Being an athlete for the majority of my life I have become very familiar with the concept of listening to your body. Growing up in that environment and pushing my limits even through college – we are taught to push through the pain, essentially “grind through the grind” but as my dad said it best – “you have to know the difference between pain and discomfort.” While this concept mostly applied to the physical aspect of competing and training – the older I have gotten the more I realized that listening to your body and trusting those instincts when something doesn’t feel quite right is in my opinion the most important thing we can do to stay healthy – not only physically – but in every other facet of our lives; including our nutritional and emotional health, stress management, and even sleep.
Lucky for us, we live in a world where we can obtain information by the push of a button – you don’t know something, get out your phone and look it up anywhere and everywhere, but the problem with that is sometimes too much information is exactly that, it’s too much. Now, I’m not saying to stop seeking all the education and knowledge you can grasp and utilize – but what I am suggesting is that you take the time to see what works best for you. As a coach and a retired athlete, I understand that not everything works for everyone – we can’t create a program, whether it’s exercise or nutrition related, that is for the masses. Every person and specifically every person’s body requires something a little bit different than the next; and while I know this out of personal experience and through coaching experience – it is also important for us to take the time to figure out what those differences look like for us individually. While also understanding that self-care is a vital part of discovering what we need to feel “good”. As Jennifer Doran explains, “Self-care is important, for our own well-being and for the care of our clients. All of our work will be better if we are psychologically and physically healthy.” Now, how exactly do we do this? Or more importantly, how do we manage this on top of everything else that goes on in our daily life? Work, school, family, friends – we have to take care of everything else, how in the world do I also take time out of my day to take care of me? There is so much you can do, but I will help make it one less thing to stress about with a few easy steps.
These steps can be applicable to exercise, nutrition, stress, and sleep – all of which not only help your overall well-being, but will contribute to also improving your self-care. Here’s what you can do:
- First and most important – make the decision to create positive change.
This goes for everything mentioned above – if you find your struggling with any of the above or maybe just one or two things – make the cognitive choice to make a change, but a positive change.
- Goal setting – make an end goal, but not only that a SMART goal.
SMART goals are those that are: specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and timely. What that looks like for you is up to you! Take your time and really think about what it is you want to achieve, whether that’s with your physical activity, food habits, stress management, or sleeping patterns – make a goal and go for it!
- Now that you have some goals in mind – create effective steps to achieve those goals.
A goal without a plan of action is just another thing we wish to do. If the steps don’t work, change the steps – not the goal.
- LISTEN TO YOURSELF – take some time to self-reflect.
Once you have recognized what needs to change – take some time to see if it is working for you, but also give it a chance to work. Our need for instant gratification sometimes overpowers our will to be patient – and to see changes we have to be patient and give ourselves time to adjust.
- Finally, be proactive and don’t be afraid to fail.
If you made changes and it’s not quite working – that’s okay. Don’t be discouraged in your efforts, your effort is what made a change and even small changes create great habits. Your personal well-being will always be an ongoing process, especially with exercise, nutrition, stress, and sleep. Recognize this, but always take time to keep working toward the goals you have set; and if failures occur, which they inevitably always do, keep moving forward.
Katy Hall, MS, CSCS
Director of Athletic Performance
M.S., Exercise and Sports Science
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - NSCA
B.S., Kinesiology and Health Promotion
Certified Personal Trainer – NSCA
Katy Hall graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2013, with a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she immediately began the Kinesiology graduate program at UW. She will be completing her Master's Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with an emphasis in Exercise and Sport Psychology in December of 2016. Katy is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is currently working towards becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, CSCS. While attending UW, she competed for five years for the cowgirl's track and field team primarily as a 60–meter and 100–meter hurdler. During her time as a Cowgirl, she was able to achieve honors on the track and in the classroom as both a Mountain West All Conference team member and Mountain West Scholar Athlete. Katy is excited to be a part of Altitude Fitness because she has a profound passion for training and conditioning because of her own personal experiences and wants to share that with others. Her passion for athletics is what drives her to help others achieve their goals.