How are you going to give your best at work and provide care to people at home if you, yourself, are out of steam? Sometimes it’s hard to find time for ourselves, but it is vital if we want to give 100% in the other areas of our lives.
Don’t feel guilty
I’ve been planning a get-together with friends for three weeks. It has been two years since we last saw one another. Why is this? Many of us, myself included, feel this crushing sense of guilt for every moment we’re away from family. My philosophy? Don’t feel guilty. You need this time to be with friends, to exercise, to simply take a walk outdoors. This brief time away will allow you to invest in the other people in your life, which is always good for the soul.
Eat right, exercise and sleep
Remember those epic Thanksgivings, when your pants were so tight one good exhale would have sent the button on your waistband flying? There’s more to eating right than just eating the right kinds of food. It’s also about eating within reason. Check out this portion sizes chart, which offers a quick and easy way to measure the number of veggies, fruits, protein and carbohydrates you should consume. Remember that you don’t have to change everything about your diet tomorrow – ease yourself into it making simple, yet healthier choices than the day before.
As much as we don’t want to, exercising 5 times a week can really boost our physical health and our emotional health as well. Start slowly and increase the time and effort you put into it. Even if you have to split up a walk into three, 10-minute excursions, make it happen!
Learn how to unwind at the end of your day. Ban electronics and LED lights from your bedroom. Drink a glass of water or a cup of decaf tea and do something else relaxing before you go to sleep. Practice skincare that helps you relax. Try to set a nighttime routine that helps you prepare for a restful night’s sleep.
Body, mind and spirit
America is dealing with a mental-health crisis. We are learning that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Here are some of my favorite ways to unwind and take care of myself:
It’s okay to get help when you can’t cope on your own. Check to see if your employer or health-insurance coverage includes benefits that will allow you to see a licensed therapist.
Remember, you can’t care for others effectively unless you care for yourself first. Once you make self-care a part of your normal routine, it will reflect not only in the way others see you, but in the way you see yourself.