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''My Fitness and Stress Went Hand in Hand''

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.
My Results?

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!

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Member Comments

Good article Report
Great suggestions! Thank you! Report
Congratulations! I will try some of these ideas. I am in the same boat of caring for aging parents and still parenting my own children after 32 years. Report
I liked the ideas.

The note about :setting yourself up to fail. I think at times I do this.

Thanks for the great article Report
I loved this little blog. I remembered I started a scrap book about empowered women and men when I was feeling really low...I forgotten about that, I am going to dig it up. So glad you wrote this, so glad I read it. Report
I just read this and am going to print it out for my own "scrapbook". I love it!! I will be a mother of 4 in just a few short months, and while I'm excited for another baby, I'm dreading adding that chaos into my already overwhelmed world. So, I am taking these last few months and working on that control and well being that will not only make me healthier, but my family as well.

Great job and thank you for this!! Report
i loved this blog and im going to try some of the tips... Report
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm in a similar situation, and am finally learning to take time for myself. Report
I just found this article. Good one. I too set goals almost a year ago that are now routine and no longer tracked. It feels good have that progress. Congratulations on your progress. Report
I loved your article. I can relate to so much of what you say. WHat was particularly meaningful to me was you short and simple goals. You were able to articulate things that I want for myself but somehow have never been able to write down. I also love you action steps. Scheduling relax time early when you are able to enjoy it is a great suggestion, and you feel good scrapbook is wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing! Report
Thank you for your article. We need to be reminded from time to time to take time for ourselves. Report
I loved your article. Thanks for sharing your experience. I love the idea of a scrapbook. I printed your article - yours will be the first page in my new scrapbook. God bless, Barb Report
Love the thought of a scrapbook. I've been wanting to try scrapbooking, but figuring out what to do with it has been daunting...I like the idea of making it a feel good book. Report
What a great motivational story. Congratulations to you, I hope I can do as well. Report
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