Self Care, Recharge
We live in an amazing time! Technology allows us to talk with others all over the world any time we choose. We have more modern conveniences than ever in history. We have more gadgets and gizmos to do more tasks all to "save" more time. We have smart phones, smart cars and smart houses. We have high speed computers in our pockets. We have sweepers that run themselves. We can turn on the lights and heat at home from our phone. Siri, Alexa and Google can turn on appliances, start movies, tell us the weather and help us with homework. Yet, we are more stressed than in any other generation.
WHY? In my opinion, (Paula-ology, if you will), fragmentation. It's impossible to be fragmented and feel whole at the same time. We are pulled in so many directions, spread so thin, by so many demanding a piece of our time, energy and substance...parents, children, employers, teachers, neighbors, and even community and country to some level. There are studies showing increased "screen time" can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. In the same respect, we can give too much of ourselves to job and family responsibilities and other people in general. The old saying "You can't pour from an empty vessel" rings truer now louder than ever!
So, what is a frazzled soul to do? Well, to begin with, we can establish a self-care routine that involves recharging and sustaining our body, soul, spirit and mind. Since self-care is as individualized as the weary souls who need it, what works for me may not necessarily recharge you. Not everyone has the time or money for an extended vacation or even a trip to the spa. So, we need to get creative and think of the things we really enjoy doing. Consider a long, hot bubble bath...add candles and and some favorite music to make it even more appealing. How about a walk in the woods, or a favorite park, or even a short walk outside during lunch break? Time spent doing a favorite hobby or hanging out with a special person or pet can also have recharging effects. Meditation is a great mini get-a-way, even if it lasts only a few moments. Just being able to calm, center and refocus has amazing benefits! This article by Healthline can offer more great suggestions to help us relax, recharge and relieve stress.
Limiting time in stressful or draining situations should also be mentioned, along with limiting and/or avoiding negative or draining people. Yes, I went "there"! I'm sure we all have that ONE person who particularly pushes our buttons and totally drains us of energy! And what about those who make us feel badly about something personal...our body, social status, significant other, job or sexual identity! People can be very judgmental and feel justified in telling others how they should look, feel and live. And, social media has poured fuel on this particular fire. I believe this is because people are more apt to say something judgmental and hurtful when they are not face-to-face with the target of their opinion. Even folks who are predominantly in the public eye (actors, politicians, etc) can have a difficult time keeping critical reviews in perspective. I, personally, was raised to follow the wise words of Thumper (Bambi)... "If you can't say somethin nice, don't say nothin at all". No doubt there would be many (and you're thinking of them now) who would implode if forced to follow that advice!
Now, lets talk about boundaries. Knowing when and with whom to set them and being able to stand strong when they are challenged can be tricky, especially when the person we're setting boundaries with cannot be simply tossed out of our life, i.e. boss, coworker, parent, in-law, etc. And, we may have to work through a bit of guilt when we do stand our ground. Those being held at bay won't take kindly to us setting and keeping boundaries, so we may need to get a bit creative. This article in Psych Central offers 10 ways to build and preserve better boundaries.
So, bottom line, we need to take better care of ourselves in a world that pressures us to put nearly everyone else first. Finding "US" time may be tricky, but will prove valuable in allowing us to be more effective in all the roles we must tackle in life.