Finding time for self-care

  • The United in Wellness and In Love group (Emmy Phelps at the center, Jodi Rewa Kocsis on the left, behind Beth Stadnicki, next to her is their friend Christi Dean on the and Jennifer Abramson on the far left) sitting at the top of Mount Sugarloaf. Contributed photo—

For the Recorder
Published: 7/22/2019 9:11:38 AM

It's hard to simultaneously juggle a career and a family — let alone finding time for personal care. 

But while it’s sometimes difficult to find, self-care is vital for long-term health, according to Wellness and Life Coach Emmy Phelps. Phelps, who lives in Turners Falls, is on a mission to help women of all ages realize the necessity of self-care as a preventative measure and as a way to heal from injuries, both physical and otherwise.

“All of these hats that we wear on a daily basis can leave us little time for us to prioritize our self-care,” said Phelps. “In our fast-paced and tech-centered society, our lack of focus on self-care is a silent killer resulting in preventable illness, addiction, depression and anxiety.”

Born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Phelps moved to Franklin County when she was 15 years old. These days, Phelps balances a career as a certified wellness coach at Radical Heart Wellness Coaching with owning Fiddleheads daycare center in Greenfield and being a wife and mother. 

“Self-care should be a priority. We often see it as a selfish act when it’s really a necessity,” Phelps said. “Sometimes, it’s lack of education and knowledge about (self-care) and sometimes it's because we have no idea on how to take care of ourselves.”  

To that end, Phelps manages a wellness group comprised of a half-dozen women called The United in Wellness and In Love group. She runs it in collaboration with local wellness leaders and businesswomen, Jennifer Abramson, Jodi Rewa Kocsis and Beth Stadnicki. The group is intended to help people connect with others in similar life circumstances. Through the group, Phelps puts together self-care challenges — most recently, Phelps created one titled the “Spring Into Self-Care Challenge Walk,” encouraging participants to slow down and take better care of themselves.

“Self-care is not just about the physical movement or eating right, it's about taking care of your mind, body, soul and spirit as a whole. Simple little things that we can do to care for ourselves and feel good about prioritizing ourselves like taking a hot shower to unwind or taking some quiet time to have a cup of coffee,” she said.

To get the group started, Phelps, who holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a focus in education, from the Massachusetts College Of Liberal Arts, connected with Abramson, whom she knew from her daycare business. The pair began checking in with each other monthly. Abramson, an independent consultant for Perfectly Posh, a naturally based skincare line, says she started her own business last fall after being laid off as a project manager in Springfield. After, she had to find balance.

“Whether you work full-time or part-time whatever you do, it’s hard being a mom and I wanted to connect with other women to say we need a break and let me help you find the ways you can make time for yourself every day,” Abramson said.

During Phelps’ self-care challenge, Abramson says she began doing a morning workout, took time to reflect, held impromptu dance and karaoke parties and called friends to catch up. Abramson says that the challenge made her stop and think — what was she doing to really take care of herself? 

“It's a popular myth that self-care is expensive and time-consuming,” Abramson said. “Our challenge proves that it doesn't have to cost a dime or take up a lot of time. It can be as simple as waking up 10 minutes early before the rest of the house wakes up or as indulgent as booking yourself a full-blown spa day.”

For Rewa Kocsis, co-owner of Absolutely Fabulous Hair Salon in Greenfield who is also an independent Beachbody coach, the group has helped her begin “taking back control of my own fitness and nutrition level and it has spiraled from there. … I like to keep myself busy because I believe in this whole motto of if you don’t use it you lose it. I don't like to sit stagnant for very long, so I tend to fill my life a little bit with things that keep me busy.”

Having friends to help her in that journey has been helpful, Kocsis says.

“In terms of wellness, I feel we’re both at this age in our life as women we start to change. It’s been such a positive outlet for all of us that we're passing it along to anyone else that is interested in learning how to take care of themselves,” she said. During the self-care challenge, Kocsis says she took more time to read, walked on sunny days, prioritized exercising and got a pedicure.

Stadnicki, another member of the group, has been an esthetician for ten years and a massage therapist for a year. She owns Beth Stadnicki, Licensed Massage Therapist and Licensed Esthetician located inside Jodi's Hair Salon.

Midst the busyness of life, “Self-care is something I personally struggle with,” Stadnicki said. “I’m very good at offering my services to help others care for themselves, but it's something I struggle with which is why it’s been great working with this group of ladies to shed light on myself.”

For the self-care challenge, Stadnicki says she went hiking, took long walks, sat quietly outside, had a massage, mediated, did Zumba and, for one day, didn’t do any chores. 

To celebrate completing the challenge, the group walked up Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield — symbolizing “how self-care can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, but with support and accountability we can appreciate the journey, reach the top and enjoy the view for a little while,” Phelps said.

Looking ahead, Phelps says The United in Wellness and In Love group intends to most more events quarterly and will have another walk in September.

“I can see us continuing to come together for these types of events,” says Phelps. “And to collaborate on bringing more awareness on self-care to our community.”

For more information on Phelps and her Radical Heart Wellness Coaching, visit Radicalheartwellnesscoaching.com.

Miasha Lee is a resident of Hatfield. She loves writing about music, health, culture and everyday people in the community. Contact her at miashalee2@gmail.com.


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