You know you need to take care of yourself. We’re practically beat over the head with the message that we can’t take care of anyone else unless we take care of ourselves. “Put your own oxygen mask on first,” the experts tell us, referring both to airplane safety and daily life management.
But what does it mean to take care of yourself?
Eat well. Exercise. Get plenty of rest. Right?
That’s the message I have heard over and over again.
From there it gets a little muddy.
By the way - what does it mean to “eat well”? Because one magazine says that I need to eat only whole foods, Weight Watchers says I can eat whatever I want, and my friend swears that gluten is from the devil.
I have similar mixed feelings about exercise. I hate running, but I know several people who are passionate about it. And should I do it everyday to build a habit - or three times a week to keep my muscles guessing? I can find sources on the Internet to support either option.
Even rest is up for debate. How much rest is enough? And do we just mean sleeping, or is unplugging while being awake just as valuable in the scheme of self care?
Here’s what I’ve learned about elf care: it’s personal.
You can’t find the recipe in a magazine article, and what works for your friend might not be exactly what you need.
My self care recipe:
- avoiding sugar and wheat
- getting about 9 hours of sleep at night
- doing yoga
- meditating every day
- spending time with friends
- getting outside
- having quiet time alone
- taking my medication every day
That’s my personal recipe. That’s what keeps me going, and I only discovered it when I learned to stop paying so much attention to what everyone else was doing. Instead, I had to pay attention how my mind and body responded to different things I tried. I also had to let go of the resentment I had over how much simpler other people’s self care routines seemed to be.
Do you know what your personal self care recipe looks like? Are you following it?