Many of us find ourselves wearing plenty of hats these days. We are parents and employees or business owners. We are taking care of our mothers and fathers, or even spouses with health issues. We keep up the house, the yard, the cars. We are friends and neighbors and lovers. Life has many of us going in many different directions any given day. How do we find balance in our lives?
I found myself, a few months ago, completely overwhelmed. I was short and snapped at people. I felt tired upon waking up in the morning. I still did the things I felt would keep me sane, would keep me healthy. I worked out, I ate somewhat healthy. And yet, I was finding myself unable to really cope will with the small things that life tossed my way. It sounds so easy to say, you need to take care of you too. I would laugh when I would hear people say this, or just sleep when the baby sleeps. It all sounds really easy but how do we take care of our overwhelmed selves and still get things done?
Here's what I have found works for me now, and understand, this is still a new practice for me.
1. Exercise. This was easy for me as already a part of my daily practice. What I found when I'm overwhelmed though is I need to listen to my body and what it says I need. Maybe a nice run outdoors is what my body craves that day but maybe what I NEED is to stretch and slow down, lengthen and relax, or maybe I need to move my body in crazy rhythmic ways and dance. My first rule of exercise now is, LISTEN.
2. Write it down. Journaling has helped me to deal with so much. I have healed hurts from the past and I am able to really force myself to ask questions and find answers deep inside my soul. This helps me make sense feelings and see, honestly my own behavior and contribution to my stress. This has become a daily practice for me now as well. I have started with a little help and have used intentional journal topics. A few easy ones to start with are: What are you afraid of and how is that keeping you from living the life you want?, What have you done today that makes you proud? What is your battle and what tools do you have to help you fight it? What permissions do you need or want in order to move forward?
3. Gather your tribe. We all have those people around us who lift us up and encourage us to be our best self. Find a community that feels good to be around, who contributes positive vibes but can also be strong enough to approach the difficult topics too. We all fall out of balance now and then and these people can offer suggestions and hugs and laughter.
4. Get outside. Find moments of peace in nature. Listen to the wind, feel it caress your face.
5. Find stillness. I won't say meditate. It's a great idea and really helpful but for some of us, including me, it's hard and I find I have a hard time when I call it meditating. But if I sit in quiet and be still, even if only for a few minutes, I can find a place of calm.
6. Make a list. List the routines in your life that are and aren't working. We can't change what we fail to look at. Look at it, what isn't working and brainstorm ways to change your routine to what does work.
It's truly amazing what a difference a few little changes can actually make in your daily life. All of these are ways to care for yourself, after all, you are worth it!
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