Most of us wear many hats, often leaving us to feel stretched thin, uninspired and exhausted. As a wife, mother, clinician and business owner, it’s important I do things to keep me feeling motivated, energized and excited. If you are feeling overwhelmed and are looking for some ways to reignite the fire that used to be inside you to do it all, here are five things I do regularly to help me stay grounded and focused:
Dedicating specific time to spend with my family on a daily basis is crucial for my mental health. I make sure every day I do something fun with my husband and son for at least 30 minutes. This could be things like watching funny You Tube videos together (a little mindless entertainment can go a long way!), having an impromptu dance party, or eating a meal. On the weekends, we make sure to spend quality time together. This means no phones, no computers, and no expectations. Often, we will venture to a new play place for our son, hang out with family in the area, or try a new restaurant. Being around my family reenergizes me in a way that nothing else can. It helps me remember what is truly important. Also, there is nothing like being around a toddler and seeing how they are so excited and interested in everything! Just the wonder in my son’s eyes helps me grow.
I’ve recently become more and more interested in cooking. In particular, I really love the meal kits you can order. There is something about following the instructions step-by-step and creating something delicious I find so relaxing. This is one of the few times in my day when I am truly practicing mindfulness. I am aware of the smells, textures, and colors of the food. I feel completely relaxed when cooking and feel it’s a healthy way to disconnect from the stressors constantly racing in my head. The creativity in creating the meal and the peacefulness I feel when cooking helps me grow.
Something I’ve always loved but now make a priority, is taking time to get a manicure and pedicure. Pampering myself helps me relax physically and mentally. While I am getting a pedicure, I usually bring a book and read. I make a point not to be on my phone answering work emails. It can get pricey doing every two weeks, so I look for coupons and Groupons helping cut costs. Taking 1 hour every two weeks to relax and have “me time” helps me grow as it allows me to feel less stressed and balanced.
Along the same lines, I have really grown to appreciate the benefits of a massage. Treating myself to a massage once a month gives my body a chance to relax as well as my mind. I find that while getting the massage, some of my most creative ideas come to mind. So I try to practice what I preach, and I am always telling my clients the relation between stress and tension in the body. I work hard to maintain low levels of stress in my body and monthly massages help do the trick. When I leave the massage session, I always feel reenergized and rejuvenated. This helps me grow and not feel stuck or burdened by physical pain.
Trying new things
Sometimes we can get stuck in our own routines and habits. I feel incredibly inspired and have a blast getting to know other people and trying new things. In our field, it is so important to be able to relate to others in an authentic way. I find challenging myself to try new things or meet new people keeps me inspired in that way. For example, my husband and I like to try new ethnic foods. I also like to try new things like a new yoga class or something as simple as ordering something different at the coffee shop. Switching things up in your day to day routine can work to break up the monotony we often fall victim to. Change is good and challenges you to grow.
Whatever it is you find fun, I encourage you to put it on your calendar and make it a priority. Having fun allows us to relax, decompress and restore. When we are less stressed, we create and invite space for creativity and growth. As my best friend reminds me, think of the airplane oxygen mask theory: you have to help yourself first before you can be of any help to somebody else.
Alycia Burant, MA, LPC, NCC is founder, owner and therapist at Healthy Minds Therapy in bustling Alexandria, VA. Her practice has three locations in Northern Virginia providing expert support and services for people in times of need. When she is not working, she enjoys relaxing with her family, wine tasting, cooking and traveling.