Buddhism teaches us to be compassionate to all sentient beings and that includes the self. We can’t be kind to others when we feel cranky because we’re tired from doing things for others, like your boss, your mate, your kids or whomever. It’s important to carve out time for yourself everyday. I don’t mean a few minutes either. I mean at least one hour. You are worth that.
I have a senior dog and cat sanctuary and there are times I feel like I’m running a preschool daycare, only the kids don’t go home at the end of the day. They live here 24/7. There’s always something that needs to be done, so I’ve learned to take timeouts throughout the day.
Most meditation teachers suggest meditating as soon as you wake up. When I wake up, I have dogs to walk and feed. The cats eat breakfast too. Two of my cats have to be hand fed due to health issues. After they’re done, I eat my breakfast and then I meditate for fifteen to twenty minutes. After that, I do my yoga stretches and listen to a talk from a variety of Buddhist teachers like, Jack Kornfield, or Alan Watts.
When I’m done with that its time to walk the dogs again and feed everyone lunch. Even though there are lots of chores to do, I manage to take good care of me. I eat a healthy vegan diet and take supplements. I just started going to an acupuncturist to get my immune system back in balance.
When I take the time to take care of myself, I’m a much happier, calmer person (although there are times Hubby begs to differ). Before I learned about Buddhism and decided to practice its teachings, I ran around like a crazy person, helping everyone else and neglecting my needs. Cable news played on the TV in the background while I was at home doing chores. I even called myself a news junkie. What I really was, was a frazzled hot mess. Now I don’t have cable TV. I am still aware of what’s happening in the world but I don’t get myself all worked up anymore. I can’t control what’s happening out there but I can control my inner world. I’ve learned that there will always be something to be mad about and I have better things to with my precious time than listen to endless drama.
I can be more productive taking care of my needs first. I can contribute positive ideas to solutions that help my outer world be a better place for all sentient beings. My focus now is providing a safe, loving home for senior animals. It is how I choose to make a positive contribution to the world.