In my last post I shared the schedule of a typical day in my life. As I mentioned, I don’t have “normal” or “typical” days. My days are usually spent scrambling from one child’s needs or activities to the next.
I know many of you also have very busy lives. We’ve become a society that runs at top speed.
Usually the first thing that happens when life is demanding is that we stop taking care of ourselves. We get so caught up in taking care of everybody else that we often let our own needs slide to the bottom of the list.
I’ve learned that’s not necessarily the best approach, especially long term. But the truth is, it’s all too easy to let our own physical and mental health take the back seat while we run ourselves ragged. We constantly pour ourselves out, but never take the time to fill back up.
In the movie, Mom’s Night Out, the husband (Sean) makes the analogy that the stewardess on the airplane always instructs passengers that in the event of an emergency they should put their own air masks on first before assisting someone else. Why? Because without having oxygen, we may not have enough strength or reserves left to help anyone else.
What are some of the ways we can fill ourselves up (or put on an oxygen mask)?
I’m not a health guru by any means. And quite frankly I fall short of taking care of myself quite regularly. I overindulge in coffee. I sometimes eat too many snacks. And I often read past my bedtime (and don’t get as much sleep as I should as a result!).
But over the years, I’ve been learning to put on my oxygen mask, to carve out time for the things that will keep me healthy. Here are just a few ways to breathe life into ourselves:
1. Make time for the pursuits we love. I love writing and reading. Even if I wasn’t a published author, I’d still love writing. It satisfies a deep creative part of me. And so does reading.
We all have to find something we love and just do it. We can’t just dream about doing it when we finally get free time. We simply have to MAKE time to do something that fulfills us.
2. Make time for mental health and spiritual well-being. I like to take time to recharge in the mornings before my kids are awake. This fall I’m reading a book by Julie Clinton, Becoming an Extraordinary Woman of Faith.
In one way or another, we all need a quiet spot in our day where we allow our minds some peace from the constant barrage of noise–whether that’s listening to good music, reading uplifting blogs, journaling, or whatever might give us nuggets of wisdom that we can apply to our lives.
3. Make time for exercise. I used to take a twenty minute brisk walk every day with my dog or walk inside to a Leslie Sansone DVD. But for the past couple of years I’ve been running. At my last doctor’s appointment, my blood pressure and cholesterol were finally back within normal ranges (both of which had once bordered on troublesome). Some form of exercise, even brief, is better than nothing at all.
4. Make time for wholesome home-cooked meals. Homemade meals seem to be one of the first things to go by the wayside when our lives get overly busy. We opt for fast foods, take-out pizza, or eating out.
While I’m definitely not opposed to pizza on a Friday night when I’m too exhausted to lift a finger (or a good Applebee’s burger once in a while!), I’ve also been able to find easy recipes over the years that allow me to quickly prepare a meal for my large family.
Some of my favorite recipes happen to be crock-pot recipes that I can throw in at lunch time while I’m listening to an audio book with my kids. I’ll share two of my favorite and easiest recipes, but ONLY if you promise to share your easiest recipe in the comments! 🙂
Your turn! Please share your shortest, easiest recipe (it doesn’t have to be for a crock-pot as long as it’s easy!). Also we’d love to hear about your oxygen mask, the things you do that keep you healthy both physically and emotionally. 🙂