Do you take time for yourself every day? Do you have rituals or routines each day that help you to recharge and rejuvenate?
For a long time I've been reading about self-care practices and how important they are not only for the individual doing them, but for those the individual gives to and cares for. If you aren't doing things to recharge yourself and refill your tank, how will you help others and take care of your family? I believe that most Americans are running around with empty tanks, trying to do more and more without taking moments to themselves for rest and rejuvenation.
Guilty as charged. I am continually brought back to this idea because I am terrible about filling up my tank. I spend my day giving to children with special needs, but don't take the time to refill my tank. I'm almost always running on empty. What does that lead to? Getting headaches, no energy, and little passion to do what I love to do the most and feeling burdened by this beautiful thing I do well. But I don't do it so well when I am running on empty. I'm tired, cranky, uncreative, and finding little joy in my work. Sound familiar?
This burnout is a common occurrence for individuals who work in the healthcare field or other career area (parenting is definitely included in this category) that they are giving to and caring for others in some capacity. Why? We love to give and have a desire to help others. Or at least, that's what brought us into this field of work. Over time, we may feel that love and desire diminish over time. So why the burnout? The more we give to others, the more our mind, body, and soul need to be nourished with self-care practices. But as giving people, we often feel that taking time to care for ourselves feels selfish. What we need to wrap our heads around is that it is selfish for us not to do things to rejuvenate and refill. It's selfish because without taking time for ourselves, we are too tired, cranky, and sometimes resentful to give to others what they need of us.
We have to change this mindset about self-care practices. I challenge you to think of this depletion as a chronic condition that is remediated by self-care practices. For example, if someone had a chronic condition that required that they took medicine every day in order to stay healthy (i.e. hypothyroidism, diabetes, heart disease, etc) and they said they weren't going to take their medication because they feel selfish doing so, most people would think they were crazy or stupid. We need to view self-care practices the same way. They are medicine that we need every day to keep us healthy and happy and to prevent depletion. I'm very guilty of not taking the time because my to-do list is too long or I'm too tired to do anything besides veg out on the couch. But as I'm writing this, I'm dealing with significant burnout, lack of creativity, lack of energy, and lack of desire to do much besides watch tv. Guess why? I have stopped doing things daily, just for me, to refill my tank. At best, I am doing 2 activities weekly. When I am doing things daily, my life is much better and smoother- I'm less stressed, happier, loving my job, not having psychosomatic illnesses (headaches for me), and feeling joy daily. One thing I've found too is that the time spent in self-cares is very sensitive to how the time is distributed. For example, if I spend 2 hours weekly on self-care on 2 different occasions, it does not have nearly as positive affect as it does when spreading those 2 hours out throughout the week and completing at least 15 minutes a day, every day. Think of it like charging your cell phone, which most people do every day. Generally, at the end of the day that would plug it in and recharge it for a full battery the next day. They wouldn't leave it dead for a few days and then leave it on the charger for a longer amount of time (beyond a full charge) and hope that a longer charge would keep the phone charged longer so they wouldn't have to recharge every day. Just like most cell phones, we need to recharge every single day .
Can you commit to giving yourself a minimum of 15 minutes a day, every single day, where you do something that feels good to you, sparks joy, encourages creativity, helps you to relax? I promise it'll be worth it, but you need to be completely committed to you during that time without distractions.
Here are some ideas to try or give inspiration to you:
I hope you find ways to commit to you for just 15 minutes a day to recharge, refill, and rejuvenate. And stick with it. Good luck!
Do you listen to your body? How loudly does it need to talk to you in order for you to listen? If you are anything like me, your body may need to scream before you pay it any attention.
Until a few months ago, I had a disconcerting understanding of my body's messages and the importance they played in my health. While I generally have always listened to my gut for life decisions, when it came to subtle messages such as pain or fatigue, I didn't pay it any attention. If I had a headache, I popped an ibuprofen (or as many as I needed to get rid of it). If my body hurt, I took muscle relaxers. If I was tired, I drank some caffeine. Get the gist? I'm generally an intelligent person and usually grasp concepts quickly, but I either had no clue or didn't want to pay any attention to those messages my body was sending. This tells me that I'm probably not the only one. Unfortunately, I think it is social conditioning by the American culture. There is a quick fix for everything and people rarely pay any attention to the side effects, no matter how intensely negative they may be. We are also often conditioned not to trust our bodies when we are told to disregard our instincts. When someone or something makes us feel sick to our stomach or just gives us the feeling that we something isn't right, we are often told that we are being silly or shouldn't trust our gut. We are often criticized and ridiculed for trusting our intuition.
I really don't understand where this all came from or why people started to think that our brains should be the only ones we should listen to. Unfortunately, our brains are often biased by anxiety, fear, ego, etc that make it less than the ideal candidate to do the talking. Although I have been ridiculed for being an impulsive person for following my gut when making life decisions, I can honestly say that I have no regrets when it comes to those choices I made when listening to my gut. However, decisions I made when using my brain and logically reasoning with pro/con lists etc, are ones that did not work out in my favor.
For some reason though, I didn't realize the importance of listening to my body's other signals such as pain and fatigue. Had I listened years ago, I don't think I would be in the situation I am in. Nearly 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease of hypothyroidism. Having no clue where it came from, I started researching and soon discovered that many individuals with Hashimoto's (as well as many other autoimmune diseases) share many personality characteristics with me including perfectionism, type A personality, always "on", etc. Had I listened to those signals years ago when they were talking, I wouldn't have to hear their screams when my body was forcing me to rest.
I challenge you to be an investigator when your body talks or even whispers. Do you need to rest or slow down? Are you in a situation that you shouldn't be- relationship, career, habits, etc? What is your body trying to tell you? Are you ready to listen to it when it talks? Or does it need to scream? Start paying attention to the messages, even the ones you don't want to hear. Eventually your body will win the argument if you don't join in on the conversation.
Intuition is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened. Start small and easy and feel your muscle grow. Start today by sitting quietly for a few minutes and tuning into the sensations of your body. Then, give yourself two simple options, such as what to eat for lunch or which television show to watch. Notice how the sensations change with each option. While they may be subtle, you'll feel either more positive or negative towards each choice. For me, positive sensations feel like expansion and openness. It often leads me to take a big, deep breath in. Negative sensations feel like tightness and claustrophobia. It often feels like I have a heavy weight on my chest and it's hard to breathe or it feels like I have a pit in my stomach. While your positive and negative sensations may feel different for you than they do for me, they will generally be consistent in location and sensation for you personally. Tune in and notice whenever you can and use this to guide your decisions, both big and small, but I recommend practicing and building the muscle with small choices before making any life-altering decisions. Two of my favorite experts on this topic if you would like to dive deeper into this work are Suzanne Durana & Martha Beck. I have found their books and resources extremely helpful in building my intuitive muscle and I encourage you to grow yours.
Welcome to my blog!
Thank you for taking a look. Here I will share information and tips I've found both personally and professionally to help facilitate healing and transformation. Integrity is one of my highest values and that is the barometer I use to gauge all information posted here. While my views and beliefs may be unorthodox, they are in integrity with what I've found both personally and professionally.