Friday, October 2, 2015

On Taking Care of Yourself

One of my goals in September was to take care of myself. I don't consider myself to be very good at this. I have been working on it the past few months as I've taken a look at my nutrition, sleep and exercise, but I'm not very good at giving myself a break. I always feel like I have to be doing something. I have a lot of drive, but tend to go go go until I burn myself out. I knew this month was going to be busy so I decided to make focusing on myself a priority. Here's what I consider to be taking care of myself:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Having a balance between healthy, energizing foods and treats that make me happy
  • Exercising multiple times per week
  • Spending time doing creative things that make me happy
  • Having "me" alone time. As an introvert, I need that to feel energized.
  • Taking at least 30 minutes a day to relax and do something that isn't work or chores around the house
Many of these are interrelated. If I'm not exercising enough, I have trouble sleeping. And if I don't sleep enough, I know I don't make as healthy of food choices. Me time can be spent doing creative things or reading. All of these things I've figured out over the past few years after going through several stages of burnout. 

I really struggle with stopping. I was recently telling someone how much I hate getting manicures and pedicures. For one, its the money, but the main reason I hate it is because it means I have to stop and sit still. And then while they dry, I still can't move. When I paint my finger nails at home (which is rare), I literally have to do it in bed before the I shut the light out because its the only time I'm not using my hands. The rest of the day I'm either driving, typing, cooking, ect. 

The sad thing is I know I need rest. I need to stop and be present. When I'm not taking care of myself, I'm not able to offer the world the best version of me. Here's my tips to taking care of yourself:

1. Breath

I love meditation apps and when I had to take a train as part of my commute, I used them all the time. Taking 10 minutes a day to stop, sit and reflect is an awesome exercise. I'm working on building this into my day so I can shut down the internal dialogue and noise.

2. Say No

Say no to extra obligations and responsibilities. When I'm busy and presented with more opportunities, I always instinctively say yes because I don't want to miss out. Sometimes the best thing to do is say no and be honest. Everyone is busy and they would much rather hear "I'm sorry, but work is crazy this week and I need some time to rest" than to have you show up and be totally on edge. 

3. Plan a short getaway

I recently went on a retreat a few hours away with some friends from my Bible study. The week leading up was especially hectic and all I could think about was the laundry list of things that I was behind on. Once I arrived, I was actually able to relax for the weekend instead of cleaning, doing laundry and other household chores that I would've done if I stayed at home. Sometimes you just need some time away to put things in perspective. 

4. Cut Yourself Some Slack

Really prioritize your needs and don't beat yourself up about anything you miss. Last week, I knew it was important to get a few workouts in, but I was working late and getting in early so I didn't make as many as I would've hoped. Instead of overanalyzing, I gave myself permission to get those extra few minutes of sleep instead of punishing myself and getting up early for a workout. Its good to push yourself, but when you know its going to be a crazy few days, you need to cut yourself some slack. 

How do you take care of yourself? 
When do you know you need a break?

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