I can’t remember the last time I had a time out.
It’s not because my husband doesn’t chip in with the kids and domestic chores. It’s not because I don’t have a grip on work/life balance (although this is a work in progress). And it’s not because I’m a control freak.
The simple truth is … I put the needs of others ahead of my own.
Make no mistake, I’m not a martyr. Simply put, it has become a habit to put myself last, especially since having kids. When I’m on an airplane and the flight attendant demonstrates the emergency procedures and instructs us to put on our own oxygen mask before our child’s, I shudder. But I get the subliminal message: take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.
It’s time to make a change
Being good to yourself doesn’t mean becoming self absorbed. It simply means taking care of your health, happiness and overall well being. The good news is it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time and it doesn’t mean humungous shifts in the way you do things now.
Change doesn’t have to be hard.
I’ve kept it easy, practical and sustainable with the following 5 simple ways to love yourself:
1. Be active.
My personal trainer turned me on to this juicy bit of advice. It’s not only about how many push ups you can do, or whether you can run a block or a mile. It’s how active you are on a daily basis. The best kind of activity takes place outdoors. Try replacing 30 minutes on a treadmill with a walk in the park. You’ll get a much better workout and being in nature increases your endorphins … which is always a good thing.
2. Eat food.
Be mindful of what you consume. There are so many items available that pose as “food” but when you read the ingredients you realize they don’t come close (think processed or fast foods). Whole foods – that is, foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, are a good start.
3. Sleep well.
Night is a time of rejuvenation and renewal for your body and mind. Sleep experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Without proper rest you have little energy, you feel sluggish and unfocused … kind of like the morning after a night out with good friends!
4. Connect with your peeps.
Your bond to the people in your life (whether they live next store or thousands of miles away) gives you joy and a sense of belonging. Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to stay in touch. If distance prevents you from having a glass of wine with your best friend, video calling (Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts) can easily bring you together.
5. Have fun.
Think about the things you love to do. For me it’s going for walks, travelling, watching movies, going to see a play, and laughing. Now think about the last time you did any of those things. Has it been awhile? I get it. Try to incorporate at least 1 fun activity into your daily (or weekly) life. If necessary, schedule it in your calendar until it becomes a natural part of your life.
Your Next Step
Think about these 5 simple acts of self kindness and how you can apply them to your own life. Post your comments below and share the shifts you’ve had to make to ensure each of these things plays a part in your daily or weekly routine.