You, Renewed. Five Solid Things You Can Do to Take Care of You!
“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.”~L.R. Knost
Here’s an all-too-familiar 5:30 PM scenario. You, frantically racing through the grocery aisle hoping to find something tasty you can throw together in 20 minutes. You’ve been at work all day and soon you’ll dash off to meeting, a ball game, or out to tackle your shaggy, over-grown lawn. OK, maybe you just skip supper, end up getting home at 10:00 and stare vacantly into the fridge, hoping for a miracle. You forage mindlessly and end up eating a bowl of cold cereal or a PBJ over the sink. After the day you’ve had, you deserve a little me time so you plop down and scroll through Instagram and Facebook or flip through channels on the remote. Before you know it, it’s 11:30 and it’s almost tomorrow again. And you hate yourself. You want a re-do and a renew!
And, I’ll wager a little bet that when a friend asks you how you’re doing your answer will include “too busy” or “so tired”, because that’s how we all are it seems. And I would add drained and worried about something. It can feel like all we do is take care of work, life, people, chores, commitments, and obligations until our well runs dry. There’s never time left for taking care of ourself. But is it really true?
Put your own oxygen mask on first
Hey, I heard that eye roll. I know, how lame to haul out that worn-out example? But wait. Consider why it matters. Self-care is not about looking out for number one, it’s about being alert and strong enough to meet the demands of daily life which includes everything we’re called to do for others.
“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ~ Parker J. Palmer
“There’s never enough time.” “I can’t afford it.” We justify our lack of attention to taking care of our own needs to a lack of time and resources. The truth is, every single one of us gets the exact amount of hours in a day. In a week, 168 hours. No magic will ever increase how many minutes we’re given to spend. Can’t afford it? The most important things you can do won’t cost a dime. So what’s the answer? Let’s think about this.
Not going to preach. (But I will try to persuade)
What makes me an authority on the benefits of self-care? Confession: For years I fell prey to the stinking thinking that I always have to be last. Wahhh, poor me. Guess who got to decide? That’s right, it was me who made the call. I’m on the road to recovery now. Thankfully, slowly, I’m starting to unlearn some of the old habits and replace them with new ones. I’d like to invite you along for the ride. Why? Because there’s no good reason to spend time traveling down the wrong road! Stop now! Turn around and renew!
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”~ Audre Lorde
Renewed by taking care of you! (It’s the least selfish thing you can do.)
Let’s start at the start. Socrates taught that to learn best, we should begin with a definition of terms. Self-care is a broad concept but for now, let’s start with the fundamental necessities. My very smart friend Janita Pavelka calls them “fundies”. Sounds much more playful and appealing, right? (Check out her website!) Her big three are Eat, Sleep and Move. I’ll add my two, Keep Learning and Nourish Your Soul. Next, I’ll tell you why each is so important for a renewed me and you!
Janita’s top three
EAT! Our bodies are the ultimate flex-fuel engine, designed to run on almost anything from Twinkies to tofu (at least for a while.) Over time, it catches up with us and our performance decreases dramatically. A great rule of thumb is to choose food close to the source. Shun processed and refined foods, load up on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and whole grains. Minimize sugar and salt, enjoy the great taste of food served simply or even raw. And the best drink? Pure water and lots of it.
SLEEP! Here’s a topic that could fill a book!! Science continues to discover more and more health benefits of adequate sleep. It is essential to our mental focus, metabolism and minimizing stress. Strive for at least 7 to 8 hours of good sleep each night. And, short 15 to 20 minute naps can do wonders for performance! Think you don’t have time? Think again. Managing your energy is incredibly good use of time and you will have much more of it if you are well rested.
MOVE! This doesn’t just mean hours at the gym but rather a very healthy understanding of inertia. A body in motion tends to stay in motion! Stretch, walk, take the stairs. Get up from your desk and move around. Ride your bike, park at the extreme corner of the parking lot, quicken your pace. Take breaks from hunching over the computer. Stand up tall, hold your belly in, roll your neck, stretch your shoulders. That’s it!! Move it, move it!
And two to grow on
KEEP LEARNING! Strive to stay fascinated by life. Stretch yourself. Take up a new hobby, learn a language, try your hand at art. Journal, write a blog, join a new club, get involved, make a friend. Once again, science backs it up. We can keep learning far into our later years and keep growing new connections in the old gray matter even in advanced age. The key is to shake up the status quo and surprise yourself. Your brain will thank you!
NOURISH YOUR SOUL! Always remember you are absolutely one of a kind! You were made by your Creator for a mission that no one but you can fulfill in the way God intended. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, a divine design! Once again, research has proved that people with a strong spiritual consciousness live longer and are more happy than those who don’t have it. Bonus! Being part of a faith community means connections with like-minded people who can often become great friends, another predictor of a long and happy life.
P.S. When you see life with new eyes, you become a noticer. The breath taking photos on my blog are all from my brother Stan. When he shot the old barn at the top of this post, the thought crossed his mind that everything material we build will eventually fall down. Then he noticed the purple phlox in the foreground and could clearly see how nature is constantly renewing itself. We can too! By the way, those are baby pine cones in the second picture, just beginning to form.
If you want to see life with new eyes, you’ll love my program on knowing your why, knowing your how and knowing your wow! Email me! firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!!