Total Health in Midlife Episode #158: The Ripple Effect of Self-Care

The Ripple Effect

I’ll never forget the day I realized self-care wasn’t just about me. It was during a particularly hectic week when, despite the chaos, I took time for a morning walk and it astonishingly transformed my entire day, making me more present for my family and more productive at work. 

In this episode, we’ll traverse the misunderstood landscape of self-care, especially during the transformative midlife years. Join me, Elizabeth Sherman, as I debunk the myth of self-care as a selfish luxury and reframe it as an essential practice that radiates benefits well beyond oneself. 

I’ll share stories and insights drawn from my coaching experiences that illuminate how investing in our well-being enriches every role we play—from parenting to professional endeavors.

We’ll also examine Maria’s inspiring narrative, showcasing how integrating simple health habits like hydration, quality sleep, and mindful eating can catalyze profound improvements across various facets of life. I’ll provide you with actionable strategies to seamlessly incorporate self-care into your busy schedule, how to shed the unwarranted guilt around taking time for yourself, and the importance of establishing a legacy of health. 

By the end of our journey, you’ll be equipped with the understanding that each small step towards self-care is a leap towards a more vibrant and fulfilling life, not just for you, but for everyone whose lives you touch.

Chapter Summaries

The Ripple Effect of Self-Care (0:00:04) 

Self-care is not selfish, it benefits all aspects of life and we deserve to prioritize our well-being.

Small Steps Improve Health (0:11:13) 

Physical, mental, and emotional health are interconnected, and small changes can lead to sustainable improvements in well-being.

The Ripple Effect of Prioritizing Health (0:18:42)

Small health changes have a cumulative effect on well-being, including walking, hydration, vegetables, mindful eating, and quality sleep.

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What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Unlock the secret to a transformative self-care routine that fuels your energy, clarity, and joy, making every aspect of your life shine brighter.
  • Discover how to reclaim your energy and overcome physical limitations to unlock a tailored self-care routine that respects your body’s needs.
  • Explore how enhancing emotional health creates a ripple effect, fostering fulfilling relationships and boosting confidence for a more joyful life.
  • Learn how small healthy choices compound into significant improvements, shaping a resilient foundation for long-term well-being and a better quality of life.
  • Discover how prioritizing your health transforms productivity at work, unlocks personal fulfillment, and creates a lasting legacy of vitality for you and others.
  • Unlock the transformative potential of small steps in your health journey, impacting your well-being across family, career, and fulfillment.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Are you ready to unlock a secret that can transform not just your life, but also the lives of those that you care about? So, today, we are diving into a topic that just might change the way that you think about self-care. Now, imagine if taking care of yourself could make you a better parent, partner, friend, and professional. Would you be curious to know how?

You see, self-care isn’t just about you, it’s about creating a ripple effect of compassion, positive energy, and well-being that touches everyone around us. But I know what you might be thinking, I don’t have time for self-care, Elizabeth! Isn’t it selfish to focus on myself?

So, we’re going to tackle these questions head on and reveal how small, manageable steps in improving your health can lead to significant impacts in every aspect of your life.

If you feel that you’re always putting others first and don’t have any time for yourself, this episode is especially for you. We’re going to explore how putting yourself on the list can actually give so much more to those around you.

This episode is a must listen. So, stay tuned and let’s get started. It’s time to discover how taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for everyone you love.

Welcome to Total Health and Midlife, the podcast for women embracing the pivotal transformation from the daily grind to the dawn of a new chapter. I’m Elizabeth, your host and fellow traveler on this journey.

As a Life and Health Coach, I am intimately familiar with the changes and challenges we face during this stage. Shifting careers, changing relationships, our new bodies, and redefining goals and needs as we start to look to the future and ask, what do I want?

In this podcast, we’ll explore physical, mental, and emotional wellness, offering insights and strategies to achieve optimal health through these transformative years.

Yes, it’s totally possible.

Join me in this amazing journey of body, mind, and spirit, where we’re not just improving our health, but transforming our entire lives.

Hey everyone, welcome to the Total Health in Midlife podcast. I’m your host, Elizabeth Sherman, and I am so excited to have you here today. Thank you for joining me.

Now, in today’s episode, we are going to explore a topic that is super close to my heart, and I believe crucial for all of us, especially as we navigate this crunch and change of midlife.

So, today I want to talk about the ripple effect of self-care. It’s about understanding how taking care of ourselves, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally, can profoundly influence every aspect of our lives and the lives of those around us.

Now, I know self-care often gets tossed around a lot as a buzzword these days. But in today’s episode, I want to dive into the real tangible impacts that it has. You see, as women in our fifties and sixties, life often presents us with unique challenges and joys. We might be juggling family, possibly grandchildren, careers, and perhaps caring for aging parents.

In the midst of all of this, taking care of yourself can sometimes feel like a luxury that you can’t afford. But what if I told you that prioritizing your health is not just for you but will also benefit the people that you love and the life that you cherish.

In my journey as a life and health coach and through my own personal experiences, I’ve seen how self-care can really change so much in my life. It’s not just about feeling good in your skin.

It’s about bringing your best self to every part of your life. Whether it’s having more energy to play with your grandkids, or the mental clarity to make important decisions at work, or even being a more present and joyful friend, partner, or parent. The benefits are far reaching.

Over the course of today’s episode, we’re going to walk through the different dimensions of self-care, understand common barriers to it, and most importantly, discover practical steps to integrate into our busy lives.

And this isn’t about making big, massive change. It’s totally achievable with small, sustainable shifts that can really add up and make a big difference. Whether you’re already on your self-care journey or just starting to consider it, this episode is for you.

So, let’s explore how taking care of yourself can create a positive ripple effect in your life and the lives of those that you touch.

First, there’s an ever present hurdle of time, or more accurately, the perceived lack of time. Many of us feel our days are already packed to the brim with family, work, and a myriad of other responsibilities. Carving out time for ourselves can seem almost impossible.

You might be thinking, how can I possibly squeeze in self-care when I can barely have time to catch my breath? I get it. Time is a precious commodity, but it’s also about priorities. Sometimes it’s not about finding time. It’s about making time. It’s about saying no to those things that take time.

Then, there’s the issue of guilt and this goes along with time. It’s a familiar feeling for many of us. The idea that prioritizing our health and our needs somehow are selfish, especially when we have others depending on us. Others who are asking for our time, right?

It’s like an internal voice constantly shaming us. I shouldn’t be doing this. I shouldn’t be taking time for myself. But here’s the thing, taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s actually essential.

And when we take that time for ourselves, we can actually give back to others. When we don’t take time for ourselves, I know that I walk around feeling resentful. So, you’ve heard the saying, you can’t pour from an empty cup. And by replenishing your own health and energy, you’re better equipped to care for others.

But that’s not the reason to do it. And often, when we hear the expression that you can’t pour from an empty cup, it also goes hand in hand with the oxygen mask analogy.

Now, if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that I deeply abhor the oxygen mask analogy. You know the oxygen mask analogy.

The oxygen mask analogy says that you need to put your own oxygen mask on first so that you can help others put theirs on. Or rather, that you need to take care of yourself so that you don’t get run down, which would then prevent you from being able to take care of yourself. And then in relation to prevent you from being able to care for others. Right?

So, everything that we’ve been taught as women about self-care, about health, all of it is in relation to other people. I want you to put your oxygen mask on, not so that you can take care of other people, but because you are a freaking human being who deserves oxygen, and you deserve to take care of yourself.

The essence of the oxygen mask analogy is that other’s needs, wants, and health, and desires are the primary goal. And that we should only do a minimum set of self-care for ourselves to the extent that we are able to function at the level that allows us to still take care of other people.

That other people’s wants are always way more important than your needs. That the only reason that you should practice self-care is so that you can serve others. And I’m calling BS on all of this because it’s not as if you’re not worthy taking care of yourself just because you’re a human being. And by extension, worthy of being taken care of.

So, take care of yourself because you are a human being and you are worthy of taking care of yourself, not so that you can take care of others. But I digress. Back to the obstacles of why we don’t practice self-care.

Okay. The next one is energy level or the lack thereof. That can be another common barrier. So, as we age, it’s natural to feel like we don’t have the same energy levels that we once did. You might wake up already feeling drained, thinking, how can I possibly add exercise or any other form of self-care to my day?

The irony is that self-care particularly, physical activity can actually increase your energy levels. It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s totally true. And let’s not forget about physical limitations or discomfort. Whether it’s a nagging back pain, joint stiffness, or any other age related changes, these can make the idea of self-care daunting.

But self-care doesn’t have to be strenuous. It’s about finding what works for you, respecting your body’s limits, and adapting accordingly.

Now, why is it so important to overcome these barriers? Because the benefits of self-care extend far beyond just you. When you’re healthier, both physically and mentally, you bring a better version of yourself to every interaction.

Your improved mood and energy can brighten your family life. Your mental clarity and emotional stability can enhance your performance at work and deepen your relationships. In essence, by taking care of yourself, you’re creating a positive impact on all of those around you.

As we continue, we’ll explore more about these benefits and how you can start making small, meaningful changes to your life. It’s not about overhauling your life overnight. It’s about taking those small steps that can lead to significant, positive changes for you and everyone in your orbit.

Okay. Switching gears just a little bit. In our journey to better health, it’s essential to understand that our physical, mental, and emotional well-being are deeply intertwined. They’re like threads in a tapestry. Each one is crucial, and together they create a complete picture of health.

So, let’s start with physical health. When we talk about it, we often think about exercise and nutrition. But physical health is more than just being active or eating right. It’s the foundation that supports our mental and emotional states.

Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Similarly, the food that we eat can affect not just our physical bodies, but our mental clarity and emotional stability.

Mental health, on the other hand is about more than just the absence of mental illness. It’s about having a positive attitude, feeling motivated, and being able to handle stress effectively. The state of our mental health can profoundly influence our physical health.

So, for instance, stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, high blood pressure, and weakened immune systems. And then, there’s emotional health, our ability to understand and manage our emotions. This affects how we react to life’s challenges, how we connect with others, and our overall sense of well-being.

Emotional health is integral to our relationships and how we navigate our daily lives. When one of these aspects suffers, it can ripple through the others. Conversely, when we nurture one aspect, the others are lifted as well.

For example, regular exercise not only improves physical health, but also reduces stress and enhances emotional well-being. Similarly, practices like mindfulness can enhance mental clarity while also benefiting our emotional and physical states.

Understanding this interconnectedness is key. It means that every step we take towards improving one aspect of our health can positively impact the others. Creating a cycle of overall well-being, and just better mood.

When we nurture any aspect of our health, be it physical, mental, or emotional, the benefits extend far beyond just our personal well-being. They ripple out into various areas of our life, bringing positive changes that can be truly transformative. Take physical health, for instance.

When you start to feel more energized and stronger physically, you bring a new level of energy to your interactions with your family and friends. This can mean having more energy to play with your grandkids, feeling more present during outings with friends, or simply being more engaged in your daily activities.

Improving your mental health, such as through stress management or positive thinking can significantly impact your professional life. It can lead to an increased productivity, creativity, and greater ability to handle work related challenges. You’ll find yourself more resilient in the face of stress and more adaptable to change.

And then, there’s the effect on your emotional health. When you’re in a good emotional space, your relationships tend to flourish. You’re better equipped to communicate, empathize, and connect with others. This not only strengthens your existing relationships, but also opens the door to forming new meaningful connections.

And let’s not forget about the personal sense of achievement and confidence that comes with taking control of your health. This newfound confidence can inspire you to pursue new hobbies, explore new interests, and even take bold steps in your career or personal life.

In essence, every positive change that you make in your health reverberates through all facets of your life. It’s about creating a positive cycle where one improvement feeds into another, leading to more fulfilled, balanced, and joyful relationships, and a joyful life. It’s often the simplest actions that can have the most profound effects on our health and by extension on our lives.

So, I want to share a few examples of small actions that can yield significant benefits. Let’s start with physical actions. Adding just a short walk to your daily routine can do amazing things.

This simple exercise not only strengthens your muscles and improves your cardiovascular health, but it also clears your mind and boosts your mood. It’s a small step that can lead to a healthier body and a more serene mental state.

On the mental health front, practicing gratitude can be incredibly impactful. Taking a few moments each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for can shift your mindset, reduce stress, and foster a more positive outlook on life. This practice not only improves your mental well-being but can also enhance your relationships as you start appreciating the little things more.

Regarding emotional health, the act of setting boundaries is crucial. Learning to say no or carving out time for yourself isn’t selfish. It’s necessary for emotional balance. This action not only preserves your energy, but also teaches others to respect your needs, leading to healthier, more respectful relationships.

Even in terms of nutrition, something as simple as drinking an extra glass of water each day can make a huge difference. Hydration is the key to physical health, affecting everything from skin health to digestion, and it also plays a role in mental clarity.

These examples demonstrate how small, manageable actions can have far reaching effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s about making little tweaks and changes that over time add up to significant positive impact on our overall wellbeing.

One of the most empowering approaches to improving our health is the philosophy of starting small. Huge, dramatic changes can be overwhelming and unsustainable, but small incremental steps are manageable, and can lead to lasting results. It’s about taking that first modest step and building from there.

Imagine health as a marathon, not as a sprint. You don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. It could be as simple as starting your day with a glass of water, taking a 5 minute break to stretch your legs during the workday, or choosing to have a salad for lunch a few times a week.

These small actions are like seeds, and given time, they grow, and they flourish into a lifestyle. Your new normal.

The beauty of starting small is that it’s less intimidating. You’re more likely to stick with a 10 minute walk every day than commit to an hour at the gym if you’re just beginning.

This approach also allows you to celebrate small wins, which can be incredibly motivating. Every time you make a healthy choice, no matter how small, you’re taking a step in the right direction.

Additionally, starting small helps to integrate health into your life without it feeling like a burden. It’s about finding those little moments and opportunities throughout your day to make the healthier choice. And over time, these choices become habits, and those habits form the foundation of a healthier lifestyle.

So, if you’re feeling daunted by the idea of getting healthier, remember, it’s not about making big leaps. It’s about the power of small beginnings. Each step you take is a building block towards a healthier, version of yourself, and your future.

So, now, let’s talk about some easy to implement changes that can make significant difference in your health journey. These are small, straightforward steps that can fit into your daily routine without a lot of hassle.

So, first up is walking. Never underestimate the power of a good walk. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk or a leisurely evening stroll. Or just choosing to walk instead of drive for short distances. Walking is a fantastic way to improve your physical health, clear your mind, and elevate your mood.

Next is hydration. Drinking enough water is one of the simplest yet most effective things you can do for your health. It aids in digestion, it keeps your skin healthy, and it can even help with weight management. Try to replace sugary drinks with water and keep a water bottle handy throughout the day to remind you to hydrate.

Next up is adding vegetables. And if you’ve been here for a while, you know this is one of my favorites. Incorporating more vegetables into your meals because they are packed with essential nutrients, fiber, and are generally low in calories. You don’t have to overhaul your diet, but just by adding a serving of vegetables to one meal a day and gradually increase from there can make huge changes.

Next up is mindful eating. This can be really tough. Slowing down and being mindful about what and how you eat. Savoring your food, chewing slowly, and paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues. This practice not only enhances you’re eating experience but can also prevent overeating and help you to feel better through digestion.

And then, finally, we have quality sleep. So, prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. Simple steps like setting a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and winding down before bed can hugely improve your sleep quality.

These steps might seem small, but they have the potential to create substantial improvements in your health. The key is consistency. Regularly incorporating these simple actions into your life can lead to meaningful, long lasting changes in your overall well-being.

The true power of small, healthy changes lies in their cumulative effect. Each positive choice you make may seem insignificant on its own. You’re probably already thinking, that’s not enough. I need to do more. But over time, these choices add up to create substantial improvements in your health and in your quality of life.

So, imagine each small health choice as a brick. One brick alone might not seem like much, but as you add more and more, you eventually build a strong, resilient structure. This is exactly how small health changes work.

A short walk today, an extra glass of water tomorrow, a healthy meal the next day, these are all bricks in the foundation of your long term well-being. The cumulative effect Also creates momentum.

As you start noticing the benefits of these small changes, perhaps feeling more energetic, sleeping better, or having improved mood, you’re encouraged to continue making healthy choices. This positive reinforcement makes it easier to maintain these habits in the long run.

Moreover, these small changes can lead to significant health benefits, such as reduced risk for chronic diseases, improved mental health, and better management of stress. What starts out as a simple step towards better health can evolve into a life-changing journey.

While the immediate effects of small changes may not be drastic or instant, the long term impact is undeniable. It’s about playing the long game. Recognizing that every healthy choice you make is an investment in your future self.

The journey to better health doesn’t require leaps and bounds. It progresses one step at a time. Embrace these small steps and over time, you’ll look back to see how far you’ve come.

The positive changes that we make in our health journey don’t just benefit us. They create a ripple effect that touches every aspect of our lives, especially in the areas of family, career, and personal fulfillment.

In terms of family life, when you invest in your health, you are indirectly investing in your family’s well-being. You set a powerful example for your children and your grandchildren about the importance of health and self-care. Your increased energy and joy mean that you can engage more actively with your family and participate in activities you might have previously avoided and be present in a more meaningful way.

At work, the benefits are just as profound. Improved physical and mental health leads to better concentration, more creativity, and higher productivity. You’re likely to find yourself handling work related stress more effectively and contributing to a more positive work environment. This can lead to career advancement and a greater sense of professional achievement.

Personal fulfillment is perhaps the most significant area impacted by your health journey. As you start feeling better physically and mentally, you’ll find yourself more open to new experiences and opportunities. You might rediscover old hobbies or develop new interests.

The confidence that comes with taking care of yourself can inspire you to pursue goals and dreams that you may have put on hold previously. This ripple effect demonstrates that prioritizing your health is not just a personal gain. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, enriching not only your life, but also the lives of those around you. It’s about creating a legacy of health that extends beyond yourself.

I’d love to share a couple stories that beautifully illustrate the ripple effect of taking care of your health. These anecdotes, underscore the far reaching impact of our health choices.

First, Let’s talk about Maria. She’s a client of mine. Maria initially approached health changes with hesitation, mainly to manage her weight. She started with small steps, daily walks, and mindful eating.

Over time, not only did she achieve her weight goals, but she also noticed unexpected benefits. Her energy levels increased, allowing her to enjoy more activities with her children. Her improved mood and energy positively affected her relationship with her husband, bringing a new level of closeness and understanding.

And then, there’s the story that I hear so often from so many of my clients. Many of my clients struggle with work related stress and poor sleep. When we decide to prioritize our health and start with regular exercise and better sleep habits, the changes are transformative.

Stress levels reduce, and sleep is improved. And this has a knock on effect on work performance. Clients become more productive, their relationships with colleagues improve, and they find a new sense of purpose in their career.

These stories highlight how taking care of your health can transform, not just your own life, but also positively influence those around you. It’s a reminder that the journey to better health is not just a personal quest, it’s a path that leads to enriched relationships, improved work life, and a deeper sense of personal fulfillment.

As we’ve journeyed through today’s episode discussing the ripple effects of prioritizing your health, these are the conversations that I have with my clients in our one on one and our group coaching sessions. These sessions are tailored to meet your unique health needs and goals. And I want to invite you to schedule a call to figure out if these sessions can help you as well.

In these sessions, we will work together to identify your personal health objectives, overcome obstacles, and develop a sustainable plan that works for you. Whether it’s improving your nutrition, finding the right exercise routine, managing stress, or simply building healthier habits, my goal is to guide you and support you every single step of the way.

In one on one coaching, you’ll receive personalized attention and a customized plan that fits your lifestyle, your preferences, and your health status. We’ll dive into what motivates you and explore challenges specific to you and celebrate your victories, big and small. It’s a space where your health journey is uniquely yours. And I’ll be there to provide the guidance and accountability that you need.

Group coaching offers a different but equally rewarding experience. Here, you’ll join a community of like-minded women, all working towards better health. The power of group coaching lies in the shared experiences, encouragement, and support from other women just like you. It’s a space where you can learn from them and share your insights and help them and grow together.

Taking the first step towards better health can be the most challenging part, but you don’t have to do it alone. As your coach, my role is to be your ally, your guide, and your cheerleader. I am here to help you navigate the complexities of health and wellness, provide evidence based advice, and offer the encouragement and support that you need to achieve your goals.

If you’re ready to take control of your health and experience the positive ripple effects in all the areas of your life, I encourage you to reach out. Let’s schedule a call to discuss how we can work together to make this year the year that you truly prioritize your health. You have the power to make a change, and I would be honored to be part of your journey.

As we wrap up today’s episode, let’s take a moment and reflect on what we’ve covered. We’ve explored the importance of overcoming common objections to prioritizing health. Like the lack of time, feelings of selfishness, low energy levels, and physical limitations. We’ve discussed how our physical, mental, and emotional health are deeply interconnected and how improvements in one area can positively impact all areas of our lives.

The key takeaway is the power of small beginnings. Small, manageable health changes can have a profound cumulative effect over time. Leading to significant improvements, not only in your health, but also in your family life, career, and overall sense of fulfillment.

Now, I encourage you to think about your low hanging fruit. What is one simple thing that you can do today to lean into better health? It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Maybe it’s choosing to drink an extra glass of water, or going for a short walk, or adding a serving of vegetables to your meal.

Whatever it is, remember that this small step is a giant leap in your health journey. And if you’re looking for support, guidance, and motivation on this journey, remember that I’m here to help, whether through one on one coaching or group sessions. We can work together to tailor a health plan that fits your life and goals. You do not have to navigate this path alone.

So, if you’re ready to take that step towards a healthier you and experience the ripple effect it can have on all aspects of your life, reach out to me. Let’s set up a call and start your journey to vibrant health and wellness.

Thanks for joining me today. Have an amazing week, everyone. I’ll talk to you next time. Bye-bye.

Thank you for tuning into today’s episode. If what we’ve discussed resonates with you and you’re eager to take your health journey further, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one call with me. It’s an opportunity for us to dive deep into your health goals, explore your unique challenges, and discuss what you’ve tried before.

To book your slot, simply click the link in the show notes. Once you do, you’ll answer a few thought-provoking questions to get us started. Then, all you need to do is show up, and we’ll take it from there.

Let’s make your health journey a priority together. See you on the call!

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