Smile ~ Self-care week 5

smiley face

How are you doing? Do you feel like you’re taking a little better care of yourself?

Specifically, did you shed any “shoulds” this past week?

Before we start Smiling, here are a few more comments about “shoulds”.

It’s really hard for us women to overcome all the “shoulds” people put on us. For one thing, we don’t want to disappoint those we love. Another thing is that those who love us are probably (hopefully) not aware that they’re “shoulding” us. We need to recognize that, I think. Talk to them about it.

One of my biggest “shoulds” is, “I should do this with joy”. Well, I may not be able to do a thing with joy but I can shed the “should” of it by admitting I don’t really want to do it at all. I’ll do it the best I am able at the moment. Still not the best attitude, true. But at least I am not hanging myself on a “should” hook. I am being honest and owning it. I’ll work on the attitude as I go.

Let’s move on…

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SMILE.

How in the world does giving a smile help me take better care of myself?

I’m glad you asked, as I smile at you. 🙂

Smiling at someone lifts their spirit. You might not notice a change in them. They might be a complete stranger, in fact. But your smile can encourage someone. Think about it. When someone smiles at you randomly, doesn’t it touch your heart. A smile touches our hearts and connects us, however briefly.

A sympathetic smile, given to a mom struggling with a pouting toddler, lets her know you understand, she’s not alone. A smile and an eye-roll to someone having a hard time convincing the cashier or receptionist of a need, lets that person know you can sympathize. Again, they are not alone.

It truly costs us nothing to share a smile and some empathy. One the other hand, it goes along way toward making someone else’s life just a little brighter. And you know what? When we give that small, no-cost smile to someone in need, we somehow feel better too! It’s kind of surprising to find yourself continuing to smile, even after the other person has passed. It’s just a nice feeling.

I read somewhere that if you smile at yourself in the mirror, you feel better. And, surprisingly, it’s true! Try it. Instead of scowling at yourself in the morning, Smile. When you do scowl at yourself and start to say something negative, stop and smile! It works!

When you smile at yourself, your self smiles back at you and you both give and get a smile! So easy.

Before you say it will only work when you’re not mad, let me assure you. I have done it while angry and… ta da!… it really did help change my mood. OK. I’ll admit it was more of grimace at first but I did get a smile out of me in the end.

I hope this makes you feel happier. It has lifted my spirit just writing it! How great is that? And, I’m… SMILING. 🙂

Have you smiled at yourself in the mirror? Do you do it regularly? How does it make you feel? Feel free to go back to shedding “shoulds”, too. Did you see any difference in the way you felt?

Please share! I love to hear what you think!

God bless you!!

 

 

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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!