If you feel guilty about taking time out for self-care, remember we owe it to ourselves, our work, our loved ones & the community to prioritise our physical, mental, emotional & spiritual health. Living a healthy lifestyle helps you to reduce stress.
When we’re on form, life is a joy, work is easy and opportunities seem to flow. How good it feels to be buzzing with energy and health! We achieve this state through consistently making healthy lifestyle choices and prioritising our own needs; by consciously making time to nurture all the aspects of who we are.
Do you ever feel you are ‘stealing’ time? When the pressure’s on, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have enough time to meet deadlines for ‘important’ things like work projects. So you make more time by stealing time from activities that support and nurture yourself.
Ever skimped on preparing and eating nutritious meals, missed your exercise class, slept less, neglected your favourite hobby or cut down on the time you spent with loved ones and alone with your own thoughts, in order to do something that was ‘more important’?
As soloists, we juggle many different projects and activities. With no boss looking over our shoulders, we manage our own workload and our own time. We usually have greater flexibility about when and how we work. This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how we use it. We can let work become our entire focus or embrace the opportunity for the wonderful work/life balance we thought we’d embrace when we first decided to fly solo!
I’m suggesting that instead of ‘stealing time’ from self-nurture activities, we should actively be scheduling them into our plans, and giving them at least the same importance as allocated work time.
We are all physical, mental, emotional and spiritual beings. What do you do to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle and looking after all the parts that make you whole?
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Physical – exercise (be specific, e.g. gym, walking, dance class, swimming), choosing fresh healthy food, drinking lots of water, getting a massage.
Mental – taking a course, doing a cryptic crossword or numbers puzzle, reading something not work-related, ‘positive thinking’, enjoying a hobby.
Emotional – keeping a journal, phoning an old friend, spending quality time with loved ones/family members, looking through an old photo album.
Spiritual – attending church, mosque, temple or other religious activity, meditation, praying, time alone in nature, ritual or ceremony of your own creation.
Try making a list of activities you love to do, or would love to do if only you had the time! Don’t intellectualise this exercise, just scribble down anything that pops into your head. Listen to your instinct – you might be surprised at what you hear.
Make the commitment to work some of these activities from each area into your schedule, then allocate time in your diary or planner to do them.
The times we’re overly busy and stressed is when self-care and are healthy lifestyle are most important, yet it’s these times when we are most likely to ignore our own needs. So the next time you find yourself stealing time from ‘less important’ self-nurture activities, ask yourself: do you really not have enough time or is it that you don’t value yourself highly enough to make self-care a priority?