Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Take Care of Yourself FIRST

Do you know the best way to take care of your spouse and family?

Take care of yourself FIRST. This was my guest post this week on I think it is worth sharing with my blog followers today.

Such a simple thing, but how many of us actually do it?

Consider the old adage, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” That’s not far from the truth.

Here are some ideas on how to take care of yourself.

1 SLEEP. Schedule enough time each day to get adequate sleep. If you are still groggy most days when the alarm interrupts your slumber, consider going to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier. If you tend to have problems sleeping, talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist.

2 STRETCH. When you wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles to help prepare for the new day. Try some simple bends and stretch like a cat to relieve the kinks in your bones.

3 SOOTHE. Set aside at least 15 minutes every day to do something personal for yourself. Maybe it’s to read a romantic novel, take a relaxing bath or meditate to relieve the stress of the day. You deserve this little luxury, whatever feels right for you.

4 SMILE. It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, so take the easy way out. The great thing about giving someone a big smile is that they most likely will give it right back. Then you both feel better, which is a nice win-win situation. Here’s another idea: If you happen to spend a lot of time on the telephone, put a small mirror where you can see it. The person on the other end of the phone will hear the smile in your voice.

5 SAVOR. Take the time to smell the roses. Look for things to be grateful for every day. We are fortunate to have a roof over our heads, food to eat, a safe environment and a sun that rises every day. Even on bad days, we can find something to appreciate.

6 SIMPLIFY. Reconsider all the things you think “have to” be done. For example, Easter is coming soon. How many of your planned activities can be pared down to save time, money and aggravation? Ask your children and family for feedback. Do they really care if the hot-cross buns are homemade or bought? Can the Easter Bunny bring simply colored eggs instead of individual masterpieces?

7 SAY NO. Choose which activities & commitments in your life are worthwhile. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean you have to. Even better, you don’t have to give a reason why you can’t do it this time. Just say, “Sorry, I won’t be able to [whatever].” I used to have a small plaque on my desk that made a good reminder. It said, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

8 SAY YES. Say yes to putting yourself first. You deserve it and so does your family.


Liz said...

You make some good points, and I thank you for them. I wanted to add another -- take responsibility for your own feelings. That can really change and enhance your relationships. I got that from "Loving in the Moment" by Gina Lake -- you don't realize that thinking that if everyone else would just do things the way YOU want then you will be happy -- and then, you're not. I didn't realize I could be happy without anyone else changing! It was so amazing to discover that. I feel like I'm becoming a kinder person now, and that's due to me taking responsibility for me.

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

Liz, that's a great point. One of the things that causes stress in our lives is how we respond to something that happens.

We can choose if we will let someone else ruin our day, or just shrug it off. Thanks for commenting.

S said...

Similar to Liz's point--I've learned to go at my children's pace (ages 5 and 2) instead of trying (stressing) to get them to go at my pace. Now, instead of saying "let's take a walk down to the mailbox to get the mail", I just say "let's go outside" or "let's go for a walk". If I put the goal of the mailbox in there--then I'm telling them to hurry up all the time so we can "get the mail". Ugh. So silly.

Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

Now if you can just relax and do other things on their schedule, you will all have more fun together. Go for it!