Monday, March 7, 2011
Now I've always tried to reserve time for what I considered "me time" . . . coffee with friends, a few dance classes a week and an occasional aspirational commitment like training for a race. But for some reason, at least lately, they just felt like one more thing to squeeze in on my calendar - not exactly the effect I was hoping they'd have.
On a recent vacation (yay for vacation!), I read the book Crazy Sexy Diet by cancer survivor Kris Carr. The nutritional part of the book is very much in line with how we eat already (minus my stress-induced sugar benders), but the other part - the part I'm calling "self-renewal" - was exactly what I needed to hear.
She recommends making a commitment to take care of yourself every day through yoga, meditation, exercise and - get ready - an afternoon nap. I know what you're thinking . . . "There's no way I could ever fit that much time for myself into my day!" Trust me, I thought it too.
But as I'm wrapping up my first week of the 21-day cleanse she outlines in the book, I really think this could be what I've looking for all along. I realize that I've been turning outwards for my "me time", and as much as I love the social aspects of coffee nights, dance class and marathon training, I need to be turning inwards.
The whole idea was a little daunting at first. I'm the first to admit that my brain is a scary place, and I was a little doubtful that I could conquer it. The non-stop thoughts and ideas and the breakneck speed . . . how could I ever reign it in? I felt like my brain was the bus in the movie Speed and for the past few months (years???), Dennis Hopper has been in control. I needed to pull a Sandra Bullock and get my bus back (I don't know where Keanu Reeves fits in, but let me know if you have any ideas).
Only a week into my new routine, I can see a huge difference. Starting my day with time for myself - before the demands of others carry me away - has changed my attitude and my outlook on the rest of the day. My stress level is much lower, I have more patience with the kids and I've gotten back to enjoying (rather than constantly feeling overwhelmed by) school.
That said, I feel like I still have a long way to go. I've been pushing myself - physically and mentally - for over a decade and I know that it's going to take some time to recover. At least now I feel like I have the right tools - it's all a matter of making the time to take care of me. But I know that the immediate results I'm seeing will spur me on, along with the hopes that seeing me make myself a priority will develop those habits in my kids from an early age.