Self Care/ Not putting us first!

Chris EarlyChris Early Member, Practitioner, AFS Staff, Foundations Course Member admin

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to take this moment to talk about the topic of putting everyone around you first before yourself. I know it is hard with work, children, social events, motherhood/fatherhood/single parent , caregiver ect to do all the things we want to do but if we don't take the time for ourselves it's near impossible to take care of others. I sent this to a client and this was her response:


Hope you are doing well. How has this past week been? What barriers did you encounter this past week with your goals? What things can we do this next week to overcome those barriers?

Hope to hear from you soon,



Wow, Chris. That is an excellent question. I think I tend to put my needs after everyone else’s. I guess sometimes I need to focus on me and what is good for exercise!

Thanks for making me think!

I'm not saying "Hey, don't take care of others", but just like on an airplane we need to put our mask on first before helping others. If we are not in the right mindset, not getting enough sleep, not fueling our body properly everything we want/have worked for will either go or we get caught in negative self talk and the cycle continues.

Please take that moment for yourself, if it's 10 minutes or 60 minutes it doesn't matter. If you can't take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of others?



  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    Love it, Chris.

    Self-care seems to particularly be a challenge for parents, and in my experiences, even moreso with mothers. I am curious then what strategies some of our clients who are parents/mothers have used to successfully prioritize their own self-care? What are some tips you could give others?

    Thanks for starting this discussion.

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Shaina TinseyShaina Tinsey Member Rank ✭5✭

    Mom here 🙋 My kids are 6, and almost 3. Before I get in to self-care, first I must share them- here they are!

    This is a little bit of a hard question for me because i feel like I've always worked pretty hard to prioritize self-care. There have been times it is has been harder for sure though. A disclaimer - I am fortunate to have a very supportive spouse. I have seen with friends and co-workers times when people have wanted to take more time for themselves but if they have kids and don't have a supportive partner it makes things FAR more complicated. My kids grandparents are also close enough to help and love to do so - so I have a good village on my side, and I am thankful for that every day.

    When it comes to physical health and fitness it helps me to know that time I spend making healthy food or getting/staying fit will benefit my kids in the long run. I try to talk to my kids about why this is important to me and always keep it framed positive. There are times they say they don't want me to go to the gym/go for a run/still be in the kitchen cooking - and that can be hard. But I didn't grow up in a very healthy house and I had to do a lot of reversing course as a young adult to learn how fuel my body with healthy foods and to take care of and honor my body with exercise. As hard as those moments are when I am at the door and they say they don't want me to leave, the harder moments for me are related to balancing all the relationships/roles that I play.

    In addition to being their mom, I also work full time in a career I love (that I commute 45 min to), I am in a healthy marriage, I am a friend, a daughter, and I am also an introvert and really need some down time by self. I am also the cook in our house and manage our schedule/calendar. There have been times when I am so overwhelmed that when I ask my husband to do something as simple as packing my son's lunch that I apologize when he does it. And he doesn't mind doing it. What is that about? Why do I feel like I have to do it ALL, ALL the time? A while back I heard something on a podcast that has actually really helped me come to grips with this.

    *Instead of thinking of this all as a balancing act, think of it as juggling. You might drop one of the balls here or there, so just try not to drop the same ball over and over.*

    To make the juggling possible, I try as much as possible to 1) plan (ex. creating a weekly meal plan), 2) set boundaries (ex. sometimes saying no to Sunday events knowing we need some time at home on Sundays to get ready for the week), and 3) prioritize (ex. I have a deadline for work and can't cook tonight, we'll just get a pizza instead this time). Having these three parameters in place helps me take care of my needs, and the roles I play in relation to others. They are the unsexy side of self-care (I think Corinne wrote a blog post along those lines once). I would rather get a massage once a week or get a pedicure every few weeks, but I just don't have the money for that so for me self-care is more focused around being mindful about what I need to exit the day or week feeling good, and trying to prepare myself for success. Sometimes it's more surface level like watching a sitcom with a beer or a glass of wine after the kids are in bed, because I LOVE sitcoms.

    And sometimes the ball I drop is taking care of myself, I just try not to let it be the ball that gets dropped over and over again.

    Sorry that got long-winded! I thought my answer was simple but when I started typing it went all over the place 🙃

  • Sawyer Paull-BairdSawyer Paull-Baird Administrator, Moderator, Practitioner, AFS Staff admin

    That was awesome @Shaina Tinsey .. Thank you so much for sharing that. It always amazes me how much so many of our clients are managing at one time (or juggling as you say), and doing so in an amazing way (even if at times I am sure it doesn't feel that way to them). Great insights =)

    Sawyer Paull-Baird BS CSCS ACSM-EP PN-Lvl1
    Agent of Change / Fitness Innovation & Education Coordinator
  • Heidi MorrisHeidi Morris Member Rank ✭7✭

    This is definitely a tough challenge for me as a mom. Early on in my parenting though, I realized how important it was to understand I actually can do it all, but cannot do it all well.

    Self-care has had to take different forms over the past 18 years. I’ve had to be okay with seasons of life, much like the juggling concept mentioned above. Some seasons I work out consistently, but sometimes self-care is more like making sure I prioritize sleep. Sometimes, my self-care looks like consciously choosing to focus on others-care instead of my own, because it honestly would make me feel better to make sure I’m helping someone else rather than just myself.

    I’m a big fan of setting rhythms in my day and planning, but holding those open handedly, knowing life happens. I do make sure that I’m filling my mind every day though with wisdom that will encourage me, and I do practice prayer and gratitude as well. Those are the things that help me keep my perspective on self-care steady yet flexible.

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