MyWhitehawk Mind: Stress Reduction: Taking time for YOU

Taking time for ourselves is something many women have great difficulty doing. We lead crazy, busy lives. And the one thing we never seem to have time for is ourselves. This problem seems even more pervasive as we work harder to meet the challenges of this new economy. We are nurturers but all too often we don’t take the time to nurture ourselves. I’m not talking about an exercise plan or a trip to the spa (although both are vitally important) I’m talking about taking the time to define yourself for yourself. We get caught up in caring for others and meeting their needs and expectations and it can become an unhealthy lifestyle that strips us of ourselves and our true values. We need to take the time to ponder who we are and what we value in life. We need to stay on top of our lives in order to manage them and make adjustments where needed. If we don’t take the time to define our value system we have no compass or roadmap to living our lives. We get off course and caring for others crowds out our own needs. Remember that you are not putting yourself above others, only putting yourself in an equal position with them. We often try to control all the things in life that we are not supposed to control. (In future ROLE MODEL blogs we will talk about the things we shouldn’t to attempt to control) But you can control what you prioritize, value and want out of your life. Here a few steps to begin to take control and live happier.
Commit to a minimum of 30 minutes of “personal private” time every day.  Decide to completely let go of responsibilities, schedules and deadlines long enough to release your mind, allowing you to be alone with your thoughts. Make a weekly appointment with yourself. This isn’t the time to take a nap and disengage but to engage. This is the time to reflect on who you really are and asses your level of satisfaction with your life. This is life changing. The only way to improve and enrich your life is for you to begin to take control of the right things. When you schedule a half an hour for yourself a day you will be amazed at how wonderfully freeing and centering those 30 minutes will be for you. The therapeutic value of this time is immeasurable and will facilitate growth, confidence and peace in your life. This time should be ideally utilized by journaling, listing, prayer or simple contemplation of your values.

Write down your “Me” list: This list consists of things that make you YOU. Your inner workings and values and moral code. Write down 5 principles that are non-negotiables in your life: really important principles that are true and constant and will not change based on situations or people. An example of that in my life is I have chosen never to consume alcohol. Both sides of my extended family have struggled with alcoholism so I decided early in my life to avoid that risk altogether by abstaining. I have no doubt t that this decision has ironically afforded me more freedom. Contemplate for yourself your moral code. Creating absolutes in your life and transformational in allowing you to see clearly the path of your life.

Create a daily ritual.  This is not the segment of time devoted to your 30 minutes of private time but it is an additionally necessary step to plan activities you enjoy. This can be taking a bath, taking a walk, prayer and meditation, or exercising, etc. It needn’t be an activity that you do alone but it does need to be something you enjoy and look forward to doing. I get up each morning between 4:30 and 5 am to enjoy my coffee, my mini stepper, my dogs and my prayer time.