Give Yourself a Break- Shed the “Should”! Self-care, week 4

cat photo in black and white

Is your “should” list growing?

I think mine has finally circled the house and is heading down the driveway. sigh…

I hear a sermon or TED talk. I read a blog or book or the Bible and something pricks my mind. How many times have I said, “I should..” or have I been told, “You really should…”? You too? Too many to count, right?

Truly, though, there are things I need to change or want to change about myself or a situation. Yes. We “should” be changing and growing. However, beating myself up about something I “should” do isn’t going to change me.

If I want to make a change, I need to own it.  I need to pray over it and see what God says about it. And I need to realize that small changes will accomplish much more than trying to make a huge leap. Yes, there are times when God steps in and  (hallelujah!) changes everything. Those times are wonderful! We love them and are thankful for them! Those times are also not so commonplace.

If I need to make a change I don’t really want to make, I need to be honest.

I remember a story from decades ago that Charles Simpson told on himself. When he was younger, he loved tobacco. He had smoked and chewed it since he was a kid! He really loved it! He even said he would have eaten it on a sandwich, he loved it so much. When he became a Christian and got older, he knew in his mind that tobacco wasn’t good for him and he needed to give it up. So he tried and tried to quit but kept going back to it. Finally, he told the Lord he really needed help because he really loved his tobacco and just plain didn’t even WANT to give it up! And he relaxed. (Today we’d say he rested in the Lord.) And slowly but surely, over time, Charles lost his desire for tobacco. He was free of it! Moral of the story? Be honest with yourself and God and let Him help you!

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’m finally learning to check my to-do list. Is it full of “shoulds”, is it full of things other people have put on me (but I haven’t agreed to)? I’m not going to feel guilty about saying “no” to things that don’t absolutely NEED to be done right now. I can give myself a break and cross off items that turn out to be a “should”. I can also give myself a break by paying attention to whether I’ve made a step toward a goal too large. Instead of making the goal to shed 10 pounds by next month, I probably need to change it to 5 pounds by next month.

So, here’s the self-care tool for this week… Give yourself a break and shed the “should”! If you want or need to change something, take it to the Lord. Break it into very small do-able steps. And- THIS IS IMPORTANT!- when you goof up, don’t give up! Admit you fell (or jumped!!) off the wagon, forgive yourself (God forgives you) and go back to whatever you were working on. Do not waste time or energy on condemning yourself!

This week pay attention to the “shoulds” in your life. Listen to your self-talk. Is it full of “I should…”? Listen to what others are saying to you too! Is someone telling you “You really should…”? Once you recognize a “should”, make a conscious decision regarding accepting or rejecting it as your own.

 

Did you try last week’s tool for taking better care of yourself? Did you find that drinking more water helped keep you more alert? Did it give you a reason to step away from a toxic situation? Great!!

Here’s one more little thing about drinking more water. It helps flush food through your body more quickly. Eat too much birthday cake at the office party? Drink  2-3 extra glasses of water. Too many chips? Same thing- drink  extra water. You get the idea. It’s not permission to over-indulge, but it is an easy way to help a little when you do!

 

Please share your thoughts about both water and shedding the should. What ways do your give yourself a break?

Thanks so much for reading! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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Have a drink! Self-care week 3

lake framed with leaves

If you want to take care of yourself, drink water!

I know. I can hear you now. “I drink plenty of coffee… or tea… or juice… or soda”. But no matter how tasty and wonderful those liquids are, they are not WATER.

Different “experts” tell us we need differing amounts of water each day, but the good ole 8-glasses-a-day is a good place to start.

I drink a glass of water with a couple of drops of lemon essential oil first thing in the morning. Water in the morning helps wake up your body, especially your digestion. I have to work to get those 8 glasses per day, but I’m trying hard! I still forget to bring water into the studio/office when I’m working but I really need to do it.

I’ve found that water, like moving around, can be an easy and small catalyst for changing my thinking or recharging my flagging energy.

When I begin to wonder if we have any cookies, or candy, or if it’s lunch time, I realize that a glass of water will get me through that energy dip. Or at least help me make lunch without snacking on everything in sight.

A drink of water can also be a good pause in a difficult situation, giving you a minute to move away, take a deep breath and come back to it refreshed.  A glass of cool water is very refreshing. And did you notice? You used all three of our self-care tools at one time! There ARE times we need more than one tool.

Need more reasons to drink water? I’m so glad you asked!

Did you know your body is about 55-60% water, depending on your age, gender and weight?

Your heart and brain are about 73% water, lungs are 83%, muscle and kidneys are 79%, skin is 64% and even your bones are around 31%!

Water is the major ingredient in cells.

Water insulates your body, helping regulate body temp. Remember, humans use perspiration and respiration to regulate our temperature. Both involve water.

It also insulates the brain, spinal cord, and organs, acting as a shock-absorber within our bodies.

We need water to metabolize proteins and carbs; it’s the primary part of saliva, which is where digestion begins.

Just a few more things about water:

It’s used to flush waste and toxins from the body; it’s a solvent, dissolving minerals, certain vitamins and other nutrients; and of course, water carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells.

BUT HERE’S THE THING, we don’t feel thirsty until we’ve lost around 2-3% of our body’s water. Doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, mental performance and physical coordination start to be impaired BEFORE we’re even thirsty, usually at around 1% dehydration. That piece information sure gets my attention! *

Lots of people say they don’t like water. I do like water, but I understand. (I’m not wild about veggies, but that’s another topic!) While plain water is really the best choice, there are alternatives. Add sliced cucumber or pear to a pitcher of water and put it in the refrigerator. You can use other fruits or veggies as well. Experiment. And remember, all taste is acquired. If you keep working at it, you can not only get used to plain water, you can actually enjoy it. One word of caution: Please stay away from the sweet- artificial or sugar- “flavorings” for water. They are really not a good choice.

Drink it plain or flavored . Either way, you will feel better and your body will thank you. It doesn’t take a long time to drink a glass of water. Just do it! Eight times.

Are you going to add WATER to your self-care tool box? I hope so. And let me know how it goes. Maybe we can encourage each other to have another drink- a drink of water.

*info based on the article, “How Much of Your Body is Water?”, by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., from http://www.thoughtco.com, September 28, 2018