After years devoted to raising five sons, caring for our aging parents, and volunteer work, I found the most neglected person in my life was me. In very many ways I have "let myself go".|
I had borderline high blood pressure, was overweight, lacked a controlled exercise program, and had "on the run" eating habits. Stress came as a result of this life style.
My goals were simple: to control the stress peaks and to benefit from better health. I wanted to lose 40 pounds before our son's wedding, lower my blood pressure, and to enjoy overall better health. My heart tells me I'm 40; I wanted my body to agree.
Here is what worked - and didn't work - for me:
Giving myself time off was a new thought for me. I had to learn to do it without letting guilt get in my way. I deserve this personal time and try hard to make this quality time happen.
I started a scrapbook just for "feel good" stories and positive thoughts. This book is fun and I look forward to adding to it. With all the chaos here, I have kept my sense of humor well. I set a stop time for my day to read and relax even if "all" is not done.
Questioning what I was eating made me aware that I often eat without much thought. I tried to prepare food with some deliberate planning in the morning for my quick-reach moments.
With the overloaded schedule I'd write down, I often set myself up to fail. I worked almost constantly but put too many projects on my plate. My list was far too unrealistic. This led to frustration at the end of the day, no matter how well I had done. I still need to review my daily goals with a more realistic eye.
I set aside sacred time for my relaxation exercises. I also found a nook to read while I enjoy a scented candle or music. I make time for this earlier in my day; scheduling it after everything else is "done" leaves me too tired to concentrate or enjoy.
A year has passed, my blood pressure is as low as it was 15 years ago, I weigh less, and I exercise regularly. Many of the goals I set a year ago are now just my normal routine. Most are so automatic to my day that I no longer require charting them.
Recently on a family outing, we made the same long hike as we did last year. At first I did not think too much about it. Then, it occurred to me how often I had to ask everyone to stop for a breather on the trek back the year before. This year, I easily kept up and had energy to spare at the end. My heart was not racing, I was not out of breath, my knee did not ache, and I enjoyed the outing. I ended the hike thinking it was so much shorter than the previous year. WOW!