Consider how much the world is changing, and how quickly. Just 20 years ago, “taking good care of yourself” consisted of popping a morning multi-vitamin and having your annual check-up at the doctor. But in today’s busier world, we need to use a different set of protocols in order to enjoy robust health, stamina, and happiness.
Many of us keep postponing improved self-care. We want to take better care of ourselves, but we keep putting it off, saying that we’ll get to it “one day soon.” Fortunately, there are 3 things you can do right away to help yourself feel better now.
For me, these days, a surprising amount of my self-care consists of:
- saying “no”
- protecting my physical energy
- reducing noise
Here is why these same strategies can greatly improve your own life, too.
by Dane Findley
1. Say “No” More Often
Our culture has become a bit narcissistic. Many people become easily bored and physically restless if the conversation goes more than 5-seconds without being about them. And because of it, you will constantly be pulled into other people’s agendas, orbiting their life, witnessing their experiences, addressing their wants and needs moment-to-moment. Which is fine, if you want to be a moon. But, what if you’re your own planet?
In order to stay out of the gravitational pull of well-meaning, self-absorbed people, you need to be able to say “no,” even if it makes you unpopular.
Even parents can model the art of reciprocity by saying “no” to their offspring. I mean, maybe your 11-year old son can get himself to soccer practice. Who says you have to be his personal chauffeur?
When you honor yourself by setting boundaries, you are giving the world a gift, because it shows other people what is possible within themselves (even if they don’t appreciate it in the moment).
2. Protect Your Physical Energy
Too often, people work beyond the point where they should stop for the day, into the “depletion zone.” Do that too often, and it’s hard to bounce-back.
Many Americans just wait until they get so run-down that they get a cold or flu, then they give themselves a few days off. It’s much more efficient just to monitor your physical energy closely and stop before you hit depletion.
Of course, the best ways to cultivate more physical stamina, are still: quality sleep, exercise, and eat your vegetables (hey, some things never go out of style).
Whenever possible, honor your own unique work style. I engage productivity principles, and that means I’m able to do in 6.5 hours what it takes many other people 10 hours or more to complete. It’s not because I’m so awesome, it’s just that I use systems that help me get more-things-done, faster. You can, too.
You may not yet have the freedom to arrange your day around your own unique style of working, but do what you can. Even little lifestyle adjustments can make a big difference.
3. Cut Through the Noise and Up Your Stamina
There is so much information and distraction coming at you from all sides every day. Radio, billboards, bus bench ads, emails, instant text messaging, ringing cell phones, television, on and on and on.
When it comes to information, entertainment, news, mail, etc., you must have a strategy for how you will consume it. You don’t want to get sucked into the black hole of constant information. Increase your awareness so that you can easily spot those sneaky little assassins that want to sap your mental clarity and diminish your quality of life.
But there is also a lot of physical matter coming at you, too. We live in a consumer culture, and that means “stuff” finds its way into your home – piling up, day after day.
What would your life feel like, if you were living it free of clutter?
…does living luxuriously necessarily mean having lots of possessions?”
It’s strange to think that much of the stuff we own ends up one day in a landfill. I aspire to minimalism, yet am astonished how much ‘stuff’ we have accumulated in our home. I am re-inspired to move toward simplicity!
The word possession can mean either the state of possessing items, or the state of being possessed. Think about that for a moment.
In our modern culture, it often means both simultaneously, for the articles we own take up physical and psychic space. In other words, sometimes we don’t own stuff – our stuff owns us.
Everything from a golf ball to a refrigerator require time, energy, money, and maintenance. For a golf ball, you have to shop for it, pay for it, store it somewhere and then locate it later. Now multiply that exponentially and it becomes easy to see how the average ‘Westerner’ feels overwhelmed and drained in these modern times.
Perhaps we were not all meant to live as Zen monks. I know that I enjoy nice things as much as the next guy – gadgets, art, the latest running shoe – but I also enjoy the serenity that empty space provides. And I wonder, does every square inch have to be occupied?
How about a closet dresser with one empty drawer? I know, I know… revolutionary!
Does living luxuriously necessarily mean having lots of possessions? Can a person live well and feel prosperous with fewer things? I’m all for prosperity, and if someone wants a house filled to the brim, I support that. But let’s be conscious about it. Let us choose that lifestyle, instead of just ending-up there.
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