By: Gabriela Piedrahita
“The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself” - Wallace D. Wattles
For some reason we have been programed to think being busy, exhausted, and sleep deprived equals being successful, so self-care becomes secondary. Some people consider it to be selfish or thoughtless to take time for oneself but really how exactly are we to perform our best if we aren’t our best? As to say, how are we to do if we can’t even be? Self-care takes another level when we realize it is NEEDED in order to be healthy and successful.
So, what is self-care? According to psychotherapist Emily Roberts, self-care is the practice of treating yourself with enough respect that you honor and fulfill your own needs. How many of you often make excuses to not do the things that you know are good for you because you don't have the time or money? Why is it most of us fall into the logic that putting others and their needs first is more important? Don't get me wrong, it’s beautiful doing things for others, but the reality is we cannot pour from an empty cup.
How long do you think your body will run on coffee, red bull, fat burning pills or junk food because you’re too busy to exercise, cook real food or even sleep? How is it you have time for everything and everyone but yourself? What makes other people and situations more important than you?
Helping others is always going to give us peace and joy, as long as we are helping ourselves first because if not, in the long run the psychological impact is not going to be positive. You see, when we always put others first, in some level we are telling ourselves that we are less important, that we are less deserving of our time, energy, attention and resources. Is that how you feel? Do you feel you’re less important? Think about that, self-care goes pretty hand in hand with self-love and therefore is fundamental in order to build and maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and others.
You may argue “but I don't have time”, well we make time and PRIORITIZE what’s important, and let me tell you, you are important. Some of you may wake up with the best intentions to meditate or exercise even for a few minutes but then start writing an email and get to another until you realize morning’s up, and you have to get to work. So maybe, just maybe you’re not considering your self-care as a priority.
Here are some tips to start loving yourself more with little acts of self-kindness:
By E. Blaine Guelde, CRNP, MS, AGACNP-BC
Welcome to 2019! Some of us are so happy that 2018 is over and are happy we made it through. Others are in a “good” place and might be anxious about what the new year will bring. Similarly, making resolutions works for some but not others. Instead of making a resolution this year, consider doing a self-evaluation to identify the things that are REALLY important to you followed by an evaluation of where your time is spent.
I recently did just that with the Living Values Questionnaire. The results were shocking. I’d been spending most of my time on values that weren’t actually very important to me. And the important values? They’d been neglected for a while, I realized. Before making your New Year’s resolution this year, consider completing the questionnaire and remember to keep the results handy. I found, rather quickly, that I slipped back into old habits without this reminder. A quick reference to the results was what I needed to keep me on track.
By Gabriela Piedrahita
Do you ever feel like each new year you start out extremely enthusiastic on your goals and by December you find yourself slacking out because you’re waiting for the next year that's “going to be the one”? Einstein used to say that doing the same thing over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, so maybe there is something you need to change. Here are a few tips to make 2019 the year of breakthrough, the year you stop postponing your dreams and become closer to accomplishing them!
Define What Success Means to You.
When talking about the principles of success, the billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist Ray Dalio tells us we need to escape the conventions around us, decide for ourselves what to do and have the courage to do it. In other words we must define for ourselves what success is to us. Dr. Armando Sardi, Chief of Oncology Surgery at Mercy Medical Center defines success as “being able to accomplish the things that you want to accomplish while making a difference for the people around you”. He shares he truly believes that if you're going to be proud and happy and feel successful, it's not the money that you make, it's how you create a difference for the people or the world before you leave this life.
Choose Your Goals.
Now, what goals would make you accomplish that success? According to Dalio, the truth is an essential foundation for producing good outcomes so when choosing your goals you must work with reality as it is and not as you wish it to be. He believes having big dreams + embracing reality + having lots of determination = successful life. Many people stay stuck wasting all their energy fighting, loathing, or denying reality.
When asked about his goals Dr. Sardi states that every year he selects 10 goals based on 3 pillars: family, health and business, and determines specific actions that he’s going to take to accomplish them. He emphasizes that “You have to make a decision, you have to have a goal, because if you don't know where you are going, you’re never going to get anywhere.” Dr. Sardi also recommends looking at the goals through the year, maybe monthly or better yet daily! For example, he has them on his computer screen to see them regularly.
Be Consistent, Build Momentum.
Much like your car requires more gas to restart in every stoplight, so do you. If you manage to be consistent with the plan to reach your goals it will be easier! If however, you stop pushing even for a bit, you’ll slow down, eventually stop and will have to start at inertia again, which will require more energy and will get harder each time. So DON'T STOP, you have to be consistent to build up momentum, that force that multiplies your actions and allows you to accomplish your greatest dreams! It's not about big changes, if you have a 1% improvement in everything that you do in the area related to your goal, those small gains will add up to massive improvement. Don't underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis; consistency and discipline are your best allies for creating this multiplying force. Remember this: stickability is the 95% of ability.
Guard Your Mind.
Much like now a days we’ve become very conscious of what we feed our bodies, we have to be aware of what we are feeding our minds. To achieve positive results you must protect your mind from absorbing negative things and feed it with positive things. So much like when we wear blue glasses we see everything blue, our mind works with filters as well, so stop for a second to think what filter is your mind creating? Are you creating a negative filter feeding your mind fear, bad news, self destructive thoughts, criticism and toxic relationships; or are you creating a positive filter, reading inspiring stories, talking kindly to yourself, always trying to see the bright side of things. Don't underestimate the filters you create for your mind, it literally determines the way you see the world and yourself.
Raise Your Standards.
The quality of your life right now is determined by your current standards. Huge success killer that happens to many: getting stuck in the routine. They get somewhere or accomplish something and then just stay there watching life happen. To seek success, you have to RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. Some people are pretty comfortable with their standards, “yeah let's be overweight, couch potato moms supported by our husbands” or “yeah I have a job that's killing me inside but at least it's only 9-5 and pays the bills” maybe NOT. You know what's different in successful people? They have something inside of them telling them to keep going, keep dreaming, keep being ambitious and never settle. So raise your standards, decide you will no longer conform with where you are and take some sort of action.
These are a few tips to make 2019 the year you start making a change! Know your goals and run after them, but keep in mind that what is best for you depends on your nature so you need to really understand yourself and know what you want to achieve in life. Also always remember that the biggest most important attribute you must have in order to succeed is BELIEF. The how to do it always comes to the person who believes he can do it. Why? Because strong belief triggers the mind to figure out ways and means to accomplish, belief triggers the power to do. So don’t let anyone else determine the size of your dreams, the most successful people on earth have changed the world because they believed they could do it. Think big, dream big, act big! As Robin Sharma says: no one will believe in you until you believe in you. Happy New Year everyone!
About the Author: Gabriela Piedrahita
Gabriela is a Research Fellow from Colombia who is currently interning at the Center for Integrative Medicine to complete her Bachelors in Psychology. She is also a Certified Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York and has taken some Nutritional Psychology classes in the JFK University. With her mother and two sisters, Gabriela is part of Stamina in Action, a Mentoring and Coaching Firm targeted to women’s achievement of wholesomeness by activating their power to do good in their inner and outer world. She’s also done some research on the two most common mental illnesses of our time - depression and anxiety - and how these can be prevented and treated through nutrition, exercise and yoga/meditation practices. Gabriela is committed to making a difference in the world one person at a time, helping people achieve their best selves while she continuously evolves into the best version of herself possible.
By: Kayla Calhoun (Guest Writer/Intern from Towson University, Class of ’19)
Let me set the stage for you. I walk down to the first floor of the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) building, which is a part of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, and down the hallway off to the right of the main entrance until I make it to a sign that says, “Well Room”. The room is the size of a normal office, however, instead of a set of desk and chairs, there is a seated massage chair in the middle and yoga mats laid against the opposite wall. There is an aromatherapy diffuser emitting a soothing lavender scent, soft music coming from a speaker resting on a cabinet, and dim light, gently illuminates the area. I am standing in the doorway of CIM’s brand-new Well Room.
Massage Session Impressions
Many of our staff and faculty contributed suggestions for random acts of kindness that any of us can do throughout the day all year long. Below are a few of our suggestions. Additionally, we have some self-kindnesses listed to encourage self-care because it's difficult to take care of others if you don't take care of yourself.
Let's spread kindness!
By Lyssa Balick, MS
Insulin resistance is a condition where your body does not respond properly to insulin and as a result, your body cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Over time, this can make it hard for your body to control glucose and may lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of glucose and insulin circulating in their blood at the same time (1).
Both aging and lifestyle factors can affect the way your body produces insulin. Factors that lead to higher insulin resistance include:
While genetics and aging do have an impact, small changes in lifestyle factors can make a big difference.
By Elizabeth Parker, PhD, RD
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 recommends consuming a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of foods, which includes a variety of vegetables and fruits. But did you know that most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables? On any given day, Americans over the age of 2 years consume less than 1 serving of fruit and less than 1-½ servings of vegetables, far below the recommended intakes.
Fruits and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients and fiber that helps your body stay healthy. In addition to providing key nutrients, eating fruits and vegetables while staying within your body’s recommended caloric needs, can help you control your weight.
By Termeh Feinberg, PhD, MPH
When envisioning this blog post, it was challenging to decide where to begin because digestion is such a complex function of our bodies; there is no one size fits all approach, and when we are able to pinpoint strategies (natural or otherwise) that work for us, we are often beset with disappointment when our tried-and-true approaches stop being so effective. The gut, composed of ever-changing networks of bacteria, has such an influence on our physiology and resulting digestive health outcomes. Negative changes to these bacteria and their respective relationships, including environmental changes, are factors which influence our gut health. These and other changes result in discomfort among some individuals. There are a number of natural approaches employed (each with varying degrees of evidence) for strengthening one’s digestion, including:
By Michelle Pearce, PhD
Over one third of people in the US are on a diet. Even when diets are successful, 50% of people gain the weight back after 12 months or less. With 70% of Americans obese or overweight, we desperately need to find a way to better manage our weight and take care of our bodies.
Thankfully psychologists have figured out a more effective way of eating and managing our waistlines. What they have discovered is not a diet or a weight loss gimmick. It’s not about prioritizing one type of food over others or banishing a food group from your plate. In fact, it has less to do with what you eat than with how and why you eat. This more effective way of eating is called mindful eating.
By Kevin W. Chen, PhD, MPH
As part of traditional Chinese medicine practice, Qigong refers to the mind-body exercises that integrate breathing, mind, and body adjustments into one. Although not all Qigong forms were created for healing purposes, there are many documented health benefits from different Qigong practices, and heart health is one of the well-studied areas. In this short blog, I would like to summarize the known benefits of Qigong practice for heart health based on scientific literature.
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From the University of Maryland, Baltimore Graduate School: