It's easy to have a very harried, busy life and to say I will slow down later. I will work on my breathing and meditation later. And then the inevitable happens… The kids are calling for you, your boss is asking for extra time, your husband needs a favor. You put your own needs on the back burner to meet the needs of others in your life.
Now I want to remind you that your brain needs to rest. And one of the best ways to do this is to meditate and allow the brain and the body to replenish and rejuvenate. If you forget to take care of yourself one of three things may happen:
- You will not be able to cultivate relationships in the way that you would like.
- You won’t function as well as you think you can.
- You will not be allowing your brain to rest so that you can optimize your potential and operate at full capacity.
We are very anxious society and we are becoming more and more anxious with every technological apparatus that we use to manage our lives. I know that you have felt that anxiety when you haven't looked at your phone for over an hour because you were busy in a meeting.
It used to be that we asked people to check their emails only twice a day because people could not resist checking in every 20 minutes to see what new messages they had in their inbox. This has been replaced by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which keeps us in the know every second of the day. I'm sure you have gone to a restaurant and noticed that at every table, people were looking at their phones as opposed to talking to each other. Part of good self-care its connection to people in a face-to-face way.
Therapists and coaches alike know that the best way to cultivate mental health is to get you to pay attention to taking care of your brain. And good brain science means good mental health,
What do you do on a regular basis to take care of yourself? I know that many of you may say “I get a manicure and a pedicure on a monthly basis” or “I will go get a massage.” But I am advocating that you put regularity into your daily functioning and spend at least 20 to 40 minutes on replenishing your energy and fortifying your brain.
This regimen may look like the following:
- Organize your day so that you will limit the amount of time you spend on the phone and with your computer. Start out small but decide what you can handle and tell yourself you're going to go for three hour increments without looking at your phone or computer.
- Start your day in a very centered way by meditating from 5 to 60 minutes. You get to decide how much time you're going to spend in a quiet room focusing on being in the present.
- Spend some time either walking outside and observing nature or in a class like Tai Chi or Yoga. This allows you to focus on your body feels as it maintains specialized movement that allows your muscles to expand and contract.
When you utilize self-care by spending your time and energy in quieting your thoughts, slowing the body down, and enjoying what is, you really are able to replenish your energy in ways that will allow you to maximize self-care.
Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW PCC is a psychotherapist and personal life coach. SHe does motivational speaking and empowerment trainings locally and nationally. To find out more about her services, contact her at www.carolthecoach.com or call her at 317-218-3479. You can watch Carol the Coach segments on WTHR's Channel 13 Wednesdays at 12:50PM.