It’s funny how backwards we operate sometimes. And since everyone else is working the system in reverse, it seems normal.
This is the case with being sick. We get sick, and then we take medication to get better. We gain weight, and because of that we bust our butts to get back to our happy weight. We get so tired we look ten years older, so we buy fancy creams or get botox to undo the damage. But something is off here. Does it even make sense? We’ve become a nation hooked on reactive healthcare.
This hit home for me when I took the day off last week. It was a Thursday, my to-do list was a mile high, and the pressure was on to complete some major projects. Yet, I was committed to taking this day off as part of a self-care experiment (I put it on my calendar almost six weeks ago). I’ve been exploring the idea that if you take the time to take care of yourself now, you don’t have to spend time feeling like crap later. I’ll admit it’s really hard when the present moment looms over you with deadlines and social events, but it was one of the most worthwhile things I’ve tried in a long time.
You know what I did? I slept, and slept some more. I slept for 15 hours. And didn’t even know I was tired. I didn’t even know I was capable of sleeping for that amount of time. I woke up the next day and felt amazing. The whole world looked crisper, my skin was smoother, my body felt restored, and my mind was sharper than I ever remember it being.
The light bulb went off for me that morning… “Why in the world would I spend the day lying in bed sick (feeling like death) when I could spend my day off indulgently enjoying my time?” I couldn’t come up with a good answer, therefore I’ve decided to take feel good days (or FGDs) instead of sick days.
What’s a feel good day you ask? A FGD is a period of time dedicated to taking care of yourself, doing things that restore and rejuvenate, and understanding what your body needs. These glorious hours bring you back into balance. They offset all of the long hours, hard work, and intense conditions you put yourself through with very little rest in between. Taking FGDs are imperative to your long-term health, mental clarity, and overall happiness. And the best part is, you don’t have to get sick and suffer to enjoy that time.
Here are my top five suggestions for creating your ideal Feel Good Day:
- Listen to your body. It’s so easy to become detached from your physical needs when you’re running around being super woman. Slow down and listen. Your body will tell you exactly what it wants to be healthy, and usually its requests are simple: eat well, sleep sound, practice self-love.
- Unplug. Take the day to turn off your electronics. Our phones, computers, ipads, TVs, and other technology suck up so much of our time, and disconnect us from what is truly important. Spend some time in nature, alone, or with the people you love most.
- Indulge. Release any expectations of what you should do with your FGD. Don’t let guilt trickle into your precious time. This day is for you, and you can do anything that you want with it. Drink wine in a bubble bath, eat kale salad and a giant chocolate bar, watch three chick flicks in a row. Sleep for 15 hours!
- Take it in. Spend some time during your day reflecting. Whether that’s through meditation, journaling, art work, or some other medium. It is not often that we slow down like this, so take this opportunity to check in and do a self-assessment. How do you feel? What are you grateful for? What makes you feel restored?
- Repeat often. Notice how great you feel after taking a FGD. Then plan a time when you can commit another 24-hour period to the same regimen. Put it in your calendar now, and don’t let something else take priority. Nothing is more important than taking care of your self. Only then can you be your best, and serve your purpose in the world.
Do this the smart way. Invest in taking care of yourself now, so sick days turn into a thing of the past, and feel good days become the new normal.