Don’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
I love that quote!
How many times throughout the day do you do things to help others, all the while not helping yourself? It’s such a cliché, isn’t it—especially for moms.
Although I am not a mom, I tend to want to take care of everyone but me. I am aware of this, so in 2014 I made a conscious effort to take care of me, too! I eat healthier, move more, get outside . . . all things that benefit me. The result has been a happier, better, and yes, slightly thinner and more active me.
That tendency to help others at the neglect of ourselves can spill over into the workplace. We want to support our coworkers or employees and delight our clients—which we should! But as another saying I like points out, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You have to care for yourself in order to give to others without burnout.
Here are a few easy things that you can do for yourself!
Water! – I’ll bet you thought I was going to say to drink more water . . . nah! I mean, you should do that: we all know getting our 6-8 glasses is healthy. But I find that just being near water is healing. I am so lucky that I live a short drive from the ocean. I will sometimes take a ride to the beach and just sit quietly and listen to the waves. It’s incredibly healing. I think sitting near, looking at, or admiring water in any way is healing—ocean, river, lake, pond, even a pool.
Let the sunshine in! Seasonal depression is real, and it’s caused by the short days of winter when sunlight is so limited. You drive to work in the dark, you drive home in the dark. You need sunlight. Get outside for a short walk, every day . . . even in the winter. A few minutes of cold is good for you. It’s invigorating, and trust me when I tell you that a ten-minute walk in 20-degree weather wakes you up more than a strong coffee. That being said: it’s June, so get out there! #noexcuses.
My dogs are barking! No, I am not suggesting you take a dog for a walk, although I do this as a part-time job, and I find it to be extremely therapeutic. My recommendation is to take care of your feet! I think that getting a pedicure is one of my all-time favorite relaxing activities. Even if you’re not into polished toes, there is something so great about having your feet in the hot water. Even in the summertime, warm bubbles over my toes is the best. I suggest you try this. At the end, the pedicurist massages your feet with lotion. I dare you not to be relaxed after a pedi!
But if a pedicure isn’t your jam, take care of your feet by wearing high-quality footwear. Remember, you should invest in anything that gets between you and the ground: tires, mattresses, and shoes!
The process. In an immediate gratification world, many of us rely on processed foods in our everyday life. Bad! Oh, so bad for us. Try taking a fun cooking class to learn new recipes, and then cook some meals from scratch to bring to work so that you’re not reaching for that Lean Cuisine. Organic vegetables, grass-fed beef, and free-range chicken are best for you. These foods may cost a little more than the food in the traditional grocery store but they’re fresher, healthier, full of far more vitamins, and easier to digest. You can pay the farmer now or the pharmacy later.
Shhh! Quiet. Modern life is go-go-go: we have little-to-no downtime and when we aren’t working, we’re on social media or watching TV. It’s no wonder we’re stressed out. Take time to quiet your mind, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Sit in a quiet place and meditate, visualize, or pray. Meditation each day is a proven way to reduce stress, and there are many meditation guides online or in apps to get you started.
Laugh! Is laughter the best medicine? You bet. Spend time with people who make you laugh, build you up, and don’t tear you down . . . friends who are easy to be around and don’t bring drama to your life. Seeking joy is the best thing you can possibly do for yourself.
Even if you try just one of these ideas today, you will feel better, I promise. Remember, you gotta nourish to flourish!