Monday, August 25, 2008

"Loving Life"

How We Restore Balance in Life

While we're busy caring for others, let's not forget to be kind to ourselves.

Most of us give generously of our time and energy to family members, friends, and co-workers--and often ignore our own needs. It may not be until we become physically or mentally exhausted, or financially depleted, that we wake up and pay attention to our own needs. At that point we remember the wisdom of the flight attendant: Put on your oxygen mask first, and then you'll be able to help others.Beliefnet members share the experiences that made them realize they had to start taking care of themselves--and what they're doing about it.

Lighten Your Load

Before you can take care of anyone else, you need to be able to care for yourself. Many women are juggling and are really good at it, but it is not for you or yourself. My own personal truth is that I am a part of God and he does not want me to feel burdened. He also wants my load light enough to add a little as I shed what's been taken care of.I do take time to treat myself to God's gifts of life, my animals, my grandchildren and a root beer float or some other form of reward for managing to survive another day. I know that women are caretakers by nature, so start nurturing the one who matters to the rest of us and that is you!

Embrace Forgiveness

I embraced forgiveness and since then I have forgiven not only my ex, but also myself, as well as all the persons whom I considered to have caused me pain in one way or another. Forgiving means healing, I realized.Now, I am just trying to enjoy every single moment of my life. I may still be a work in progress, but by God's grace I know I'll come out a much better person. When I'm having "sad" episodes, I just listen to my favorite music or read inspirational blogs from or self-help books. Or I get an early morning shower and head to a nearby park for a walk. Reading a newspaper while sipping freshly brewed coffee is such therapy.--Happily_single

Stop Smoking

I am 36 days clean of smoking! I have found that when I get stressed out, the best thing to do is some type of physical labor, let it be clean the house or fold laundry or plant flowers/garden/whatever. That tends to get my aggravations out and to make the urge to smoke pass quicker. Taking a walk or even a shower helps as well. Drinking a cup of hot tea is another good thing to do (it helps relax you, especially chamomile tea). But I have also found in my times of relaxing (such as watching TV or whatever), I need to keep my hands busy, so I have taken up knitting. Either that or journaling [is helpful].

Be Grateful

A few years ago I came down with pneumonia for no apparent reason. It was a beautiful spring day and I had been in good health. I felt betrayed by my body. One day, after I recovered, I was complaining about my illness to a friend. "How can I ever trust my body again?" I protested. My friend gave me some very wise advice. "The pneumonia was a relatively benign warning that you had been under too much stress. You should be grateful to your body for alerting you to that. You may have avoided a heart attack." I think my friend was right, and it helps me care for myself in ways that I never would have considered. I try to never consider myself a victim anymore; only someone who has been warned and needs to change his behavior.I do my own kind of gratitude meditation every night. I sit quietly and feel grateful for all the blessings I've received. Together, avoiding the negative energy of feeling a victim and generating the positive force of gratitude provide me with the strength to take care of myself and others for whom I have responsibility.

Care for Your Health

Tomorrow I'm going for my yearly mammogram. I've also "cut my portions," made sure I'm drinking more water, trying my best to get 8 hrs.+ sleep at night. I'm also taking "me time"--that's having my nails/hair done once a month. I'm also making sure that things are in order in my house, bill wise. And I'm remembering to thank my maker each day for letting me live the life I'm living. My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in February, we're healthy, happy and we love each other!

Take a Walk

I try to walk 3-4 times 45 minutes a week. I do it slowly and I pray. I notice when I walk I feel better mentally and physically. I admire God's trees, the flowers, the sky. I realize I need to lose weight, but I don't want the negative self-talk. I want to hear the "I can do this" mentality. I also don't want my happiness to be contingent on a scale, but on what I did to make the world and myself better inside and out.

Eat Mindfully

I have found that the key component to adhering to a proper eating plan and getting in exercise is: planning. I know, not very exciting. But it works! If I have meals planned ahead, then I am less likely to mindlessly nosh. It also helps to have meals prepared ahead--to the extent possible. Also, regular meals tends to reduce the temptation to stray from eating plan. This takes some time to do, but if you are wanting to improve your overall health, it's worth the time to do this.

Give Yourself a Break

I am used to rushing around, doing a million things for everybody. But recently I became exhausted, developed bronchitis, and literally could not get out of bed. I was forced to take time off from work, stop taking care of my elderly mother, and let my family fend for themselves.As I remained in bed sleeping most of the time for 5 days, I found that other people filled in for the things I couldn't do. My mother started doing more for herself and didn't complain as much. My husband and son got their own meals and did the chores, while bringing me soup and tea. Slowly I recovered, but I am more conscious of not doing everything myself and asking for help when I need it. It feels right to slow down and be gentle with myself.

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