“You deserve a break today” is a slogan made famous by a fast food giant, and yet has a deeper message that each of us can apply to our daily lives. What is this message? It is a reminder that we each have value – that we are important. Stating that we need a break, assumes that most of us take care of responsibilities to others before we take care of ourselves. Many people have received a message throughout their life that they are not worth “self-indulgence”, that they don’t deserve to be pampered. But this message gives us permission to indulge and to pamper ourselves, and it is one that we should consider daily.
Let’s consider for a moment, what happens to our bodies when we are so busy taking care of others that we neglect ourselves. Stress is a huge drain on body resources. When we are working too many hours, running kids everywhere, taking care of aging parents or other family, and running a household, we can be sure that sooner or later, the pressures will take their toll and the miraculous machine that is our body, will have some sort of malfunction.
This is why taking care of oneself should be paramount in our daily rituals. Unless we care for ourselves, we cannot effectively take care of others in our lives, and the ones we care about don’t really get the “best” of us. We need to take care of every aspect of ourselves daily: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Physically, we need to honor our body by preparing healthy food. Food is medicine for our body, and is important to our health, mood and energy level. A balanced day of lean proteins and healthy fruits and vegetables will give us the ability to accomplish that to do list.
Our body needs exercise to stay healthy. It can be challenging to add in exercise time, but 15 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that make us feel good. We will look and feel better; and that will be reflected throughout your day.
For our mental health, a massage or a facial enhances a feeling of well being and helps rejuvenate and re-energize our mind. At home, a soak in a warm tub filled with soft fragrance, or a few scented candles in the room, and some soft music can be your mini-spa.
Last, but not least is spiritual self care. Most of us are not trained to tap into our spiritual beings, and it requires some effort. We need to be present with ourselves in everything we do, and this is no easy task. This means to pray and/or meditate as we start our day in order to center ourselves. Meditation can be as simple as taking five minutes to close our eyes and breathe deeply to quiet our physical and mental selves before we face the day.
Still crunching time numbers? Do your body and your loved ones a favor, and take care of you. If you take care of the physical, mental and spiritual you, you won’t need “the break today” – although you still deserve it!
César A. Lara, M.D. is a Board Certified family physician and a leading expert in the field of medicine, the treatment of obesity, and weight loss management. For more than 20 years, it has been Dr. Lara’s passion to become a positive force in America’s ever-growing obesity crisis…one patient at a time. Dr. Lara’s dream of helping men and women overcome diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other chronic conditions related to obesity was realized with the emergence of the César A. Lara, MD; Center for Weight Management as a premier weight loss center in Tampa Bay. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, Dr. Lara is known for his strong personal faith and his generous contributions to the Tampa Bay community. Dr. Lara regularly appears on television as a medical contributor to Brighthouse Network’s Bay News 9 en Español and WTSP-TV Studio 10. He frequently participates in corporate health fairs promoting an active lifestyle and healthy weight loss options. He is the founder of St. Michael’s Free Clinic and Weight Away Tampa Bay, charitable organizations that provide free medical treatment to those who cannot afford it.