Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Travel Tuesdays: Self- Care During Difficult Times

I've been absent from blogging and Social Media lately. Thanks for sticking with me and coming back to read Polliwog.

I recently traveled to San Francisco unexpectedly due to a family emergency. I prefer not to share personal family medical details on the internet, so I'll just say that things are better-- the emergency has passed and now we're settling into life post-trauma. Thank you to those of you who sent me personal messages of support.

I feel like I need to learn certain life lessons over and over again. Does that happen to you? For example, I know that in times of stress, I need to take care of myself. I need to stop and breathe. I need to get physical activity. And I need to get out in nature, if possible.  Combining all three is especially helpful. If I can add a little writing time in there, all the better.

Yet, while I was away, I ignored my needs, to my detriment. A friend had even texted me and simply said, "Remember to breathe." Yet, I didn't do any of those things until I completely melted down.

Of course, I am so grateful that I was able to travel on short notice to support my sisters. I needed to be with them. I'm grateful my husband recognized and supported my need to go. I'm grateful my husband's work schedule allowed him to suddenly assume complete responsibility for our kids and home. I'm thankful for the many friends and relatives who stepped in to help care for our kids so my husband could work. And I'm thankful my family had the means to purchase an airline ticket.

But I'm no good to my sisters if I'm falling apart, and that's what happened five days into my trip. I had felt a desire to take a walk on the beach the night before, but ignored my needs to make myself available to my sister. By Friday afternoon, when I talked to my husband and kids on the phone, I was falling apart crying... On top of the stress and the Jet lag, I was missing my family.

Luckily, by brother-in-law was nearby. He came home and assumed responsibility for my niece so I could take a walk. From the moment my feet touched the sand at Ocean Beach, I felt better. Ten minutes into my walk things seemed less overwhelming. At the end of an hour, I was a new person.  Of course, I was. I practically smacked myself in the head and said, "Duh!"

I know I need to take care of myself before I can take care of others, so what the heck was I doing? Who knows. I do know that we all do it sometimes.

So today, a reminder to you...
Are you a teacher just back to school and feeling overwhelmed?
Are you feeling stressed in some other way?

Don't do what I did. Remember to take care of yourself. Stop and breathe deeply. Take a walk. Take a bath. Practice yoga. Write in your journal. Go for a run. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself today and always.

What is your favorite stress reliever? How do you take care of yourself in times of stress?

Related Posts:
Parents: Make Time for Yourself


  1. Such a good and important point. I am seeing it now with the new baby, and recently discussed it with another Dad, We both see the tendency to let our well-being crumble with the newborn here. We don't have time or energy to exercise, so we don't. We don't have time or energy to cook, so the rate of take-out and fast food goes up. Major sacrifices that you think allow you to focus on the baby more, but it actually does more harm. A healthy, happy parent is important, too, as is setting a healthy example. Thanks for posting, and hopefully it will serve as a nice reminder for many!

  2. Hi Mark,
    I'm sorry I missed responding to this comment.

    I remember how hard it was to balance self-care with a newborn but it is so important. We can't be there for our kids (or sisters, or whoever else might need us) if we aren't well.

    I hope you're settling into a routine with your beautiful daughter that allows you to take care of you, too.

    (Readers, check out Mark's blog by clicking on his name. Dads will be especially interested. Mark is a new, stay-at-home dad who blogs about his changed role).