We are, today, defined by what we do not by who we are. Living our lives today is expensive. It’s not just the money it takes just to live, but we don’t have much spare time, and our health suffers because we don’t look after ourselves.
There are now more people on mental health medications than at any other time. That is a sad indictment of our society, and the way we live our lives. When you are continually giving of yourself, it is all too easy to ‘burnout’.
Once upon a time, life had a smooth rhythm of working and resting, planting and harvesting. People worked with the seasons, and with the daylight that they had. They took time to rest – mainly because they were forced to by the lack of light, or by the need to wait for things to grow, or until conditions were right to plant. A day not doing ‘normal’ work was also part of their way of life – a day of rest. People worked within a rhythmic framework.
Today, that rhythm seems all but gone. Everything is 24/7. Darkness need not stop us from working in an office. We don’t need to wait for winter to pass before we plant (we can use large heated polytunnels). And what happened to a day of rest. Not only can you shop on Sundays – you can shop for the whole of Sunday (24hrs)!
It’s no surprise that we often find ourselves at breaking point.
It might be time to do a personal inventory on yourself to check how balanced your life is.
I took advantage of doing such a check this last weekend. I felt that I was actually in a very good place in my life but soon found out that not all is well.
In the same way that society has lost the life rhythm of working and resting, I too had forgotten how to stop; how to quieten myself; how to take time for me instead of giving out to others all the time.
You actually have to plan and prepare to look after yourself. All too often, you can find that your set-aside time is taken up with the demands of life that you need to get away from. Just one-off times every now and then will not help rebalance you.
There is a need to set aside time:
- Daily – take time to notice “wow” things, like sunrises or sunsets, beauty, a generous deed done to you.
- Weekly – for about an hour. You might want to go for a walk, on your own. Go to the coffee shop and take a journal and write, or go to the library and read.
- Monthly – for a whole day (going overnight might be easier). This will need planning but could consist of going for a walk, followed by a movie you have always been determined to see, and then a good meal.
- Yearly – this is additional to your family holiday. It is a time when you go away on your own for a few days. This will need saving for, and planning for.
These are only suggestions. Use them as tools and ideas and build your own “self-care” plan. You may need to discuss things with your spouse/partner and family, particularly when it comes to time away from the home.
May you find time to be yourself for a while, and find your rhythm and balance in life again.
Do you have your own “self-care” plan? Can you add anything to these ideas here that may help others who are so desperately seeking to rebalance their lives?
- No Shame in Stillness (undertheapricottree.wordpress.com)
- Self Care – Looking After “Me”! (reflectionscoachingblog.wordpress.com)