“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” — William Burroughs
Time is a valuable and finite resource. We can get more money, and put in more effort, but we have a finite amount of time. We give our time to our boss, jobs, children, partner, friends, and colleagues, but how often do we give time to ourselves?
When we strive for success it’s easy to try to fill up every minute of our schedule with tasks and commitments to try and do it all. Over time, these tasks begin to pile up and cause a lot of stress and anxiety in our lives. To compensate we eat fast food, get less sleep, rush around everywhere, and spread ourselves thin. Our immune systems begin to weaken from the lack of nutrients and rest the body needs to combat our elevated stress levels and we get sick. We become frustrated with the timing of our illness and ask ourselves, “Why did I have to get sick now? I have so many things to do!”
I know this cycle because I have been a victim of it. I think we all have from time to time. Just as it is important to schedule commitments, plans, and goals, it is important to schedule time for yourself. This list provides an idea of some of the ways we should consider scheduling time for ourselves.
Not only has exercise been shown to improve mood, stress levels, and the immune system, but it also helps increase energy levels. These are all benefits that can help you throughout the day, regardless of what commitments you have up ahead. One of the most popular excuses is that we don’t have enough time to exercise. Since exercise provides a multitude of benefits for our mental and physical health, it’s definitely an important activity to make time for. Better yet, exercise doesn’t need to be time-consuming. We can run around the block a few times, or do bodyweight exercises inside your own home. Exercise will also help you remain focused and energetic, giving you the extra support you need to get through your checklist.
When we pack our schedule full of activities, we often get less sleep in order to have enough time to get everything done. Not only does a lack of sleep weaken our immune system, it also reduces cognitive function and limits our productivity. By getting enough sleep, we can wake up with more energy and a mind that is ready to work for you instead of against you. If time tends to pass you by, treat sleep as an important appointment that you wouldn’t want to miss. Create an alarm or reminder an hour before you plan to go to bed so you can finish up whatever you are working on and get ready to sleep. Determine how much sleep you need to function at your prime, and set your schedule accordingly. Make sure you use this time to relax and sleep, and not get stuck in the trap of checking social media or emails when you should be sleeping. Set your phone on the other side of the room, if needed.
We pay for housing and tend to put a lot of thought on where we are going to live. Most of us rarely think about how our body is where we live more so than any home we have ever stepped foot in. We are always in our skin, and our body does miracles for us each and every day, even for basic tasks like walking or looking at the world around you. Given how much our body does for us, the least we can do is provide healthy nutrients for our body to process. Healthy food also helps us maintain a stronger immune system. Find healthy food that you enjoy and easy meals that you can make. If you are busy on a day to day basis, try setting aside a few hours once a week to make your meals for the week. That way you have healthy food to conveniently grab and eat.
Life can be really stressful with everything we have to do. That being said, it’s important to find a healthy way to relax and get a break from the stressors in day to day life. Some of my favorites include exercising, reading, writing, and spending time with those I love. Better yet, relaxing can help get your mind off of challenging problems you’ve been having throughout the week. After you relax you might just be able to come up with a great solution now that your mind is recharged and able to think more clearly.
If looking at this list is overwhelming, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and pick one that you want to try. Work on this one for a couple weeks until you really get good at it. Then you can add in the next one. Before you know it, you will be practicing all four and be living a much happier and healthier life.
Some people are hesitant to make time for themselves because they feel that it is selfish. Instead, think of it as a way to help others. By being healthy, happier, and more energetic, it will be easier to give your attention to those you care about. These practices will help give you the energy you need to help them with favors and spend more time with them. Being happier will improve your relationships, making them happier too. You can also share these practices, and this article, with your loved ones to help them improve their life. So take time for yourself today, you deserve it.
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