Self Care is Mandatory

It’s funny how often I hear people say that they gave up sleep because they had to study, do laundry, or tile the bathroom floor. Or maybe they ate fast food because they didn’t have time to cook. Or maybe they didn’t exercise because they were watching tv. Hey! Self care is mandatory! Many other things that we do instead are optional.

When you short cut body, mind, or spirit maintenance, you cut short your life. Spending time making yourself a healthy meal is not self indulgent. It’s not “cheating” if you sleep eight hours a night. Those things are just part of making sure that you have a healthy mind, body, and spirit.

The Universal law of rhythm says that everything ebbs and flows. This means that there is a time to work and a time to rest. Yet how many of us give up sleep when we feel pushed to do more and more? The answer isn’t to keep doing more. It’s to reduce the size of your obligations. Your body can’t function without appropriate rest.

So that you know what I am talking about when I say “self care,” here is a quick list.

  • meditation – to calm the overactive western mind
  • mastery – being skillful often enough to make it a habit
  • exercise – mild movement to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle
  • diet – healthy, fresh, alive foods (not weight reduction)
  • sleep – 8 hours during the same time period each night
  • spirituality – connecting to something outside of yourself
  • social – humans are social creatures. We need each other for sex, stimulation, and growth

A healthy life is a life that makes time for each of the things above. What I see often in general society is that people make time for obtaining stature, acquiring stuff, working, and looking good. Those who prioritize relaxation, personal growth, spirituality, and friendships are seen as slackers, lazy, selfish, or spoiled. No!

Change your priorities! You are the captain of the ship. If the captain is unwell, who is going to be in charge? How does the ship stay afloat? The first priority is to be well. Being well gives you mental and physical flexibility when hard times hit. We all will have hard times. If you are in peak form when that comes, you will probably bounce right back. If you grind yourself into the dirt each day just to get through, you may burn yourself out before you ever get a chance to be happy.

So be happy today. Downsize your obligations. Downsize your debt. Downsize your wardrobe if need be. It’s not about settling. It’s about creating a life with enough time for you to thrive. If you’re over extended, you’re not living. It’s tempting then to sacrifice self care. Don’t let that happen. You’re too precious to trade your life for stuff.

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