Take care of your needs, and everyone else’s, too

You may read the title of this post and think, hey, I’ve got enough to take care of for myself without having to worry about everyone else. And to a point, I grant you that it’s completely okay to be selfish sometimes, especially when you’re feeling overstretched and your body is telling you to slow down a bit. I’ll be the first person to recommend a night at home alone relaxing and recharging to get me time – why would I go take something else on when I can just take care of myself for a few hours?

But it’s not always about doing big favors for people, or even spending hours listening to someone’s troubles. I’m talking about some of the basic, human needs that we all share – the ones that aren’t really that unique after all. The other day, a friend shared with me and another friend that he’d heard that people crave 13 hugs a day. 13! we both said in amazement. Sounds like a lot. But is it really? I thought about how in the course of one day, there are many moments when I wouldn’t turn down a hug, and when I really could use a hug, but I don’t just walk around my office asking for them – societal norms tell us that’s not really “appropriate.” (Although, ask a few of my coworkers and they’ll tell you that I HAVE asked them out of the blue for a hug before.) So in addition to us all wanting a bunch of hugs throughout the day, what else do we all need? Here are some of my guesses:

  • A smile
  • A pat on the back/arm for comfort
  • Kind or encouraging words
  • Reminders that we’re appreciated/loved/needed
  • Hearing from someone that hasn’t checked in for awhile
  • Laughter
  • Something that gives us the warm fuzzies
  • To be heard

These things aren’t that hard, and they don’t require a lot of time. We do these things without thinking about them many days, but sometimes, they might feel burdensome to dole out if we are in a bad mood. But just think about this: if you’re having a bad day, you need all the things above, so someone else has to take care of you. In return, you do the same when someone else is down. And filling someone’s needs often leads to more personal happiness and translates to our own needs being met. Recall how happy you made a friend when you dropped off hot food when they were sick, or when you took on a coworker’s task to lighten their load. If they were grateful and showed it, it probably made you feel even better about yourself, too.

We all have basic, human needs that need a little help being fulfilled. Let’s see if we can all help each other take care of them, and ourselves.

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Follow my friend @simplyleap on twitter if you need inspiration through her #takecaretuesdays.

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.

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