People generally don’t love people who love themselves. They’re narcissistic, conceited, bigoted, selfish and, well, just full of themselves. So how does that reconcile with self love? Self love is completely different. It’s about taking care of yourself as you would someone you love dearly, a daughter or son for instance. And that’s OK. It’s about taking care of what we put in our bodies, what we eat, drink, swallow, smoke, sniff or inject, and how much we consume. It’s about getting exercise that improves the workings of our vital organs, the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. It’s about the thoughts, opinions and narratives we allow into our heads and how we allow those to influence and shape us. It’s about the time we take for ourselves to rest, recover and plan for the future. And it’s about our purpose in life, what we stand for, where we want to go and what we want to achieve. The safety announcements on every airline across the world include the exact same statement; “Please fit your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others with theirs.” This is exactly what I mean by self love. In a nutshell, if we’re in no fit shape ourselves, our ability to help others is severely limited. So what can we do? I went through some pretty torrid times. Here’s what’s helped me turn things around… 1. Watch What You Consume. Treat what you put into your body as fuel (that is exactly what it is). If you owned a $300,000 Ferrari, you wouldn’t put low grade crap in the fuel tank. Your body is much more valuable, treat it as such 2. Move your Ass. Roughly 2 in 3 adults in the western world are overweight or obese. That puts extra strain on the body and it’s ability to work efficiently. Eating better and in the right quantity will help, but exercise will directly boost the working of every major organ, give you more energy and make you feel a lot better about yourself 3. Install a guard at the entrance to your mind. There’s loads of negative crap out there and if we’re not careful we can allow it to contaminate us. The regular media, social media, even friends and family can fill our heads with toxic thoughts and sooner or later we become toxic ourselves. It doesn’t have to be that way. We all have the power to choose where and what we focus on. Of course we all need to stay informed, and we can do that by looking at the facts. We don’t need the negative opinions, commentary and uttering of others, so leave them well alone. 4. Schedule ‘me time’. I choose to wake early each morning and start my day whilst others are still sleeping. They won’t distract me and I won’t disturb them. I use this time for me, to set up my day by planning, practicing gratitude and meditation and exercising. By doing it early, I know I am able to give others my full attention when they’re up from bed too. But when you do it is less important than doing it. Make sure you do. 5. Find your purpose. You are not a job title, a label or a number. You are special and you have the ability to influence things beyond your wildest dreams. Having a purpose is an extension of self identity. It enables us to live with passion and energy. If you’re struggling to find a purpose take some time to analyse what really matters to you most. If that still doesn’t work, think about what makes you mad as hell, and think about how you can do something to address it. In summary, self love is not selfish. It is not self centred. It is simply ensuring we get ourselves into the best position possible so we can then help and support others, including our kids.
Guest Post by Damon Dietz It’s 9:13pm on a Tuesday evening , and I finally have some peace and quiet to myself. The kids are in bed, and I plop down on my couch to watch a new episode of Breaking Bad. Suddenly, my cell phone vibrates with an alert from my bank. Yep, it’s another alert about an insufficient funds fee. That’s the third this month. I thought to myself, “What’s the point of having a budget? It doesn’t even work.” Fast forward a decade later, and I finally understand that is wasn’t the budget that was failing, it was me that was failing at sticking to the budget. Learning how to budget can be a tough task, and most budget fails because of three common reasons; unrealistic projections, not putting it in writing, and quitting too soon. Unrealistic Expectations So many people just pull numbers out of thin air when developing a budget. “I think I spend about $300 a month on groceries,” is something I have heard often when helping single dads with their budgets. No. Just no. Go back over the previous three months worth of bank statements and/or credit card bills and add up all your supermarket expenses. Then average those months to find out an actual depiction of what you spend monthly on groceries. You need to do this for all categories on your budget. Some items, known as fixed expenses (rent, mortgage, car payment, etc) will not change, but you need to concern yourself with the variable expenses, the ones which will change month to month (groceries, eating out, clothes, frivolous Amazon purchases, etc.). Once you have done this, you can set some realistic expectations on your budget. Not Putting It In Writing Once you have your expectations set, you should put everything in writing. A written budget will keep you on route to success and also help you to decide how and where your budget should be updated. Never underestimate the importance of declaring your goals in writing. Once you write your budget, it becomes real and more importantly, attainable. Quitting Too Soon I can’t tell you how many times in life I quit at things that were important to me. I quit numerous times when trying to lose weight . I quit when trying to save money. And I quit my budget many times as well. I quit because I got discouraged, which is understandable. But, the sooner you stop quitting, the sooner you will accomplish the particular goal or task. When I finally decided to stick to my budget, no matter how discouraged I become, I eventually succeeded. Look at it this way… let’s say you planned a family vacation to Niagra Falls. You are nearly halfway there, and you realized that you drove 20 miles off route. Do you turn around and go home? I certainly hope that’s not your first thought. Why then, after having one bad month with your budget, do you decide to throw in the towel? Stick with it. Just like anything else in life, you will get better with practice. Don’t quit. You and your budget will be better off for it. Bio Damon Dietz is a writer, filmmaker, and professional speaker, who shares his knowledge of finance, health, and life from the perspective of a single, divorced dad over 40. He is a father to three amazing kids and thinks dads are kick-ass, even when the rest of the world thinks we’re idiots. You can read more of his musings at: www.damondietz.com
As #mentalhealthawarenessweek continues, let’s talk about the most common mental health issue, #stress. I’m guessing we’ve all felt it at some point. Maybe just before that important meeting or when we look at the To Do list and wish for more hours in the day. Short burst of stress are fine. Our bodies’ react by releasing hormones like adrenaline to help us cope. These hormones are efficiently used as we react and we soon return to normal. But, they are created in the same way and in the same quantity regardless of whether the event is real and happening now, are an imagined worse case scenario of the future or a memory of the past. When there is no action the hormones have no use and nowhere to go, and that has a dramatic and detrimental affect on health. If stress continues over a prolonged period it affects everything from our mood to our immunity. Our #mentalhealth plummets and our physical health soon follows, to potentially dangerous degrees. So, what can we do? There are many techniques that can help, but today is World Meditation Day. If you’re anything like I was you may dismiss #meditation as a load of old baloney. It was only when I swallowed my pride and tried it that I discovered how simple yet and powerful it is. Why not give it a go? Today is a good day to start.