As a kid, I loved loved loved the book Go Dog Go by PD Eastman. “Do you like my hat?”…”No I do not!” Ha! I could probably recite the entire book right now. I suppose I could trace my passion for dogs back to days as a 6 year old reading Go Dog Go over and over again. The title came to mind because the month of January has been a month of Go Dog is Good Go, Go, Go, and Go some more.
Our frantic pace, jumping from trade show to trade show, is nearing its end, and I am finally able to “come up for air”. Alone in my home now, there are no bright lights shining down on me, no music blaring, no people walking back and forth in front of me, no conversations, and definitely no cookies and snacks tempting me at every turn.
The only sounds in the room are deep breaths emanating from BOLO, who is using my foot as her pillow, and the snorts and snores coming from Henry- curled up on the floor next to me. They live and breathe with “self-care” in mind. Their lifestyle is enviable: eat, sleep, play, repeat…
Most people I know are on the go constantly, rarely taking time for self-care. Despite intuitively knowing lack of self-care leads to “crash and burn”, many people just don’t take the time to step away from the frenzied pace and recharge. When we give ourselves “permission” to engage in self-care the same way we nurture and care for our pets and family, we can improve our mental and physical health and create a lifestyle that generates real happiness.
I have no idea why taking time for oneself is often interpreted as being selfish or overindulgent. I admit that I struggle with self-imposed “guilt” on this issue myself. I spoke recently with a friend who desperately needed at least ½ a day to decompress upon her return from a long business trip. Discussion of going to get a massage, head out for a long bike ride or hike in the mountains, or get a mani/pedi were quickly poo-pooed because of guilt. She believed that she could not take any more time away from her family to enjoy something that would put her in a state of relaxation. Yet, operating in near depletion mode doesn’t really serve anyone well. You can’t pour joy, passion, love, laughter, or energy into someone or something else if your “internal well” is bone dry. You have to replenish and it does not take a lot of time or effort.
I know it’s so tempting to tackle all the “to-do’s” that have piled up while you have been frantically hammering away on the hamster wheel, but you simply MUST take care of your mind and body. Increase the effectiveness of self-care by partnering with your dog. I break away from the “noise” each day to walk in remote areas with my dogs. Yesterday, all stress fell away as I spent an hour throwing a ball for BOLO at the park. Here are a some additional ideas to get the creative juices flowing or things you can identify for yourself to keep you in your “flow”:
- Turn off the phone and all social media for 30-60 minutes and listen to music to re-energize you
- Watch comedy skits on YouTube to generate laughter and pump some endorphins into the bloodstream
- Take a 20 minute “cat-nap” snuggled next to your dog
- Go to a spa, go to the movies, get a mani/pedi, go to lunch alone, drink hot tea and do nothing for 20 minutes
Rather than “Go Dog Go”….just STOP. There is no way you can go, go, go all the time without refueling. BOLO is letting me know right now, it’s time for me to fill up the tank again and take some time for a little more self-care, so off to the park we go to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and some quiet peaceful time together.