Take Care Of Yourself
Husbands and wives quickly learn each other’s foibles. It wasn’t long into their marriage when Raymond noticed that Nina’s temper got short and she felt sick if she’d forgotten to eat for too many hours. So now, when she’s grumpy, the first thing he asks is “when did you eat last?”
It’s not that she doesn’t love food. She’s a good cook and has a lush figure. But whereas he gets out of bed in the morning and the first place he heads is the coffee machine, Nina is different. She feeds the cats. She checks the birdfeeders to see if they need filling. She puts in a load of laundry. And then she often sits down at her desk to start work, because as an entrepreneur she has deadlines to meet and promises to keep to clients, and emails to answer.
Notice breakfast is nowhere in there. Everything else has to come first. And more and more often, by the time Ray came home for dinner, Nina would be tense, complaining and resentful about her clients and her work.
One morning, Ray challenged Nina to an experiment: for thirty days, eat breakfast first. Sit for a half an hour before the day started. Just to see what happens.
Nina balked and fussed. The cats were demanding, she said. The birds depending on her for food; it was winter, for Pete’s sake! Ray was adamant. “I’ll feed the cats and the birds won’t fall off their branches with an hour’s delay. Just try it.”
So she did. Nina forced herself not to go into her office for an hour every morning: a half hour for a leisurely breakfast and then 30 minutes for getting ready for the day (including feeding the birds).
By the end of a week, she stopped fussing. By the end of two, she was actually enjoying her coffee. And by the end of the thirty days, she was surprised to find out how much more efficient she was: her workload didn’t explode, her blogs got written more easily, and her clients didn’t feel ignored.
And breakfast with her husband was very pleasant, indeed.
The moral of this little story is this: if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll very quickly find you have nothing left to give to anyone. And taking care of yourself can cover a lot of things. Making time for your daily walk…making time for a meal…saying no to insistent friends when you know you need some solo downtime.
How we treat ourselves is our message to the Universe: I don’t need anyone to care about me, I’ll do it all, we tell our guides Upstairs. And the Universe, being a short-order cook with no imagination, doesn’t tell us “that’s not very smart.” The Universe gives us exactly what we asked for: nobody caring about us, and everyone expecting that they come first.
Think of occasionally putting yourself first as ordering the best meal at the best restaurant in the world. Because when you can savor your life the way you savor a fine wine, you’ll notice you can get just as mellow as that virtual Chardonnay.