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Self-Discovery = Self-Care

Barb holding a fish she caughtA unique and challenging road in life is that of self-discovery. Decades of challenges usually proves to make us better people, both inside and out. If not, it can lead us to bitterness and unhappiness. I have discovered at the age of 58 that I love my life. Clearly not every day is perfect, but if I attend to my core needs, I can get through almost anything.

Almost a decade ago I joined a fitness club, knowing that I needed to add strength training to my life in order to accomplish the goal of becoming a stronger woman as I age. Today I work out with friends in classes that include spinning, Tabata, circuit training, kickboxing and a weekly dose of personal training. I have realized that consistent exercising helps me both emotionally and physically.

I took an inventory several years ago on myself and made a list of my wants and needs. When I discovered what my needs helped provide me, I gained clarity about how to take care of myself. It led me down a path of knowing that—

  • I need my sleep, and I now guard it well.
  • I need to spend alone time when I can, as often as I can. It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to find peace in the moment.
  • I need to be with close friends and schedule family time.
  • I need to be near water as often as possible. It calms me, and nature provides me a sense of gratitude.
  • I need to nourish my body with things that provide it energy, like lean protein, lots of vegetable and fruit and staying away from too much sugar.

Social media screenshotThe “want” category in my life is easy. I love adventure and travel. I can attend to these when I have time and money.

Self-discovery doesn’t happen overnight but is, rather, a journey of paying attention to the good days and examine the hard days and ways you can make your life easier. Challenges are important, as we grow into the people we were meant to be. My suggestions—

  • Be kind to yourself first and practice gratitude in every day, either through journaling or mindfulness.
  • Find joy where you can and acknowledge your feelings.
  • Learn to say no, when you mean no.

It’s different for everyone, and I wish you well on your journey.

Barb Engelhart
Siren, WI

Barb at overlook on hike