Many people take better care of their cars then they do of themselves. Every 3,000 miles they take their car to get the oil changed, tire pressure checked and fluids topped off. Yet, when it comes to themselves, caregivers spend less time and money doing the same preventive maintenance. Is it time for you to have a personal oil change? In September, I laid out some ideas about how to keep from burning out. This week I want to give you my 5 “R’s” of personal maintenance.

1. Relax
The first step is relax. Life really could be worse. Your circumstances, even when they seem bad, will not stay that way. Finding ways to relax your mind, body and soul are all key to your self-maintenance. Take a weeks vacation from TV and the news and focus on nature, a book, or games with your family. We are bombarded by the stresses of the outside world non-stop. Take a vacation from the world and relax. If it’s big enough to truly matter, someone will let you know.

2. Recess
As children we are taught lessons that many forget…go outside and play. While in school we were given time to go out and burn off energy so we could come in and focus. We learned to move our bodies and hang out with our friends. We make all sorts of excuses about not having time but experts say it does not take a lot of time. Thirty minutes of increased activities, three times a week goes a long way at increasing life expectancy. Get out and play!

3. Reserve
Examine your eating habits and be honest. Not only do experts tell use we need to exercise regularly but we have all heard about the importance of healthy eating habits. Healthy eating builds up our reserves to make it through difficult times. It gives us nutrition to fuel our mind and body. It is important to increase fruits and vegetables while decreasing processed foods and items high in sugar and fat. Stop make excuses. Putting in the right type of oil is important for your cars performance and the right kind of foods into your system is important for your performance.

4. Recognize
One of the most mentioned phrases in The Mandt System is “know your limitations”. Do you recognize your own limitations? More important, do you recognize your strengths? Penguins have wings but would not do well on a mountain range but sure do well in the icy waters. It is important to optimize your strengths and not get caught up in trying to improve in areas that you may not be gifted.

5. Release

Have you ever seen a car on the side of the road with hood up and steam rolling out of the radiator? It is important to not boil over which is why your car has an area for your radiator to release when there is too much pressure. When this doesn’t work properly, the car overheats and becomes disabled on the side of the road. Human beings need to have the ability to release as well and if we do not we may have the same disabling effect. It is important to find trustworthy people who you can freely talk to and release. Lean on your close relationships and release as necessary.

Having the ability to relax, recess, reserve, recognize and release cannot only make you more productive, it can also add to your years. I love looking at classic cars and understanding that for that car to be like it is today, someone had to take great care in keeping up with the cars maintenance schedule. People are no different. Take care of yourself and you will be able to support people much better for a much longer time. The people you support need you to keep running so please take the time to do regular self-maintenance!!

Tim Geels – Director of Organizational Instruction