Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy ME Day!

Today I took a day off from work.  It wasn't a holiday.  My kids didn't have the day off.  My husband didn't have a doctor's appointment.  I took the day off just because I wanted to. 

It used to be that every few months I would get so worn down, stressed out and worked up that I would have to take a day off of work and crash.  I'd spend the entire day in bed buried under the covers blocking out the world.  By the end of the day I was slightly more rested, but really no more refreshed.  I called those my "Mental Health Days."

This past April I took the day off of work for my birthday and filled the day doing things that I enjoy doing.  I told myself that because it was my birthday, I would not feel guilty about focusing on doing what I wanted to do and not on what I thought would make everyone else happy.  I had a FABULOUS day!  It was relaxing and fun and energizing

It was so wonderful that I did the same thing the day after completing the Half-Marathon in May.  While on our family vacation in August, I made it a point to have a couple of "Me Mornings."  As soon as we returned from vacation, I looked at my calendar and scheduled my next "Me Day" -  TODAY!

I've discovered three keys to making my Me Days a success:

1) I don't spend the entire day in bed.  Looking back I realized that spending the entire day in bed actually made me feel worse.  My entire body would ache.  I'd physically feel more tired.  I have to confess that one of my favorite things to do is lay in bed and watch TV.  So I always spend part of my Me Days laying in bed - just not the whole day.

2) I do things that I enjoy doing, not things that I HAVE to do.  There are very few things in life that can't be put on hold for a day.  I always plan my day out ahead of time picking 2-3 activities that I want to do.  If I don't plan ahead, time always gets away from me and I end up doing nothing!  For example, today I watched my favorite TV show while drinking a steaming cup of coffee, crawled back into bed for a nap, got my hair cut (which I don't do often and really enjoy!) and then surprised my kids by heading to TCBY after school.  As I type, my kids and I are enjoying our annual viewing of Disney's Halloweentown; which to us officially kicks off the holiday season!  I'm feeling no need to get up and throw in a load of laundry - it is "Me Day!"  Finally, I've planned one of my favorite meals for dinner and then will be heading to my Zumba class.  The perfect ending to my day! 
Family Fun at TCBY!
3) I consciously block out all guilt.  I am the Queen of Guilt!  I took that title over from my mom years ago.  No matter what I'm doing I always have this twinge of guilt that I'm not doing something else with or for someone else.  When I stay at work late I feel guilty that I'm not heading home to be with my family.  When I leave work on time I feel guilty that I didn't finish one more thing.  When I go out to exercise I feel guilty that I'm not hanging out with my kids,  When I skip exercise to hang out with my kids I feel guilty that I'm not meeting up with my friends at class.  I could go on and on.  I'm sure that most moms can relate to this on some level.  On my "Me Days" I give myself permission to do want I want to do.  I tell myself  - literally talk out loud to myself - that I am pushing guilt to the side and focusing on myself for the entire day. 

Following these three guidelines have turned my "Me Days" into a time of refreshment.  I enjoy the time off rather than wasting it because I'm so mentally worn down and physically tired that I can't function.  I'll return to the real world tomorrow rested and ready to face my life. 

One of the first things that I'll do when I return to my life is fill out a PTO (Paid Time Off) form for my next "Me Day!"  Why don't you get out your calendar and schedule a "Me Day" just for you! 

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