Here is an extension to my first post: Winter Blues. Hopefully some of those suggestions were helpful. Here are another 10 suggestions if you are looking for a few more ideas. Remember, only pick one or two to try a day. Overwhelming yourself with new tasks when you are already feeling tired and stressed will not be particularly helpful.
1. Eat breakfast. We all know it, yet how often do you skip it? Or, just eat a piece of toast? We need to fuel up our bodies for the day. Try to incorporate protein or a complex carbohydrate (whole grain cereal, peanut butter toast, an egg, oatmeal, etc.)
2. Drink more water. During the winter months, we tend to drink less because it is, well, cold! Our bodies need to be hydrated. Drinking water helps hydrate us, and we need to stay hydrated to function normally. If you find it has been several hours and you haven’t needed to go the restroom, you probably should be drinking more water. Plus, running back and forth to the bathroom will keep us from sitting in one place too long. 🙂
3. Create! Draw, write, decorate, sew. Do something that gets your creative juices flowing. When we create something, we feel empowered and using our talents is always a good idea. See the parable of the talents in Matthew 25.
4. Empty your sink. You really will feel better if you wash those dishes. Every time you walk by that sink, or smell that smell (you know what I am talking about) you will be “drained” of some energy.
5. Stop comparing yourself to others. When we look at other people and compare, we usually look at their positives and then compare those to our shortcomings. As I said in my post on New Year’s Resolutions: Comparing never motivates, it consumes. Comparing never accomplishes, it degrades. Comparing never builds up, it depletes. If you find yourself comparing, gently tell yourself to “Stop it!” Then find something about yourself that you like and repeat it, like a mantra: “I care about people.” or “I work hard.” Give yourself credit! Put that money back in your emotional wallet.
6. Tackle that task you have been avoiding. Come on, you know which one I mean. Maybe it’s that expired driver’s license (good job for completing that one, Honey!) or that phone call you’ve been dreading. It is that one thing that you keep procrastinating (if there is more than one thing, pick just one). We talk ourselves into believing that procrastinating means that we are just saving it for later. In reality, that task is eating at you, and draining you of some of the energy that you need right now. And, when you procrastinate, sometimes the task grows!!! Just do it. Look it in the eyes, and tackle the beast!
7. Set priorities. If there are some things you must do, write them down and do them first (if possible). Then, the other stuff is optional. Sometimes we leave the “musts” until later after we do the “optionals”. Then, there isn’t enough time left to complete the “musts” and we feel greater stress and worry. If you have some “musts” to do today, do them. You will feel so much better when you are able to move onto the other tasks. You may actually find yourself humming while you do the laundry….well, maybe not, but it is a nice thought.
8. Set boundaries. Now, I could do an entire post on boundaries, and probably will in the future. But to cut to the chase: if you are having a hard time accomplishing your own stuff, don’t take on anything extra! Don’t offer to take a meal out, or say yes to babysitting when you feel you are barely making it with your own meals or your own kids. It is o.k. to say “No.” It is not a sin. And, you don’t need to offer up an excuse. Just a polite and firm, “I am sorry. I can’t.” will suffice. I believe a principle of self-reliance is learning what you can do, and what is better left for others to do. Some days you may be able to do more, some you may need to focus on taking care of you.
9. Fill your own bucket. Sometimes, as women, we feel obligated to help others. I do think helping others is a holy task, but we must learn to fill our own buckets first. Taking care of yourself needs to be a priority. If you keep pouring out of a nearly empty bucket, you will wear yourself out, and put holes in your bucket. You will find yourself feeling empty, tired and irritable at those you love the most. Evaluate how you are doing first, fill up your bucket, then you can help others.
10. Take a break (this is an example of filling your bucket, but I thought it deserved its own spot). We do need time to renew, regenerate, and rest. A short nap, or reading a book can help renew. Find those things that are positive for you and help you feel rested. If you choose t.v. (not my favorite for many reasons), set a time limit. I believe too much t.v. can leave you feeling anxious and unaccomplished, but if you choose your favorite show to watch, it can actually feel like a treat.
11. OK. So I said there were 10, but I added another because 9 and 10 are similar. So, in conclusion, BREATHE! Take some serious deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Practice counting, in for four, out for six. Do this for a solid minute. You will feel a little better, I can guarantee!
I hope each of us can take some time to care for ourselves. This is a skill. It doesn’t always come naturally, and takes practice. We are worth taking care of. Remember to only try a few at a time. We are each children of God, and He wants us to see the value in ourselves and learn to accept and love who we are. Good luck!