Is there something in your life that you keep planning to do, but that gets pushed to the bottom of the list of things that you need or want to do? It’s so easy for the urgent to banish other important items to the “later” list, isn’t it?!
Of all the important things that you really can’t afford to do this with, taking care of yourself is # 1. You may have heard it said that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and this is so true!
Taking care of yourself is an investment in your wellbeing and your future, and it’s not self-centered in any way to nourish your body with the best possible nutritious foods, beverages, and high-quality supplements; to make time for moving and stretching; to get fresh air and enjoy some sunshine; and to get proper rest. Equally important are nourishing your mind, heart, and spirit by establishing a meaningful spiritual practice; making your environment at home and at work as pleasant as possible; doing things that you enjoy; spending time with people you love; and making opportunities to learn, grow, and be creative.
Having individually walked through very difficult circumstances, we both know how the things of life can overwhelm us at times, and there are certainly seasons when taking care of ourselves is much more challenging than others. If this is the case for you, here are four simple tips to help you through this demanding time:
- Spend 15 minutes of guilt-free “me time” every day…look at a favorite magazine, read a few pages in a book, journal, or do whatever you thoroughly enjoy for 15 minutes. This is a simple luxury that can help to reset and recharge you.
- Breathe in through your nose, allowing your abdomen and ribcage to expand, then breathe out through your mouth, making an “ah” sound, and consciously relaxing and softening your body more with each exhale. Do this several times; it helps to calm the central nervous system.
- Pray…you don’t even have to say a word out loud. Give thanks for the blessings in your life, and allow the deepest thoughts and concerns of your heart to be offered in silence. If you notice that you’re starting to worry, acknowledge this without judgment and let the worried thought go; worry can’t change anything and it does not serve you well. Find something uplifting to ponder, read or listen to instead!
- Another thing that we need to do in difficult times is to ask for and accept help when it is offered! Asking for help is not always easy; and sometimes we can feel alone. Letting people know you need help allows them the blessing of being generous in various ways, and allows us to receive the help we need. We can always return the favor when our benefactors need help in the future.
Even if you’re not in “crisis mode”, it is still necessary and important that you take the best possible care of yourself now because there will most likely come a time when you will go through a challenging situation, and having cared for yourself will have made you stronger in every way. This will make facing and walking though whatever is before you less daunting than it would be otherwise.
So, we encourage you to consider that “now is as good a time as any” to begin the level of caring for yourself that you most certainly provide for the loved ones in your life. No one else can do it for you. Remember, you’re worth it!
Donna Stephens, BCN, CNHP, LDHS
Vicki Kolbe, BCHHP, CLSC, CSMC