Take care of yourself!

Self-care concept with a person relaxing in nature

Take Care of Yourself

Have you ever experienced the struggle of tying your shoes and feeling like it’s difficult to breathe when you bend over? I’ve found myself in that situation multiple times in my life. You know what I did? Absolutely nothing. It didn’t occur to me that my health was impacting my overall well-being. Others may have noticed, but I remained oblivious. All I recognized was that I didn’t feel as good as I used to.

Here’s the thing: health is something we have complete control over. We can opt for water over soda, choose salad instead of a candy bar, and make healthier eating choices overall. However, the reality is that many times we resist making these healthier choices. We often turn to sugary foods as a coping mechanism—a way to get through the day. It becomes our lifeline and our source.

of sustenance, if you will.

Hey, I understand—I’ve been there before, and guess what? I’m there now.

One thing I’ve realized is that my eating habits and how I feel are directly linked to my performance. Moreover, before I embarked on this journey on my own, solely with God in the business, performance wasn’t as crucial. However, now that I rely on my health and motivation to stay afloat and pay the bills, I’ve noticed that even a small workout significantly boosts my energy levels for the day.

Another observation I’ve made is regarding the amount of sleep I get. I come from a family where my dad, well, he might have been a bit of an exaggerator when it came to his sleep schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but he took pride in telling people that he woke up at 3:30 am and went to bed at 10:30, “right after the news.” (I never had the heart to tell him that he could catch the same news at 6:30, 8:30, and 9:30.) Now, to be fair, my dad did indeed rise early—he never fibbed about that. With two cows to milk before heading off to work, his mornings started early, usually around 5:30 or 6 a.m., and his workplace was at least 30 minutes away. However, where he may have stretched the truth was about his bedtime. He conveniently omitted the fact that he often dozed off in his chair from 7:30 to 10:00, only waking up briefly to catch the news before truly turning in for the night.

Anyway, I used to believe that men didn’t require much sleep, but I’ve learned better now—thanks to my wife’s teachings, of course. Lol. Over the past year, I’ve completely overhauled my schedule. I now ensure that I’m either in bed or preparing for bed by 9 p.m., and I rise around 4:30 a.m. I dedicate the first hour and a half of my day to accomplishing important tasks, such as sending birthday wishes to everyone on Facebook, reading scripture, and tackling projects that would otherwise be interrupted by distractions.

The point is that we all have different work styles. However, I’ve come to realize that if you’re sleep-deprived, your performance throughout the day will suffer. Imagine sitting in a meeting with a client and yawning because you stayed up too late or woke up excessively early for no reason. It doesn’t exactly earn you brownie points. I’ve personally witnessed how off-putting it can be for clients. I’ve had clients approach me, questioning, “What’s up with Joe? He seems disengaged—I even caught him nodding off during the meeting!”

Do yourself and your career a favor: prioritize getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself. Remember, it’s never beneficial to pour yourself into anything excessively!

Exercise is another vital component of a successful day. Simply commuting from your house to your car, then to the office, and sitting for most of the day, followed by the reverse journey, and ending with an evening of TV-watching won’t leave you feeling great about yourself.

I understand there are various types of people here: those who work out regularly and are in great shape; those who struggle with weight and likely don’t feel very good; and then there are those who maintain mostly healthy lifestyles and are content with their bodies.

I typically fall somewhere between unhealthy and almost content with my body type. While I acknowledge that I could improve and exercise more, I’ve chosen to be content with the way God made me. However, when I start feeling like I can’t breathe while tying my shoes, I recognize that it’s time to step up my efforts.

Here’s my recommendation for exercise: discover an activity that you genuinely enjoy. I’ve found running to be my passion, despite disliking it as a kid. Begin by dedicating just one day a week to exercise, allocating around 20 minutes for it. If you notice improvements in how you feel, consider increasing it to twice a week. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself engaging in some form of exercise every day of the week.

When it comes to eating right, there are a few strategies you can implement. One effective approach is to keep a case of water in your vehicle. I opt for reusable water bottles and ensure I have one in my truck every day. Having water readily available helps curb cravings for other beverages.

Challenge yourself privately to see how long you can go without soda or energy drinks—no one else needs to know. The longest I’ve managed was five years, and during that time, I felt the best I ever had about my body. Another tip is to choose a salad instead of a burger when dining out; this simple switch has been a significant success for me.

Here’s my tip for sleeping: Take a cue from the birds. When the sun sets, start thinking about finding a cozy spot to roost for the night. Then, when the sun rises, you’ll be ready to start your day. Instead of boasting about how late you can stay up, take pride in how well you sleep. Set your alarm and resist hitting snooze. The moment your alarm goes off, get out of bed, and hit the ground running.

The final piece of advice I’d like to share is the importance of setting aside some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a little. I understand how challenging this can be, especially with family, work, and all the other demands of life. However, if you neglect to prioritize a few moments of peace to unwind, you’ll find yourself in the doctor’s office sooner rather than later. Stress and worry are among the leading causes of health issues today. So, take a few moments to switch off your phone and truly take a break. Trust me, the world can wait for you for 10 minutes.

You’ve only got one body, so make sure you take care of it. Don’t fill it with junk. I remember a teacher once telling me, “You are what you eat.” I didn’t used to put much faith in that, but now I realize they were right. If you consume a lot of unhealthy food, you’ll feel sluggish and low on energy. However, if you maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel much more vibrant and ready to tackle the day.

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