Me: Are you taking care of yourself through this time?
Client: Sure, no problems with that!
Me: Really? This sounds like a really tough time and taking care of yourself must be a real challenge. It is very impressive that you’re doing it so well!
Client: Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘taking care’ of myself now that you say what you just said. Can you explain it to me?
Has this been you? Let’s go back to basics! In the next few months I’ll be reviewing some of the concepts, which we consider to be basic, but which perhaps you could use a refresher on. So what does ‘taking care’ of yourself mean exactly?
The most basic of the basic: are you curled up in bed when you’re not sick? As we’ve discussed before the bed is for bed activities only, which means sleeping and sex. If you’re hanging out in bed to avoid anything then it’s not OK.
Are you eating reasonably well? We all have times when we’re not perfect in our diets due to schedules or circumstances but are you making an effort to eat well? Are you being mindful not to drink too much or eat those foods which you know are problematic for you? Are you being careful to eat at all? Again, if you’re sick then that’s a time when perhaps you’re not feeling up to eating but if you’re “too busy” to take a break for lunch there’s a problem…and I do mean it as a problem! Grab that yogurt or an apple and some cheese while you take a 10 minute break out to enjoy even a quick bite.
Are you sleeping? Are you going to bed on time and getting up on time? Are you sleeping through the night or close to it? By the way, ‘sleeping’ isn’t referring to passing out after several drinks! Are you finding yourself falling asleep while driving or at your desk? These would be good clues that there’s a problem.
What’s my deal with alcohol?! In times of stress it is not uncommon for even the Thrivest of the Thrivers to perhaps drink a bit too much. In times of heightened stress or schedules run amok being careful is a useful tool.
Are you exercising when you can? Again, back to the basics; if you can’t get to the gym or complete your usual 60 minute routine are you doing something to move and stretch? You can do laps in the office, climb the stairs up if you work in a multi-storied building or perhaps park as far away from the front door as possible so you and your legs get time to stretch.
Are you keeping your living space neat and tidy? Now, I’m most certainly not expecting everyone to be a neat-freak but again, there’s a huge difference between garbage rotting in the trash can and the frayed edges of a busy week where perhaps the recycling didn’t make it outside to the curb. Keeping your environment neat and tidy goes a long way to helping your physical and mental health.
Are you sticking to your spiritual routines? If you go to church or temple or whatever fulfills you, have you gotten there? Have you connected with those people from your network? These routines are critical to maintain if they have been helpful to you in the past.
One last one: are you taking your vitamins and/or medications? Again, if these are helpful to you or prescribed for you then please take them!
All Thrivers will experience stressful times in both their personal as well as professional lives so it is helpful to have the basics well in hand for when those times come around.