I recently read an article about self-care that described self-care as the difference between just surviving and thriving. This idea has really stuck with me. As a graduate student who is also working 30 hours a week, it’s certainly challenging to find the time to make a salad, go for a walk or put myself to bed at a reasonable hour. Although, I’m better at this on some days than on others, I was surprised to find how taking the time to eat more vegetables, take a yoga class and go to bed at a reasonable hour, in a lot of ways saves me time, which was the first benefit, followed by many more.
Here’s what I’ve found:
- Body -Just one 90 minute session of yoga (beginner’s level) has revolutionized my understanding and awareness of my body. This awareness helped me realize, maybe I don’t quite love coffee quite as much as I’ve thought all these years – especially if it’s going to affect my sleep. And in what’s a stunning feat for me I’ve now been off coffee for a month. Still working on my sugar addiction, but I’ve also noticed that when I have sugar I feel like someone turned the power off, it really slows me down.
- Psychological – Meditation has also been a big part of this increased awareness of my body and it has helped me become more open to changing my habits. Why is it I think I need a constant stream of coffee and/or sugar to get through my day? Also, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my mood – I feel much happier and have a lot more energy when I eat more vegetables and get enough sleep. The changes in my thoughts and mood make it much easier to change my behavior and try new things.
- Social – Surprisingly, making these small changes and being open to change some of my ingrained habits has helped me be closer to people in my life. I think because I have more energy and I feel so good, it’s easier to be more compassionate and understanding of my family, friends and acquaintances. This was completely unexpected.
- Spiritual – I struggle with this still. But, I’ve been thinking lately (maybe it’s the yoga and the meditation) that for me, this might simply be anything that keeps me connected to what’s happening around me in any given moment and the people I care about.
When I think back to my post about the 90 Day challenge and looking at my family and friends who seemed to be getting more out of their lives, it’s about what time and resources you invest. Wellness or just moving through your day, feeling good and getting things done is really about making small investments in yourself throughout the day. Even vacuuming (which I hate to do) is more tolerable when I’m taking good care of myself.