I am a big advocate of taking time for myself. Earlier years spent doing too much set me off the tracks when it came to self-care. Since then I have become much more aware and sensitive to how my body responds as well as where I am emotionally.
While there are definite seasons of life where simply rest and cutting back on things are the only solution to getting a break, for me, it is having a routine that includes self-care and comfort on a regular basis that helps keep me on track.
I will always find time to get things done. The laundry is never ending. Meetings are meetings. And I will stay up all night to meet a deadline or finish a project if needed. I can choose in the midst of this to take care of myself or not. But either way, I have proven I can always get things done on my to-do list. My concern is more of a matter of how balanced I am as a person after all of that.
I spend more time agonizing over the stress that hangs over me than actually getting something done. I can easily use "that time of month" as an excuse to throw me off course and let myself pig out on chocolate. I too often add unnecessary things on my to-do list instead of prioritizing what is most important.
I have a small mental checklist of things that I ask myself to make sure I am on track. These are things I rely on when I am stressed out, on my period, sick, or just feeling emotionally drained.
1. Am I being active?
It is so easy for me to skip my workout when I am overstressed or not feeling well. Besides feeling better in my own body when I am active, I know that my mind and heart are more settled after I have gotten my body moving.
Sometimes just going out for a quick walk is enough to get me focused on the tasks ahead of me. It is also important for me to exercise when I am sore or cramped from my period. There is something about moving my body that seems to put those pains at ease.
2. Am I taking time to be quiet?
Taking time to be quiet, for me, looks like spending time reading, praying, or simply sitting on the porch with some tea. Too often I get so caught up in my mind that it tends to take over my entire body at times.
By taking time to be quiet and allow outside peace to soak in, I am able to clear my mind, rest my body, and just be in the moment. I find so much comfort in being quiet sometimes but it truly is a discipline when I am feeling stressed out.
3. Am I dressing comfortably?
This one is a little more obvious during my period or when I am sick but I find that feeling comfortable in my clothes makes a huge difference in my everyday life. There have been many times when my anxiety would literally give me a stomach ache or that time of month made me uncomfortable.
I am a huge advocate for all things elastic! I never know when some of these pains will hit and by having cute and comfortable clothes to wear, I don't have to show the world that it is that time of month because I am in my sweat pants! Instead I can continue to feel great about myself by what I am wearing while getting my body through an uncomfortable moment.
4. Am I eating well?
This eating one comes in waves. It is amazing that when I am eating well, my body will quickly react if I eat food that is not so good for me. Although, if I get in a habit of not eating well for a week or so, my body begins to adapt and it does not react or remind me that the food I am putting in my mouth is not the best for my body.
For the most part, I try to eat pretty consistently. I actually like the reminder of a small stomach ache or indigestion because it is a reminder of how certain foods make me feel. When I have too much going on or am especially emotional during my period it is so easy for me to turn to food. This is a huge struggle of mine that I am trying to shake. So while I allow myself a little grace to enjoy and treat myself to food, I really try to be aware to when I am more vulnerable to eating badly.
I try to keep food in the house that is good for me but still can be comforting. Even making comfort food at home is better than eating that comfort food from a fast food restaurant. Those little aspects of being aware help me to make sure I am eating well even if I am dealing with a rough week.
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