As we approach the New Year, it is important to reflect on personal maintenance – how we take care of ourselves, mind, body and spirit. Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind that we don’t take the time to focus on what’s most important; our own well-being. Life is hectic. There is a lot that can be said about our modern lifestyles and the stress that can develop in most of them. We have all experienced situations where we’ve felt overcome by everything we need to accomplish and not enough hours in a day to achieve them. We’ve all pushed ourselves too far at some point, be it for the sake of a job, a project or assignment, or even our families. Whatever lifestyle you lead, we all know it and we’ve all felt it.

The problems come when life gets too hectic for us to maintain a balance of the different areas in our lives, perhaps when we start foregoing things we do for ourselves because you need to do something for others instead. This becomes an issue when we start putting our own well being aside for longer periods of time. When we do this, and our own mental or physical health starts deteriorating, we are not being our best selves. The care we give or the work we do, suffers for it. What this essentially means is, when you are not taking proper care of yourself, you are not taking proper care of your responsibilities either.

Recognise that sometimes we must forego some things to achieve a greater goal, but this should only be acceptable for a set amount of time. Often what happens is we get to that goal, but then another task pops up, and we stretch ourselves a little thinner for a little longer. Suddenly we’re not just missing out on that visit to the gym or rain-checking a time to catch up with friends, we stop having time for dinner with the family and sleep has been reduced to 4 hours a night. When was the last time you did something enjoyable, just for the sake of your own happiness and sanity? When was the last time you put something aside to give yourself a moment of clarity?

Some people are better at handling this stress than others. It is a growing trend that some companies are better at promoting self-care than others; encouraging working from home and taking mental health days to recharge our minds. We could all use a reminder every once in a while. Your most important asset is YOU, and taking care of your most valuable asset is imperative. This coming year, take some time to reflect on your health, your priorities and set yourself up for a healthy and productive 2018.

by Therese Mikalsen

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