I’m not sure if this happens to you, but there are some days I come home from work and just sit in silence, thinking about how much of a whirlwind my life is and trying to recap everything I did during my day. Usually, the recap is a fail and I end up continuing my evening with Food Network re-runs before bed to start all over again the next day.
Yesterday, while perusing Facebook during a commercial break of the show “Chopped”, I came across a Fort HealthCare post about this week being “National Mental Health Week”. After a good laugh about the irony with my life, I started to think about the significance of the week and how most people could likely use a ‘break’ from life or at least incorporate some stress management or ‘YOU’ time into the daily routine.
If you’re like me, you find that the majority of your day is dedicated to those around you—whether it’s work, boss, or clients, children, a significant other, a team you coach, sports or extra- curricular schedules, laundry (resounding theme, huh?!), or your parents. All of that is great, but without your own health and mind in tip-top shape, you aren’t going to be as much help to those around you. Where does the ‘you’ time fit in? Where is your downtime to relax and take a mental break?
Those who know me know I don’t sit well and I am constantly ‘go-go-go’. I have had to learn to pencil-in time that is dedicated to me and to make sure I stick with it. Stress is one of those things that if left uncontrolled can take a detrimental toll on your body and cause health issues that can haunt you. I take that thought seriously and make a conscious effort to make time daily for myself even though my days are scheduled to the max.
One of the newest changes I have made is adding a 15-minute lunchtime walk to my daily routine. I have it penciled into my calendar and I keep shoes in my office so there is no excuse not to go. Just being able to step away from my desk for 15 minutes is enough to clear my mind and ultimately bump up my productivity in the afternoon when it’s easy to sllllllllooooooooow down.
I always have a few-minute window between my hospital job and swim team in the afternoon that I utilize to call my best friend Laura. It’s our way to catch up, but also to vent if I have anything that I need to get off my chest. I almost instantly feel better after getting off the phone with her and look forward to this daily.
The other ‘habit’ I have is always stretching in the morning. There are some mornings that I go for a run and the stretching happens after naturally, but the days I don’t run, I like to take a few minutes to sit in the quiet and do light stretching. Yes, this is sometimes my opportunity to play catch-up on Facebook and Twitter to see how my cool friends spent their evenings while I was in bed, but I still consider it ‘me’ time.
All of the little ‘stress management’ things start to add up. They help me feel like I am in control of at least some part of my day and that I am doing something for me.
Now, my suggestions may not be for everyone, but you have to be proactive in thinking about what YOU can do during your day to give yourself a bit of stress management and keep you the healthiest and happiest you can be.
Since this is a PG-rated blog, I won’t be suggesting engaging in building Bloody Marys in the morning or anything too crazy in the name of stress management, but I think it’s important to note that there are healthier ways to de-stress and make time for you.
Here’s a quick suggestion list of what you can do for a bit of ‘YOU’ time:
Taking time for yourself is vital for your health and keeps stress at bay. Start small and try something for YOU today!