Today’s topic is: “How do you make time for yourself?”
My daily sanity-savior is walking down the driveway to get the mail. For most people, that takes about 15 seconds, but since our driveway is a third of a mile long, it takes me 15 minutes, roundtrip. And if it has been a particularly stressful day, sometimes I’m out there for a half hour.
You may be wondering: “how do you stay sane when there is no mail delivery on Sundays?” It’s simple… I use the “gotta get a picture” excuse to go for a walk anyway. Here’s the difference a few days can make around here. (I’m hoping to eventually have a year-long slideshow to be able to see the seasons change and watch the crops grow and be harvested. More on that later.)
I also take a Friday night yoga class, offered through local community education! It’s a full 60 minutes of clearing my mind and trying to convince my body to move the way it did when I was much younger. And it gives me something that’s scheduled to look forward to every week!
I’m sorry to say that I have not been doing a very good job of taking care of myself recently, and last week, I developed a whopper of a Spring cold, complete with a sore throat and snuffly nose. So, I’m probably not the best person to be giving advice on the topic.
But my amazingly talented and wise sister, Dr. Sarah Kotzur, has written a great book which is full of ways to take better care of yourself! Whenever I need a reminder (like I should have done last week before I got sick), I try to integrate a few of her tips into my daily routine. Her vitality program covers a wide range of topics including exercise, making healthy eating choices, rest, mental and emotional health, and natural medicines.
Here are the top three tips that I can’t live without.
1. I have found a homeopathic remedy that actually extends the length of my parenting fuse! There will be days when I am just done. I have zero patience. I am completely frustrated with how toddlerish my girls were being (which, being toddlers, is exactly how they should be, of course). You remember that 1988 Edie Brickell song that says “I quit. I give up. Nothing’s good enough for anybody else, it seems.” That’s how I feel… But then a single dose of muriatic acid makes a real and positive difference in my life. I have way, way, way more patience with my children than before! I am calmer. Happier. Everyone in the family notices the improvement, and I no longer feel crazy. (It doesn’t last forever. The remedy can be canceled out by extreme levels of stress or certain types of food. But when I feel the crazy creep back in, I just take another dose and within hours, things seem to return to even keel and stay that way for weeks or even months at a time!)
2. Eat healthy food. I know, that seems like a no-brainer and we’ve all heard this advice before. But in this program, she not only explains the biological impact of processed foods and caffeine on our bodies, she also suggests real-world alternatives that will leave you feeling healthier! (And when I cut out processed foods for a while, I was surprised about how they didn’t taste nearly as good as I remember them, so over time, the desire to sneak or cheat actually goes down!)
3. Forgiveness and letting go. Making an active effort not to dwell on the unchangeable past lifts a weight from my shoulders and frees up energy to focus on a more positive future. Buddha is quoted as saying: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” And Elsa from Frozen keeps repeating: “Let it go!” They can’t both be wrong, right?
If you want to learn more about her vitality program, visit her website at www.thevitalityprescription.com. And if you want to become a patient and have her help you one-on-one toward better health, there are appointment details at www.sarahkotzur.com. (She is located in Portland, Maine, but meets with clients all over the U.S. via video-conferencing.)
What’s your favorite self-care activity? Share your tips in the comments.
~ Phoebe DeCook