Whether you are nurturing a business or career, a family, an intimate relationship, or a secret dream, your time and energy are the most valuable commodities you possess. No matter how wisely you spend them, the truth is that they are limited in supply and extremely precious.
Another truth: productivity and energy both depend on fuel. Just like our cars, when we aren’t fueled and properly maintained, we don’t run well. When we don’t give ourselves the experiences and care that allow us to be at our best—we simply aren’t our best. We don’t perform at our potential, we don’t have our best gifts to give to others, and we simply don’t feel as good as we could. We don’t shine.
We all need quality fuel (and I’m talking about a lot more than food here) to fuel the full, vibrant, unique life that only we can live. It doesn’t have to be difficult or radical.
Here are some simple steps to nurturing yourself so that you are well-primed for the actions you want to take (and whatever else life throws at you):
- Take five minutes every day to check in with yourself. Really. Take a breath, see how your body is feeling, note what’s on your mind and pay attention to your stress level. Ask yourself what you need. Don’t skip this step. You have to be paying attention to anything (or anyone) that you want to take good care of. If it helps, write down the things that you need and keep the list where you can see it.
- Learn to rest when you are tired. Yes, I know you are busy and you may think that you have too much to do to stop and rest. But here’s what really happens. When we don’t allow ourselves the breaks and the rest that we need, we start going in circles. Our ability to focus and concentrate is reduced. Our productivity goes down. We forget things. Often, we are so tired and unmotivated that we don’t really do the things that we need to move forward but end up wasting our dwindling energy and time on “busy work” instead that tricks us into feeling productive. OR instead of stopping and resting, we keep moving doing mindless kinds of activities like surfing the internet or watching TV we don’t care about. We don’t get refueled and we lose time that we could be using to replenish ourselves. Practice stopping. Rediscover naps. Go to bed on time. If you are getting nowhere on a project–what about a five minute break doing something delightful and refueling?
- Do one lovely thing for yourself every day. It’s the intention and the follow through that count here—not the size of the action. It may be giving yourself a pedicure or giving yourself permission to say “no” to something you don’t want to do. It may be flowers on your desk. Give yourself permission for indulgence. Every day.
- Start collecting energy boosters. Make a list of small, ten minute acts that make you feel better. This is hard for many women, so don’t be afraid to start small. Some ideas to get you started:
- Putting on music that makes you happy
- Spending a few minutes outdoors
- Changing your clothes
- Hugging someone you love
- Making a list of your accomplishments
- Stretching, moving, or dancing around the room
My challenge to you: try these steps out, find what works for you, add to the list, then repeat, repeat, repeat. The real key here is getting into the rhythm of paying attention to the fuel you are getting and learning the tricks and the strategies that keep you fueled, happy, and thriving.