Constant vigilance. I feel like this is something we must all keep--a faithful, undeterred watch over ourselves. I've had several times in my life when I feel as if I lost myself in the fray of everyday living--a busy 40-hour work schedule, endless to-do lists, doing more for others and increasingly less for oneself.
First of all, there seems to be such a premium for selflessness. If we constantly do unto others, then we are kind and chivalrous. I don't disagree with this, but I believe we could do better by doing unto others AND ourselves.
Secondly, it's so easy to abide so strictly to one's priorities that everything becomes more of a chore. Things that once were fun and meaningful devolve into shear drudgery. Our true needs and desires somehow eventually get lost in the shuffle.
For myself, this week continues to be one of the most hectic I've had in a while. In spite of the fact that I will be off from my day job in the next couple of days, my schedule will reach its most frenetic during this time. (I can't wait for this week to be over!) I'm not doing so badly right now though. Past experience has taught me a few things that I try to live by with a vengeance. I list them here now in hopes that they might be of assistance to you.
1. Whether it's just ten minutes or two hours, take some time every day to do nothing and decompress just a little. Turn off the radar (and your cell phone too, for that matter), and just relax. Personally, I like to fit in a little power nap on particularly hectic days. Doing this helps me pace myself better in order to get me through what I need to do.
2. If you receive any opportunity to laugh during your day, take it. I've found that laughter is one of the most nourishing treats EVER!!! If you can get the kind of laugh that is uncontrollable and leaves you rolling all over the floor, this is even better!!! Laughter=fun, period. I enjoy anything so much more when there is laughter involved.
3. Eat well. Sure, a ribeye or a gargantuan slab of ice cream doesn't hurt once in a while, but I've found that a well balanced diet helps keep your body going at a steady pace. I've learned not to ignore the physiological side of all things. Stress induces our bodies into a state of misery. Eating foods that are nourishing and delicious will build happiness and wellbeing.
4. Exercise--even if it's just a light, casual stroll around the block. This helps me relieve stress (and I lose weight in the process).
5. Drink plenty of fluids. Doctors often prescribe this during times of illness. Screw that. I do this all the time!!! I don't know why, but this really helps me get through the day more easily. These days, there are also drinks that you can get at convenience stores and supermarkets that are enriched with vitamins. I love these. Of course, you can't go wrong with water. Drown the stress. Drink something yummy (preferably something non-alcoholic, please).
6. Rest. Above all, if I don't have enough rest, I cannot function properly. I get cranky, irritable, and full of fatigue. Trust me, this is not pretty . . . .
7. Lastly, reward yourself with a treat every time you get through something difficult or stressful. There should be a high premium for being good to yourself. Make this as high as you want it.
I hope this is helpful. I truly believe that misery is so unnecessary. Life is far too short for all that mess.
Constant vigilance. Do so with a vengeance.