Taking Care of Ourselves

I see it all over the place, really. (Even I am guilty of it, at times.)

I see people who don’t go to the doctor when they are obviously very, very sick – and I’m not talking about a common cold. I see people who know they have medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or many other serious ones – they don’t take their medication, or they don’t eat properly, or they don’t take care of themselves. Things they know they should do, but they choose not to for whatever reason.

Really, I suppose it shouldn’t bother me, but it does. It bothers me, because if I know them, it means I care about them, as well. Perhaps it is a selfish way to look at things, but their not taking care of themselves affects me, too. It makes me worry, or it makes me frustrated. Sometimes, it even makes me want to pop them upside the head, even if it will do very little good.

So, other than popping them upside the head for not caring for themselves, no matter how fun that might be, I’ll just place some reasons we SHOULD take care of ourselves here, and go from there.

1. We feel personally better when we take care of ourselves.

And I mean it! Getting out of bed is easier. Food tastes better. At our jobs, we perform better when we feel good, and we can’t feel good if we don’t take care of ourselves.

Some people, perhaps, don’t know how to take care of themselves, but really, God made this easy. When we need sleep, we will feel tired. When we need to rest our feet, they will hurt. When we need to eat, we will feel hungry. When we need to eat more healthily, we will begin gaining weight. When we aren’t eating enough, we will lose weight. When we are sick, we will have the resulting symptoms that go with it.

Listen to what your body is telling you.

Now, I’m not saying to become a wimp and never push yourself, but really – how healthy is it to have to drink an energy drink to make it through your day because you are not sleeping at night? Pushing yourself and harming yourself are too different things.

2. If we get the sleep we need, our quality of work will be better.

Let me give you two situations that I’ve actually witnessed from students within my classroom:

Problem – waiting until the last minute to do the work.

Student 1 – He gets the work done by staying up an extra five hours to do it, putting him at getting to bed around 4 a.m. It is on time and finished. He slides into bed and is able to get a few hours sleep, but not many. In fact, he is so wired on energy drinks that he took to keep himself awake in the first place, he tossed and turned the rest of the night.

Result – being exhausted and unable to give his 100% the next day because he stayed up so late, he fell asleep in several classes and missed the notes, assignments, and homework for these classes. He also realized that the project he stayed up so late to complete was not done well. It was sloppy, and several elements had been left out because of his exhaustion and lack of focus – made only worse by his lack of sleep and the addition of the artificial energy supplements to force him to perform.

– OR –

Student 2 – He wasn’t done with the work, but his body was telling him that he needed sleep, so he went ahead and got some. He set his alarm so he could get up at a reasonable time to work on the project, rather than staying up late.

Result – He finished the project in half the time it would have taken him if he would have stayed up all night, because his body was rested and ready to go when he woke up in the morning. His work was a better quality, and he still got the project in on time. He was also tired during class, but as he got more genuine rest rather than tossing and turning, he was able to keep himself awake, even if he did accidentally fall asleep at lunchtime. When he got home, he took a nap before dinner.

Notice, please, that both students got less sleep than they should have. However, the difference was WHEN they got the sleep, and the quality of sleep. Student 1 finished the work first, but he was so tired while doing the work, it’s not done well. Student 1 had also taken so many energy supplements that, when he did get the opportunity to sleep, his body would not do so. Student 2 got up early after getting some rest, and finished the work more quickly and more efficiently because he had given his body a bit of time to rest, rather than supplementing with artificial energy makers.

Neither case is optimum, and both students were irresponsible, but the difference in the quality of work was clearly seen.

3. Taking care of yourself leads to a healthier life.

Believe it or not, the more we take care of ourselves, the healthier we are. Sleep raises our immune systems, so we get ill less often. Healthy food helps our metabolism and immune system, as well, so we are thinner, and we get ill less often. If we are prescribed medication, that medication also helps our body systems balance out, so they can handle running us better. Exercise helps us breath better, and tones those muscles that we need on a daily basis to make it through the day.

Our body is a very complicated machine. Just like a car that needs to be well oiled, our bodies need to be given the fuels and tools it needs to operate properly. And guess what – when you take care of yourself, just as it is illustrated in the above example with sleep – your work quality is better!

4. You are easier to get along with when you’re taking care of yourself.

Okay, we’ve already established that you feel better when you’re taking care of yourself. Right along with that, when you feel better, you’re temperament is better. You are easier to get along with, your temper isn’t quite as quick, and you can think more rationally about things. People will actually like you better when you’re well-rested, eating well, and feel good.

5. You look better when you’re taking care of yourself.

Yep, I really mean this one. You actually look better when you’re exercising, eating right, and getting sleep. Your hair has a healthier sheen, your muscles smooth out, and you have more color to your skin. Who needs a face-lift when you can do it for free with exercise, good food, and sleep?

Do you want that promotion? TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Your quality of work will be higher, your temperament will be better, you will look better – you’ll be the better candidate for that job.

Do you want to be more attractive? TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! You’ll look better, feel better, and even be a bit nicer to others.

Do you want to achieve your goals? TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! You’ll have more energy to tackle your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals when you actually feel well.

Do you just want to have an easier time getting out of bed so you can have a better morning? The solution is simple… TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

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