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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Be kind to yourself

When I was a teenager, I was excited to be given the freedom to drive! I was always more than willing to run errands and go anywhere, as long as it meant driving. I remember one day my mom had given me a list of things she needed me to do, including taking my sister to piano lessons, run to the grocery store, return some books to the library, drop some letters and a package at the post office, and pick up a pizza for dinner before picking up my sister from her lesson and returning home. I enthusiastically accepted the job and hopped in the car. I ran the errands just as prescribed, but I forgot one very important thing that is critical to keeping a car running: I forgot to check the gas gauge. About two miles from home, the car made a weird clunking noise and rolled to a halt on the side of the road. And it simply wouldn't go anymore. This was before everyone had a cell phone, and I found myself in a bad situation.

I think about that situation all the time and how sometimes I get so wrapped up in being a wife, mom, friend, and wearing all the hats I wear, I forget to take care of my own needs. I find that I get so busy worrying about everyone else that I neglect myself and my proverbial gas tanks runs dry; I am unable to do any more.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

I know I am not alone in my self-neglect. I am learning that it is important to take care of me and my needs. I can't take care of others if I am not taking care of myself. Although home and family life, work, church, school, and life's other demands can leave us feeling like there is no time for self-care, I know that if you make yourself a priority, everything else will fall into place. Here are a few self-care ideas that will change your outlook and productivity.

1. Wake up an hour before your normal wake up time. Use half that time to do something for yourself and the other half to meditate, work out, read a book, or journal. Also, tidy up your space: Make your bed, wash fold, and put away laundry, and open your blinds. I'm always surprised how much better I feel when things are tidy and the sunshine comes in.

2. Keep a journal. Write five things each day that you are grateful for. Try not to duplicate ideas, coming up with new things each day.

3. Exercise. I struggle with enjoying exercise. But, I know that I feel so much happier when I take one hour at the end of each day for doing this kindness for my body. Elle Woods, in the movie Legally Blond, says it best:

4. Allow yourself a treat from time to time. I realized recently that I am always trying to keep my kids' wardrobe new and cute.  They're totally cute and trendy... while I am still wearing some of the same t-shirts I wore before my daughter was born nearly ten years ago. I try to remember it is okay to budget a little money for me to spend on just me. You'll be amazed at how wonderful a new outfit can make you feel. Sometimes I use that money to take myself to lunch at a restaurant or to a bakery for a sugar cookie. Yum!

5. Tell yourself you are beautiful, smart, funny, a good mom/wife/friend/grandma/aunt/cousin...  So often we are so hard on ourselves. I know that the words I think to myself about me are not usually good. I would NEVER say such things to someone else, why is it okay to say them about myself? The truth is, it isn't. Be positive. Tell yourself you are beautiful. Remind yourself you are a wonderful person. Don't be so hard on yourself. I love the movie The Help where Abilene tells Mae Mobley "You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important."

Take care of yourself, Friend.

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