2015 is nearly here! How fast did this year go? With each passing day it seems that you resurface at dinner time or later after a sea of meetings, carpools, family events, holiday preparations and an occasional crisis (hopefully minor) here or there. It is so easy for a week, month or year go by and wonder where did it go and what did I do that was rejuvenating and fun. The end of another year should be a time to celebrate not a time to collapse on the nearest couch with a sigh of relief.
Life is full of surprises of all kinds and as you navigate all that comes your way (both good and bad), it is easy to forget that you need to take care of yourself, too! In fact, in order to care for others without depleting your reserves, you have to care for yourself first. I know this so well as I am now helping my mom who has not been well for the past month. I need to keep myself strong to be there fully and joyfully for her. I will not do her any good if I am teetering on the brink of exhaustion.
Thankfully, there a few things you can do whenever you have even the briefest moment to make sure you are always treated well and feel like number one.
Review Your Positive Self-Talk
When was the last time you said to yourself “I look good” or “I am doing great?” It is so easy to say it when you are asked the proverbial, “How are you?,” but is your response the same when you are talking to yourself?
If it has been a while since you have acknowledged how amazing you are, there is no time like the present! Take a few moments now to give yourself a pat on the back even if it is simply within your own mind.
Louise Hay, author of ‘You Can Heal Your Life,’ recommends doing ‘mirror work’ to really reap the benefits. Look at yourself in a mirror and see the amazing woman looking back at you. Even if it feels a bit awkward, say something positive to yourself, preferably out loud. It can be as simple as ‘I love you.’ Keep saying it until you feel the energy coursing through you and you begin to get past the initial self-conscious stage.
Do the Hanger Test in Your Closet
For 60 days, every time you hang up an item in your closet put the hanger the opposite way from the others. After the 60 days, review the items that are still facing backwards and ask yourself a few simple questions about each one:
- Would I wear this garment today if the occasion called for it?
- Do I feel good in this garment?
- What does this garment say to me about me?
- Why am I not wearing it? (don’t have an occasion…can’t complete the outfit…am always too cold/hot in it…it needs repair or tailoring…)
If any of the answers above are in any way negative (especially the second one), give it to Goodwill or, at the very least, pack it away out of sight of your every day closet. Believe it or not, clearing the space within your closet will positively help and affect your own self-image (not to mention give you an excuse to treat yourself).
This tip takes mere seconds to do. It’s a matter of remembering to do it when you are in your closet. To make this easy, set a reminder on your phone or leave a sticky note on your closet door until this becomes second nature.
Make an “I Enjoy List” and Do One At Least Once a Month
Do you love manicures? Do you long to engulf that new Mary Higgins Clark or Jackie Collins? Make a list of the things you enjoy and revel in and place it somewhere where you will see it every day. Then make sure you are doing at least one of them once a month (or more!). Not only will some type of me-time schedule help you unwind, but it will assist you in being the amazing mom, friend, sister, daughter and wife you have always been. Even if it’s just going to the drugstore for those self manicures supplies or getting Audible on your Iphone and listening to a book while the kids play soccer, taking the time out for you will keep you ready (and happy!) for whatever your family needs.
The moral of this story: Treat yourself as well as you treat others. In an airplane safety lecture they always say “Put the mask on yourself before helping others.” Although you are not in any emergency, the lesson in that statement is clear: You need to be cared for completely before you can truly and fully serve those around you!
What is the next treat you are going to give yourself. Right it down now and schedule it in your calendar. Me-time does not have to take a day or even half a day. An hour or even 30 minutes here or there can be so satisfying and rejuvenating. What’s on your list?