Why the Act of Giving is VITAL

“You have two hands – one to help yourself, the second to help others”

There are so many holidays here in the U.S. and for most of those holidays we find ourselves in stores that are promoting gifts and as my kids walk around stores, they ask for things that they see, they add things to their Christmas list and the focus is so much more on what they want to receive. So it hit me that we are teaching our younger generations more about receiving than we are about the act of giving…

I started to think about I can change that for my boys, starting with myself. Starting by paying attention and giving things that I need to myself. Are you anything like me in that you focus on taking care of everyone else, making sure everyone else’s needs are met, and then you finally think about what you might need? It’s easy to do, but it’s also the worst thing we can do for ourselves because we are not practicing giving to ourselves!

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The older I get the more I realize that there are certain things I need to do for myself in order for me to be able to be there for anyone else. In effect, I am no good to anyone, if I am running on fumes myself.

Here are a few things that I do for myself to make sure that I am practicing giving to myself – and the best part, I get to decide what those things I need are and whether I actually do it.

  1. Exercise – it may sound cliche but I can tell you with 100% certainty that when I skip a day of exercising I am no good to anyone. It doesn’t have to be anything super strenuous, but I like to spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day exercising either doing some kind of cardio (biking, elliptical, walking, running or swimming), and then also a few squats, lunges, sit-ups and curls.
  2. Take a bath – another thing that everyone in my house knows has to happen every night before bed so I am a happier camper. I take in my iPad and watch my latest TV show episode or sometimes a live sporting event.
  3. Coffee or lunch with a friend – I am always revitalized when I spend time with those I care about. Talking and catching up with a friend is one of the most grounding things that I do for myself, especially if I get the chance to serve or give to them too.
  4. Get a pedicure – I had to mention this one because I actually have one scheduled for today and I am meeting a friend…so it’s like combining number 3 and 4!
  5. Go bargain shopping – whenever I am feeling a little down or need a boost of energy, I take myself to a store like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx and just browse for deals. When I have nothing in mind that I want, there is no expectation of buying something for an event, the bargain hunting can become fun.

So, as I start on this quest of giving to myself, and therefore having the energy to give to others, I know that this is where the lessons will be learned by my kids. It is after all, what we see other do that leaves the greatest impact on our lives. I know that if I want my kids to appreciate the act of giving to others and themselves, that I have to make sure that I am showing them how it is done.

A little food for thought to start off this Monday…

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