Taking care of yourself is a hot topic right now. You can do it in 5 easy steps, or you can learn 10 things to do to make sure that you're doing it right.
We’re told that in order to take care of ourselves we should be doing all manner of things, such as meditating.... exercising.... doing yoga.... cooking great new recipes... watching less TV... going to bed earlier... drinking more water...
...and the list goes on and on.
Which can leave you pretty overwhelmed if you’re anything like me.
It seems that taking care of yourself means doing even more than you were doing before – yes they may be nice things directed at yourself rather than everyone else, but they are still things to add to the ‘to do’ list.
So after work and sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour, finally arriving home and making dinner, feeding and walking the dog, and quickly tidying up the bedroom that you left in big mess this morning, you also now need to find time to meditate, have a bubble bath and read the latest book that’s been recommended.
Surely, this is just having the opposite effect? I don’t know about you, but for me it's just overwhelming and, even worse, I get stressed out when I don’t manage to fit everything in, because it means I'm not taking care of myself properly!
So I just want to say … Stop giving me more things to do!!
To me the idea of taking care of yourself is doing less – ditching the ‘have to’s’ - and doing what you FEEL like doing. Contrary to popular belief, doing what you want to do is NOT selfish, it’s NOT wasting your life away – it’s the very reason you came to the planet this time round!
Taking care of yourself is about having less things-that-must-be-done, not adding more. It's about having some freedom in your life to just be, as opposed to always striving for some ideal.
Try something different. Surrender.
~ Rumi ~
Say it's the weekend and you want to do nothing today except veg on the couch – then do that. If you feel like doing that tomorrow – do it again tomorrow. I promise you that at some point you will get sick of that and some action will come to you that inspires you.
And when it does, the action you take will flow so easily that you'll accomplish in a few hours what usually would take you a day or longer. Or you'll do some activity that really calls to your soul. Now that's really taking care of yourself.
The whole energy of the planet is changing from struggle and force, to ease and grace. The ‘have to’s’ and the ‘shoulds’ are falling away and making way for a life that is authentic, where you flow with your intuitive energy.
In other words, when you feel tired for no reason – so what? Don’t beat yourself up. Rest, take it easy, do something you want to do that’s restful and restoring.
If you feel really energized – then use that – work for 10 hours straight if you feel inspired to do so. Then stop when you feel tired. Even if you go and sit on the beach for the whole of the following day – who cares? This is not a race. Now you’re working smarter because you’re listening to your body.
Taking care of yourself isn’t something you DO, it’s a life choice, a way of being.
So I’ve developed a new way to take care of myself. It includes nothing, no steps (simple or otherwise). It only includes not feeling the need to do anything if I’m feeling uninspired, stressed out or tired, or I just don’t feel like doing anything for no reason.
Curling up with a book that I can lose myself in, watching a fave movie, taking my dog somewhere pretty and peaceful, just to hang out, or staying in bed late on a rainy Sunday morning drinking tea and catching up on some TV program I love on my laptop.
It can be taking that bubble bath or meditating - but only if it is something I truly want to do... not a 'have to'. It can also include doing something that I love to do...like going for a hike or taking my dog to sheep herding (such fun!). It doesn’t have to mean resting.
By doing this I get back into the swing of things pretty quickly because I’ve rested my brain, and my let’s-get-this-done muscle. I feel re-energised and inspired to do something more productive.
I call this slowing down to speed up.
When you do things from the soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy
~ Rumi ~
Often we are so caught up in ‘out there’ that we don’t recognize the inner signs that say “I need a rest!”.
I used to suffer regularly from migraines. Thankfully I don’t any more, because the odd time that I may be susceptible, I now recognize the signs, which are that I start to feel absolutely exhausted for NO reason… feeling as if I could just fall asleep right on the spot, wherever I am.
Before, when I didn’t listen to that call from my body, and pushed through, forcing myself to get on with my work, I would end up with an awful migraine later that night and into the next day. And for those of you who suffer from these terrible headaches, you’ll know that they are completely debilitating, so I would lose an entire day the next day (not to mention how awful I felt).
Once I realized what the signs were… I started to take care of myself by going home and resting up whenever I felt that exhaustion creeping up on me, no matter what else I had to do. And guess what? The migraine didn’t manifest and the next day I was able to work as though nothing had happened.
My point is – taking a small amount of downtime when you need it can save you having to take a far longer time because you didn’t listen to your body. Although I’m talking about a physical ailment, this is just as true for a mental need to just slow down for a while.
Finally, there will be those that say – but if I only do things I want to do, when I feel energized to do them, I’ll never do anything!
My answer? That’s not true.
You WILL naturally feel called to do something, and because you’ve given
yourself a rest, you will have more focused energy than if you just
The other thing is, if you’re seriously resisting doing
something, then perhaps it’s not in your best interest to do that
anyway. Truly taking care of yourself does require you to start shifting to a more authentic way of life.
If you are forcing yourself to do things you hate, then there will
never be the right time to do them - but that's a story for another day.
So next time you feel drained and uninspired, don’t force it. Take time out to relax and do what you really feel like doing. Slow down to speed up and you’ll find that taking care of yourself is actually pretty simple, because if you listen carefully, you already know what to do.
If you find that you're forcing yourself to do things you don't want to do because you think you have to - you're probably out of alignment with your true self. My free e-course will help you get back on track. Simply register below and you'll receive the first email within minutes: