You are busy. You have much to get done. More than likely you are behind, and feeling somewhat overwhelmed. The temptation is to keep pushing harder and faster. In order to accomplish this, you neglect sleep, proper diet and exercise. Important relationships get pushed to the side. God, family, and friends have to vie for the little bit of time and energy that is left in your frantic attempt to get things done. In the midst of all of the rush and hurry, there is a need for each of us to exercise self-care.
No one is responsible for your care more than you, and no one is able to get it accomplished as you can. Self-care is not selfish, we all need restoration, rest and recovery from work and the pressures of life.
Here are some ways you and I can and should exercise self-care:
- Proper Rest. There was a time in my life in which I did not heed this advice. I stayed up late and got up early. My regular routine is I need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I go to bed at a decent hour and I get up fairly early. This routine helps me be productive as well as gives my body the proper rest it needs. Our need for sleep is not due to a design flaw from our creator. It is necessary for our bodies and mind and we neglect it at our peril.
- Eating well. Again this is an area I have also come to appreciate. When you are young you can push through many bad decisions. It is vital that we put proper fuel into our system. This is an important aspect of self-care.
- Drinking water. Hydrating ourselves is vital for health and mental acuity. We have heard the call to drink plenty of water nearly all of our lives and yes it is another way to take care of ourselves.
- Exercise. Exercise has been a key in my life during the last year. It is has not only helped me physically, but it has helped me emotionally and mentally as well. A little while after exercise I feel much better and even experience a better attitude and mindset.
- Remove distractions. Being surrounded by distractions can cause us to lose focus and waste a lot of time. The cycle of wasting time and then pulling out all of the stops and neglecting our relationships and health in order to get done the things we neglected because of the distractions can be a never-ending cycle. When working either remove the distractions or remove yourself. Yes, this can be a form of self-care!
- Annual physical. Go to the doctor and go at least once a year. This is essential.
- Journal—gratitude. Putting your thoughts on paper is such an important way of gaining insight and perspective. Why not write down every day three things for which you are grateful? It will help lift your spirit
- De-clutter. The clutter around us speaks to the way our minds and lives are cluttered. Clutter leads to overwhelm and distraction. Take a room at a time and bring order to your world
- Vacations/days off. In November put your vacations for next year on the calendar and commit to using your vacation time. You are not indispensable. You need a break and your family needs your undivided attention.
- Practice patience. Patience is a powerful force. One place I am attempting to practice patience is when driving. Everything that happens around me is not about me. The person who cut me off in traffic did not plan nor conspire to make my day miserable. They, like me, are in a hurry, it is not personal. If you breathe and remind yourself you are not in a race and you are going to be patient with others, your family and yourself today it will help your stress level.
I would be interested to hear what you do to practice self-care. We need you, you are important, please take care of yourself