Taking Care of You

My mom is a wise woman. I admire the way that she approaches people and situations with kindness, wisdom, and care. She is a nurturer through and through, often putting others’ needs before hers. Recently when my grandmother fell ill, she dropped everything and came to the aid of my grandmother, but also her siblings, who look to her for guidance and support. I admire the perspective she has on her own life, and the situations that sometimes seem to beat us down. I have tried to emulate her in this way, but I think we’ve both realized that we can’t always do for others until we’ve taken care of ourselves.

One of the constants in life is that there will be situations that are difficult and stressful – a last minute project that pops up or road construction on the way to a meeting when you are already late. Physicians say that a certain amount of stress is healthy and helps us to develop necessary coping skills and that stress comes from the body’s instinct to defend itself. These situations often bring on a physiological response; this is our body’s way of saying “help me”!

I had one of those days yesterday, and my body was screaming for help. My brain was giving me a list of things to do, but I knew I wouldn’t be successful in doing any of those things until I took some time to slow down and regroup. I exercised, ate a healthy dinner, watched some mindless reality television and got a good night’s sleep (8 whole hours!)  Not to mention, I had some good quality time with mom, who always makes everything better. Last night was a luxury; we don’t always have the time to carve out a whole night of “me time.”  But there are things we can do throughout the day to alleviate some of the stress that we face each day. The Mayo Clinic suggests that first we know our triggers and then try getting active, meditating, sleeping and my personal favorite, laughing.  I’m not a doctor, but my simple rule of thumb is to be aware of my own body’s signals and then quickly make time to do something that relaxes me or gives me joy.

I’ve entered this day with a calmness that I didn’t have yesterday, and I am ready for a great day. When things get you down, try to remember to take a step back and remind yourself to “take care of me.”