Sophia’s Sunday Uplift August 21, 2022

I see you, Sis. I see you out here doing whatever it takes to take care of your loved ones. I peep the way you constantly put the needs of everyone else before your own. And I know the heavy toll this takes on you.

Of course, you’re overwhelmed and sleep deprived. After all it isn’t easy being the “strong” one, the dependable one. In fact, you spend so much time focusing on others that you barely have any time, energy, or resources left for yourself. No wonder you feel so tired all the time.

You deserve to thrive, be happy, and enjoy good health! Yet, in order to support everyone else in your life, you often neglect your own needs. For example, have you consumed enough water today? Did you get enough sleep last night? When was the last time you had a physical? How’s your mental health?

Listen. Your stressful and chaotic life isn’t sustainable in the long run. That heavy load you carry will eventually weigh you down, adversely affecting your physical and mental health. If it hasn’t already. You need to make some changes, and soon.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your stress, get more and deeper sleep, and improve your overall health:

  1. Reclaim Your Morning: Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. That’s why immediately checking your social media isn’t necessarily the best first move of the day. Reclaim your morning by controlling what you consume. Experts suggest starting your day with gratitude, water, and stretches. Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, say a prayer of thanksgiving. If prayer isn’t your thing, try meditating or positive affirmations. I know the “call of nature” is especially urgent first thing, but as soon as possible, drink some water. Water is life. And besides, you need to increase your water consumption anyway. Whether you workout in the mornings or not (kudos if you do), slowly stretching your body will help get your blood flowing for the day and prevent injuries.
  2. Employ the Big Red Office Hours Philosophy: If you haven’t seen The Five Heartbeats, this reference might be lost on you. Also, how have you NOT seen The Five Heartbeats??? Anyway … Remember the iconic scene where the Big Red character, the record executive, violently explained his office hours (9 to 5) to the artist who dared to infringe upon his personal time with business? I’m not suggesting you hire goons to hang your coworkers upside down out of a window. But Big Red had the right idea. Be a better gatekeeper of YOUR personal time, Sis. Because let’s be honest. Nine times out of ten, that email doesn’t need to be addressed at 10:00 PM. If you’re off the clock, don’t do any work!
  3. Limit Your Social Media Intake: Stop impulsively reaching for your phone every few minutes to scroll social media! I struggle with this, too. What’s helps me is scheduling and discipline. Set specific and brief times (15-20 minute, tops) where you allow yourself to visit one social media platform at a time. Also, avoid social media right before you go to bed. The last thing you need before sleep is the toxic stimulus of social media.
  4. Move Your Body: I won’t belabor this because you already know that regular and consistent exercise will help you achieve and maintain good physical and mental health. If this isn’t already part of your daily life, start now. And start small, with 5 minutes of stretching and 15 minutes of walking. Or do a few laps on your stairs every morning. Just do something to move your body and get your heart rate going.
  5. Increase Your Water Intake: No matter how much water you drink during the day, it probably isn’t enough. Drink more water every day. In fact, stop reading this and throw back a quick 8-12 ounces of water right now!
  6. You Are What You Eat: Again, you already know what to do. Cut back on carbs, sugar, caffeine, soda, salt, and fatty foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains. Don’t eat too close to bedtime and be mindful of portion sizes.
  7. Make “Me Time” A Priority: Do you have a hobby or passion project? If not, think about something that you enjoy doing, preferably alone, that relaxes you. Something that gets your creative juices going. Or something that you do for fun. Maybe you’re an avid reader or gardener. Or perhaps you’ve always enjoyed painting. Find something that you can do just for YOU and commit to doing it at least 3 times a week. Set aside a block of time (at least an hour, if possible) and let your loved ones know that you’re “off-duty”. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Then do your thing with wild abandon. Lose yourself in it. Allow yourself to temporarily disengage from your real life and focus only on YOU and whatever it is you decide to do.
  8. Reclaim Your Bedtime: Disengage from social media at least an hour before you go to sleep. If you like to watch tv before bed, try to limit your viewing options to lighter fare, avoiding news and current events or shows with excessive violence. Stick to reading, self-care activities, or doing something calming. Keeping your bedtime as stress-free as possible will ensure deeper and more restful sleep. And Sis, I know you could use a good night’s sleep these days.

Do you have any other suggestions that could help our readers live happier and healthier lives? If so, please comment below. We’re all in this together, Sis. And we ALL deserve to live our best lives.

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