“Under the Weather”…Self-care is in order

“Self care is personal health maintenance. It is any activity of an individual, family or community, with the intention of improving or restoring health, or treating or preventing disease.”

My husband and I woke up this morning feeling “under the weather” i.e. caught a cold. Our routine calls for a Long Steady Distance (LSD) run (approx. 1.5 hrs) on Saturday mornings but this weekend we are challenged with putting rest as priority #1. I have to admit that mainstream society would often think of running as “self-care and health prevention” but sometimes that is not the case for endurance athletes that are trying to find balance in life and work. Self-care can very challenging for us athletes whom achieve to have many areas of our lives planned and structured, for the most part each day every hour is allocated to “something important.” So when an “unexpected visitor” arrives, like a cold, this calls for restructuring of our time and perspective..not the easiest thing to do. Nonetheless, today this is what we are called to.

Putting our feet up with tea, books, H2O, and other self-care goodies

On days like these our self-talk can be especially harsh, negative, and “off-balance” than our usual. We say things to ourselves like, ” I should be out running. I should do something..,” “my training will be all off,” “I should have taken better care of myself.” (Okay let me back up quickly and define self-talk. Self-talk in mental skills training and sport psychology self-talk is defined as our inner dialog and thoughts that lead to self evaluations, self statements, and possible self-judgment and doubt or in a nutshell it is “self talk is the chatter that goes inside everyone’s head all day.”)

So as I started to think about what my day/weekend may have unexpectedly planned for me versus what I planned for it. I have to go back to what I know about psychology and change- we can not change what we are not aware of. So FIRST, Become aware of your thoughts and self-talk. Monitor your dialog this often leads to some core beliefs/evaluation about ourselves that we struggle with. THEN target negative feeling talk for change, for this step I recommend the Mindfulness skill of Non-Judgmental Stance.

The point of taking a nonjudgmental stance is to give ourselves an opportunity to observe the same old things that we always observe in our minds or in our environment or about other people, but open ourselves to thinking about it in a different way. So if I withhold my judgment about what my thought means, but simply observe it, note it and let the thought move away, I have an opportunity to treat myself more gently. Even if I still have the judgmental thought, I can observe that I had the thought, then let it go. That’s the beauty of nonjudgmental stance; all the negative garbage we’re so accustomed to telling ourselves is suddenly cut off and a gentleness takes over so that healing becomes possible.” More at: http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/non-judgmental_stance.html

Gosh can you image what the world would be like if we all practiced not judging or comparing ourselves to other people (athletes, co-workers, our selves in past)?! and starting accepting what we ARE in the HERE and NOW. I believe if we began to develop and reinforce self talk that is more nurturing and gentle we open ourselves up to self-ACCEPTANCE. Acceptance allows to be present in WHAT IS versus what could be, should be, or ought to be.

So today I will work towards acceptance that my body is telling me it needs more care and rest, but also remember that my bike, the road, and the park is not going anywhere…

Published by

Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing what she preaches.

One thought on ““Under the Weather”…Self-care is in order

  1. I hope you and ken get better soon. This was a good read, and I’m practicing “self-care” as we speak. You are so right about that voice in our heads judging ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. I’m trying not to compare myself and skills to other artists because everyone’s different and unique. Dealing with that pressure of trying to get to that high standard that can’t be achieved if you’re trying to be someone else, isn’t worth it. In times like this it’s good to be aware of your thoughts and actions to improve, and reach a standard that you yourself can create and achieve.

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