Too often, we work like crazy, taking care of our children, our grandchildren, our spouses, our parents, our in-laws, our siblings, our co-workers, and our friends. Women fall prey to this “sandwich generation” problem more than men, as we are natural caretakers (must be hormones). But men too find that their plate is full with all the responsibilities that life brings.  Where is the time and space for ME and how about that rarely used phenomena called FUN?   Below are some tips from a recovering workaholic (that’s me) who also works with workaholics. Try them out and let me know what you think. You just might have some fun…Nurturing Yourself!
Take time off.  
I know it sounds ridiculously easy, but for many of us, it isn’t.  Promise yourself to schedule a weekly chunk a time that is dedicated to you and only you.  Write your name on your own calendar or appointment book. If you can’t do this one alone, ask a friend to assist.  I once had so many hours of work scheduled, that all I did was complain. I promised two of my friends that if I worked more than 40 hours, I would pay them $50 each. I kept the checks in my wallet to remind me of the promise I had made to myself. It worked!
Be creative. 
You don’t need a lot or money or time for self-nurturance. My friend described a recent mental health day. She rented several movies; bought popcorn and candy and spent the entire day at home watching movies (The kids were all at school).  What a great idea and hardly any money was spent! Another friend spent her day off, alone at the wave pool, just hanging out and peacefully enjoying the water and sun.
Develop a ritual. 
Rituals send signals your body a signal to take time to relax. Perhaps a bath with your favorite essential oils (like Balance or Lavender), a visit to a hot tub, reciting a comforting prayer or chant (I love to use Frankincense essential oil while meditating) , listening to a great CD, wearing favorite pants that are threadbare but comfy (I know you have that comfy pair, or special slippers that acknowledge the end of the work day. Let your body know you are taking care of it.
Let go of the guilt.
Practice telling yourself that it is OK to take a day off. Clerical staff get coffee breaks, union workers receive mandated breaks, so why don’t parents get to enjoy the same necessity of rest? You deserve a break today. You are the only person telling yourself that you MUST do certain things.  Let go of those SHOULDS for a few days, or longer.
Take a risk. 
Do something that you have a passion for. Maybe it is wind surfing or kayaking, water skiing or rock climbing.  I recently allowed myself to go on a trip to Paris, France with a best friend.  We visited museums, ate delicious French crepes, cruised the Seine at night and toured the beautiful city. Never in my wildest dreams had I allowed myself to imagine such a trip. Having now returned, I feel refreshed and ready to face even the rough days. You can experience the same recharging of your batteries by planning an adventure. Let your imagination go wild.
Call your best friend. 
Just for the fun of it. Catch up if it’s been awhile.
Take care of yourself.
Really, I mean it. Generally, people take better care of their car than they do themselves. They make sure the car is filled with gas and oil, the tire pressure checked, etc. Likewise, make sure you schedule your yearly doctor appointments, dental check-ups, chiropractic adjustments, etc.  DO not forget your prostate exams and breast self- exams. Create morning and evening rituals using essential oils. I love to use essential oils in the morning like 2 drops of Lemon essential oil in my water, a drop or two of melaleuca in my shampoo, and a drop of Yarrow|Pom in my moisturizer.  During the day, I like to have a diffuser going at my desk. I love to use Peppermint and Wild Orange, or Spearmint and Lime to get me past that mid afternoon slump. In the evening, I love to add Serenity to my diffuser before I go to sleep and rub a roller filled with Adaptiv blend on the bottoms of my feet. As my mother in law used to say…. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
If you need help getting started, you might want to sign up for my 7-Day Self-Love Challenge.  You’ll get an ebook along with 2 bonuses: 100 Ways to Relieve Stress and an MP4 of The Island of Calm, Healing the Stress Within. Each day you’ll get an email from me with easy self-care techniques including how to use essential oils to recharge your mind, body, and soul.
What do you like to do to nurture yourself?  Do you have a regular time set aside or just when the need arises?