It’s another busy morning. The kids are fighting in the bathroom, the dog’s scratching at the back door, and the school bus is honking at the curb. After you finally get the big kids out the door to school and buckle the baby into his car seat to head to daycare, you turn the key in the ignition only to hear a dead click. As you pull out your cell phone to call for help, you notice its battery is dead. Then you remember that you left the coffee pot on and never did let the dog out. Of course it’s garbage day, but nobody put the bins out on the street to be picked up. And if you aren’t at your desk in five minutes, your manager is going to write you up. Again.
Real life and week days can be quite unforgiving. The clock runs, and so do we. In the rush to keep the family fed and the boss happy, too often we forget that we have actual needs that aren’t being met. While most of us can’t just put the world on pause and run away from it all, there are things we can do every day to stay sane and healthy.
It’s time to HALT.
Never let yourself become too Hungry. Your body needs fuel to function. Just like if your car won’t run if it runs out of fuel, your body does the same. Taking meal breaks isn’t a waste of time, and it isn’t selfish; it’s a necessity. Plan your meals, pack your snacks, and be prepared to give your body what it needs to get the job done!
Never let yourself become too Angry. We all have frustrations, and when we’re busy, it’s easy to brush the frustrations aside and not deal with them. The problem is that eventually, those unresolved feelings boil up and boil over. It’s all too easy for that anger to take the form of road rage, fights with loved ones, or even physical consequences like high blood pressure. Find the time — or make the time — to deal with your frustrations as they come. Take a breath. Talk it out. Take a walk. Punch a pillow if you need to. It really will make you feel better.
Never let yourself become too Lonely. No matter how introverted you are, you weren’t made to handle life alone. We’re here to help each other, and there’s no shame in asking for help — or company when you need it. And who knows? Maybe the person you ask for help is somebody who needs somebody, too.
Never let yourself become too Tired. Scientists have now learned that lack of sleep has the same detrimental effects to the body and mind that alcohol intoxication has. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can’t make decisions well, we can’t handle our emotions well, and we don’t have the physical and mental resources to function well in our lives. We may not be able to control how much work our bosses send our way, and we may not be able to control how many times the baby wakes up crying during the night, but we can learn how to say “no” and to create boundaries and make decisions that help us get the rest we need.
Today, do yourself a favor and HALT. You deserve it!
Photo Credits: fshnextension, jill111, Alexis, cherylholt, and AlexVan.