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At one time or another, we all wake up in our beds, stare at the ceiling, and think to ourselves with the agony of what feels like a dump truck parked on our chests and say: “How the hell am I going to get everything done today?”

If you’re anything like me, you’ve done something after asking that question like turn over to your dog and start playing with him/her.  My dog loves it when I act like my hand is a claw in one of those crane games you find in arcades in movie theaters.  After I hit the snooze button for the 4th time, I put my claw-like hand over her head by about 3 feet and lower it slowly.  Her adorable little brown eyes stare at it as her body is locked in place with anticipation.  As I get closer to her nosey-wosey, her mouth starts to open a little bit and THEN I ATTACK! My hand moving in circles around her head as she desperately tries to catch it, but never having the intention to actually bite down.  By this time I’ve hit the snooze button 3 more times because this is hilarious.

I get out of my bed smiling and laughing saying, “Lennox, you’re such a silly little derp machine! I love you.”

My dad got me one of those Amazon Dots for Christmas.  A silly gift at first, but it allows me it allows me to say things like, “Alexa, what time is it?” when I don’t feel like reaching for my watch or phone.

“The time is 8:15AM,” Alexa nonchalantly says with her stupid robot voice that is FAR more soothing than Siri.

What. The. Crap.  My alarm was set for 6:45 AM. How have I wasted this much time? I have so much to do.  I have to get to the kitchen.  Toss some eggs in the pot to hardboil and get the oatmeal in the microwave.  While that is going on I was going to shower, brush my teeth, do the rest of the bathroom routine (you don’t need details, but you get that it’s a lot to do when you have hair as fantastic as mine), put my nice shirt on, maybe a tie, change my mind about the shirt because I feel like wearing brown shoes today.  Remember I have a meeting today, change out of jeans into some slacks and put the black shoes back on because my grey pants are dirty and I need to wear my black pants and you don’t wear brown shoes with black pants like a barbarian. Get the eggs into ice water for 5 minutes, eat the oatmeal, crack the eggs and peel them, eat them, get in the car, drive 15 minutes to work, park in the garage, and be at my desk by 9 AM.

When you’re done breathing into your brown paper bag trying to come down from the panic attack you had reading all of that, please read my next point.

In the 1 hour and 15 minutes I spent snoozing and playing with my dog, I could have been happily getting ready for work in a stress free manner.  Which means in the hustle and bustle of my life that consists of working two jobs, educating myself, maintaining a relationship and friendships, keeping apartment in order and stocked with food, dog parenting, cooking, taking care of my parents, etc…I’m not taking the proper time to care for myself.

Our lives are all different.  Some of us are parents, full time students, business owners, and/or facing serious every day struggles that cripple our time that we have to take care of ourselves.  The primary purpose for my previous rhetoric was to illustrate that it is very possible for us to have that extra time in our day to tend to other more productive and energizing things for ourselves.  Allow me to commence in walking you through a list that will help you tend to the most valuable overlooked thing in the world…yourself.

1.  Take the time to re-prioritize.
This may be one of the most important things you can to before you tend to anything else.  Take a look at your schedule and responsibilities.  What priorities and necessities are being served by what you are doing?  We need to utilize our skills in work in proper exchange for money in order to survive in this world.  Not much can be done about that.  What else?  Who are you always saying “YES” to that maybe you could say “NO” to in order to make time to grow yourself?  Not everyone needs your time when you’re neglecting yourself.  What Netflix show are you binging on that maybe you could hold off on for a bit or cut down on?  Entertainment like TV and video games may not always be productive to self-growth. This can vary from person to person, but it pays to re-prioritize.  See the article previous written on “Why self-care is not selfish” if you find yourself having trouble with this in regard to people.

2.  Take that extra time to get some sleep.
A slammed schedule doesn’t leave much time for a good night’s sleep. It’ll likely keep you up at night sometimes with worry. Do what you can to rest.  While we are in our deepest parts of sleep, our immune system can rebuild itself. Seratonin and norepiphrine replentish themselves.  Not taking this time to rest limits our body’s ability to function, thus affecting your mood and general health.

3.  Meal prep good food.
Sometimes the Hot N’ Ready or McDonald’s drive through can be a life saver.  The same people who look to it as a savior are the same people who often villify its unhealthy consequences.  Take some time to plan your meals in advance for the week and pick a day to take an hour or two to prepare said meals.  This can be a daunting task but it will save you money and time in the long run.  A small investment for a beautifully large return.  Pick something healthy and that you’ll be proud to have eaten.  This will have immense health benefits, thus giving you lasting and clean energy to happily go about your busy day.

4. Get some exercise.
You don’t need to go to the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours each time.  The only reason Arnold did that was because that’s literally what he did for a living.  Bless him.

Healthy, rejuvenating, and strengthening exercise can be quickly done from the comfort of your own home. There are incredible yoga adventures easily accessible online that only take 20 minutes or so to complete.  Tabata training with a kettlebell is a personal favorite.  Look up how to do a kettleball swing properly.  Practice.  Then swing it for 20 seconds, rest for 10.  Then repeat 7 more times.  Less than 10 minutes later, you just got a solid workout and you’ll feel energized for the day while shedding fat and building strength.  The point is, exercise is a classically proven method to build your energy levels with endorphins and will also positively contribute to your sleep.

5.  Take a break from your phone…at least the social media.
Facebook.  Instagram.  Snapchat.  Twitter.  The average person can put 20 minutes into these social media outlets per sitting 10 times per day.  Something to distract us from productive work, reading, relationship building, and nurture given to ourselves and those physically near that require our attention.  You will be surprised by how much time you have during the day when you take time away from these outlets.

6.  Get a journal.
Referring back to not sleeping and your schedule keeping you up at night; taking down some notes before sleeping may be crucial to help you relieve some tension.  Writing is proven to be therapeutic.  In a matter of moments, you can write down your worries, thoughts, love, gratitude, or a multitude other things that come to your heart.  Take the time to make it a habit to write before bed.

7.  Call people more often. Especially those you love.
Forget a text message.  Discard the emails.  Call your friends, family, and other loved ones.  This gratitude you will feel will often take you away from the ledge you never knew you were standing so close to.  A phone call can be done so easily while on the road from one crazy thing to the next.  Voicemail?  No problem.  Display the gratitude for the person and make sure they know you care for them.  Regardless, this will bring you back to the world of reality in your stressful day.

In conclusion, be creative.  You can put your self care into your schedule, regardless of how busy you are, simply by priortizing it and having a greater value for how you spend your time.  Make this time for yourself, regardless of whether it means cancelling plans/meetings or telling your boss/friends/relationship partner “no”.

Do whatever it takes to look out for number one.  There is never “not enough time”.

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