The other day I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen for a while. Of course, one of the first things she asked was what I had been up to lately. I took a deep breath, knowing that it was going to take a while to update her, since I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down since 2013 (okay, slight exaggeration-maybe 2015?), and half the time feel like my house is simply a landing pad for infrequent stopovers. Funny thing though, I couldn’t think of anything to tell her except that I work, drive my kids around, and go to meetings. That’s not exactly an update. Those are errands and responsibilities that honestly should be the in-between minutia of our fulfilling lives, not my entire schedule-who wants to hear about those parts?? After that bit of self-realization, as I stood there a little disappointed in myself, my friend said “I thought I was the only one!” Now, of course, that feeling can be a casualty of our social media society-we think everyone else is living an amazing life while we’re struggling to stay above water. But there’s more to it. It’s somehow become a badge of honor these days to go nonstop, to run ourselves ragged.
My friend then asked me what I do for myself. Myself? Do? I waxed poetic on getting time to read, get massages or facials, or exercise. “After all,” I said sagely, “we are much better people when we take care of ourselves.”
True? Of course. True for me? Well, it would be if I actually did the above activities enough to make a difference in my hectic life. Look, it’s a busy time for a lot of us. For example, I’m a wife, a mother of 3, work outside the home, and have this common disorder where I can’t say “no” to volunteer requests (if you find a cure, let me know). But does that mean that we need to make this our “normal”? And if it is our normal, how can we break it down and give ourselves a rest?
First, let’s stop and figure out what we can cut out. Can we carpool for kids’ activities, get notes instead attending each and every meeting, throw together some make-ahead meals for the following week, etc? Is there anything unnecessary that we’ve mistakenly deemed necessary?
Next, how can we force some downtime? That’s right, I said force. This is easier said than done. We have conditioned ourselves as a society to see downtime as a luxury, and an impossiblity. But we have to change that. Call Innovative Aesthetics and schedule a massage or a facial, heck, get some Botox (shameless plug!). Or go take a walk, and practice breathing. Tell the family that you need an hour to yourself, and go get a coffee or smoothie (hey, I just thought of another shameless plug-Innovative Aesthetics has just opened a coffee shop!*). Go hang out with a friend. Whatever it is, it’s vital.
Let’s change things. Starting with ourselves and our families, let’s stick with what we truly love, and truly need. It all starts with each individual. Stop and really think about what you’ve been up to lately. You may be surprised at what you realize your main actions are. We can make ourselves better people by taking care of ourselves first…and isn’t that the first step in making our corner of the world a better place?
*Innovative Aesthetics Weight Loss Center-Protein and Coffee Bar
901 Tower Terrace Rd-Marion (across from Linn-Mar)