“Taking good care of YOU, means the people in your life will receive the best of you, rather than what’s left of you.” ~ Carl Bryan, Tennis Coach
We’re about half way through the month of January and I thought this was a great time to gently remind all of us about the importance of self-care.
I, too, need to adjust my self-care. I don’t know about you, but sleep for me is challenging to say the least. There are many interruptions to my sleep that come with taking care of my Mom at night. Just this past week, she’s experiencing changes in her sleep which inevitably impacts mine as well. I get her settled in bed at a time she is used to every night. She seems to start out very peaceful and easily falls to sleep but as I check on her one last time before I go to bed, she is awake, emotional, frustrated and somewhat frightened expressing to me how unhappy she is and how bad she feels. My heart breaks when she is so upset like this but in the moment, I comfort her as best I can. As parents, many have experienced when your child woke up in the middle of the night after a bad dream, you would have to comfort and ease their fear so that they could get back to sleep. It takes time when you are in the middle of the night and the consequence for you is interrupted and much less sleep which is what has been happening to me this past week.
I wanted to share this with you today because when the unexpected happens and the routine we are used to changes, it is important to be more diligent and recognize what we can do to feel better.
When I am not getting enough sleep, nothing seems to work the way it should. I need to put myself at the top of the list so that I can recharge and gain my energy back. Emotions are much higher for all of us when we lose too much sleep. When our emotions are high, it is a good time to stop, take a breath and slow down. Now is not the time to beat yourself up. Now is a time to be extra gentle, kind and especially patient.
All the basics of rest, nature, exercise, plenty of water, etc.; there is much more to that list but you know what I’m referring to, are all important and necessary. One very favorite quote of mine is “you can’t give away what you don’t have”. When I am not at my best, those that I love and care about the most get less of me than they should.
For this week, my sleep is off. For me to get back to feeling good and at my best, I need to compensate for the depletion. For starters, during the day I will slow down. I will take breaks as I can i.e. five minutes to stretch, drink extra water, walk around the block to get some fresh air, disengage a bit and pay more attention to what makes me feel good. For me that’s music… quotes, inspirational sayings, texting with my brothers or calling a friend. Thinking good thoughts and finding ways to be light hearted; smile or laugh with someone; daydreaming and writing in my journal. These are just a few ways that pick up my energy when I’m not at my best.
The point to all of this is that we do a disservice to ourselves and to those we love when we empty our bucket so much that there is very little left to give. –
And, when there is grief to contend with on top of everything else, I know in my heart, that in slowing down, I will allow any grief to pass through me instead of stuffing it down, going around it or avoiding it altogether. Time will become my friend when I allow stillness and feel every emotion.
So please think about what self-care precautions and activities that you can put in place to help you when you are not at your best. I can’t emphasize enough how teeny tiny steps are all it takes that can bring you the greatest results.
There is nothing more fulfilling and satisfying than to take care of ourselves first so that when those we love need us the most, we can give them 100% of our best selves to help them in any way they need.
To you, your self-care and your best self always.