In my last post, I talked about self-care in relation to caring for others. You really can’t pour from an empty cup – you have to fill yourself up so that you don’t feel resentful or frustrated when others need something from you. On the flip side of that, we all need to fill ourselves up so that we can be ready to show up for ourselves when things fall apart.
Eating right and exercising isn’t just a means to a firm, toned end, it’s really so much more than that. It’s about feeling GOOD – feeling good in your body and your mind. And it’s about being ready to handle whatever the future wants to throw at you.
Stress, like death and taxes, is inevitable. It’s going to come at some point and it’s not going to be particularly convenient, but if you start doing things now that are known stress relievers, you will be so much more able to handle that stress better.
For instance, if you have a habit of running 3 miles (or doing yoga, or lifting weights, or [insert favorite exercise here]) every day , not only will the everyday stress be more manageable, but when those big stressors hit (a job loss, divorce, a death or illness of a family member, etc) you will have already banked up the skills and tools you’ll need to face them head-on. Think of it as depositing stress relief into your health account so that when you need to make a big withdrawal, it’s there waiting for you. Every time you take a walk, every time you eat your vegetables, every time you write in your gratitude journal or do a 5-minute meditation, you are banking it up and getting ready for the heavy hitters in life.
If you are already in the habit of doing some of these things, great – you are ahead of the game, but if you are like me and forget this lesson more than you remember it, then take note of the things going on in the lives of your friends and family and let it be a reminder for you. Set a reminder in your phone once a week to ask if you’ve made a health deposit lately. Have someone you can be accountable to and keep each other on track. I tend to think I can put off exercise or vegetables until later, but really I need some form of movement and nourishment every single day, even if it’s only in small amounts. Do whatever it takes to grow your account so that you’ll be able to handle it better when life gets dicey.
What do you do regularly and consistently to keep stress at bay? Or alternatively, what do you wish you could do, and what’s keeping you from doing it?