I glance over at the two heaping piles of clean laundry sitting on my living room chair. For a brief moment I feel like I failed in a goal of getting it all done yesterday. In the next moment, I remembered that I took myself out motorcycling for most of the day and this turned out to be a much better use of my time.
Each and every day we have choices. We get to decide what to do with our time. Each and every day our lives are filled with activities, tasks, responsibilities and schedules, that we made. For the most part, we decided where to work (or not), to have children (or not), to say yes (or not) and what we will put inside of those 24 hours that keep coming, over and over again until we die.
When we really stop and think about it, we may feel overwhelmed by the volume of things that we do in a week. Other times, we have a handle on it all. Most times, people have no idea that they are blindly moving through life, like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, not realizing that we are quite miserable along the way.
If you are feeling miserable, it could be that you are not putting yourself on your list. You will usually know because life seems to start falling apart. Things don’t go right, there is one drama after another, you can rhyme off all of the reasons why you think something is conspiring against you.
Life has a way of letting us know that we are off track when we begin to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, depressed and miserable. I have found that our energy level will be a direct reflection of our level of self-care.
Even when we are physically exhausted, mentally we can feel great, when we are exercising self-care. It is when we feel mentally exhausted that our self-care is often in jeopardy. It depends what we tell ourselves.
For instance, after a long and full day yesterday I decided to add in various extra things that were not in my original plan for the day. I ended up going shopping for storage bins and items that I needed, made an unplanned trip to the family camp, lugged bins of stuff up several flights of stairs to my vehicle and didn’t get in the door until after 9pm.
Following an early start to the day of exploring Lake Superior and taking photos on my motorcycle, all of the fresh air, sunshine, and adventures, I realized that I pushed my limits. I was then left with a car full of stuff, unfinished laundry, no energy to write my article before bed and the feeling that I was disorganized.
I began to get frustrated with myself that I should have known better, that I never leave well enough alone and that I often attempt to fit in just one more ‘to do’ when I know that I only have a finite amount of energy to work with.
This self-battery turned into procrastination before bed, staying up longer that I normally would have because I was hoping that my energy would miraculously turn around, to get a second wind. It never happened and I was left with a late night up, a poor quality of sleep, waking up earlier than I hoped and starting my day with unfinished tasks. This is why self-care is so essential.
As I started to go sour, first thing this morning, I decided to turn things around. With my husband returning from a golf trip today, I became excited that he would be home. I reviewed all of the beautiful images that I had on my phone proving what a fabulous day I had yesterday, exploring the remarkable natural beauty of the area we live in.
I looked back on my week and recalled all of the tasks I got done, all of the visits I had, all of the things I dealt with and a sense of relief that the week was over. I decided to press reset.
Self-care is about picking one thought over another and following up with action. What do I need to do to feel healthier, happier, more fulfilled and peaceful? What do I need to do for me? What do I desire to do with my time but often put aside for the sake of doing things for others first? What would it take for me to feel more enjoyment in my days or my down time?
My laundry pile will still be waiting for me whenever I get to it. The bins aren’t going anywhere and will make their way into the basement where they can be sorted another day. I choose self-care. The lists never end anyway so I may as well fill in some of my time today will more beautiful photos and scenery.
Yesterday’s water views, sun shining, birds, waterfalls, sand beaches, treating myself to a delicious breakfast out, the joy of riding the open highway (even with the dust in my face and caked on my bike, from all the highway construction, and the follow-up pressure washing required) was all worth it.
You can view my photos of all of the things I had to be grateful for yesterday as I implemented extreme self-care. I hope that you are able to put yourself on your self-care list this week.
We are much more pleasant to be around when we are taking care of ourselves. What would it take for you to feel joy, replenishment, rejuvenation, peace, hope or calm? Only you know what that is and only you can make it happen.
‘Stop trying to make everyone happy; you aren’t chocolate.’ ~ Author Unknown