Would you like to know a secret that doctors know? People don’t take very good care of themselves. Another secret is that doctors don’t take great care of themselves either.
There are so many reasons why we do things that are bad for us. It’s easier, it feels good at the moment, we are too busy or stressed out. Here is my simplified conclusion. We don’t take good enough care of ourselves because we do not value ourselves enough. Do you eat junk that you don’t let your kids eat because it is not good for them? Do you make time for others but never yourself? I want you to say to yourself, “I matter and I am worth taking care of”.
Your challenge today is to value yourself. Do something good for you today.
– Get in your exercise, get a massage, make the appointment for your hair or nails or doctor’s visit (yep, I snuck that in).
– Make a list of what makes you the great person you are.
– Make a permanent decision to stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself.
When the airplane is crashing and the oxygen mask drops they always say to put your mask on first. You are little help to all those you self – sacrifice for if you don’t take care of yourself first.
In college, a friend of mine told me, “You don’t always have to be talking”. I was so mad at him. Since that time, I have realized that was the most impactful thing anyone has ever said to me. I have always liked to talk but I am very aware that the most important thing I can do is listen.
Let me clarify what listening is not. It is not leaving a pause for the other person to have a turn while you rehearse what you’re about to say in your mind. Listening is opening your ears and mind to hear and process someone’s reality.
I tell every medical student I train that the most important part of being a doctor is listening. People will tell you what is wrong with them and you will only be able to help them if you are listening. This is not unique to the doctor-patient relationship. Your kids will tell you what’s up with them. Are you hearing what they tell you or what you want to hear? Your family and friends will see the world differently than you. Do you listen to them to appreciate their views and maybe even grow within yourself?
When you truly listen you will learn, grow and validate the people you care about. I challenge you to listen to the world around you today. Put down the distractions, turn down the noise, clear your mind of preconception and just listen.
One of the most important things to me is to make sure I say “Thank You”. I never want people to think I don’t appreciate their kindness or efforts. But lately, I am trying to make the most important thing for me to feel “Thank You” when saying it and when not saying it.
It is easy to get hung up on what did not go our way on this day or in this life. But if we redirect our feelings to intentionally focus on what we are thankful for then there will be no room for those negative thoughts. Many people will attest that an attitude of gratitude has changed their life. Gratitude helps people feel positive emotions, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
We are reminded one day a year that our ancestors were Thankful for a great harvest. My pantry and fridge are never even close to empty yet throughout the year, I sometimes forget to take in all that I have.
I want to challenge you to be more grateful.
– Start a gratitude journal where you find a piece of paper and 1 minute to write down a few things you are grateful for each day.
– When you are feeling frustrated or short-tempered today, close your eyes for 30 seconds and think of something you are thankful for.
– Before you get out of your car at work this morning, make a list of some things and feel the gratitude.
It’s been a very busy year. I don’t pretend to think I am alone in thinking this. I have an amazing friend who just completed her Ph.D., start to finish, in two years. Now that is busy! (Way to go Stacy Jones!)
For too many of us, life gets too busy, even overwhelming. Our purpose becomes getting from Monday to Friday. I ask you to have a better goal today than to get through the day. I ask you to slow down and enjoy the day. I promise you there is something enjoyable that you are going to miss as you rush by it – bird singing, a sunset (I hear these happen every day ?) a chance to be thankful, a chance to be present.
If we slow down and are truly present in each moment this day will be different than most. We may hear our loved ones trying to tell us something that we have not been hearing. We may see the beauty that we have been missing.
I want you to make yourself present within the moment as much as you can today.
– Think about what is happening now, not about what still needs to be done.
– Put a sticker on your cell phone to remind you to slow down and just enjoy the moment.
– Set an alarm on your phone and when it goes off simply look around, take a deep breath and notice one good thing.
We are surrounded by pretty amazing things and people every day. Today, let’s notice them.
I have a 98-year-old patient who was dying and told me; “98 years goes by in a blink. Spend your time doing things that matter.”
It’s hard to define what matters. There are things that must be done whether they matter or not – I get that. But do we ever really think about whether we are spending our time in ways that will make us feel full-filled at the end of our 98 years?
If today was your last day would you do or say something different? If I asked you to take the next 30 seconds and think about what matters to you, could you do something today to emphasize those people and things that matter?
– Tell your child you are proud of them, not for one thing they do but for who they are.
– Think of someone that you are amazed by or someone you greatly respect. Drop that person a quick text to tell them what they do that amazes you.
– Reach out to someone who is suffering a loss and show them love. You don’t have to say anything magical just send a text or card or call to let them know you care.
– Put down the electronics and be present with the people you love. Nothing shows you care like your undivided attention.
As you check off the list of all the things you have to do today, do something that matters. Something that you will know at the end of your 98-year life mattered to someone. That thing that matters will likely change the course of someone’s day. It will definitely change the course of your day.
I would like to invite you to join me on the seven-day Try A Little Harder to Be a Little Better (#TLHBLB) Challenge. I am going to commit to focus on one thing a day to improve my life for the next seven days. If we focus our efforts to “do a little better” could this change your life, your relationships, your family, the world?
For the next seven days, I am going to post a suggestion for directing your thoughts and efforts for that day. I hope you will join me in this #TLHBLB challenge.
Feel free to share this challenge. We want to start this holiday season by helping as many people as possible to direct their minds, efforts, and intentions to things that matter.
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