Take Care of Yourself ...

"Sooner of later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it's time to take care of yourself, for yourself... To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it's never too late to have a life. And never to late to change one." (NIKE Advertisement)

One of the things we have to do to feel better in life is to take good care of ourselves - and I know it's very hard to do. We are so busy in school, at work, with after-school activities, taking care of others, etc. that we neglect our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We are always rushing, always wanting to do too much, always squeezing too many activities in one day (multi-tasking), always racing to the next thing to do - hardly taking any breaks. So it's easy to feel overwhelmed. We eat in a rush and not very well, we don't find time to do exercise, we don't sleep enough, we don't even drink enough water, we don't pay attention to our physical and emotional needs, etc.

All this takes a toll in our bodies and affects the way we feel. If we eat too much junk food, don't do enough exercise, and don't get enough hours of sleep - we gain weight, have less energy, get irritable and just feel miserable. We really have to try to pay more attention to our bodies and to what we eat - certain foods affect our moods. If we eat too many sweets or simple carbohydrates (white flour), we crave for more, and then when we go through a low in blood sugar we feel upset, anxious or depressed. I believe that there is definitely a connection between foods and moods. If we feel tired, we need more rest. It all sounds so simple and yet, we don't take time to nurture and take good care of ourselves. Some people walk like zombies, too tired to do anything, never smiling, with an empty look in their eyes...

I even have a great book written by Chery Richardson called "Take Time for Your Life" (is excellent!) - check
www.cherylrichardson.com; isn't that a great title! It is so true! So many of us get so busy with school or work, taking care of our families, chores, etc. that we don't find time to do the things we are passionate about, the things we truly love to do. That's when we have to stop and analyze what we are doing and why we feel so drained out of energy. Most likely we are overwhelmed with too many responsibilities and cannot find the time to relax and do the important things that we enjoy and matter a lot to us.

Lack of sleep is also a major problem in this country and also causes a lot of bad moods and anger. If we don't get enough sleep we simply cannot concentrate well, our mind gets foggy, we are tired all the time, we get irritable about every little thing, we make more mistakes and we feel that we just cannot function effectively. Just learn to eat junk foods in moderation; and add plenty of vegetables and fruits to your diet. Try to get the amount of sleep you need (I know how hard it is - you want to do so many things all the time - when Jessica was 16 years old she wanted to go to bed after 11 pm and had to wake up at 5:30 am to get ready for school). I know you want to watch TV, call or instant message check your favorite sites; but the day has only so many hours and in the long run, you'll pay for your lack of sleep. How can you concentrate in school if you don't get enough sleep?

Also try to incorporate exercise in your lifestyle - you will feel better and with more energy and it is good for your health and to relieve stress. Take a multivitamin and a B-Complex supplement (you can ask your doctor about this). I personally think that vitamins do help, teenagers are in a constant growing process and going through many hormonal changes; when you are under a lot of stress you need extra vitamins - and since we cannot get all the vitamins we need from our foods, we should supplement our diet with them.

Learn to know your body and discover what foods work best for you. Too much caffeine (in coffee, tea and some sodas) could give you migraine headaches and cause stomach problems - it can also make you nervous and irritable (I myself love coffee, but I have to limit it to one cup per day). We can also become intolerant or allergic to certain foods, and they can cause us problems (congestion, upset stomach, low blood sugar, tiredness, etc.). So pay attention to the effects certain foods have in your body.

I tell my daughters, everything in moderation! You don't have to cut all the foods you like, but don't eat too much of something that you know will make you sick or make you miserable, or fat. I know it's not easy. I love dark chocolate; but every time I eat a little too much of it I run into trouble. The same with eggs, if they are not cooked well - it may be the salmonella in them - they give me a problem. So, just listen to your body and pay attention to the foods that you are eating - if they're upsetting you in any way - and pay attention to the reactions you experience from lack of sleep (lack of energy, lack of concentration, irritability, etc.) and try to do something to change or eliminate your bad habits.

I know you'll try to experiment with many things, like alcohol, smoking and other dangerous behaviors.  I just hope that if you choose to drink socially, one day, you learn to do it in moderation - without abusing it to the point where you lose control of yourself and don't know what you are doing (that's when people get into a lot of trouble).  I hope that you definitely stay away from smoking and doing drugs (or taking excessive amounts of prescription medicines) because these will destroy you. I hope that you stay away from certain behaviors that are addictive and detrimental to your health, your self-esteem, your spirit... I hope that you learn to love and appreciate yourself so much that you will stay away from all those destructive and addictive behaviors. I hope that you learn to be strong enough so you won't fall easily or be easily convinced to hurt yourself and others. I hope that you learn to take really good care of yourself and once in a while can take a deep breath and smile and feel proud of who you are.

"You have to learn to be your own expert for your own body."

"Accept everything about yourself - I mean everything! You are you and that is the beginning and the end. No apologies, no regrets."

Clark Moustakas

"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."

"Emotional sickness is avoiding reality at any cost. Emotional health is facing reality at any cost."

M.Scott Peck

"All disease is psychosomatic in origin. If we alter states of consciousness - we could heal ourselves."
Eric Butterworth

"For us to become whole and healthy, we must balance the body, mind and spirit.
We need to take good care of our bodies. We need to have a positive mental attitude about ourselves and about life. And we need to have a strong spiritual connection. Then we can rejoice in living..."
Louise Hay

"When you learn to totally LOVE yourself - then everything in your life will flow with ease and harmony; with  health, prosperity and joy..."


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