Time – that never-ending beast that we seem to fight against each and every day. Between work, grocery shopping, walking the dog, and getting that overdue oil change done, we seem to find ourselves in this strange game of time manipulation. As tough is the game can be, we always seem to find a way to make it all work out and get our relegated tasks complete. Often, though, we tend to leave out one of the most important tasks. We find ourselves grumpy and tense wondering “what is it that I forgot to do?” The checklists are complete, the laundry has been folded, dry cleaning has been picked up, and the gas tank is filled…what could possibly be left unfinished? Well, that unfinished task is you. Take two seconds and ask yourself, “when was the last time I spent quality time with myself?”
If you’re anything like me, you may be feeling a little bit of anxiety just thinking about trying to fit one more thing into your day. What happens to us, though, if we don’t take that extra time for ourselves? Perhaps we start to feel cranky, unappreciated, overwhelmed, tired, burnt out, complacent, and edgy. That fire that used to burn brightly within us has started to die out and the excitement that we used to have has morphed into resentment. We all keep doing our own version of the hokey pokey, but is this really what it’s all about?
The answer is no. Life is meant to be lived and not merely survived. We tend to spend so much time and energy in taking care of other people and other things, that we neglect the most important person that we know – ourselves. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were able to re-ignite that passion and zest for life and not feel so bogged down by the daily grind? That fire can be re-lit and the person holding that matchstick is you. You are the person that needs the attention, compassion, and nurturing. It is through this continued act of self-love and self-care that we can refuel our gas tanks and regain that passion.
Below are a few easy yet effective ways of giving back to yourself:
- Go for a walk
- Make yourself a nice meal
- Take yourself to the movies
- Enjoy a nice latte at your favorite coffee shop
- Set aside your phone, iPad, computer, etc. and pick up your favorite book
- Journal – take 10 minutes every day and just write. Put pen to paper and just let your thoughts flow.
- Open up that sketch pad and let your creativity fly.
- Put on your favorite music, snuggle up on the couch in your coziest blanket, and just take in the serenity.
- Go in the backyard and play fetch with Fido.
- Take in a yoga class
- Treat yourself to a relaxing mani/pedi
- Find a relaxing spot in the park, sit down, close your eyes, and just breathe
No matter how simple or mundane you may think the activity is, it is essential that you take that time for yourself. Self-care is kind of like the airplane emergency concept. We’ve got to make sure that the oxygen mask is secured on ourselves before we can try to take care of anyone else. The concept of time doesn’t have to be a beast to be conquered. If we can work our own self-care into our daily schedules we can quickly find that life is truly meant to be lived and not just survived.
Love yourself. You are the most important person that you know.