Guest Post: Remembering the Importance of Self

This guest post is written by Tracy Bradley, massage therapist on sabbatical, in Arkansas.

Find more guest posts here. Enjoy! 


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Self-care, The Plan:

  • Journal everyday
  • 5 minute meditation daily
  • Start sun salutations
  • Read for pleasure daily
  • Go outside with the kids
  • Long baths
  • Special treats

Self-care, What Really Happened:

I joined the group when Amber started the 100 Days of Self-Care Challenge. I’ve been so focused on my family that I let my needs go. What a great opportunity to turn inward and slowly start a habit or two soley for my well-being! I’ve always “written” so journaling seemed like the easy start. Yoga is enjoyable, therefore Sun Salutations seemed the comfortable start. I LOVE to read great books but busy-ness and social media have edged books to the side. A challenge seemed the perfect nudge to change a few things.

My journal received three dreadful, melancholy entries. I still haven’t done a single SS. Reading is a success, although sometimes it’s only for 5 minutes a day. No baths. No meditation. No treats. I literally could not do the things that should have been so easy.

I didn’t realize I was one level above rock bottom. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety had taken over my person. Taking 5 minutes to jot down a few words felt like a knife ripping through my head. The only thoughts I could think to write were terrible. So I skipped it. Yoga would have felt amazing if only I could have moved to the floor. Crippling anxiety prevented me from leaving the house most days. Isolation was comfortable until it began to hurt.

Self-Care, The New Plan

I reached out to my healthcare provider who is also a close relative. I unloaded my thoughts and symptoms into her small exam room. She was understanding. She listened. She asked questions. She answered about a million questions from me. We discussed options and decided to try a medication. I was ready for it. (I know medication isn’t for everyone, but this is my personal story.) I left relieved, optimistic, and terrified of horrible side effects. I realized how low I’d gotten. My family was suffering, but more importantly, I was suffering.

My new self-care habit is taking one pill per day. At the conclusion of the trial period I am overjoyed to say I feel human again! In addition to taking my meds, I do other self-care things. I leave the house for fun now. I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been contacting friends and family. We meet for fun things now and I don’t have paralyzing anxiety about it. There are almost no words to express my relief.

Self-care is important, but it can look different for different people. While some may balk at the idea of an hour with a book, that scenario excites me. Running for any reason other than escape is torture for me! However, there are thousands of people who pound their stress into the pavement. Our unique ways to care for ourselves are good. We just need to remember how important “self” is and take action and take care.

 

If you are struggling with PPD, anxiety or depression, please do not hesitate to seek help. Reach out to your healthcare provider or call Postpartum Support International at 800-944-4773.

Guest Post: This Yogi is Not a Blogger

This guest post is written by Jo Ann Laliberte, RYT 500. She is a yogi and yoga teacher at Guru Ram Das Ashram in Millis, MA, Hockomock Area YMCA in Franklin and North Attleboro, MA and Tranquil Souls Yoga in Franklin, MA.  Contact her at lalibert1@comcast.net

Find more guest posts here. Enjoy! 


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In the story of our life – by the time we get to the second chapter, the first chapter no longer serves us – but we still hang on to that very first page even though we have long since outgrown each adjective.

The most useful piece of learning as we progress through our journey of life is to unlearn that which is no longer true. 

I grew up admiring athletes, dancers, writers and singers. I imagine we all admire the qualities in others, we feel we were born without..or let me rephrase that…we are led to believe we are born without. I grew up believing I wasn’t very coordinated so dancing and sports weren’t natural feeling activities I gravitated toward.  I was shy and not good at expressing myself, so writing wasn’t easy or fluid for me.  It has been a never-ending joke in my family that I have a “tin ear” when it came to singing. I have even been asked to sing quiet at b-day parties because I had the family “voice”.

Those qualities became part of my belief, the fabric of my life and I accepted them as part of my truth/my personal story…..It’s funny how we form opinions of our self and believe them to be our truth even as life changes and unfolds.

For instance, when I was young I loved the way athletes had control over their sport, with such fluidity and freedom in their body when they moved.  They seemed to be so confident.

I was a bit chubby as a kid and didn’t run fast or quick and wasn’t ever picked first when selecting teams in school.  I was told I wasn’t an athlete and that sports might not be my thing.  I grew up believing that. Fast forward a few decades to a time when I spent a lot of time walking.  A friend told me one day “if you can walk…you can certainly run – I know you can”. It only took that little encouragement and I began to run…I ran a 5k, a 10k…1/2 marathons and 2 full marathons.  One day a group of co-workers were chatting and one asked how long I had been an athlete.  I thought she was talking to someone else…couldn’t have been me – after all, I’m not an athlete!

There were a lot of “ah-ha” moments reflected on during that time of my life…

  • We often grow up with a belief system that was instilled in us by other people and circumstances.  Taking time to sit quietly with our belief system, to question what is true today and what is no longer true from yesterday is a powerful way to grow and move forward.
  • Stereotypes and preconceived notions very often hold little truth.  I realize not that athletes probably have no more control over their sport than any of us have over our lives…and what looks to us like “freedom” in their body may very well be a daily stress to “keep up”.
  • Personal growth happens when we can shed our story, question our current beliefs and focus on the truth in our hearts – we are truly quite amazing creatures!
  • The journey of each race held so much more than the goal itself…Just as in life.  If we are always focused on the end result, we miss the opportunities to feel the magic in the small moments along the way.

The other day I was a student in a yoga class and the teacher commented that I moved like a ballerina…It made me pause and think maybe it’s time to develop that hidden desire to dance.  Hummm…maybe clumsy is no long my truth!   You never know – singing lessons might be next and I’ll rock Happy Birthday at the next party!

When I was asked to be a guest blogger, my first reaction was “no, I’m not a blogger – I can’t write”.  Well, guess what?  I just finished my first blog!

What is your truth today and what no longer serves you?

Namaste, Jo Ann

 

Photo credit: Creative Commons/Iyn Tally

Guest Post: I’m the Mother.

This is our first guest post by Tracy Bradley. She is a mother and massage therapist at The Comfort Zone in Paris, Arkansas.  Read more about Tracy. 

Guest posts may become a regular thing around here. Hope you like it!


ID-100232580I’m the Mother.  I am the lover of all lovers of my family. I share the physical workload with an awesome husband/partner/friend, it’s true, but there is only one Mother and that is me.  Right now I feel as though my family is getting the short end of the stick. They are missing out on parts of me and it breaks my ever-aching heart.

During this season in our lives my family is not getting the best of me. Almost every ounce of energy is expended on my work outside the home. Each morning I put my best face forward, smiling, talking, networking, marketing, working, laundering, cleaning, and planning. My work is physically demanding, and because I am a very small business owner it is also mentally and emotionally draining. Yet, I cannot slow down or stop. They are depending on me. During this time I am the primary earner. Yes, he contributes, but he is obtaining his degree to help secure our future. And, hallelujah, he’s approaching the finish line!

Why is it so hard right now when this is how it’s been the last couple of years? Why does each day seem longer than the last? Why does my body feel like it won’t make it through one more hour of work?  I’m expecting another child. I don’t remember pregnancy being this physically exhausting the first time around. There are no health problems to speak of just sheer exhaustion.

My family doesn’t get to see the fully made-up smiling face I wear during the day. I come home to melt onto the sofa while the evening drags by. Laundry, dishes, and vacuuming all sit undone while my legs and feet beg to be left alone. So I sit.

My 7-year-old daughter is a real sport about this. She doesn’t complain. She either snuggles up for a bit or finds something else to do. And it just about breaks my heart. I’ve never been the one to rough house and play, but I’ve also never been one to just sit. I try so very hard not to have every sentence start with “mommy can’t right now.”

She isn’t quite old enough to understand everything I do outside the home is for her. Some days I wonder if she misses me. Other days I think she doesn’t even notice. Sweet husband takes care of so much of the household workload, I am so thankful. Yet, I feel guilty.

I feel guilty even though I keep the mortgage paid, electricity on, and food in our bellies. (With his help, of course.) I feel guilt when I need to put my feet up for just a while right when she asks for help with something. Somehow every little thing I do or don’t do makes me feel guilty. I’m off work every other Saturday to spend time with them, yet on a slow week I chastise myself for not trying to work the weekend. I work every other Saturday and beat myself up as I leave the house while they still sleep.

Is it just me who feels so torn? I love my work, my career, my passion so much. I’m so lucky to have a career I enjoy. I also love my growing family. I want to spend more time with them, do more fun things with them. Are we really missing out on things? We are together all the time. We laugh, watch movies, play outside, and enjoy books together.

Even though they don’t see the best of me I hope they know I’m doing everything I can to keep them happy, healthy, and full of love.

 

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net