There are times when I struggle to find the right balance between looking after myself and looking after others. There are always more expectations, more demands and more needs than I have time or energy to fulfill. So what gives? Self care! The problem is self-care is essential to stay sane in an insane world! You may not notice a change in the short term, but when this becomes a long term coping mechanism disaster is not far behind. Yes, I have been there all too often but I don’t seem to learn! What am I going to do about it? Re-prioritise to allow time for:
Rest and Reflection! On one level it is as simple as trying to get more sleep each night. But the real issue is all the things that are still bouncing around in my head when I get to bed! Thus reflection through journaling, praying through problems and being honest with God is where I need to start.
Embrace Everyday as a gift! Taking care of yourself starts with expecting the best from each day. I start the day reading the Bible and believing that God has something special in it for me. If each day is a gift, it is to be enjoyed! So, I make sure there are things in it I want to do, not just the ones you have to do.
New (and Renew) Relationships! Use every opportunity to meet and build strong relationships with new people and renew relationships with people you already know. We all need support and encouragement but when I am struggling and need help the most I tend to withdraw, so don’t wait till your emotional tank is rock bottom! Make a habit of meeting and building rapport in the good times so that when hard times come you can get support.
Eliminate waste! OK, I admit it I am a hoarder! I hold onto things that just weigh me down without ever returning anything for that investment. If there are people or things that waste your time – get rid of them! De-clutter your lifestyle, refuse to carry excess baggage because those are the things that weigh you down and suck up your energy for no return or long term benefit.
Well-being! Don’t settle for an unhealthy balance, get fit in terms of your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. This is a holistic concept which recognises the links between different areas of your life. If you are unhealthy in one area it will affect your overall well-being, your happiness with life and your ability to positively contribute to work and home. Where do you start? Exercise – physical, mental and spiritual!
If you feel like you are stuck in a rut with an unhealthy balance in your life do something about it today – RENEW! Change your attitudes and re-prioritise so that you have time for the above – it could save your life!
Ian Whitley AM