Are you selfish?
What was your answer? You said no, didn’t you? Nobody wants to be known as the selfish one. Nobody wants a reputation as a taker. For the next 900 words or so, be selfish.
Here. Let me ease your mind a bit. Instead of thinking “selfish,” think “self-care.” Think about taking care of you so you can take care of others. Does that help?
Sometime between 1806 and 1861, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a sonnet that starts out, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” One hundred and fifty years later, the intensity of that love illustrates how we should take care of ourselves, body, soul, and spirit. This topic, intense self-care, is of library proportion, so we are going to boil it down to just a few points.
- You can’t fool your body
- Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are healthy habits
- Planning to plan is just a plan
- Approach with caution, but at least approach
You can’t fool your body. Your body knows what it needs. Sleep. Exercise. Water. Food. We often rationalize as these thoughts stream through our minds. We join a gym, buy flashy exercise clothes and designer shoes, but “My unused membership card has been lost for months.” We can say we exercise. “Didn’t I walk to the furthest coffee station six times today?” We can say we eat right. “Pizzas have a variety of meats and veggies – and mozzarella is low fat. Everyone knows that!” We can say we get enough sleep. “I had a power nap between the evening news and NCIS.”
We can’t fool our bodies. They know what they need. If you are no longer thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Don’t wait for thirst before you drink water. Don’t wait for exhaustion before you finally sleep. Don’t wait until you’re ready to gnaw on the furniture before you feed your body. Don’t wait until you’re going to crack before you ask for help. Don’t wait until your muscle tone is indistinguishable from other flesh before you tone up. Don’t wait until launching a set of stairs sends your cardio system into chaos before you decide to get off the couch and exercise.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are healthy habits. If you think you need 21 days to form a new habit, you have skewed thinking. Every day you do that new thing is a day you do that new thing. You don’t need 21 days. You need to start. Today would be a good day for that. Pick one thing.
Is it sleep? Set up your favorite shows to be recorded, and Go. To. Bed. Be the 9-year old for a change. Put yourself to bed so you get more sleep. Eight hours is optimum, but make up your mind to get seven or maybe 6.75 to start.