Week 8: Are you following the 10 Commandments of Self-Care?
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This Week's Topic: Are you following the 10 Commandments of Self-Care?
Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of things we know to do, but haven't done. Perhaps our paths are crossing this week because you need a reminder of how important it is to take good care of yourself. When you do so, taking care of everything and everyone else becomes a less stressful endeavor. So this week, I would like to share what I call the "10 Commandments of Self-Care" from my latest book, How Did I Get So Busy?
Make them your personal habits, and you'll create a self-care lifestyle that nourishes your mind, body and spirit:
The 10 Commandments of Self-Care
1. Use all of your vacation time every year.
Be intentional about taking time off. Take out your calendar this week and schedule your vacation time for the next 12 months.
2. Commit your time off solely to non-work related activities.
Keep your time with family and friends sacred by setting boundaries around your personal time so that work does not interfere. You need time to recuperate from work so that you'll be more professionally productive. If you work from home, set work hours and close the office door during your off hours.
3. Take your rest seriously.
We've all heard it, but too few practice it: Get eight hours of sleep. Being well-rested builds immunity, keeps you from being irritable, and simply gives your body what it needs. Be a good steward over the body you've been blessed with. It may take some extra discipline to do it consistently, but you can do it. How about starting tonight?4. Have fun at least once a week.
What do you like to do for fun? Having fun every day would be ideal, but try to at least do something simply for the fun of it on a weekly basis. Scientific studies have shown that positive emotion builds your emotional capacity to handle adversity and stress, and be more open and creative. If life's gotten so hectic that you don't even know what to do for fun, make a game out of trying new things until you find what's fun for you.
5. Eat regularly, preferably sitting down.
Do you eat on the go? Skip meals? Dine in front of the television? Eating offers an opportunity not only to refuel your body, but to reconnect with yourself and others. If you don't have time to eat three meals a day sitting down, it's a sign that it's time to reclaim your schedule.
6. Exercise regularly, preferably standing up.
It is essential to stand up and get moving! Whether it's walking, fitness class or a favorite sport, get your heart rate up at least three to four times per week for 30 - 45 minutes. Exercise should be a part of your life just like brushing your teeth or eating dinner. Rather than considering it "optional," find a way to make it a part of your lifestyle.
7. Be fruitful and productive, not busy.
Do you have a habit of getting distracted easily? You start the day with a great to-do list and by 5 o'clock you've barely crossed anything off the list? We are meant to be fruitful - to produce the fruit of the Spirit and make meaningful progress in life. Being busy is about having a lot of activity without much to show for it. Aim to be productive.
8. Use technology to gain time, not consume it.
If you are like many people in today's culture, you manage multiple email accounts, home, work and cell phones along with accompanying voice mail for each, text messages and perhaps a Blackberry, too. Plus, you've got more choices than ever with cable and satellite television, TiVo, satellite radio, and mp3 players. All of these things are supposed to give you better choices, save time and make your life better, but only if you learn to use them to gain time and not consume it. Establish personal rules with the technology you use - respond to email at specific times rather than reacting to it as soon as it arrives, turn off the cell phone at dinner and be vigilant about clearing the clutter of old messages.
9. Connect heart-to-heart with the people who matter.
One of the worst consequences of busyness is that you become disconnected from the people who matter. When having a conversation, stop multi-tasking and look the person in the eye. It says, "What you say is important." Connect intentionally and your relationships will be better for it.
10. Be led by the Spirit.
In a busy world where everyone voices their opinion about what you should be doing, it can be tempting not to trust the voice of the Holy Spirit that speaks directly to you. The answers you need lie within you. But you have to quiet down and slow down long enough to hear that still, small voice. Have the courage to follow it. It won't lead you astray.
My challenge to you this week:
Take care of yourself! Commit to one thing you'll do this week from the 10 commandments of self-care, then do it.
In what way(s) do you want to practice better self-care? What would you have to do differently in order to incorporate these practices into your lifestyle?
Until next time ...
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Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
Please feel free to forward the Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter to friends and colleagues, but please forward in its entirety. The Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter is written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. Copyright (c) 2008 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. www.valorieburton.com.