BY JAMIE SKUBAL
Dedicated equestrian, there’s a chance you’re reading this in the bathroom or in-between meetings at the job you have to pay for your horse. If I had to guess, you’re exhausted and feeling a bit run down. Take the next few minutes to read this, because self care isn’t just a thing you do if you board a horse and do all the work yourself.
As equestrians, we make jokes about how our horses eat, sleep, and live better than we do. We spend heaps of money on vet bills, chiropractic work, and other holistic therapies to make them feel and perform their best. But jokes aside, if you are doing any of the following its time to make a change.
- Running yourself ragged.
- Feeling exhausted and unmotivated.
- Attempting to survive with less than five hours of sleep.
- Taking on more things than you can honestly manage.
- Emotionally eating.
These things are not only bad for you, but also your family, friends, and your horse(s). Whether you are a professional or an amateur does not matter. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of the four legged, perky eared, sometimes afraid of their own farts tail swisher that you love so much. You can’t expect your horse to perform its best if you are not also running and feeling your best.
I know all of this, because I am guilty. I need to take my own advice.
I am a workaholic in all aspects of my life. When I get an idea, I see it all the way through and usually that gets me pretty run down. Right now I’m working full time, taking two college courses, planning my wedding, dealing with the day to day, and of course looking to get my horse and I ready for show season after taking the winter off. Smart, huh? Yeah, I don’t think so now either.
So this is advice for all of us. We have to take care of ourselves. The smallest and most basic things can make the biggest difference.
It sounds so simple, but stop making excuses as to why you forgot to eat. Don’t skip a meal just so you can fit an extra however many minutes into your day. Try to eat something that is going to do something for your body, don’t just run through a drive-through. We can’t live forever on Doritos, candy bars and Red Bull.
Caffeine is not water. I do not care how you try and explain it to me. It is not and will never be a food group or a replacement for water. Drink some water. Not just Starbucks, not just tea or soda. Water. It’ll help—I promise.
Yeah, I know those are precious hours you could be spending getting one more thing done, but take the time to help your body. When was it that you last woke up well rested and ready to hit the road running with a real smile and happy attitude? If you’re like me, it’s been a while. Try to sort out what is causing your lack of sleep. It can be anything from worrying about finances, that caffeine infested drink you drank after lunch, or even just not making the time. Sleep is the best investment you can make for your body, so try to make it a priority.
Treating yourself isn’t always about getting a dessert or that new show shirt you’ve been wanting. It can be something even better. You can groom yourself well and take advantage of just how good it can feel to clean up nice. If your hair has been untouched in a ponytail for months, maybe schedule a cut at a nice salon. Or perhaps you just need two uninterrupted hours to lay on the couch and watch a movie. Identify something that feels like a treat, and allow yourself the opportunity to indulge.
Water your social life
Don’t just hide behind a computer screen on social media. Get out and enjoy spending time with friends and family in real life. Go out on that date that you have been putting off because you’re tired. Neglecting friendships can lead to problems down the road and may leave you alone when you need a shoulder to cry on more than ever. So say yes to that thing and go have some fun. One night off won’t kill you or your horse.
Be kind to Yourself
We hear all the time how important it is to spread kindness, but we need to learn how to be kinder to ourselves. Give yourself the time to take a break and relax. You don’t always have to be on the go 24/7. Being so hard on ourselves is not necessary. Beating yourself up for not being perfect or having enough time to get everything done to the top level every day is not productive. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.
In serving our majestic snorting prancing unicorns we often fall off the self care bandwagon. We justify spending hundreds on that magnetic blanket and wellness appointments, but won’t spend the extra $30 to go to the chiropractor ourselves… even though our back hasn’t been the same since that last fall. Why waste the money if you can still walk, right? What is this madness?!
Get good at taking that extra day a month to pamper yourself and spend time how you need. See what magic comes when you give yourself a little break in order to feel more rejuvenated. Horses seep in the emotions we give out, so do a little something for you. Any change you make I am sure will be a positive one that will make you feel happier, healthier, and a little more sane.
Jamie is a horse obsessed girl who is taking on the world with her youngster. Follow along with her on her journey in chasing the world show on Instagram.