I saw this graphic on Facebook recently. I don't know who created it, so I can't give proper credit. But I think it’s a wonderful reminder for all of us that self-care is critically important, especially during these stress-filled times.
So many of us are so busy taking care of our families, our pets, our friends and our homes that we ignore caring for ourselves. I, for one, am guilty of this. I'm pretty good at refusing to do things that may cause me stress. Here is a trivial example. Trying to keep my home dust-free is a battle I never will win. I live in a desert, dusty state that is frequently windy. I also have two dogs, one of them with long hair. So keeping a spotless house is not in the cards, and I have given up even trying. I don’t stress over a bit of dust. And when I do clean the house, I generally take it one room at a time, and one day at a time.
There are days when I simply don't want to be bothered. Not by phone calls. Not by e-mails. Not by text messages. Not by appointments. Not by errands that need to be done. I simply want to be left alone. I love being at home, and I have no trouble keeping myself entertained. I love to read, so my Kindle is my constant companion.
Some might think I'm lazy. But I'm not a lazy person. Sometimes life just overwhelms me. I remember that just a few years ago I used to take off for the day and drive someplace. I would take trips in the local area to just get out of the house, and of course to see what I could find to photograph. I did this during the long lockdown of the pandemic, and it really made a difference in how I felt.
I think the trick is to not just make my mental health a priority, but to actually schedule time to take care of myself. I don't always write it on my calendar, but I should. Writing it down makes it more real and it serves as a reminder to take care of myself. For me, that means reading, exercise and photography. Spending time outdoors is always good for me. If I can take my camera along on my outdoor adventures, that’s even better.
Take time for yourself. Do something that relaxes you. Stop talking about yourself in a negative manner. Learn to say no to give yourself a break. You don’t have to do it all. And don’t feel guilty when you say no. Ask for help when you need it. It isn’t a sign of weakness. Learn to let go of the things in life you cannot control. Remove negative people and those who bring you down from your life. Life is too short to deal with negative Nellies all the time. So surround yourself with positive people, with people who make you feel good. Finally, accept yourself as you are. Sure, all of us have things we can improve upon. But basically, we’re good. We are good enough.
I saw something else online that also struck a chord. It said, simply, ”Find something that makes your heart sing.”
And then there is this, which I think sums it all up perfectly.