Are you taking care of yourself?

When you’ve had a really stressful day, week, or even month, or things just aren’t going right in your life for whatever reason, it’s easy to lapse into a routine of sulking, bingeing on unhealthy foods or alcohol, watching trashy TV all day and all night, and generally feeling sorry for yourself.

While it’s okay to spend a little time wallowing in your emotions, it’s important to not let that take over our lives – you can still take care of yourself despite the stress and drama you’re dealing with. I’m often reminded of this by friends and family, and I’m thankful that I can keep that balance. Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re taking care of yourself:

Pamper yourself. Go get a massage, a hair cut, a mani/pedi, or some other body refresher. Even if you aren’t glowing on the inside, an updated look or relaxation treatment usually makes you feel better.

Buy yourself a gift. Stop in your favorite bookstore to get that new bestseller you’ve been eyeing, or pick your first item of new spring attire. Maybe it’s even something like ordering a new bedspread, a great workout DVD, or a cookbook full of your favorite food recipes.

Exercise. There’s nothing like going on a long run in the sunshine and crisp air outside. Or maybe it’s playing some tennis, taking a yoga class, or trying Zumba (because apparently that’s the hot thing right now). Working out increases endorphins, which will benefit you physically, and is a great attitude adjustment.

Eat healthfully. Try to keep your eating habits regular and keep up with lots of fruits, veggies and protein – all items that will keep your natural defenses in check, and make you feel good. Make a yummy sandwich, or create your own pizza to add some fun to your routine, and that way you won’t slip into the ordering in/takeout/cereal rut.

Indulge. It’s okay to be bad just a little. You deserve it. Have a small ice cream cone, a cookie, or buy a bag of M&Ms on your way home. Or have a glass of wine or a beer after a long day. It is always nice to have something we love when we’re not at our best.

Take some alone time. A couple weekends ago, I painted pottery at a local shop. By myself. On Valentine’s weekend. And I loved it! Sometimes, we all need a little time to ourselves to unwind and do something different. This can be a cooking class, going to a museum to check out a new exhibit, or even just heading to the park to read a book.

Get a second opinion. And maybe a third or a fourth, if you’re having trouble dealing with your situation. That’s what best friends are for. That’s what therapists are for. That’s what really great coworkers who double as friends are for. Talking things through with people who are close to you, AND those who aren’t, always provides perspective you didn’t have before. Then it’s up to you what you do with that.

And last, but honestly, the most important…

Call your parents. There is no one else that will be there for you more, that is looking out for you more than your parents. If you want them to call you every day, ask for it. If you just want them to listen to you, ask for that. If you need their words of wisdom, their expressions of love, whatever it is, just ask for it. No matter how old we are, how experienced, how mature, sometimes there is nothing like hearing Mom & Dad on the other end of the phone/webcam/instant message/email saying that they love you and are here for you.

So…how are you taking care of yourself?


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