For the majority of people life is quite busy. There are few in this world who do lead relatively quiet lives that are not full of appointments, meetings, lessons, and excessive work loads; however, these persons are relatively rare. While having a busy life does not automatically equate burnout, many individuals struggle to balance their busy lives with things that are life-giving to them. This means that most people give and give without taking the time to make sure they are well, that they are receiving, and that they are healthy.
While the reasons that people avoid caring for themselves are numerous, and unique to the person, (some are addicted to work, others experience guilt while resting, and still others avoid their personal pain though staying busy) the need for rest for every soul remains. Finding restful and life-giving activities should be a priority - meaning something that happens every week.
Do you find it difficult to stop your thoughts when it is time to sleep? Feel like a lot of people depend on you? Struggle with indigestion or other GI troubles? Have trouble remembering things? Find yourself snapping at people around you, even those you love? Have an exhaustion you can't shake? Experience frustration when an obligation arises?
While saying yes to one or more of these does not automatically indicate an unhealthy life style or that you are approaching burn-out, they can be indicators that your life is too full at the moment, leaving little time for you. In the middle of raising children, balancing careers, and keeping marriages healthy finding time for restful activities can be a challenge; most do not have the luxury of savoring an empty Saturday and Sunday. The goal, instead, is to incorporate moments of calm and rest into the day.
Here are some tips to help you bring moments of peace into your week:
Don't skip your breaks at work; leave your desk/work environment (Mothers, make nap time count!)
Turn off your electronic devices at least an hour before you go to bed.
Step outside for 5 minutes - and if you dare, take a short walk!
Practice deep breathing (Inhale for a count of 5; exhale for a count of 5).
Listen to music without words.
Call a friend.
Get 30 minutes, or whatever you can spare, of aerobic activity.
Start a spare-change jar to save for something you'd really like to have/do.
Spend 2-3 minutes in prayer or meditation.
Do a craft of some kind: word working, coloring, cooking - whatever industrious past time you enjoy.
Intentionally connect with your family; have a meal together.
Spend time day-dreaming:: Where do you want your life to go? What do you want to create? Where would you like to visit?
Schedule out your year to include a vacation of some kind; not everyone will get to fly to Fiji, but everyone can take a stay-cation!
Taking care of yourself and finding moments of rest are imperative; don't let your days turn into months, and months into years without doing something for yourself. Those you love with thank you for it - and most importantly, you will thank yourself.