Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.
You are probably a caring person.
You care about your job or your business and you want to succeed and do well. You care about your family – you want to provide for them, keep them safe, and spend quality time with them. You care about your life – you want to be happy and healthy and comfortable. Most people who care for others in a selfless manner do so because of a genuine desire to help and be of service to others.
Pause and ask yourself this question. How has your body been feeling lately? Are you overly tired and you just can’t find the source of the tiredness? Do you generally just push on through the fatigue… grabbing an extra shot of latte, eating sugary items, junk foods, or an energy drink?
Does any of this sound like you? Are you really listening to what your body is telling you? Now, there is one central element that ties all this together, all the things you care about: that central element is YOU. When I ask my clients could they unpack their crazy lives, they usually tell me that can’t because they believe they are the only one who can perform the job. Part of the problem is they don’t know how to delegate duties or say no when they are overwhelmed or overloaded. If you push your body long enough without self-care there is a high probability you will get sick or have an accident. But when you make a practice of consistent self-care it supports the body, mind and spirit.
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
You care so much about other things and other people that sometimes it’s easy to forget about caring for YOU. It’s important to take a little time to be “selfish” and care for you, because if you’re suffering or lacking in care, then it’s harder to take care of everyone else. More importantly it hinders you from living a full life. We only have one, you know.
Have you ever flown on an airplane? Before takeoff, the flight attendant runs through all the security features about how to operate the seat belt and such, and also shows everyone what to do if the airbags come down from the ceiling in the event of an accident. What does the flight attendant say? You should always put the air mask on YOURSELF first, and then turn to help your child or see if your seat mate needs help with their mask.
Of course you want to help your child or your neighbor with their air mask, but if you can’t breathe yourself, then you’re not able to help someone else. Self-care is important.
Start off by making a list of all the different responsibilities you have acquired or volunteered to do. Next to each chore write down why it’s important that you do it. Would your job suddenly stop functioning if you were sick? Could your friend find someone to babysit her children if you were not available? Would your husband pick up his own laundry if you couldn’t? It probably never crossed your mind. Yes, the solutions are not always easy but I would venture to believe that many things you “currently do” could just as well be done by someone else. The world won’t end if you decide to take a break, believe me.
KNOWING WHEN TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Most of everyday life is not as serious as a de-pressurized airplane cabin where you need a breathing mask. But self-care is still important, because stress, sickness, or a hectic schedule can interfere with you taking proper care of your life and your loved ones.
If you’re under a lot of stress right now, then it’s important to take some time for self-care. Stress can make you tired, disagreeable and unpleasant to be around, or even can contribute to sickness. You want to give your work and your family your best because you care about them, and stress can interfere with that.
So how do you know when to slow down and take care of yourself? Here are a few ideas:
A high-pressure time at work or a stressful situation at home may seem like the worst time to take a day off or to be selfish. But you need it in order to care for yourself so that you can handle the stress.
Take an evening off and go on a date. Do something fun with your spouse, your best friend, or even just by yourself. And your “date night” doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. A movie night at home with Netflix and popcorn, a long walk in the park, or even just lying in bed and reading a book.
Eat healthy. Eating healthy can often be hard even at the best of times, and if you’re stressed or life is hectic, healthy eating is even harder. But that’s the most important time to eat healthy. Putting the best foods into your body gives you the best fuel to be strong and function at your best. Pizza delivery may be quick and easy, and ice cream is nice comfort food. But for the best self-care, try a healthier meal like baked fish instead of a burger, steamed vegetables instead of fries, or a fruit salad instead of doughnuts.
Get some extra sleep. Again, that can be hard to do, especially when you’re stressed. But stressful times is when sleep is the most important. Be a little selfish and turn off the TV an hour earlier, or ask your spouse to get the kids bathed and ready for bed so that you can turn in early one night.
Schedule in a self-care day once a month or once a week. Put it on the calendar, just like you do for all your other appointments. Make sure that you don’t forget about caring for yourself!
These tips are a great place to start with your self-care process. If you need more help with your self-care, or your have questions about your life or your goals, please feel free to get in touch with me today! I care and I am here to help!