Believe me, this is easier said than done. But, it’s all about progress. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, YOU have to take care of YOURSELF. Even just carving out a single moment out of the day is the start of progress to a better YOU.
Why is it so important to take care of yourself? Let’s see… If your car runs out of gas, can it continue to drive? If you use your blowdryer everyday, will it not smoke and spark and eventually blow up? Well, same goes for you.
We are pulled in some many directions. Family needs us. Friends need us. Coworkers, customers, and kids need us. The world needs us. If we break down or blow up, will we be any good?
We will be good to no one if we aren’t good to ourselves.
It won’t be easy. I have failed. I have forgotten. And I have been weak. But, all you need to do is to at least make a conscious effort and start to make that progress towards a healthier, less stressed you.
But what can YOU do to jumpstart “You Care”?
Here are a few ideas I have used in my own conscious effort to take care of ME:
Find Your Hobby– Mine is crafting, painting my house, and anything that requires creativity. Maybe yours is yoga, fishing, or even stamp collecting. Whatever it may be, make time for it. Even if it’s only an hour a week, it is YOU time. YOU are in YOUR world. And guess what? YOU will enjoy it. When you are doing what YOU love, you are able to to reboot your brain to say, “Hey! I am happy!” Find your hobby or your “happy niche” and flippin’ do it!
Take a Trip– Maybe it’s a weekend get away or maybe it’s just a Sunday morning excursion to a flea market, either way get YOUR booty out of the house and not just to the grocery store, my dear. When you do something outside of the norm, it’s like pressing the reset button. We need change. We need adventure. We need to be free from our everyday demands for even just a bit. I try to at least travel 1-2 times a year. It gives me something to look forward to and something to work towards. Make it a celebration! Celebrate YOU and making it through this thing called Life!
Talk– I have found being candid about my life is beyond liberating. It sets YOU free from the chains your troubles have on you. It’s okay to have problems. It’s okay to not be perfect. People will respect you more when you are honest. I have found that you never know who may reply with something that will actually resonate with you. The person you talk to should not only make you feel not alone, but YOU may make them feel not alone. There is strength in numbers. Having a good support system, big or small, known or unknown, is a huge help. Open up. You may find hope in the most unexpected place.
Meditate–Don’t laugh. When I say meditate, I don’t just mean sit on the floor with your legs crossed chanting “oooommmm”. (Though, that is an option.) There are different ways to meditate. For instance, your doing the dishes. Kids are yelling in the background. Focus on the bubbles on your hands and the warmth of the water. Unnoticeably, the sound of the kids yelling dissipates. YOU become in control of YOUR thoughts. Now, really don’t laugh at me, but I do conscious meditation while petting my cats. I bet you do it to. You just don’t notice. But when I am sad or angry or stressed, I cuddle with my cats. I focus on the softness of their fur, the warmth of them, and the sound of their purring. And poof, for those few minutes, I am not sad or angry and I can regain control of my emotions. Another choice of meditation is chanting. Out loud or silently to yourself, repeat something inspirational. I believe in the power of thought. If YOU think it and believe it, it is bound to happen. Amazing things can happen when YOU clear or mind. When you fill your mind with positive things, there is no more room for the bullshit. YOU can be your own cheerleader.
Therapy–Therapy is so much more common and talked about now. It has become way less of a taboo. YOU are not “crazy” if you go. In fact, the ones who don’t go are the “crazy” ones. Don’t get me wrong, I never thought I would ever be going to therapy. But now that I am going, I am thinking, “Why the hell haven’t I done this years ago?!?!” However, I do wish I could be friends with my therapist and take her for drinks instead of paying the office visit. But, I do look at therapy as a huge leap to taking care of myself. It’s a solid hour designated for me and me only. It’s like for those 2 weeks between visits, I am a dump truck and things load up on me making me heavy with stress, and when I am at the visit, I get to unload. I can essentially let my therapist carry my burdens. Don’t knock therapy until you try it. Go in with an open mind, courage, and willingness to change. YOU might just surprise yourself.
Purge–Start fresh. Clean out your closet. Have a garage sale. Get rid of clutter. Having a clean slate does wonders for your new stress reduced lifestyle. It’s like starting a new chapter in YOUR book. It doesn’t need to be spring to clean. Purge, baby, purge. There is enough mental chaos in your life, you don’t need environmental chaos either. And if you do decide to have an awesome garage sale and live in the Pittsburgh area, I will come buy your junk.
Breathe–Counting to 10 and breathing really does work! Use this practice in conjunction with a little inspirational chanting. Add in some aromatherapy and…hello relaxation! This isn’t just a plug for my love of Young Living essential oils. Aromatherapy is proven to be beneficial to reduce stress, mental strain, anxiety, depression, you name it. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Clary Sage, Bergamot, and Lemon are only a few single oils that help. Young Living Blends such as Stress Away, Peace & Calming, Grounding, Joy, Valor, and Sara, are some of my favorite stress butt kickers. Diffuse, wear as a perfume, or apply with your favorite carrier oil behind ears, on neck, chest, and wrists. I wear a diffuser necklace. Sure, I may look silly sniffing a necklace, but it has been a godsend. Breathe in the lovely smells of freedom and leave your troubles behind.
Not only does taking care of ourselves make us better people so we can better serve those who need us most, but it keeps us healthy. Stress and tension can cause a number of unwanted health problems such as heart disease. We must find balance in an increasingly, over-stimulating world.
Do not feel guilty for taking a much needed break from life’s demands. Ignoring your needs will have dangerous consequences. When you finally start to take care of yourself, improvements in all other aspects in your life will follow.
There is no set prescription on how you do it. Whatever YOU, as an individual need, is what YOU need to do. And remember, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Practice makes perfect, my friend. Just make that progress. YOU will thank YOURSELF. Those around you will thank YOU. The world will thank YOU in some shape and form. “You Care” will become your hero.