Part of self-mastery is taking care of yourself–your physicality. You need mental, emotional, and physical strength and wherewithal to master yourself. If you are tired and stressed, you’re more apt to take the easy way and knuckle under to your habits.
~Are you getting enough hours of sleep or are you skimping in favor of working later or sitting up at night worrying?
~Is you sleep restful or are you too tense to fully relax into a peaceful sleep?
~Is your sleep restorative or do you wake frequently throughout the night, even if just for a moment?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, take the time to pinpoint what’s going on so you can determine how best to help yourself. Research has shown that sleep is critical to your ongoing health and well-being and skimping on it or having poor quality sleep is very damaging, especially over the long term.
When checking in with yourself, perhaps you discover worry, sadness, or frustrations are bothering you. Ask yourself what you can do to release these so you can get a restful, restorative night’s sleep.
Some suggestions are:
~meditate/pray and connect with God/Source. It’s also great to pray/meditate with someone else because they may be able to pray in a way that your worried, agitated state is preventing you from doing.
~listen to soothing, calming music such as Brahms’ Lullaby, Pachebel’s Canon in D, Satie’s Trois Geyumnopedies, Debussy’s Clair de Lune.
~read uplifting, hopeful passages from inspirational or faith-based writings
~take a warm bath before bedtime.
~Improving your sleep can be something as simple as getting a new pillow, changing the orientation of your bed, opening a window for cool fresh air, adding a light covering so you’re warm enough. Also try changing the style of your pajamas, for instance if you’ve always worn a nightgown, perhaps changing to a pajama set of pants with a matching top.
When you check in with yourself, pay attention to your nutritional habits–what are they?
~Are you eating high quality, nutritious food or do you reach for what’s handy and quick?
~Are you sitting down to have your meals or are you eating on the go?
~Do you focus on enjoying and savoring your food or do you eat at your desk or while watching TV and just shovel in the food, not paying attention to what you’re eating?
~Do you take a moment to make your food attractive and appetizing or do you eat on paper plates or out of the take-out cartons?
~Do you eat in messy or dirty surroundings?
Some suggestions are:
When reviewing your eating and nutrition habits, you might identify areas where you aren’t properly nurturing yourself. The two biggest things you can do to help yourself in this area are (1) to step away from the junk food, prepared foods, convenience foods, and foods high in sugar and preservatives. Instead buy food that is natural and organic. Yes, these foods cost more right now, but the payoff in the future is immense.
Don’t economize on the quality of your food!
(2) When you eat, step away from your desk, turn off the TV, put away all electronics, and concentrate on your meal. Notice the aroma, the texture, the flavors. Eat sitting down in calm and clean surroundings and use real plates and real flatware.
Take your time and savor each mouthful!
~Are you in the rut of sleep-eat-work-sleep-eat-work?
~When was the last time you did something for fun?
~How long has it been since you took time off and just hung out with nothing more to do but relax?
~Have you taken time to enjoy your hobbies?
~Do you regularly spend time with your friends and loved ones?
~Have you developed a regular meditation/contemplation/quiet time practice?
You may feel awkward or guilty getting away from your routine, taking a break and giving yourself breathing room. This is an important part of self-mastery. You can’t get a handle on yourself if you are burned out, a slave to your routines, stuck in a rut, or fed up.
Perhaps your situation right now is such that you don’t have the time or the finances to actually get away, but you can do simple things that will refresh you.
Some suggestions are:
~choose TV programs that are interesting or educational, such as those found on PBS and the science channels–turn off reality TV!
~read a good book–fiction or non-fiction;
~take the scenic route back and forth to work instead of sitting in rush hour traffic;
~pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it in a local park;
~play with your kids, spend time with your spouse or partner; invite friends over for a potluck dinner and a movie.
Incorporate some of these suggestions into your life a little at a time–you don’t have to do these all at once! As you do this, over time you will find you’ll become more in control of yourself and your life.
You can do it!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,