abusive-land or gather them into positive, good-for-you-land (where they can be used for good). I am really interested in the mechanism that flips the switch from permitting us to experience (only passively) the spattering of those healthy messages (which sting like needles, but kind of roll off us without sinking in), and the active assimilation and incorporation of health into our routines. (That was a couple of really long sentences! I hope they makes sense.)

    I keep coming back to this over and over again, and I find myself swimming upstream to resist it: The secret is rhythm. I don’t want more rhythm in my life—I WANT more SPONTINEITY. But what I NEED is more RHYTHM. I keep thinking that more rhythm would make all sorts of things better.


  • sarabellae
    April 8, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    to clarify/improve my grammar:

    …flips the switch from only passively experiencing the spattering…


  • foresto
    April 8, 2006 at 5:03 pm

    I have to agree with all the exercise benefits you mentioned, and add one more: sleep. I have a long standing habit of either lying awake thinking late into the night, or tossing and turning uncomfortably until morning. Engaging in some cardiovascular fun for a few hours is the only thing that consistently overcomes it.

    At different times in my life, I haven’t had to think about this, because I often got that exercise through my daily routine. Before college, I rode a bicycle everywhere. Later on, I started dancing a few times a week. A couple of years ago, Dance Dance Revolution kept me moving. I have recently been slacking though, partly due to injuries and partly because I’m busy with an office job. Remembering how much better I feel with exercise, making time for it, and working up the motivation to do it, are all real challenges now.

    Fortunately, the rain has finally relented today, and a friend just showed up at my door with a bike. Time for a ride!


  • dakini_grl
    April 9, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    It sounds cheesy to say, but I think I am finally getting the whole concept of rhythm (i.e., disciplines, routines, regimens, insert your favorite structure word here) giving you greater freedom in the end.


  • dakini_grl
    April 9, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    And I don’t think I am going to get to that post until later. If at all. Bah!


  • kimkimkaree
    April 10, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Glad to hear you’re back in the gym, I think the extra endorphines to help you chase that little boy around will be beneficial! 😉

    I am back at the gym every morning M-F with Thaemos. Having a partner is what is keeping me going. I’ve managed to get myself to the gym for long stretches but honestly it’s never been as easy as this has been. Progress motivates me also of which I have had little results, yet, which is frustrating but I am hoping that will kick in here soon.

    As always, I offer you my best wishes in your path to self care!


  • sarabellae
    April 10, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    What’s your gym schedule? I think we all belong to the same club.

    I know you and I have had many conversations about this topic. And we’ve both had periods of successful exercise and periods of inertia. I keep asking (and beating myself) for allowing that inertia to set in time and time again. What’s with that?

    But beating myself up isn’t productive, so I’m currently ignoring that mean voice in my head and focusing on listening hard to the cheerleader voice who’s encouraging me to do stuff that is good for me.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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