The Power of Self-Care

by Tammy Strobel on January 23, 2012

Right now I’m standing in my parents kitchen, at the island, writing. The island is the gathering spot at my parent’s place; it’s where we cook, eat, and talk.

My mom left the house earlier to go to an exercise class and I’m alone in the house. Well, that isn’t completely true. I have a sleeping dog at my feet and we’re listening to Ludovico Einaudi, so I have company. I have to say, it feels really odd not having my dad here. I know he will be home soon. I just hope he’ll come home as the same man. As I sit here thinking about him, I know he would be upset with me because I haven’t been taking care of myself this week.

When I was a Victim Advocate I learned how important self-care was for both my physical and emotional health. Normally, I’m good at taking care of myself. I eat well, get enough exercise and try not to work too much. But for the last week, that hasn’t been the case.

Ever since my dad was admitted to the hospital my eating and sleeping patterns have been erratic and I haven’t been getting enough exercise. And I can feel it. For instance, we’ve been driving to and from Chico everyday; that’s over an hour and half in the car and my body isn’t used to it. I feel stiff, achy and really miss my bicycle.

So earlier this morning I posed this question on Google + . . .

How do you practice self-care in stressful situations?”

Here’s what Alicia, Becky, and Akiyo had to say:

“Taking a moment for a deep breathe often helps me during a stressful moment – it helps me to center and take the time to think instead of reacting without consciousness (when I remember to do so, of course).” -Alicia

“I work to maintain the basics (eating, resting, staying hydrated) as best as possible. This prevents me from over-reacting on account of low blood sugar, etc. I try to look at this form of maintenance as my real job or task, and notice that this maintenance makes coping with stress just a bit easier.” -Becky

“Having time to yourself so you can think quietly, reflecting on the emotions that are going on inside you. Analysing them to see where the sources of the negative emotions are so you can do something about them. Talking to people you trust about them to see if anyone can suggest how you can deal with the situation. Stress is stressful because we do nothing to prevent ourselves feeling that stress.” -Akiyo

It’s easy to neglect your body and mind when a loved one is sick and that’s a recipe for disaster. For example, if I’m not taking care of myself I can’t help my dad when he gets out of the rehabilitation center.

This week I’ll be focusing on eating well, walking a lot, and sleeping as much as I want because practicing self-care is powerful medicine.

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