Taking Yourself Off the Back Burner
On an airplane, we are directed to put on our own oxygen mask before assisting others. We cannot help our children if we are not breathing. How often to you forget to metaphorically breathe?
The list of things we have to do is long. We cook, shop, drive, bath, conflict-mediate, drive some more, clean, coach, cuddle, coddle. We volunteer at school and scouts and soccer and do our day jobs.
Taking care of ourselves falls to the bottom of the list.
When we do not care for ourselves, resentment builds. We wonder why no one is taking care of us. Why should they when we demonstrate our Wonder Woman-ness all the time, subtly declaring, “I’ve got it! I can do that for you. I’m not important. I don’t need anything .”
Victim to Creator in 10-minutes per Day
You can do all of these exercises in one 10-minute stretch or do them one at a time throughout the day.
1 Minute: Do the Thymus Thump.
Using your fingers, tap gently on the middle of your chest, directly on your sternum. While you tap, breathe slowly and deeply.
This exercise will stimulate your energies, boost your immune system, and release stress.
It really works. Try it now for 30 – 60 seconds and feel yourself come alive.
2 Minutes: Breathe
Over-recommended and under-utilized, breath is the surest, easiest way to center and calm yourself. Breath takes you out of the stressful fight or flight mode we live in much of the time and shifts the physiological processes in the body. Conscious breathing
- increases ability to digest/absorb nutrients
- releases hormones to balance the endocrine system
- promotes healing
Imagine that your abdomen is a cylindrical container. Breathe in through your nose. For a count of three, feel the bottom of the cylinder pushing down. Continue to breathe in for a count of three more as you feel the sides of the cylinder expand. Continue to breathe in for a count of three more as you feel the top of the cylinder push up. Reverse for the exhale: top pushes down, sides push in, bottom pushes up. Continue for two minutes or at least until you have completed three full breaths in and out.
3 Minutes: Connect with the World
In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., writes, “…many times it is the things of nature that are the most healing, especially the very accessible and the very simple ones. The medicines of nature and powerful and straightforward…”
Take three minutes to go outside. Gaze at the stars or the clouds. Lay down on the grass. Sniff the air. Feel the warmth of the sun or the chill of the night.
Three minutes immersed in the enormity and continuance of the world will connect you to a force that will sustain and inspire you when you return to your ordinary busyness.
4 Minutes: Write a List of Positive Aspects
Most days, we do a lot of things right. Most days our children and partners and those around us do something that uplifts us. In every day, there is something good.
Oprah and a hundred other people extol the value of gratitude lists and journals. This is because we find what we seek. If you look for the good in your children and those around you, you will see it.
Buy a journal and label it “Book of Positive Aspects.” Each day, take four minutes to write down a few satisfactory things about you day. Can’t think of anything? Take a minute to breathe in and out of your heart and try again. ♥
- What you did well.
- Things you appreciate about your children and your partner.
- Great features of your home or work life.
If you prefer group support, visit My Everyday Magic, a daily gratitude blogs hosted and visited by beautiful people.
That’s it! By doing these four simple exercises, you will be your own top priority for at least ten minutes each day. The good feelings you generate will overflow into the rest of the day.
In matters of health and healing, be fanatical about self-responsibility. Check facts and carefully evaluate if suggestions are right for you and your children.