I’m guessing that you do a lot for others.

Family, friends, employers, coworkers, your children’s school, an organization you belong to, your friend’s mom, the list goes on.   You do a lot and you give a lot and it’s really wonderful. And, sometimes, it feels like too much. Or perhaps it’s just downright overwhelming.

And this can lead to a whole lotta other stuff. Frustration, impatience, fatigue, lack of focus. It can affect your sense of well-being, diminish your vitality and lead to illness. It can be a source of discontent and resentment in your relationships.

How can you keep giving to others but lessen that sense of drain and depletion on yourself? 

Here’s just one simple step that might just bring some ease.

You first. That’s it. Consider your own wellbeing the main ingredient in the recipe of your life.

In order to be able to give to others and have it be something that you can keep up with, and to do this without depleting yourself, it’s essential that you find ways to give to yourself. Not with leftover time and energy, but with some prime time and energy.

When you do this, you not only feel better, but you function better. You can generate more energy, a greater sense of ease and relaxation. You can give to others from a sense of generosity and joy rather than obligation. And you can find more clarity about what and who and when you actually want to give your time and energy to. Sounds good, huh?

Where to start.

It’s not only okay, but it’s probably a good idea to start with something small and easy. When can you find a little more time in your day or week for yourself? What would you like to do with it? Can you add five, ten, fifteen minutes twice a week?

Maybe it’s going to bed 15 minutes earlier with a good book (or heck, just going to bed 15 minutes earlier), or taking a few minutes to yourself while the morning coffee brews. Can you stretch or relax for five minutes with some good music when you get home before moving on to the next thing?

What’s something you really like to do that that helps you feel really good that you keep wishing you had time for? Can you be creative about how to fit even just a little bit more of it in somewhere?

Let’s take a look at how your body can be a guide to help you do this.

YOUR BODY KNOWS

Read over the instructions first. Get comfortable and then feel free to take as much or little time as you’d like.

1. Take a moment to check in with yourself and take stock.

What’s going on in your thoughts, your emotions and in your body? Do you have any sense of feeling drained from giving or doing too much? If so, see if you can be curious about it.

2. Try to allow your body to relax.

Can you take a few slow, deliberate breaths in and then out? Can you sit back in your seat or firmly plant your feet on the floor? How about a minute or two of stretching or a few jumps up and down?

3. Imagine what it would feel like if you really prioritized some prime time for yourself.

Notice what happens in your body and sense how this might change the overall flavor of your experience.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re still with me here, you’re doing it. You’re taking a bit of time to focus on yourself and your well-being. Just a few minutes to pause and check in with yourself is a pretty amazing self-care practice. No bells or whistles necessary.

Little steps can lead to radical change.

Starting somewhere means you’re taking first steps on a different path. Along the way, you may discover many new opportunities and possibilities for change.

It might also be that some support along the way would be helpful. I encourage you to seek out what you might need, whether it be a friend who will be your cheerleader, a support group, or professional help.

If you are considering therapy for yourself and you’re interested in a free consultation to see if a creative, body-centered approach to therapy might be right for you, please get in touch.

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© 2015 Annabelle F. Coote

You may freely reprint or share this article. Simply include the following attribution, and if you print online, make the link at the end live:

Article ©2015 Annabelle Coote, Movement Matters, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This article and other resources are available at http://movement-matters.com

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