You’re really busy. You work long hours. Maybe you have to wake up at 5 am to beat traffic and don’t get home until 7 or 8 pm because traffic beat you. You’re exhausted, but as you contemplate an extra early bed time, you look at yourself in the mirror, acknowledge that you are not, in fact, a senior citizen and force yourself to stay awake.
Maybe you’ll still fall asleep early while catching up with the DVR. Maybe you convince yourself to go out with your friends, even though you’ll probably be that awkward person in the corner who’s too out-of-it to speak in coherent sentences.
Whatever you decide, you’ll eventually go to sleep then wake up and repeat. Are you worn out — maybe even a little disenchanted with your life? Consider taking these five steps to refresh yourself and be present:
1. Take a look.
Look in the mirror again — not at your newly acquired wrinkles, but at yourself as a whole.
2. Ask questions.
Ask yourself about what excites you, what you miss, what you have and what skills you want to learn. There’s a good chance you haven’t asked these questions in a long time — there’s also a good chance you’ll appreciate the result.
Life gets busy and we get stressed. We have to prioritize some things above others — sadly, that’s just how life goes. You simply can’t do everything at once. Counterintuitively, we often put ourselves — health, interests, hobbies and general wellbeing — LAST.
As we navigate this time in our lives in which we’re expected to define ourselves to become “something,” it seems inevitable that some of what we hold dear will fall through the cracks. But don’t allow it to happen — be proactive in your career and treat yourself to what you deserve.
4. Don’t FIND time for “me time.” Make it.
“Me time” is potentially the best gift you can offer yourself. Treat yourself as — or as even more — important than anything else in your life. Don’t be a selfish jerk; no one likes a selfish jerk. Rather, treat yourself and your relationships with the respect and attention they deserve and require. Give yourself time to explore and to realize who you are.
Give yourself the opportunity to breathe, to exercise, to go to the places you desire to go and to do the things you want to do. Make time for yourself. Schedule this time in your planner at the beginning of the week, but not as a last minute “I’ll try to squeeze it in but probably won’t be able to do it” plans.
Falling back into the stress cycle is very easy. So, take some time every now and then to repeat these steps. Actively and deliberately reacquaint yourself with who you are. Remind yourself that you shouldn’t be ashamed of time you spend on you. You will work hard and make tough decisions and go through stressful periods.
Regardless, you will be much better off if you allow yourself the opportunity to learn and grow. Otherwise, sooner than you expected, you may find yourself with a bad coffee habit and grey hair, wondering where you lost yourself.
Don’t let this happen. Do yourself a favor, and be present.
Photo credit: Pascal Campion, click here to check out more awesome artwork.