I think we can all agree that we want to be healthy. We want to make the right choices for ourselves and for our families. This is especially true, I think, if you are a wife and mother. You have an extra duty to take care of others. This is a wonderful job, of course. If we have these other people in our lives then we are truly blessed. However, all too often all that care taking of others can lead to lack of self care – and that leads to problems . . .
The summers are typically a time to slow down a bit, take it easy, enjoy the longer days and, hopefully, a less hurried schedule. Our summer did not exactly begin that way. We had a series of bumps in our family and our schedules that left me pretty exhausted and burned out. I was also getting next to no sleep at night which is another unhealthy affect that can be a post in itself. I felt as if I spent days in a fog, unmotivated and just lacking my normal energy. So, for the past week or so I’ve been taking some of my own advice and trying to just “chill” so that I can get back to my normal routine of sleep, energy and motivation. Sometimes you just have to stop whatever it is you are doing and hit the re-set button.
If you find yourself just a little too tired and too busy taking care of everyone else, then let’s find a way for you to Chill, Cut the Chaos and Hit the Re-Set Button.
Here are 5 things you might try:
1. EAT MINDFULLY
Running around, being in a hurry, gobbling down a meal can cause you to miss out on good nutrition. Your digestion can be disrupted because your digestion begins when you begin chewing. Force yourself to sit down to a meal, without your laptop, phone or texts. Allowing yourself to consciously eat and enjoy a meal can be a healthy and pleasurable experience. Try to make it a well-rounded meal of healthy protein, fats and good carbs. You will feel so much better if you make time for this! I contstantly tell my fitness classes, “No crappy lunches” and it’s true. You know how much better you feel when you eat something that’s good for your body. Your nutrition and your food is what nourishes and fuels you for your day. Take time out to actually pay attention to what you are lifting from your plate to your mouth.
2. LET GO OF THE GUILT
It is okay to do something for yourself. What will give you a little bit of pleasure? I might sneak away for 20 minutes of reading a book. Sometimes a soak in the tub makes all the difference. For you it might be a manicure, pedicure or even a splurge on a massage. Oftentimes a 15 mintue catnap can make you feel like a whole new person. All of these small things can go far in helping reduce stress, anxiety, and even insomnia. I used to feel so guilty about taking even 10 minutes for myself. But, really, if you burn out what good are you to anyone else? Let go of the guilt and take care of yourself. I’m giving you the go ahead right now!
3. BE THANKFUL
There are so many real studies now relaying how important gratitude is for our well being. It can be so easy to get overwhelmed with the chaos in our lives and just trying to get through the grind of daily life that we look at each day as a job, or something to endure or tackle.
According to author, Lori Deschene, gratitude, when practiced regularly, has been shown to:
Increase happiness, self-esteem, and overall well-being
Nurture hope, optimism, and resilience
Reduce envy, stress, anxiety, insecurity, and other draining emotions
Intensify feelings of love, connection, and empathy and, consequently, strengthen our relationships
Boost energy and immune systems
Improve the quality of our sleep
Ultimately increase our life-span, since all of the aforementioned benefits strengthen us physically and psychologically
It may sound corny, but it might just be the perfect re-set for you. These are all good things. So, whatever may be going on in our lives, looking at the glass half full, and taking a moment to remember the good things can really help hit the re-set button on the day.
By the way, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Just google “Gratitude Journal” and you’ll be astounded at how many different, beautiful journals there are out there!
4. LEISURE READING
You know I’m a big reader. I always have a book on my Kindle and also one downloaded from Audible.com on my phone. I listen to all sorts of books, some fluff, historical fiction, self-help, history, and even deeper reads. I love the escape of a good story. It can be a huge “mini vacation” for me. Reading is a wonderful way to chill out and slow down. Reading can take you out of the “go, go, go” action mode into a more reflective mode. That’s perfect for slowing down.
P. S. I’ll be posting my Summer Reading List soon . . .and I’ll also be asking for suggestions!
5. SELF CARE
This is so hard for so many people! If you are a mother, caregiver, or simply a giver by nature, it may not occur to you that you also need to practice self care. This can mean different things for different people. It may mean going to bed a little earlier at night. It may mean getting up a little earlier to have some time alone. It may mean planning a walk with a friend. It may mean doing any of the above things on this list. It may mean getting out your calendar and scheduling that physical, mammogram, colonoscopy. . . making those appointments for you and not the other people on your list. Maybe it means closing your office door at lunchtime and just putting your head down on your desk. Practicing self care means doing what you need for yourself on a regular basis, whether it is a big act or tiny act. As my mom always told me, “If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?”
There are tons of ways to chill out. Why not take this summer and experiment with slowing down and re-setting the button on your day and your schedule. These are just some of my top choices. I hope you find one or all to help you and encourage you to take some time for yourself to chill out and re-charge.
What are your favorite ways to slow down? I would love to hear.
Enjoy Your Day!