You know you need to take care of yourself. So, why aren’t you doing it? Is it because there are so many distractions? You have work you need to do, or the kids just won’t sit still. It seems there is always a good reason to put yourself last.
When you don’t take care of yourself, you will become resentful. This can lead to many problems: low self-esteem, anxiety or depression. You live in a fast paced world. You are told, ‘It’s never enough.’ This leaves you feeling empty and depleted.
You may end up getting ahead, but at what cost? You need to take time for yourself and sit back. Take a look at all the hard work you have done. This will not only help you appreciate yourself, it will help you appreciate others.
Here are 5 tips to help you start taking care of yourself now:
- Spend time with friends and family. These are the people that support you the most. The next time you are feeling stressed out, give one of them a call. Instead of talking about what is stressing you out, talk about what you like. Let them know about the latest podcast you just heard, or about the friendly guy you were talking to in the grocery store line. If you can’t think of anything, then invite them out on a fun adventure. Like, going for a hike or watching a funny movie.
- Schedule time slots when you don’t work. You don’t have to have every time slot on your calendar filled with work. This may make you feel more productive, but you aren’t giving yourself a break. This will definitely lead to burning out in the long run. You can set one up in the morning, the middle of the day and in the evening. You can start small, if you’d like, 5-10 minutes. When you take this time you can’t work or even think about work. Go for a walk or just sit and relax. I started this awhile ago, and it has changed my life. I know longer feel fatigued in the middle of the day, and I am actually more productive.
- Start your day with mindfulness. I start everyday with 10-15 minutes of mindfulness. This helps me clear my mind and get ready for the day. Before I started this, I always woke up worrying about what I had to do that day and if I would have enough time to get it all done. Now, I know it’s alright if I don’t get everything done. There is always tomorrow, and the next day for that matter.
- Get enough sleep. Research has found that more sleep equates to happiness. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful and irritable. This also affects your work and home life. Set up a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. But, try not to stress over the sleep schedule. There will be times that it doesn’t work out, and that is alright.
- Get outside! Now that it is summer, you have no excuse. Take in the fresh air and sunshine. Get out into nature. The outdoors is great for your mental health. Notice the environment you are in. If you see a pretty flower, stop and look at it. Take a picture, if you’d like. Notice the detail of the bark on the trees, or how the squirrels run up and down them. If there is water around, stop and look at how the sun glistens on the water. You can also ride your bike if you’d like. Just get outside and stop thinking about work and family. This is a great time to embrace the present.
Start to make taking care of yourself a priority, and then stop feeling guilty about it. Take a look at the big picture. Eventually, you will get the things you want in life. But, you do need to give it some time. What’s important is that you are having fun along the way.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She has helped many people conquer the stress in their life. For a free 15-minute phone consultation or more information, please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.