Do you ever catch yourself thinking, I don't have time for this, when it comes to exercise, hobbies, or other acts of self-care?
A Fact with Wow Factor
Practicing self-care reduces your stress level and subsequent risk of disease and death by up to 66%. [Source] I'm not talking about trips to the spa or retail therapy, but rather things like good sleep habits, meaningful relationships, and balanced nutrition.
Stress Less Tip
As a music therapist who used to work in emotionally-demanding hospice settings that required me to work random schedules, I slipped in and out of burnout-and-recovery cycles for years. When I felt depression with its loss of purpose and patience setting in, I tried to convince myself to hang on a little bit longer. But for what? I could wait for the rest of my life, and the time I thought I needed to fully bounce back wasn't magically going to appear out of nowhere.
The burnout roller coaster stopped only when I realized that I would never HAVE the leisure and recovery time I wanted. I needed to TAKE it, not make it or wait for it. Herein lies the idea behind saying, "No," to something. You take back the time to replenish your energy, sense of self, and grounding in your passions and priorities.
Opting out of a time filler isn't always as obvious as turning someone down when they ask you to take on a commitment or responsibility. Let's be clear; I'm NOT encouraging you to do anything radical that would jeopardize your health, work, or personal relationships. That said, it is a balancing act that takes practice!
Saying, "No," might be as subtle as making enough food for today's evening meal that you have enough leftovers to opt out of cooking tomorrow's dinner.
Want more ways to say, "No," to things on your to-do list to gain extra time for yourself? I made a list of 20 Ways to Find 20 Minutes for Self-Care over on The Creative Relaxation Blog. Let that inspire you to come up with a few of your own, too.
Do something you love for 5 minutes every day over the next week. There's a catch, though. It must benefit only you. That gives you time to listen to a couple of your favorite songs each day, for example.
If you want a mega mood boost, indulge your ears in my "Daily Lyrical Affirmations" YouTube playlist. It satisfies a variety of musical tastes, from Katy Perry to The Beatles and even Travis Tritt. Love jazz or reggae? You'll find that in the playlist, too.
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