Life is busy. That’s all there is to it, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. That is, unless, your body sends you a message in the form of a debilitating illness or system failure, in which case, you’ll get that rest and relaxation you’ve been meaning to attend to. It just won’t be on a beautiful beach somewhere sunny.
If your life is too busy to be taking care of you, something needs to change. Taking care of yourself should be just like the stewardess says when strapping on the oxygen masks: do yours first and help others after yours is taken care of. Years of bad habits formed from too little time and too much to do can really take its toll. Here are a few reminders to motivate you to invest in yourself.
Listen to your body. When it hurts, or is tired or sick, that’s usually the result of a cascade of events, none of which included doing anything to maintain your mind, body and soul. The body complains when something’s not working right, so listen up, and try to interpret the message, in order to avoid bigger problems later on. Headache? Could be sitting too long looking at the computer screen. Get up for ten minutes out of every hour and move around. Sore back? Muscles that only get one kind of exercise, and that sit hunched over a desk for long hours, have a hard time supporting your frame the way they were designed to. Listen to what your body is telling you, and do something positive in response.
Get yourself Moving. When was the last time you spent more than 20 minutes with an elevated heart rate with your body in continuous motion? Bodies weren’t meant to sit all day at work, then sit all night in front of the TV or computer. Exercise does a number of good things for both your physical and your mental well being, in addition to sending out those feel-good messengers called endorphins. There must be something you like to do that is active. Find out what it is, and schedule time for it three to five times a week. You’ll be more alert, have more energy, feel better and sleep better. You’ll probably also drop a pound or two, which isn’t all bad either.
Have a healthy meal. Do you even remember what you had last night for dinner, or what you ate for lunch? Did it give your body the fuel it needs to function at peak efficiency? They say we shouldn’t feed dogs table scraps. If what is on your table isn’t fit for a dog, then you probably ought not to be eating it either. Assess what you’re eating and see if you’re meeting your daily requirements for some of the most important, essential vitamins. If not, invest a little time in finding foods you like that will supply you with the vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein you need to stay healthy.
Get preventative medical care. Don’t skip annual dental checkups or avoid going to the doctor to check out an ache or pain somewhere. You’re paying for it, or earning it, one way or the other, so don’t ignore the opportunity. Check in with your doc and check out your health. You could end up discovering a potential problem that is much easier to take care of earlier as opposed to later.
Take a well deserved break. If your family is anything like ours, vacations are scheduled around soothing activities like finding the most dangerous amusement park ride. Not exactly relaxing downtime. Take a break from the routine and go get a massage, or take an hour to meet a friend for lunch. Do something completely centered around you and what you enjoy. Decompressing is critical to maintaining your well being and the well being of those who interact with you.
If you still can’t seem to prioritize you, remember that taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for those who care for and rely on you.