There is one thing all species have in common which makes us unique – one life.  We are all born and at some point we will all die.  In this fact we have a competitive advantage which doesn’t depend on the mercy of others.  The advantage we possess is the power to control our health.

One of the frequently discussed news stories in the United States today is the legality of the Affordable Care Act.  Regardless of where you stand in this battle, let me advise you that you are not helpless and you have rights.  You have the right to continue your fitness regime or never start one.  You have the right to eat deep fried food today or a salad at your next meal.  You have the right to be vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or just you.

These rights are yours and no one can take them away from you but your choices not only determine your physiological condition but your personal goals whether spiritual, career, or lifestyle oriented determine the amount of happiness you possess.

I work in the healthcare industry in my 9-5 life and one of the top things we tell caregivers is You can’t take care of others if you haven’t first taken care of yourself. This is similar to the emergency instructions they give you when on an airplane – put your oxygen mask on yourself before you help the person next to you.

When we take the time to take care of ourselves, we have inadvertently given ourselves permission to release stress.  It has been my experience that stress, when allowed to build up within my body, leads to decreased productivity, lack of energy, increased frustration, and ultimately burnout.  I have learned that when I practice good health activities, I tend to have more energy.  This leads to more structure in my life which allows me to delineate time to those tasks I feel are of great importance.  I get a little more done in each day and feel great doing it.  Why do you think this happens?  It happens because I made myself a priority.  By making yourself a priority, I am able to give more of myself & time to others with zero resentment and irritation.  I can now care for others with genuine affection and desire instead of doing it out of responsibility.

It took me a few years to realize that one of the steps in achieving the goals I set was to acknowledge the basic premise that poor health practices will lead me into inactivity.  Here’s why.  When I feel poorly I don’t have the energy to dive into new or existing projects.  I do what is absolutely necessary to keeping my job or caring for my family, then I seek out a comfortable area to rest if just for five minutes.  That five minute rest stop leads to one hour of lost productivity.  By the end of the day, l found that I  have accomplished nothing and can’t figure out where the time has gone.

So what did I do with these realizations, you ask?  I gave myself permission to do the following:

1)  Practice a relaxing activity: read a book for pleasure, play a game, take a bath

2) Crochet, yes crochet.  When I am tightly wound, the repetitive motion slowly releases my tense muscles

3) Take a walk or sit outside and listen to nature/pray

4) Take a drive and recite the blessings in my life

5)  Journal

These are just a few of the things I do to care for myself so that I can concentrate on caring for others.  It seems when this happens, I have more time to devote to my goals.

Til next time,

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