There are some weeks when I feel that I am continually chasing my tail, and before I have recovered from one crisis I am faced with another! What I would tell you if you came to see me with that story is that you need to prioritise, and say NO! I would then challenge you about your own self-care, because in those types of situations the first thing I do is to sacrifice “me-time”! The fact is we cannot keep doing these sorts of jobs if we are not actively choosing to set and keep boundaries! I have to admit that I don’t always practice what I preach but I try! Here are some helpful hints, to take a TIMEOUT:
- Test yourself! Is your life in balance? Have you got a healthy diet? Are you getting enough sleep? It is a scientific fact that if you are not getting adequate sleep then your ability to make good decisions will be impaired as well as your ability to cope with your stress. Most people need about 7 hours, so if you are getting less than that and have a poor diet you may be developing a problem.
- Involvement with your family! There is more to life than work, and if you don’t make time to listen to your partner and share in the concerns of your children each day they will give up on you. They need to know that you care and you are interested in their lives and not always absorbed in work. The work stuff WILL wait, your family IS just as important.
- Meditation! Set aside time each day to consider what is really important, dealing with questions like “who am I and why am I here?” Refuse to allow the urgent (especially if it is also unimportant) to set the agenda. For me, this is where I pray, read the Bible and journal.
- Exercise! One of my key frustrations with getting old is that I can no longer run! In order to stay in balance I need to burn some calories and raise a sweat. So, get out of the office and get some fresh air, go for a brisk walk, cycle or go to the gym.
- Opt out – one day off every week! I struggle with this one but the designer’s directions are fairly clear we need to stop working and have one day of rest every seven. If you get called out and end up working all weekend, take the short leave that the Boss offers you!
- Unwind time! We need to have some fun every day! Do something just for you – even if others might think that it is a waste of time. For me that is doing things like wood turning, spinning wool and reading, doing things that relax me. What do you do for you? Maybe you need to find a hobby.
- Time to socialise! We all need friends but my busyness often squeezes them out. If you have no friends and no social life something is seriously wrong with your lifestyle. Don’t complain about it do something about it!
There are lots of other things I could say but hopefully that is enough to get you started by taking some TIMEOUT! You are in control of your life – even if it doesn’t feel that way. Make the choice today to change!
“We plan the way we want to live,
But only God makes us able to live it”
(Proverbs 16:9, The Message)
Chaplain Ian S Whitley