Taking Care Of Ourselves


I think I shall close my eyes and sleep
I think I shall find my peace in my dreams
No aches, no pain, no hot, no cold
Just comfort and quiet and freedom.

I can't bear the responsibilities of being me
My shoulders are collapsing under the strain
Job and home and wife and friend
It's too much for me today.

I think I shall crawl under the blanket and hide
I can become a protected child again
No problems, no worries, no obligations, no deadlines
Just security and simplicity and silence.

March 1987

I know that sometimes we all feel this way. We find the stress in our lives is greater than we can handle. What do we do? Can we really afford to run away and hide from the world?

We know we aren't much good to the people in our lives if we are not at our best and are not cared for. And who better to care for ourselves than each of us? What do you do? Go out and buy a new hat or dress? Splurge with some chocolate ice cream? And then, do you feel guilty for treating yourself in that way? Remember when stress is high, find a way to nurture yourself. Find a way to that peace, that simplicity, that love. And leave the guilt for another time and place. Guilt is alway optional. I choose to let go of the guilt.

I thought it might be useful to share some ideas and help each other find some relief from this stress. Some of my favorite ways to relieve my own stress or to give myself a gift are:

  • To listen to soft and soothing music - Music can take me to another world and to another level of consciousness. It can help melt some of the harshness of the external pressures.

  • To take a bath, maybe with bubbles or oils, something that has a pleasant smell to it - Not only do I find the water soothing and comforting, but the scent of the bath can add a lot to taking me to that "other" place. Smells trigger memories and can be very useful to letting go of what is plaguing us.

  • Do some writing - When there is so much on my mind, the only way I can let go is to give those thoughts a place to live and a voice of their own. So, when I write, I acknowledge the feelings and then can let them go.

  • Watch something soothing - Lose myself in a picture or a meditation mandala. Look at a fire burning in a fireplace or what fish swimming in an aquarium. Let my mind get lost in the visual images.

  • Enjoy a massage - For me, this is one of the most nurturing and relaxing things I can give myself! I put myself in the hands of my masseuse and she finds where my body is tight and helps it let go, just with her touch.

  • Meditate or do some yoga - This allows me to do something for just myself. Meditation offers silence and helps me settle my mind. Yoga does too and also helps by moving some of the physical stresses in my body.

  • Do anything physically active - When there is so much going on inside me or around me, just getting physically tired helps with letting go.

  • Take a walk outside - This combines the physical activity with the meditative silence and the smells of nature and sometimes the sounds of nature. It also helps my mind let go of those bothersome thoughts. I allow my mind to chatter about what is bothering me and when all the chattering is done, I can enjoy the releasing of the thoughts.

  • Listen to a story - I enjoy hearing a story more than reading one. I find that a nurturing experience. I can allow myself to become part of the story or remain an observer. And I don't have to do anything but listen.

  • Do something creative - I like to do crafts or baking or making music. And when I do this, I let go of the judgements that the project has to turn out in any particular way. I get into the flow of the creative project and see what wonderful and imaginary and interesting thing comes from within. And I find that childlike joy that I had ... once upon a time.

In Light and Love..................................................Peace

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