A few weeks ago we celebrated Mother's Day. I hope all the mother's out there were celebrated by their families and treated to a very special day! But I think every day should be Mother's Day and every woman should treat herself as special as all mothers are on that annual Sunday.
Are you taking care of yourself and putting yourself first? I believe that, just like the stewardesses in an airplane advise, you need to put on your own breathing mask first so that you can take care of everyone better in your life and be present for them. Are you taking time for yourself each day?
I used to burn the candle at both ends. I used to stay up late and get up early and I would go-go-go the entire day. Now I take time each day to do some deep breathing. I still wake up early but many mornings I take a few extra minutes to put on my iPod and listen to a favorite morning meditation. I lay all warm and snuggly in my bed and listen to the wonderful words as they wash over me and start my day off on just the right note! I also go to bed earlier these days. Not because there is less to do but because it's better for my health and well-being to get a good night's sleep.
I also am learning how to set good boundaries. How to nicely say no when I'm starting to feel overextended. If I truly don't want to do something or I know that it would be detrimental to my health then I politely say, "let me think about that" or "that just doesn't work with my schedule right now". Putting my needs first makes me a better and more whole person when I am needed by others. Sometimes "not working with my schedule" can just mean that I'm going to take this hour to read a good book. Or that I'm going to take a cat nap or a hot bath. But I'm babying myself and watching out for my health so that in turn I can watch out for my father's health or my daughter's well-being.
I also try to find reasons to laugh more. Laughter can strengthen your immune system and promote healing. It's good for your heart and good for stress. And why wouldn't anyone not want to laugh? I recently read a great article on Livestrong.com that was the 12 Reasons to laugh for your health. http://www.livestrong.com/article/14964-12-fun-reasons-to-laugh-for-your-health/ I would think it would be good for many more than 12 reasons but this is an excellent start!
I'm trying to exercise more as well. Not as much as I should but I think every reason to laugh is also the same reason to exercise. It's great for stress and it raises your energy level. Especially if you walk outside it is an excellent mood elevator. I always feel better when I walk outside. We have several walking paths along creeks around my office. It makes a nice break in the day to walk along watching the ducks swimming and kids playing in the softball fields instead of eating at my desk and rushing through my day.
And the best part of laughter and exercise is that they are both free! An easy way to take care of ourselves and neither one of them adds weight or is hard on your pocket book!
So stop and enjoy your life today. Stop and take a moment. Take a breath. And then you can get on to the business of life and, if necessary, caregiving. Joylicious!!