Many of y’all know that in my real job (not that blogging doesn’t feel like a job sometimes) I work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. 40+ hours a week I basically live and breathe in a very violent world. I went to lunch with a coworker the other day and we were talking about how overwhelming this line of work can be and how it can really wear on your mental health if you’re not careful.
That conversation was the catalyst to this post. It almost seems silly to write about making sure to take time for yourself but I bet if I asked most of you -especially you moms- would have to stop and think about the last time you did something entirely for yourself. If an answer readily comes to your mind, BRAVO!! If not, keep reading.
Whether you work with victims of violent crimes, crunch numbers all day long, or chase your children and that never ending to-do list, we still need to make sure to get in some uninterrupted ‘me time’. Time where you can set aside your worries and just allow yourself to be unapologetically, Y-O-U. How we spend that time is different for each of us and can range anywhere from exercising, to going shopping with girlfriends, or just barricading yourself in with a good book. For me, I decompress through running and blogging. I know, shocking, right?
Really it doesn’t matter how you spend your ‘me time’, the point is making sure you get your own time to keep your stress and anxiety levels down. Because let’s face it, you’re no good to yourself or anyone else if you’re emotionally spent. Annnnnnd if left unchecked, stress can actually have a physiological impact in your life. As I was researching stress, I came across this great infographic from HelpGuide.org that sums up the negative aspects that not taking time for yourself can have.
If those symptoms look familiar to you, I encourage you to take a step back and examine what you have going on in your life. Are you over extended? Is there something that you can stop doing that would alleviate some worry/anxiety/tension? Alternatively, is there something that you can start doing that would alleviate some of that same worry/anxiety/tension?
Maybe you’re doing something you love and it’s become overwhelming. I know I love running but sometimes training for race after race can make it feel more like a chore. It just zaps the fun right out of it. Life’s about finding the right balance. Don’t be afraid to explore until you find the right balance between the every day life stressors and play time.
And laugh. Laugh like you did when you were 5. I’m talking deep belly laughs; the kind that make you shoot chocolate milk out of your nose and tears stream down your face. Laugh like you don’t have a care in the world. Laugh so hard that it infects others so you all are actually ROTFL’ing and not just typing it.
If you can incorporate laughter into your ‘you time’, AWESOME! I promise the stress will just melt away. And who doesn’t want to live unencumbered? Sounds dandy, right? I want to challenge you to carve out some ‘you time’ this week. Schedule it. Enlist the help of your family, call a babysitter, do whatever it takes (short of tying up your kids) to make sure you get that time. You deserve to recharge your batteries and your family/friends deserve to see you at your best!
Question: What is something that you like to do for yourself? How do you recharge when mental exhaustion and stress start to take over?
Want more info on the benefits of laughing? Check out this article from Psychology Today on laughing:.