Taking Care Of Ourselves And Each Other Just Feels Good

jazzercise-happy-exercise-care-for-yourself“What does it feel like when you’re dancing?”

“Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going… then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.” -Billy Elliot

Whenever I think about finding your ‘inner-peace’ or some sort of sanctuary from the daily hustle and bustle of working life, I think of this quote. Everyone should have something where they can disappear for awhile, where all their troubles can drop away and nothing can touch them. This comes in many forms (whether you’re passionate about it or not). For some it is crafting, or taking a relaxing bath, or climbing a mountain. There is a certain amount of meditation that goes into these activities. We are focused on one thing and we put our entire self into it — sort of like a cleansing of our mind, body, and spirit.

Separating work issues from your personal life is a very important yet very hard task to accomplish. There are steps you can take to care for yourself to make sure you don’t fall off the deep end. I encourage you to try a few things to start relaxing at home:

Hang up your coat when you get home. As you put it in the closet, imagine that you are hanging up all of your problems and stresses from the day. Shut the door and don’t pick it back up until the next day.

Find something that makes you feel whole and happy. If you don’t know what makes you happy…experiment! Go out with friends — be adventurous. Try a new activity one night that you would never think about doing. Rock climb, roller-skate, garden, sculpt something, paint pottery, play an instrument, become a LARPer. Anything! That’s how I became a Jazzercise Instructor — I would have never imagined myself where I am now 2 years ago. Turns out, Jazzercise makes me feel enormously fulfilled and happy. This attitude will carry over into your working life and make you a much happier person.

Identify your support network. Perhaps there is a group of people at work or a group of friends that you can vent to. Make sure you have someone that you can unload on and who can acknowledge and support you in your feelings. We have a ladies night once a week to let all of our stresses go over drinks and delicious food.

Laugh. Laughing actually releases endorphins into your body (and other great hormones) and can turn into quite the workout if you really get going. This is such a great stress reliever for so many reasons but mostly because it’s hard to be down when you can’t stop smiling — your entire mood elevates. Check out this article on Stress Management and The Health Benefits of Laughter.

Groom yourself. Cut your nails, wash your hair, scrub your face — make yourself feel clean. Wash off the day and let it all go.

Take a mini-vacation. Some friends of mine make a point to go on short trips once a month. They leave directly after work on Friday which turns their weekend into a 3 day weekend excursion. They see friends, go exploring and feel refreshed for the next week. Follow the link to a cool article on finding Cheap Vacations in Your Home Town.

Listen to some good music. I really enjoy getting lost in a good beat…probably has to do with the whole Jazzercise thing.

Get intimate with someone. I’ll leave it at that.

And most importantly, don’t turn to alcohol and drugs — they will only make you feel worse and most likely magnify your problems.

Taking care of yourself will help you take care of others. Sometimes when we are taking care of so many other people and issues, we forget to think about ourselves. It’s okay to take a step back and understand that you have needs and deserve happiness too. Keeping a relatively healthy diet, getting enough sleep and regularly exercising will also help you manage your stress as well. If nothing else, you can always try Jazzercising — it worked for me.

Courtesy of Serve Northwest Washington.

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