Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The things that make you YOU

In the past year or so, I have gone through some pretty amazing transformations, health-wise.  Daily stomach aches are a thing of the past, as they have been for a while now.

However, in the past month (or three), stress has taken a pretty heavy toll.  I had been so busy with school, all the while trying to process a shift in a friendship, that I had neglected myself.  I buried myself in schoolwork and housework and a million little errands and obligations, and when I finally surfaced I found myself sulking about and suffering through stomach aches all over again.  My nervous system was running on overdrive.  When my alarm clock went off in the mornings, I would wake up and my heart would race or I would start shaking.  Obviously, something had to change.

When I visited my naturopath last week, in addition to homeopathic support, she gave me words of wisdom.  The words that most resonated with me were these:

Don't give up the things that make you YOU.

So that's what today's post is about--slowing down, clearing out the hustle and hurry from day-to-day life, and making space for the things that matter most.  The things that define you, that will make up the most memorable parts of your life.  We all have things that we have to get done, but it is important that we not to let to-do lists compel us to hurry our lives away.

For me, this means putting away homework and all of the various forms of digital distractions at each meal, so that I can to sit down and actually enjoy my food.  It also means that in addition to my daily to-do list, I need to keep another (equally important) list of things that I need to do for myself during the day.  Sometimes this means crochet, curling up with a good book, taking a hot bath, going on a walk, journaling or practicing yoga.  Today, it meant blogging before bed and taking a break from homework for twenty minutes of Qoya (which, over the past few months, has re-taught me the joy of dancing that I seem to have lost during a phase of adolescent self-consciousness--but that's another blog post).  When I have too much on my plate, rather than let anxiety drive me crazy, I practice asking for help and saying 'no' to new commitments. 

Another thing that helps me 'just be' is to take a few minutes, when I first wake up in the morning, to think about the way I want my day to go and the things that I would like to accomplish.  I breathe in and think about the situations that might come up over the course of my day, breathe out and visualize my ideal response or the way I would like things to go.  In, input; out, outcome.

These few simple changes in my daily routine have made a world of difference for my peace of mind.  After instituting these new principles in my daily life, contentment is once again attainable, and I find myself making better use of my work time.  With the additional help of homeopathic remedies prescribed by my naturopath, the stomach aches and the morning shakes are gone.  I've also started to meditate, via journaling, on the best way for me to address the recent changes in a friendship, and found that the same principles hold true:  I do not have to jump ship; rather, I need to establish a new set of boundaries.

As always, I would love to hear from my readers:  What makes you YOU?  Do you make a rule of taking time for yourself?  And if you don't already, in what ways might you begin?  Do these changes necessitate introspection or an outreach for help?

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday 10/30/13 at Holistic Squid and Tasty Traditions 10/30/13 at Cultured Palate