Three steps to feeling good

Caring for yourself is not a once-in-a-while endeavour

Take a relaxing warm bath, if that floats your boat.

We often hear the phrase: “You can’t take care of anyone else unless you first take care of yourself.” This speaks volumes as far as parents and caregivers are concerned. Today, the challenges are acute, and it is especially important to understand where you sit on the stress meter. “I can deal with this,” you say, and much to your surprise, the overwhelm has crept up on you. Personal fatigue, burnout and frustration can unintentionally bleed out onto partners and children causing conflict, distress, and unhappiness in the family dynamic. How can this type of situation be prevented? By taking three key steps, you can feel all right to handle the daily business of caring for those you love.

Getting to a space of personal contentment takes discipline, determination and ultimately self-respect. Simply put, you value yourself enough to look after your health even if you weren’t responsible for others in your life. That’s how important well-being is.

Carve Out Space “Yeah, right…my day is already jam-packed, so how am I going to find time for myself?” Here’s where the discipline kicks in. Get up earlier, use your lunch break, extend your evening routine to accommodate moments, minutes of precious alone-time. What you listen to while driving, for example, may be the means you use to relax, motivate yourself or have a good laugh.

Do What You Love You’ve decided to get up an hour earlier. What makes you feel good? Is it walking the dog? Going for a run? Reading? Taking a hot bath? Journaling? Having your favourite mojo (while it’s still hot)? Whatever it is, it’s got to be something you enjoy doing. The duty-feeling of getting up is washed out by the contentment you create during alone time. Being in stillness may be your thing, too. Action is not an absolute requirement of feeling good.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat For these carved-out spaces of personal care to have a beneficial effect on you, they have to be repeated like brushing your teeth. Once a week won’t cut it unless you’re prepared to pay a whomping dental bill. Similarly, if your alone time is a “once-in-a-while” gig, building personal well-being is a shaky proposition at best.

This is not to say you do the same thing over and over. If the mornings no longer work (you’re now in a carpool; lunch meetings happen more often) then switch it up. Another phrase comes into play here: “A change is as good as a rest.”  Flexibility is always welcome — families would not survive without it! But keep in mind the personal balance you want to achieve to feel well so that your family can feel good, too.