Taking Time to Take Care of You

balance 1 (1)Recently, I have become increasingly aware that almost everyone I know including myself is incredibly busy. Some friends are working 60 plus hours a week, raising their children, and driving all over north GA for to further careers and then on top of all of that trying to have a social life as well. With our schedules packed so tight, I began to ponder how do we make time for ourselves?
Studies show that when we become increasingly stressed or run down that our bodies can react to these emotions. Our bodies begin to show the signs of this extreme stress both physically and mentally. When we keep ourselves so busy it can be difficult to be our most productive selves and it can also lend towards an unbalanced life. We are running here and there, completing this project, making that deadline but who is making sure we care for us? The answer… no one but us. We must prioritize to put ourselves on our check list of things to take care of. The good new is that this does not have to be a complicated process but rather it can be done in simple ways.
First, it is important to listen to your body and become aware of signals that can let you know that you are feeling overwhelmed and need to take a break. For some of us we may notice that we become more irritable and less social; others may have physical symptoms of stress such as hives or uncontrollable eye twitches. When we recognize these signs we can make a plan for self care. Stop what you are doing and take 5 deep breaths. Some find it helpful to think of a mantra when taking deep breaths such as “I am calm” or “I will succeed in this”. Determine a phrase that is helpful for you and be your own cheerleader!
Second, after you have become aware of your bodies signal’s that you are overwhelmed and very stressed, it is helpful to have a list of activities that can are beneficial for getting you back to a balanced, Zen like state. For some this list might include activities like:
  • Talking a walk
  • Sitting in the sunshine
  • Watching a funny video
  • Meditation or Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Having a piece of dark chocolate (studies indicate that dark chocolate can help lower stress)
  • Find what is helpful for you and create a list to refer back to when you need it because it can be difficult to think of these helpful activities when we are overwhelmed.
Finally, maintain a commitment to leading a balanced life. I can tell you from first hand experience that this is a statement that is so much easier to say rather than do but we must try. Be realistic with your schedule it make not be feasible to complete all of your “to do” items in a given time, plan them out over several days if possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, remember we are not super humans and many consider it is a sign of strength to ask for assistance when you know you need it. And lastly, allow for down time in your schedule, for example: actually plan to do nothing for 2 hours over the weekend. It’s crucial to have this free time in your schedule so that you can recharge for the next week. When we work towards creating a balanced life we are not only ensuring that we are valuable to others but also to ourselves.