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Give yourself a gift

Article

Feeling sapped? Rundown, tired, out of sorts? Oh yeah. It's so easy to give and so hard to say no. You do it all the time. It's the 15 minutes at the end of the day you spend making a comfy bed for a sick pet or the extra walk you sneak in for your favorite boarder. Or maybe you volunteer to stay late to finish filing or clear the clutter from the reception area. The truth is, you do a lot.

Feeling sapped? Rundown, tired, out of sorts? Oh yeah. It's so easy to give and so hard to say no. You do it all the time. It's the 15 minutes at the end of the day you spend making a comfy bed for a sick pet or the extra walk you sneak in for your favorite boarder. Or maybe you volunteer to stay late to finish filing or clear the clutter from the reception area. The truth is, you do a lot.

Then you go home and give more. Maybe you have pets of your own at home, or even children. Eager eyes greet you at the door, those expectant faces waiting for a little attention—a few pats, a nice walk, or a rousing game of catch. Add that to all of your other activities—volunteering at the local animal shelter, homework for the classes you're taking, and the events that fill your little window of free time.

So what are you doing for you? If it takes you more than a few seconds to answer, you've got a problem. It's a problem for you, it's a problem for your family, and it's a problem for the people you work with. Why? You must give to yourself to be a good giver to others.

It sounds silly, but the little rewards, the little steps we often label "pampering," are more necessary than you think. These refreshers help you refill your well of compassion, they re-energize your smiles, and they give you the patience you need to handle all of the tough situations you face every day in practice.

Make a list of the activities that refresh you. Then make time for yourself every day. It doesn't need to be a lot of time—fifteen minutes with a crossword or a half-hour with a yoga tape may be all you need to center yourself. You'll be surprised about the difference it makes. Here's my secret: I'm a book addict. Nothing relaxes me more than a chapter of a good story before bed. And no doubt about it, afterwards I'm in a better mood and I have more smiles for everyone in my life.

Portia Stewart, Editor

firstline@advanstar.com

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