Whybe a Dog Lover - Take Time For Yourself
I was cleaning up the apartment the other day, running around, putting things away, sweeping, and as usual, tripping over Beau every couple of minutes. After about 15 minutes, I realized I hadn’t seen Beau in a while. (Our apartment is VERY small, so not tripping over Beau while cleaning up was a definite red flag!) I found him curled up in the furthest corner of the bed sleeping soundlessly. Only 15 minutes prior he had been a ball of energy, but when he got tired, he simply removed himself from the commotion of the rest of the house, and went to go find a quiet place to recharge. It made me think, “What if I just stopped what I was doing when something got overwhelming, and took time to restore myself?”
I would be rejuvenated rather than depleted, and most importantly, I would be directing much needed energy and time for me. Seeing Beau take time for himself RIGHT when he needed, rather than wait for later, made me realize that I could benefit from doing the same. Along with many other lessons (the first of which you can read here), Beau is constantly teaching me the importance of taking time for myself to renew and restore.
I’m guilty of it. I always use the excuse that I’m too busy to take a break. I’ve got too many things on my to-do list and I believe that that I can’t relax until they’re all done (which is never by the way). I’m always waiting until the end to get my “deserved” break. I feel like I need every other area in my life to be perfect before I take time out of my day for me. I am sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way. I think it’s because in society we’re pushed to always be doing. And we associate doing more as being more. And that’s just not true. Beau is not any “less” in my eyes because he takes a break. Do I judge him negatively because he’s sleeping while you are working? Do I resent his doing nothing at that stressful time in your day? Absolutely not. He simply served as a teacher and lesson-reminder for me in that moment.
We need to first take care of ourselves
In order to be able to do more for others.
When the energy is constantly going to outside sources, our own personal energy will be depleted. And that energy needs to constantly be recharged, on an ongoing basis, not just at the end. In my yoga practice, this might look like backing off a difficult pose, so I can come back to my full-body breath. When I feel overwhelmed with how many things I need to get done at work, I take a walk outside or call my friend on the phone to talk about things other than work.
It doesn’t matter if I’m running late for work, or have all the time in the world, Beau will take however long he needs to go to the bathroom when we go out. He takes the time to smell the flowers, say hello to other dogs and people, and soak in the sunshine. What if I took just five minutes to step outside away from my desk to get some fresh air? I would be able to jump back into my tasks with a new perspective. What if I took a pause before rushing into the yoga studio after a long commute through traffic? I would be more myself when I walked into the studio to begin my practice. How can you find even 5 minutes out of your day to take a pause? Where can you fit in a few minutes to dedicate to yourself?
WHY carve out time
just for you?
· Creates space in the mind for creativity
· Allows for self-reflection
· Provides clarity of mind and priority
· Recharges overall energy
· Fills the heart with gratitude
· Makes you happier
· Allows you to be more fully present for others
HOW to make it happen:
Know that you deserve it! Beau doesn’t go take a nap because he marked off everything on his to-do list for the day, he takes a nap because he’s tired and deserves it regardless of what he did during the day before. So do you.
Actually schedule it! I’m listening to Gretchen Reuben’s Better Than Before right now and she speaks a little bit about how scheduling facilitates habit-keeping behavior (and don’t you want ‘making time for me’ to be a habit?). If I have something scheduled on my calendar, I’m more likely to keep that appointment. Plus, scheduling things allows you to get clear on your priorities. Too often our to-do list is full of things we’ve agreed to do that we don’t really care for.
Make it something fun and exciting! I know if I schedule something fun for myself, I’ll have something to look forward to. This could mean anything from trying out a new coffee shop, to going sky diving. “Fun” and “exciting” are different for everyone.
Be open to the fact that it only takes 5-10 minutes to recharge. Whether it’s listening to your favorite song, taking a walk outside around the office, treating yourself to a coffee or a snack, taking time to restore yourself doesn’t have to be a lot of time. See what a difference intentional use of 5-10 minutes can do for your day.
Get outside and smell the flowers like Beau and bask in the sunshine. Being out in nature gets me feeling back to myself more than anything else. Simply sitting with the sounds and smells of nature is a meditation in and of itself.
WHAT can you do for 5 minutes each day
to support you in restoring yourself?