I listened to a very interesting conversation between friends last Friday evening. We had all come off a very busy week with another one looming on the horizon. One friend asked, “Does anyone want to go shopping tomorrow?” The first response was, “No, I’m going backpacking with my family.” The second response was a laugh and, “Are you kidding? I’m not getting out of my sweats all weekend! I’m turning off my phone and reading a good book.”
In spite of all of our similarities, I was struck by how different each of us is. We all find rest in a different way. And yet, we all see how important it is to take time to care for ourselves. It is nearly impossible to give your best to your clients, team members and family when your battery is on empty.
You have to be intentional to make this happen. Make self-care Sunday a must! It’s a priority for your over-all success.
Do what fills you up. Just like my friends, each of us is different. Do what you find relaxing. If you are most filled up being around people, invite friends over for dinner. Go on a hike or spend time working out. Create something. Bake. Lay by the pool. Play tennis with a friend. Fire up some Netflix. This is your time to take care of yourself!
But also, challenge yourself to try to something new. While it’s great to do what relaxes you, choose something new to try as well. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be invigorating. Succeeding at it can boost your confidence and translate into success in other areas of your life as well. But don’t use this time to beat yourself up trying to master something new – rather, this is a time for experimenting and having fun. Another friend of mine recently took a 3-week water-coloring class that was 2 hours each Sunday. It was new and challenging yet relaxing for her mind.
Unplug. As much as your body needs rest, your mind and emotions need rest too. Turn off all the outside noise in your life. Stay off social media. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It is hard to recharge when you are discontent because your self-care Sunday doesn’t include a private yacht or a weekend at Four-Seasons. Don’t let others’ self-care Sunday ruin yours!
Make it work when you can. Maybe you can’t take all day Sunday. Maybe you have an evening during the week that works better or can squeeze in a massage over your lunch break on Monday. Take a bath Sunday night with wine, a book, a candle and a locked door! Squeeze in 9 holes over a long lunch. Whenever it is, take time to do what refills your tank.
Enjoy good food. Treat yourself. Make Sunday breakfasts a special time. Start a family tradition of homemade pizzas one evening a week. Even if it’s just sitting to enjoy your cup of coffee, enjoy and savor the moment.
Abandon the to-do list. The guilt over what else you could be doing can really kill your “me time.” Plan ahead for your self-care time in order to alleviate the pressure of other demands. And remember, self-care is a priority. It should be at the top of your to-do list! Re-filling your tank makes you more productive in the long run.
Say no, so you can say yes! Practice the fine art of saying no to the unnecessary things that are filling your schedule and demanding too much of your time. That way you can say yes to what you really need. Protect your Sundays so you can care for yourself.
Journal. Taking time to reflect is a great way to relax and gather your thoughts. Try doing this every day, not just Sunday. A friend of mine practices “Thankful Thursday.” Every Thursday morning, she sits with her coffee and lists 10 things she’s thankful for. It helps her re-focus and look at life with more joy.
In order to perform at your top level, you need rest. You need moments to decompress and release the stress. If you find yourself constantly wiped out and overwhelmed, you aren’t doing anyone any favors. (Hint: If your cup is empty, you can’t pour yourself into anyone else’s cup!) Eventually, it takes its toll. Anxiety builds and you feel depleted.
I had a science teacher would wear a tuxedo coat on finals day. He would encourage us to get a good night of sleep and eat a good breakfast. His mantra was, “If you look good, you feel good, you do good.”
True words. Do your best to feel your best!