There’s something I haven’t been doing a great job of lately. It may be apparent in my lack of recent blog posts or by the fact that I’m lying in bed right now with covers, Kleenex and a mug of tea. And since I don’t have the voice (literally) to talk about it, I’m going to write about it.
In short, I haven’t been taking care of myself. My mind is always on other people, places and things, but rarely do I stop for a minute and occupy my thoughts exclusively on me.
The truth is, I don’t think you can be the best version of yourself, whether at work, at home with your family, or in your relationships if you don’t dedicate the time you need and deserve on yourself. I read this article a few weeks ago, and it made me stop in my tracks. I thought to myself: “Oh my God. I’m turning into that person.”
I don’t get nearly enough sleep. I become way too absorbed in my work. And I have a hard time living in the present, especially with distracting devices like smart phones that seem to make everything instant. So in an effort to steer myself in the right direction, I’m making a list of all that I’ve done (or am planning to do), to make “me time” a top priority:
1) Join a Corporate Challenge team. I won’t even deny it: I’m NOT active. Or at least not to the degree I should be. For that exact reason, I joined a badminton team this month as a part of Corporate Challenge. We’ve had one practice so far, and I’m already hooked. It feels awesome to participate in a sport that I actually enjoy and to be getting my body back into shape.
2) Cook more meals from scratch. Did you know that there’s daily recipes on the last few pages of the Metro News? And that the newspaper is free? Anytime I’m on the LRT, I pick up a copy. Last Monday, I saw a recipe in the Metro News for grilled chicken burgers and was inspired to make them that evening. They were easy to prepare and super healthy. Without fail, when I’m eating better, I’m feeling better.
3) Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. This one is tough. Especially for a night owl like me. But honestly, it is the reason behind half of my struggles. I know a good night’s sleep is key to a productive day and a strong state of mind. Also, as someone who suffers from a chronic illness, I know how important sleep is to my health.
4) Stop feeling guilty about saying “no.” I love my friends and family, but sometimes I just need to chill at home with a bag of chips and my favourite TV show. When you lead a busy life, it’s hard to please everyone, but I think it’s essential to carve out some time for yourself, even if it means giving up a fun night of socializing.
5) Don’t let work consume me. I’m very career-driven and find it incredibly difficult to achieve work-life balance. Part of that is my strong work ethic and the other part is anxiety from past experience. I’m scared that if I drop the ball (work-wise) for even a moment, I may not have a job to come back to the next day. What I’ve come to realize is that you can’t control everything, and that those other aspects of life, within your control, deserve just as much, if not more, attention than your job.
6) Leave my phone alone. It’s not necessary to pull out your cellphone when you’re out for coffee with a friend. Or out for dinner with your husband. Or at a birthday party for your niece or nephew. I’ve been trying to make it a goal to leave my phone alone when I’m out anywhere in public. Really, I should only be using it for emergencies. It’s hard to enjoy your life when you’re always plugged into a piece of technology.
So there you have it: my little action plan for self improvement. I figure if I document it, I have to follow through. And at the end of the day, it’s not at all selfish or wrong to to put “you” first.