I know that I now skip over the articles on stress that tell me to meditate, exercise, eat well, take my meds, practice yoga… (I could go on and on.) If you are anything like me, you know what you NEED to do to alleviate stress but you may not actually DO it… Or is this just me…?
Enter Deepika Mittra, BSW, MSc, RSW, Therapist & Certified Practitioner of Mind Body Medicine. I met this incredible lady through Twitter, she reached out after finding an article about me in a local paper and wanted to go for coffee. Within five minutes of meeting her, I was in love. Deepika is one of these people who calms you simply with her presence. I wish I could see auras because I am pretty sure hers must be incredible! Anyway, I digress. During a chat with Deepika she asked me (it was a particularly stressful time) what I was doing to take care of me (her favorite question I’m pretty sure). So I spouted off all of the stuff I thought she wanted to hear, (see above list) until she interrupted me and asked if I was ACTUALLY doing any of them… “I don’t have the time or the desire”, was my heartfelt, whispered response. It was then that she said, “Felicia, you don’t have to spend hours taking care of yourself, even minutes a day will benefit you exponentially.” (Well, she said something like this, probably just a little more eloquently.) She then began pointing out the different ways that we help our kids relax and that got me thinking – what other child-like tactics can I use to take care of myself?
This is what I came up with:
1. Heat up a magic bag and lay it on your stomach as you go to bed. (I do this for my kids’ growing pains, why have I never thought to use it on myself?)*
2. Take five minutes to breathe deeply, from the bottom of your stomach.*
3. Phone a friend and reminisce about the good times.
4. Send a thank you card to someone who has touched your heart.
5. Brush your hair. (Or even better, have your partner or child brush it for you.)
6. Cuddle a pet – unconditional love, need I say more?
7. Go outside. (In most stress articles they accompany this with a walk which is great if you can, but even just sitting on my step watching my children ride their bikes brings a smile to my face.)
8. Buy yourself flowers, (my kidlets usually pick them for me but people tend to frown upon adults picking a bouquet from the neighborhood…)
When I look at this list, it makes me smile as I can see so much of my children in these points. They are getting rowdy – go outside, they are hurting with aches and pains – apply heat, they are feeling sad – I rub their back or run my hands through their hair, they are inconsolable – just breathe. However, I forget that I have a child inside of me that could use comforting too!
*The first two points are direct suggestions from Deepika herself.