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  Jane Miller


Articles -- A day for me

It's Sunday, cold and rainy, and I'm just going to settle down with a book and forget about everything.

How often do you allow yourself a break? Or even better, a treat? Like a massage or a walk in the woods?

Life didn't used to be so hectic. I remember my stay-at-home mom, sitting down and creating a new game for my brother and me. We didn't buy games in those days; There was no Internet; and we didn't even have a TV in the early days! (Yes I'm that old!). But there is something to be said for having time and for having to create your own entertainment.

But today, with many moms and dads in full-time jobs, and children in so many activities that there is hardly even time to do their homework, there seems to be NO time for leisure, let alone creativity. Perhaps it's time to step back and ask, "What is important in your life?"

I remember when my last job had become unbearable. It was so draining that I felt like crawling under my desk and dying. I had marked a calendar with the number of months I had left before I could quit. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait those soul-destroying five months. I managed to escape early - with a severance package - what a gift!

I'm hoping that my readers are not in such an emotionally and mentally draining job, but even a mediocr job can take its toll, so it's important to find some relief from the boredom and/or stress. There are many creative ways to do this. For example, invite your colleagues to join you in lunchtime activities, like going for a walk or a jog, or trying out different restaurants. It's also important to have evening and weekend activities to look forward to.

For those of you with family responsibilities, it may take some dedication and planning to allow personal enjoyment time, but for most people (if not everyone!), this is crucial to your mental and emotional well-being.

You may want to start by making a list of all the things that would make you feel relaxed and 'pampered'. For example: a day at the spa, browsing in shops you like, an entire afternoon of undisturbed reading, going to your favorite breakfast place with a good friend, going to a play or a sporting event, cycling in a scenic location. Make a long list!

Then decide on a schedule. For example, you may resolve to do one of these things every month - or every week! Or you may say "I will go out for coffee or lunch with a friend at least once a week; I'll do one of the more extravagant activities once a month; and once a year, I'll take a run-away retreat just for me!"

Write down your commitments and keep track of your success. You may want to find an accountability partner who will call you out if you start to abandon your self-care program.

There will be challenges, and you may miss some target activities, but it's important to keep trying. It IS possible to honor your responsibilities AND take care of yourself as well.

And don't think this is too selfish. When you pamper yourself in this way, you are not only protecting your own body, mind and emotions from starvation and burnout, you will also radiate a joyfulness that will affect everyone you come in contact with. You will be a 'bringer of joy'!

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