Monica Moran is the Marketing Manager at AAM, a professional services company that specialises in the collection, analysis, and presentation of geospatial data.
What does self-care mean to you?
For me, self-care means being intentional with doing things and making time for activities that keep me in good health. And good health is a holistic thing – so it encompasses my physical health and fitness, my mental health and my emotional and spiritual well-being.
Tied into all that is making sure I’m doing what I can to maintain the important relationships in my life – primarily my immediate and extended family, friends and workplace colleagues.
Self-care also means I schedule regular breaks and time where I do “nothing” or activities that are done for pure enjoyment – not geared towards optimising my time or improving myself. As a typical driven “type A” personality, it has taken me a while to realise how important this is.
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
I start to ruminate endlessly about things in a way that is not helpful and usually about stuff that is beyond my control.
Another obvious signal is when I let my discipline slide for too long (more than 3 days in a row) and I stop exercising and/or eating healthily.
I’m sure my family will also tell you that I’m just generally cranky and short tempered.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
Yes. I’m a strong advocate of building a regimented routine so that my physical and mental well being is looked after daily. When things are routine they become habits and it’s that repetition that creates an accumulated benefit.
So 6 days a week I exercise for about an hour a day (usually a 10km run). I also meditate for around 10-15 minutes and do a quick gratitude journal entry.
At the end of the day I journal as it helps me to reflect on what’s happening in my life and writing stuff down helps me to untangle my thoughts and feelings. I also make sure I record 3 “wins” for that day past and 3 wins I’m aiming for on the next day. These can be small things like I paused during the day for a minute of mindfulness or a big thing, like I completed a difficult work task.
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
I’m a creature of habit and have stuck with my morning ritual (especially my physical exercise) for such a long time that I rarely get off course. Probably my meditation and gratitude journaling take a back seat when things get too busy and I stop making time to do these things well.
So usually it’s an external factor that gets me off course – like if one of my children gets sick or I need to do a larger share of childcare or housekeeping because my husband is sick or goes away.
That being said, I have battled with depression and that will really throw me off course. The first and most obvious sign is that I stop running/taking care of my physical fitness. Once I get into that rut it’s really hard to break out.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?
My primary source today is my mediation app which also has podcast episodes (ten percent happier by Dan Harris).
I also listen to The Huberman Lab podcast – a very science and evidence-based podcast by Andrew Huberman who is a Stanford professor who specialises in neurobiology but covers a wide range of topics related to health.
Other podcasts include The Ben Greenfield podcast, Endurance Planet and Run to the Top.
I have many others that nourish my mind and curiosity.
Basically I’m a podcast junkie and listen to a tonne of audible books as well. Because I have 2 young children, I can consume information more easily by listening but I try to read a lot as well.
I feel really spoiled in today’s digitally connected world. There’s so much quality and often free information out there to help me in all aspects of my life. Once you develop a taste for quality and find sources you can trust, a wealth of useful information is at your fingertips.
Before you go…
Self-Care is our new interview series exploring the different self-care routines and habits of people from all walks of life. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to talk about your self-care routine.