Monday, December 29, 2008

what nourishes your spirit?

For a lot of years my life was hustle bustle. I was either busy raising my children or working outside the home or both. I seldom did anything for myself; my life was so busy doing for others. Besides, I thought putting myself first was selfish…my family, job and home came first. There was seldom time or energy for me. A friend told me that she had to put her own needs first. I admitted to her that this (at that time) seemed selfish to me and I felt that one should be selfless in what they did. She proceeded to tell me her reasoning. She said that if she didn’t take care of herself first, how could she be effective in taking care of her family or anything else? It took me a long time to get that. I mean really get it. The only thing I did for myself was to drop into bed at night, exhausted from the day’s challenges. I began to resent all the demands on my time and energy.


It took awhile, but finally I got it. I realized that it was necessary to allow myself some personal time outs to be better; calmer, more patient, healthier, and more effective as a parent, a wife and an employee. You could say I finally recognized the value of my own well being and how that affected everything else. I decided (yes, it was a choice) to start being a little kinder and gentler with myself. I started taking time off from my job. Eventually I developed a meditation practice. I began journaling to find out who I was and what really mattered to me. I guess you can say that is when things began to change. I began seriously realizing my own value as a person and the value of time alone.

I’ve learned not to feel guilty when I take time for myself. Often in the middle a days worth of chores I will rest because that is what my body is telling me to do. I have learned to listen. Some days it’s a 20 minute catnap or a half hour on the sofa with my crocheting or a cup of coffee and a book. Some days just a little time in the fresh air connecting with nature or time spent here, connecting with all of you is just what I need. We all need to nurture and renew our spirit. When we neglect to do so, we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and/or resentful, stressed out, anxious, angry, tired, depressed and/or physically ill.

Managing your time is important if not crucial to establishing guilt free time for yourself as well as staying on top of responsibilities. For me, this is where list making is important. Either before I go to bed or when I get up in the morning and am having my first cup of coffee, I sit down at the table with pen and paper and make a “to do” list for that day or the next.

Knowing how I am about making extended lists, I will either make two columns; one for the “must do” priorities and another for the other things I hope to accomplish that day but aren’t as important. Or I will make one long list and put a little star beside the priorities. I do the best I can and most days accomplish more than I expected to. Other days I may not do as much, but I don’t lose any sleep over that fact. I just add those things to the next day or another. Sometimes I get caught up enough that I can take an unplanned day just for doing what I like; sewing, puttering, writing or spending time with friends. But again, managing your time is what gets you there.

Later in the week I hope to talk about why simple living is smarter living and how it frees up more of your time and energy. In the meantime, think about what nourishes and renews your spirit. If you’re not sure then be direct and ask yourself. Try to discover those things that bring you joy, relaxation and other positive feelings. It could be a craft or hobby, journaling, reading, walking, relaxing to music or any number of things. Add one or two of them to your daily list as a reminder that they are just as important as anything else you do and then do them. Practice doing not doing…you’ll thank yourself. : )

11 comments:

  1. This is a great post and a wonderful reminder that we need to make time for ourselves. Happy New Year!
    Blessings,
    ~*~

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  2. What a wonderful post. I am glad that I realized early on that if Momma ain't happy nobody is. Exercise is my get away, taking care of myself. My boy is old enough (8) he joins me sometimes and keeps right up. Today we went out back onto the trails a couple miles and we had a great time. These are the times we will forever remember!
    Happy New Year! ~Kim

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  3. Wow, do I see myself in this post. Unfortunately only the first half. I was just commenting to my family how I'm sooo tired that I look at the clock and it's only 7pm, not 11. Thank you for the advise, I'm going to make my list.

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  4. A few years ago I realized that I was exhausted and unhappy, trying to do it all. I had to give myself permission to relax and enjoy life, and I think my family likes me better since then.

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  5. Great post and OH! so true. I'm a first time visitor and have been studying along these same lines. I'm reading Joyce Meyer, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Number 1 is 'Do One Thing at a Time'. OUCH. That SO goes against a multi-tasking female. -smile- More than likely, we all know what to do, we just need to do it...or not in the case of doing too much.
    God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.
    Sandra at
    thistlecovefarms at gmail dot com
    and
    thistlecovefarm.blogspot.com because I've signed on with a different account.

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  6. I agree with you completely and I'm so glad we both have discovered the truth of it :) I am thankful to say that simply being alive now nourishes my spirit.

    This goes with the simple living posts, we should cahoot to write a book :)

    I hope your New Year is filled to popping with great things !

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  7. Perfect post! As women we are *supposed* to do it all. I've been juggling for this circus long enough! And I'm emerging into your train of thought here.

    Thank you for your insite!

    ~Cheers

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  8. Thank you for this important reminder. I know that I am a better wife, mother, and friend when I take some time for myself. Last night I went to the gym because I needed that hour to myself. It was inconvenient, dark cold and icy..but oh so necessary :)

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  9. just stopping by to wish you a late merry christmas and an on time happy new year!

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  10. How appropriate and RIGHT along with what I have been writing about in my paper journal. It is SOOOO true and we forget and then get depressed and ill just as you wrote about. I took some time for myself last week to jus finish a book that I had started months earlier. It took some time for me to settle in because I felt that taking time to read a book was selfish when there were so many other things that I needed to tend to. But if I hadn't taken that time out I felt like I would have lost it. So yes, 2009 has GOT to be a time for me to not only reflect on taking better care of myself but actually doing it.
    Always enjoy your words of "Simple" wisdom.

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  11. Happy new year all and thank you so much for your kind comments.

    A warm country welcome to you Sandra!

    Juli - Maybe we should write a book! :) I have plenty to say, lol!

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I sure appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. I may not always have time to respond or acknowledge them but I do read them all and highly value your presence here.

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