Stop trudging your way from waking to sleeping. A few simple adjustments can help you find the joy in your life again, no self-help seminars required.
Spending your days hustling to get everything done and maybe get a few hours of sleep before starting the whole thing over again will drain you - so it's a shame that so many of us live this way. You can't blame us - while the number of hours in a day has always been the same, the demands upon our time and energy only increase.
Nobody likes to let others down, and many times, it's a question of survival. Priorities get shifted, and the joy slowly recedes. Before long, you feel more like a machine than a person, working to live and living to work. Stop it now.
Don't eschew your responsibilities, but shift your priorities back to where you had time to relish life and enjoy yourself. If it means delegating and letting things go, so be it.
Some priorities shouldn't be priorities, so skew your perspective back to putting your own well-being first, and you'll find that you take care of everything else so much more effectively.
When was the last time you had a checkup? Make a list of all those nagging physical complaints you have, and get them to a doctor. No insurance? Find a clinic. It's much easier to find joy when your back pain is gone and your energy levels are back to normal.
Eat fresh foods. It may be slightly more expensive, so eat less. You're probably mindlessly eating too much anyway, because you don't have time to pay attention to what goes in your mouth. Enjoy your food, and don't eat anything you don't love.
Exercise every day, even if it's just a walk with the dog - talk about killing two birds with one stone! You'll both feel better for it. Don't take a guilt trip if you don't have time to get to spinning class, just do what you can. The more movement you get (in any form), the better.
Sleep about seven hours every night. Having trouble sleeping? Put that on the list for the doctor.
Make Time For You
Making time for yourself doesn't have to mean a weekly spa day (although that would be nice). Take 30 minutes before bed and relax with a glass of wine and a good book. Give yourself a facial while the kids are napping. Sneak into the bathroom at work to loosen your belt, relax and close your eyes for five minutes.
Record your guilty pleasure television shows and watch them when you have time. Go ahead and pick up that trashy gossip rag and leaf through it in the tub. Make absolutely certain that you do something that makes you happy every single day.
Give of Yourself
It can be difficult to think about volunteering your time when most days you don't have time to use the bathroom without interruption. So delegate - if you have kids, you have built-in house cleaners. Your 13-year-old can dust and vacuum while you're mentoring underprivileged kids or working at the soup kitchen or animal shelter or whatever cause moves you.
Better yet, bring the kids - you'll expose them to things outside the bubble of your protective embrace, and you'll set them up for a lifetime of compassion and empathy. So the lawn won't get mowed today, but your spirit will get a little boost from helping those in need.
When life gets hectic, our social lives are often the first thing to get pushed aside. Having a strong social network is linked to longer life and a higher level of well-being, so don't lose track of your friends entirely.
Plan get-togethers as often as possible (chances are, they're just as busy as you), but a quick phone call to catch up will do the trick if you're in a time crunch. There's a catch, though - only keep the friends that bring joy to your life. Toxic friends must go. If they are a negative influence and bring about only negative feelings, let them go.
Life is too short and too busy to hold energy-sucking grudges. Learn to forgive and let go. Air your grievance like an adult, listen to the explanation/apology, and move on. Forgiving someone doesn't mean you condone what they've done, or even that it's okay - it just means that you no longer choose to carry the burden of negativity within your heart.
Even if you can't quite feel the same about that person afterward, at least you've learned something about their character.
Forgiveness also applies to yourself. Flubbed a presentation? Caved into the brownies? Had a fender-bender? Don't beat yourself up about it. Things happen. If there were no such thing as failure, we wouldn't understand the feeling of success. Think of it as a learning experience, take the lesson to heart and move on.
Incorporate these basic tenets into your life, and you'll find your burden (and your soul) that much lighter. Life is meant to be lived, not survived, so go at it with intention to get the most out of it.