Tag Archives: relaxation

Radical Self Care

RASCAL

I am so excited to announce our new challenge on the Fit Fatties Forum called the RASCAL challenge.  This stands for Radical Activist for Self Care and Love.  In this challenge, we encourage you to think outside the box about what self-care means and we challenge you to prioritize self care in your life.  Given my current focus on healing, this challenge just could not have come at a better time.

One of the reasons I’m so excited about this challenge is that it helps us broaden our definition of what is included in the definition for “health”.  Some of us believe that being healthy means being thin.  If we are thin, we are healthy.  If we are not thin, we can’t be healthy.  I’ve talked quite a bit about this in the past.  There are lots of studies that indicate that simply isn’t true.  In particular, this study shows that healthy behavior is a better predictor of future health than BMI.  But this begs the question, what is healthy behavior?

Of course joyfully moving your body is a wonderful healthy behavior.  Of course eating in a way that is in tune with your body’s needs as well as your spiritual and emotional needs is a healthy behavior.  But is that all there is to wellness?  Eat an apple and go for a walk and you’ve got it covered?  I don’t think so.  To me health is nuanced and multidimensional.  And health involves self-care.  (Insert deep sigh here…) Why is it that so many of us are so good at taking care of other people and so lousy at taking care of ourselves?  Are we conditioned that way from birth?  I don’t know.  But I DO know that self care gives us the strength to help others.  Think about what the flight attendant says before you take off.  “First secure your own oxygen mask, then you can help small children and those around you.”  In other words, breathe.  Take a moment to care for yourself.

And that moment may involve eating something wonderful or going for a walk.  Or it may involve simply breathing.  Maybe your self-care moment is spending just a few seconds of your day simply being.  Maybe it means getting a little extra sleep.  Maybe it involves asking for help.  Maybe it involves doing a booty-shaking victory dance.  Maybe it means calling a friend and reconnecting.  Maybe it means writing a letter to someone who wronged you.  Maybe it just requires 5 minutes of quiet and a cup of tea.

Self-care is different for each of us.  But it is absolutely critical to our well being.  That’s why I’m so excited about the RASCAL challenge.  We’ve come up with over 100 official Radical Acts of Self Care and Love, and we’re challenging folks to do one of those acts every single day.  Aside from the intrinsic rewards that come from self love, we are ACTUALLY rewarding you with badges and encouragement and prizes for taking care of yourself.  Seriously.  How cool is that?

I hope you’ll join me in spending some time to take care of yourself this month, either by taking the challenge or simply choosing to do it on your own.  Because the world needs you to take care of you.

Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

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Taking Your Spirit for a Walk

We’ve been talking a lot about pedometers and counting steps and walking towards physical fitness in the last few weeks.  But walking does a lot more than strengthen your body and mind.  Walking can also have a profound effect on calming and lifting your spirit.  There are many approaches to using walking to speak to your soul.  So take a deep breath, and let’s explore some of them together:

Love walking: Going for a walk with somebody you love deeply can be a great balm and help for both of your souls.  If you walk with one of your children, this can be a time for you to really listen to them and focus on what is happening in their life.  In order for this to work however, you really have to focus.  That may mean muting your cell phone or turning it off altogether.  (But don’t leave your phone at home.  A fully-charged cell phone is one of  your most important pieces of fitness safety gear.)  This can also be a time for you to observe nature together.  If your child is young,  you may want to be prepared with some games that you can play as you walk like iSpy or simply naming the colors, animals, plants and shapes you encounter along the way.  Love walking with your significant other can be a time for you to share the details of your day, or even just to hold hands and enjoy some silence together.

Social Walking: Walking can be a great time to catch up with friends and share thoughts and feelings about what is happening in your lives.  And walking regularly with a good friend can help you keep your walking program on track.  Having a great jaw session can help bring the fun into fitness and help you forget that you’re exercising.  And don’t forget, laughing while walking also engages your abdominal muscles!

Prayer Walking:  I’ve known some people who have found a lot of joy in using their walking time for prayer.  You can take time during your stroll to pray for friends and family.  You can even take time, as you walk the sidewalks in your neighborhood to pray for the people who live near you.  Aside from allowing you to really focus on prayer a few times per week, I’ve talked to some prayer walkers who find that turning focus away from the physical benefits and towards caring for other people helps them to prioritize their walking program and be sure to carve time out for it.  And spending time sending love out to the universe is sure to have benefits for you and for everyone you touch.

Walking Meditation: Walking is a rhythmic, repetitive process that can really lend itself towards meditation.  Some people find it easier to meditate while they are sitting very still.  Some others find that the physical action of walking really helps them with their body awareness and aids their meditation practice.  There are many forms of walking meditation–from quite simple to more complex versions.  However, here’s a few tips for engaging in a walking meditation:

1.  Silence is golden.  Bring your fully-charged cell phone with you, but mute or turn it off during your walk.  Unless you are using music or spoken word specifically tailored to your meditation, you may want to leave your MP3 player and earbuds at home.

2.  Take some time before you start to become centered in your body.  Take a few deep breaths.  Feel the breaths move your tummy in and out.  Check in with your hands and feet, and sense how your body feels before you start out.

3.  Take the easy path.  Try to walk somewhere that will not require you to dodge a lot of people or obstacles.  Some gurus suggest that you pick a relatively short, straight path.  When you come to the end of the path, stop, reconnect with your body, turn around, and walk again.

4.  Spend time as you are walking checking in with your body.  How does your breath feel going in and out?  How do the soles of your feet feel where they are touching your shoes or socks, and how does each footfall ground with the earth? How do your arms feel?  Does your body feel light or heavy?  How does the air feel as it touches your skin?

5.  Send yourself some body love.  A walking meditation is a wonderful time to send positive messages to your body.  You can even choose a mantra–a brief phrase that you repeat to yourself over and over as you walk.  The best mantras are rhythmic in nature and allow you to put a syllable on each step as you walk.  Here are a few of my favorites:

I am worthy.

I am enough.

I am grateful.

Thank you body.

So what do you think?  Are  you interested in taking your spirit for a walk?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you give some of these techniques a try.  Don’t forget to share in the comments section!

And yet another one of our faithful readers will be receiving a jump start to his fitness program!  Rob Gokee, you’ve won a free pedometer!  Don’t forget to send me an email at jeanette at thefatchick dot com with your mailing address so I can get your pedometer out to you!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

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