(CARLSBAD, CA) – Whew! What a day! Your daughter forgot her clarinet, but you rushed it down to school. Your husband needs a root canal, and you scheduled it with the dentist. Your dog was due for an annual check-up, so you squeezed in a visit to the vet. Your boss requested lunch for 15 executives at the last minute, and you brought the caterers to the rescue. At the end of the day, you managed to make dinner, run a load of laundry, check the kids’ homework, and return three phone calls. You did it! Everyone’s needs were met. Or were they? Did you get a chance to take care of yourself today?
The American Psychological Association recently conducted a national poll of Americans, half of whom report that their stress has increased in the past five years. It seems that the demands on our lives just keep escalating.
If you’re someone who suffers from stress, or even the occasional bout of feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to ask yourself, “Who’s on first?” Where are you on your priority list? Have you put yourself in first place, or have you relegated yourself to the bottom of the list?
It’s okay to put yourself first. After all, how can you take care of anyone else when you’re depleted of physical, mental, and emotional energy? Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc. suggests a few ideas for putting yourself first.
Minimize Multitasking – Women, in particular, are masters at multitasking. Making a phone call, while cooking dinner, and simultaneously signing your child’s report card, is just another day in the life of a typical American woman. But, let’s say that you decide to limit your multitasking. Just because you can do three things at one time doesn’t mean you should. Sure, the occasional multitasking session is useful. But, as a general rule, pick just a few duties each day that you really want to accomplish. Then, do those things one at a time, and do them to the fullest.
Get Moving – One of the best ways that you can make yourself a priority is to make time for physical exercise. Choose something that you enjoy. Walk around the neighborhood, sign-up for a Tai Chi class, or find an indoor pool during the winter time.
Treat Yourself – Make an appointment on your calendar to treat yourself, at least once per week. Get a massage or a pedicure. Walk on the beach. Visit with friends at the café. Take time to do something that you want to do.
Take Five – In addition to your weekly “me time” appointment, set aside at least five minutes each day for you. Whether you use that for meditation, talking with a friend, taking a bath, or curling up with a good book, that’s up to you. But, take an uninterrupted five minutes for yourself. Don’t answer the phone and ask your family to hold all interruptions. Set a timer if you need to! That way, nobody bothers mom until the timer has gone off.
Write it Down – At the end of your day, take a moment to write down three to five things for which you are truly grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal will remind you just how blessed you are, in spite of a hectic daily life.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.