They say wisdom comes with age and the older I get the more I believe this true. While I still have a long way to go, with each passing birthday, understanding the ins and outs of life (well, some of them) seems to come a little bit easier. My mom and I still laugh about my teenage response when she told me I needed to get some rest, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead, mom…” which clearly was a statement just further proving my youth.
A common topic discussed amongst my friends these days is one I want to share discuss with you today … the idea of being kind to ourselves.
For the past 10-12 years, I’ve burned the candle from both ends. Starting the day I gained the freedom to legally drive a car, until recently, self-care, especially sleep, has been an afterthought.
It all started in high school as tried to balance a social life, participate in after-school activities like dance, cheer and softball, build my resume to be attractive for different colleges through club involvement and leadership, volunteer efforts and working two or three jobs for a little bit of spending money. Returning home at 11 p.m. was relatively normal on most school nights, only to start my homework at that point. I can assure you my parents weren’t slave drivers; this was all self-induced. Remember when I told you Dustin complaint about filling my cup up too much? Clearly it started at an early age.
From 18-21, my college years, I did much of the same thing with a little more time committed to school and social engagements and less time working outside jobs.
Married life has continued this way with its ebbs and flows between personal kindness and stretching myself extremely thin, such as during the time that I went back to school and also during my time at the Mayo Clinic in order to complete my dietetic internship.
In the workforce for the past year, my overworking, non-stop mentality has continued as I constantly try to cram a week’s worth of tasks in one afternoon. But more so than ever before, my body, mind and soul recently began to crave kindness.
What do I mean by that? I feel myself yearning for peace, tranquility and gentleness when it comes to my body more than ever before.
- Surviving on 4-5 hours of sleep per night? No thanks. (Definitely still working on this one.)
- Sprints on the treadmill at 5:45 a.m.? I’ll pass. Evening workouts have become more and more attractive.
- Pushing my body in the gym when I’m feeling weak? Let’s go for a walk instead.
- Enjoying my fair share of processed junk on the weekends only to leave me feeling pretty terrible on Monday morning? Pass the veggies instead!
- Spending all day inside? I NEED nature!
I’m certainly not saying that I do or don’t do all of these things on a regular basis, but I’m finally slowing down and actually listening to my body… and it feels good.
Here are a few other methods of “self-care” that I am working on as well:
- Expanding and deepening my relationships with those who matter most to me
- Expanding my meditation practice
- Daily scripture reading
- Laughing more
- Taking appropriate supplements
- Balancing my hormones
- Having an attitude of gratitude
- Giving more
- Opening up more
As I approach my late twenties, optimal health, fertility and simply enjoying life are concepts that seem to frequent my thoughts. I am clearly moving into a season of my life where being happy finally trumps how many check marks I have on my to-do list.
What about you? What phase or season of life are you in? Are you focusing on self-care and kindness or do you relate more to my “work-horse” type self?
Have a lovely Thursday!