I get it.
I can’t …or probably won’t …make time for myself.
I feel guilty.
I feel like, especially as a woman, my role in life is to serve others both through relationships and at work.
After all, that has been my conditioning as a child and into adulthood. Being idle is not valued in North America: Having a solid work ethic and “being busy” is what matters.
But I remember when my then-fiancee and I enrolled in a pre-marriage counseling, the pastor was explaining how important it is to each give to the relationship. He used an analogy of a cup…and each cup would give half of itself to make a full cup.
The thing is, you have to have something in your cup. You can’t pour anything from an empty cup.
We all do the ‘busy’. Between kids and aging parents, career, new businesses or going back to school, we have a load of responsibility which translates into time. We have tons of reasons why we can’t make time for ourselves.
But taking time to nurture ourselves is the ONLY thing that will allow us to do all the stuff we have to do, to the best of our ability.
When we don’t take that time for ourselves, it impacts the relationships around us. We are more reactive with our kids and frustrated in our primary relationships. We experience more emotional disturbances like depression and anxiety and it takes a toll on our health.
I have been there. I struggle to make this time for myself, and I feel it in every area of my life when I don’t.
Whether I take the time or I don’t, I have to be fully aware that it is MY responsibility to invest in myself.
So my goal for 2020 is to convince myself that taking time for me is not bad.
It’s 100% necessary.
I’m going to share some of the practices that have resolved to incorporate more regularly into my day. Choose something for yourself and do it too.
Even though it makes me feel good, I really hate it. But it’s the only thing on this list that I do with any sort of regularity. Why? Because of how it makes me feel AND because of what it does to my brain. I know that I am better..emotionally and mentally… if I exercise. Beyond the health benefits, research continues to find that it’s the best treatment for depression.
2. Just Breathe.
At any given moment my breathing is pretty shallow. So is yours. If you want to feel a difference, take some deep belly breaths…right now. Feel that?? That’s the stress leaving your body. Yup…just air…big deep breaths of air and you’ve already reduced your stress level. Nice.
This is the hardest thing….we are so connected…our kids need us…what if there’s an emergency? But we never get the opportunity to SHUT.IT.OFF. So that’s what I’m telling you to do, unplug. Take a break. Leave it downstairs when you go to bed. AND…..Please, please, please…understand that if you have issues falling asleep or staying asleep, and you surf videos right before going to bed….that’s probably why.
I sometimes start my day writing my thoughts and feelings down…planning my intention for the day and giving voice to whatever is in my head. When I do, I have the BEST day. Letting out those thoughts…organizing them…or just writing what you don’t want to say out loud…is very cathartic. Write….for just 3 minutes. It will make you feel great.
5. Enjoy A Simple Pleasure.
I drink tea or diffuse essential oils. Both of these make me feel peaceful and grounded. So does watching a sunrise or a sunset. It’s a little luxury during my day that tells me I am important. I am worth this nice cup of tea. I am worth taking time to sit and enjoy that beautiful sunset.
6. Get Outside.
Fresh air means more oxygen for your blood cells. Sunshine means vitamin D for your cells. Step it up and include a park or a forest where you can take it to the next level with Forest Bathing.
7. Eat Well.
You are what you eat is NOT just rhetoric. Our cells are made up of what we fuel our bodies with. Want to feel better? Eat better. Get enough green veg and healthy fat to kickstart your day.
This is the key. Just get quiet…really quiet. It’s the hardest thing in the world and takes a long to feel easy, but get quiet and get really centered. This will impact your entire day. There is no rule to how long this needs to be…it can be several short stints throughout the day or half an hour in the morning…you make the rules. Just 5 or 10 minutes will make a difference.
9. Get Your Zzzs.
Experts say 7 – 8 hours a night is best, but you know your body. Sleep until you feel rested. Get to bed early enough that you feel refreshed in the morning and get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off.
10. Reduce Stress.
Figure out what stresses you and a way to reduce that stress. Our bodies are meant to have small bits of acute stress from time to time but not prolonged periods of ongoing stress. Stress depletes our immune systems and creates disease. Your stress management is most likely one of the other items on this list or something entirely different. So practice it.
11. Dance. Read. Podcast.
Engage in something frivolous. Dance crazy, sing at the top of your lungs, read silly articles, watch a favorite podcast or catch up with your favorite author. Just do something that is just for you.
Try something new this year….make it part of your routine. Pick 3 things….do them every day. Self-care is about what works for you and making yourself a priority.
Join me in making 2020 the year we get this right!