We Teach People How to Treat Us
It’s harder to get kicked in the butt if you don’t bend over. We grab our ankles and allow people to use, mistreat, or be inconsiderate of us. Sometimes we do this to avoid disappointing or angering them. Other times, we think if we smile through the behavior, the person will see that we are worthy and their behavior will change. We can’t purchase people’s love (or change their behavior) by tolerating mistreatment. Check out the book Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beatty to learn about the damage we do to ourselves when we try to please or control others. You will also learn how to establish healthy boundaries and teach people to respect them.
Learn the power of “NO.” When someone asks you to do something, tell them you’ll get back to them. Give yourself time to consider: Do I want to do this? Will doing it make time, energy, or other resources unavailable for activities that give me joy or make my life more secure? Will doing this make it harder to meet the commitments that ARE mine? It’s okay and often necessary to say “No.” You don’t have to explain. When you’re grown, “I don’t want to” is a good enough reason. I’ve learned to smile and say “No, thank you” or “That’s not in my life plan right now.” It confuses people long enough for me to walk away. If they come back, I say it again, every time.
Give yourself the gifts of exercise and rest Regular exercise changes brain chemistry in ways that can fight depression and even ease pain. Taking a class will also increase social outlets and there are lots of virtual options. You don’t have to become a jock though. You can walk, dance, bike, bowl, skate, or march in place while you’re watching TV. Just do something for 30 minutes at least 4 days a week.
Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep and give yourself 10 or 15 minutes to wind down before bed: bubble bath, stretching, light reading, meditation. Yes, you can. The people in your family won’t die if you’re not available to them for 10 or 15 minutes. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Put the tech down! Use a mask to block the light, and set your alarm to wake you with relaxing tones. My clock also mimics sunrise. Great for those sunless winter days. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that is worse between fall and spring when there is less sunlight. In these stressful days, we might all benefit from extra non-burning sun energy. Investigate safe, effective options through SAD websites and talk to your doctor.
This is the second in a series of self-care topics. See you next week. In the meantime, please visit Amazon.com and give copies of my new book, Dear Lauren, Love Mom: 31 Days of Affirmations for My Daughter, for Myself, and for YOU, to everyone you love and want to encourage. Make sure one of those people is YOU.