I’ve shared on here many different times that, as I’m sure other people experience too, sometimes life is too stressful, and when I’m overly stressed, it affects my body negatively. Five years ago, I developed hives all over my body for no apparent reason. When those cleared up, I got a severe reaction to stinging nettle (I still get nightmares when I hear that word), then I developed weather-related and sports-induced asthma, next high blood pressure (190/108 readings that lasted for weeks) and my new symptom is musculoskeletal in nature.
I describe the above symptoms to explain why I began challenging myself last fall, mainly out of desperation to learn how to relax and start taking care of my body. I can be replaced in a heartbeat in any of the jobs I perform; but I cannot be replaced easily as a wife and mother to the family who loves me (or daughter or friend or sister or …).
I began by changing my schedule. I worked out my schedule (putting my seat in my seat) more often during the day so that I only had to work one night a week maximum. At first, I didn’t really know what to do with myself the other nights of the week. Now, as a wife and mother, there was plenty for me to do, and even though I wasn’t “working” for my jobs, I was still working – paying bills, cleaning something, getting dinner prepped for the next night, going to our kids’ events, etc. but it was a different type of routine and more relaxing. I was engaging with my family and giving myself a mental break.
This summer I don’t remember what we did during the week. I know we had lots of activities during the day (swimming lessons, running club, vacations, band camp, and more) so I don’t remember “resting” much at night.
However, this fall, my new schedule was firmly established (only working one night a week), and I started looking forward to the nights I wasn’t working late. Monday nights became the night our family started watching two sitcoms together. Wednesdays, my husband and I joined a life group together and had a weekly date. Thursdays, our husband took one of our children to college and so our youngest and I would connect with some activity. Most of the weekends were spent away from the computer, working on the house, running errands, or sometimes finding a fun activity as a family to do.
Some of my taking care of myself is as simple as lighting a candle while I’m working and drinking a favorite cup of coffee. Other times it’s soaking in a hot bath after a long week. Still other times it’s curling up with a favorite book, watching a movie with the family, putting a puzzle together, or playing games with my kids. Part of the fun is discovering new things that I enjoy … and adding them to my list of “favorite ways to relax.”
Here’s my challenge to you. Do you have one day a week (to start) to declare it your “de-stress” time? Then find one thing you like and do it; or try something new and see if you like it. You can keep it on the list … or cross it off and try something new the next week. I’d love for you to tell me ways you de-stress so you can be the healthiest version of you.
© Cheri Swalwell 2020