How do we take care of ourselves? Isn’t that a question we so often forget to ask? A couple of months ago, I might have argued that I do know how to take care of myself and that I do it well, but I would have been lying. I was lying to myself.
I have forgotten to take care of myself for quite some time. I used to do yoga and meditate regularly. I used to get plenty of rest and made sure I was taking time out for myself. But, it has honestly been quite some time since I have done any of those things – at least not to the extent I need them.
Over the past several months, anyone who reads my blog knows that life has been hectic. Even before that, hardship had fallen on my family. In the past, however, I’ve been able to keep my health in check – except for the occasional migraine, of course. However, not taking care of myself properly resulted in a terrible illness that has been very much a warning to me.
I’ve had some interesting dreams and experiences over the last few of weeks and have yet to sort it all out, but one thing has been made clear. I need to take care of myself better, and I need to set an example for others. Some people wonder why so much craziness has happened in my life, to a person who seems like a very good person, but that’s the age old question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Do I believe God is punishing me? No, I don’t believe that at all, but I do believe I’m being given a growth opportunity here.
In the midst of the craziness of our lives, it’s so easy to forget to take care of ourselves. And, even when we do take that time out, we often feel guilty and begin mentally making a “to do” list of what we should be doing instead. I know this because this is what I do. Then, you get to a point when you don’t even remember that you should be taking care of yourself because you’re so far down that never ending list that you can’t remember the stuff you didn’t add for yourself. Those things we do for ourselves don’t usually make it on our lists, do they? Why not?
Maybe I’m a little late to the game with this as the new year came and went a couple of months ago, but I was out of commission at the time. So, here it goes … My New Year’s Resolution is to Take Care of Myself! Novel idea, huh?
Here’s my plan. I’ve written it out to be more generic, so maybe you can use it, too …
1. Take Time Outs – Add them into your schedule! Everyone needs a break, and giving yourself a much needed time out now and then is very important. Maybe your spouse can take the kids out for a couple of hours, or maybe they can even stay the night somewhere giving you some much needed time with your other half.
One of the ways I enjoy taking time outs is my Friday morning ritual. I have a show that I record during the week. On Friday morning, after everyone leaves for the day and the house is all mine, I sit down with a cup of hot tea and breakfast to watch my show. It’s my time – uninterrupted.
My son and husband also love to play video games together. So, sometimes while they’re playing, I go and take a hot bath.
Sometimes we all go for walks together, too. Time outs don’t have to be alone, but they do need to be peaceful and recharging. If the kids are arguing for the entire walk in nature, that’s not a good time out.
2. Time Out Menu – A few examples were covered above, but it’s important to have a menu of options ready for when time outs happen. You don’t want to spend all your free time thinking of what to do, right? It’s best to have a menu of options, maybe even arrange them by time. Make your own list; there are endless possibilities! For example …
10 -20 Minute Menu
Deep Breathing Exercises
Take a Mini Nap
Listen to Music
Play with a Pet
Do Some Stretches
Get the Mail (and enjoy the fresh air)
30 Minute Menu
Take a Bath
Watch T.V. Comedy
Go for a Walk
Take a Longer Mini Nap
Color a Mandala
3. Quick Remedies – It’s not always possible to literally take a time out, like when you’re at work. You can’t always get away. When you can’t, have some quick remedies prepared for back up. Drink herbal tea, burn some incense (again, not always possible depending on where you are), take a few deep breaths, listen to music in the background, use color therapy in your space to lighten the mood or create a space with positive energy, or bring nature indoors by bringing a plant into your space. In using color therapy, bright sunny colors can create a more joyful atmosphere while pastels and more serene colors create a more peaceful environment.
4. Care for Body – Taking care of our physical bodies is not to be overlooked, as our general health will be reflected in our physical selves. Be sure to exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous. Even taking walks on a regular basis can be a very good thing. Yoga is great because it is considered both an exercise and meditation. Of course, mindful eating is important as well. Be aware of what you’re putting into your body and how your body reacts. Fruits and veggies will do more for you than a handful of chips or cookies, and drink plenty of water!
5. Be Grateful – It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the bad. Make it a point to remember the good things, and be thankful for them. Maybe keep a gratitude journal, or make it a habit to look in the mirror each morning and tell yourself one thing you are thankful for or one thing that brings you joy.
6. Ask for Help! It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign of humanity, and you’re setting an example for others to know it’s okay to ask for help. Talk to your friends and family. See if they can help lighten the load or simply be a listening ear. Sometimes just having someone to listen can make a big difference.
Well, this is my plan. I hope it’s useful to someone else out there!
Wishing you all Peace and Blessings,
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