This week, our own Ashley Cygnarowicz submitted the post. Thanks, Ashley!
It would be dishonest if I (or any therapist) said “I never get stressed out or feel like I have too much on my plate.” Yes—we are human, not therapy-bots.
I can recall recently during a break at work that I looked at my phone and saw several text messages from friends asking to hang out, or needing a favor; I had missed calls from family members hoping to catch up and chat. Although I can truly say I am blessed to have wonderful friends and family, I am one of five siblings—and we live in two different countries, three different states, and three different time zones—so catching up, hanging out, and doing favors can be exhausting!
Just like most people, I have a full time job; I have a family, pets to care for, and a house that needs to be tended. I—like everyone else—also have a choice: I can choose to try not to stress. My choice is to take care of myself and enjoy every day. After all: life is a gift, not a chore.
Happily, I am usually very good at paying attention to my self-care, both professionally and within my personal life. I remember me. I am the only person I have to hang out with all day; I am the only person I have to talk to all day. I am the only person who gets stuck with me all day! I wouldn’t choose to hang out with someone else if they were miserable, cranky, or negative; why would I want to hang out with myself if I am miserable, cranky, or negative?
So, how do you take care of yourself? How do you stay positive and healthy? Make time for you!
I challenge you to take 15 minutes for yourself each day. Take 15 minutes to do something you truly enjoy. Read a novel, go for a walk around the block, play your guitar, draw a picture, knit, paint your nails—do something for your most basic self-care. You can then build from that.
It doesn’t have to take hours, and it isn’t about weekend getaways, so don’t get caught up in “I don’t have time.” Time is something that we are all given; we choose what to do with it.
Self-care is more than exercise and eating healthy. It also includes positive thinking, spending time in enjoyable activities, getting enough sleep, and surrounding yourself with people (or pets!) you love. Self-care is turning off work when you get home, learning to say “no” to others, and not spending every free minute doing a chore or playing “catch up” with the things you missed while you were too busy doing everything else.
If I didn’t take care of myself, it would be hypocritical to suggest it to others. If I didn’t take time for me—if I didn’t think positive, spend time with loved ones, take breaks, exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep, how could I hope to be helpful to others? I had better try my hardest to practice what I preach!