Self Care and the Working Girl

This has been a semester full of travel and stress of all kinds, and despite my best efforts, I haven’t always made the best choices health-wise. I have been afraid to step on the scale to see what I know in my heart (and in my jeans) to be true; I’ve allowed myself to put on some of the weight I worked so hard to lose. It’s not a lot, but it is enough that I feel it in my clothes and see it in my photos. Damn.

I have never reacted well to major stress in my life (hence the multiple times I have gained and lost weight since my twenties). I know what to do- I’ve been on every diet known to womankind. I love to exercise and rarely sit still, however, no matter how much I have worked on it over the years, when stress comes a’ knockin’, I tend to react with comfort-inducing activities like eating salty, crunchy foods. Oh, and shopping. Thanks, Amazon. 

I can trace my downward spiral back to my ankle hardware removal surgery in July- I couldn’t move much for a couple of weeks, and then had several weeks of restricted activity. Next came Dan’s shoulder replacement surgery and caring for him (and his second shoulder surgery a week ago). Then a crazy semester ensued in which I traveled way too much and performed a lot. Stress. I’m also going up for promotion to Full Professor, an incredibly barbaric process that stretches out over the entire school year, looming over me. When I traveled, I took workout clothes, packed my yoga mat, and was pretty good about hitting the hotel fitness rooms. What I wasn’t so good at was changing my mindset of, ‘Oh, I won’t be back here for a long time- I need to just enjoy this wonderful restaurant. I’ve earned this.” Yep, well, what I earned was a tighter waistband.

I always have the best intentions, but I need to be better at the follow through when life gets crazy. I’ve caught myself in a pattern of putting my needs last yet again, stopping the morning meditation that helps me deal with stress tremendously. I haven’t allowed myself the simple relaxing pleasure of a pedicure in ages- or even just sitting quietly in my favorite chair. In fear of my back going out in the middle of my recital tours, I stopped doing as much of the regular kickboxing exercises that bust stress and keep me energized. I’ve barely let myself read a new book, something I always enjoy. Instead, I’ve put all of my energy into surviving and worrying – not living. It’s time to change that.

On this beautiful Sunday as my Thanksgiving vacation begins, I am making a vow; I’m going to do a better job at self care. If I’m not happy and bealthy, then I won’t be much good to Dan, my students, or anyone else.  I’ve found throughout my life that sometimes a good reboot is just the cure. As I head into the holiday season, I know it is the toughest time to contemplate more austere habits, but reinstating small positive changes is entirely doable. I’m going to make time for relaxing baths after yardwork. I’m going to get a massage this week to work the kinks out of my tricky back. I’m going to take time to read and reflect, charging my introvert batteries. I’ll take walks with the dogs and spend time talking with Dan. I’ll get in some yoga and some kickboxing- and some meditation. It doesn’t take much, but spending a little time on me makes me a better wife, teacher, friend, musician…just a better person over all. As we approach this holiday focused on gratitude, I’m going to be thankful for yet another opportunity to right my path and get back on a healthier course. A good thing for this very flawed woman. 

Finding some peace by the fire…

2 thoughts on “Self Care and the Working Girl

  1. As I read, I couldn’t help but smile and think that your approach to self care is following the same pattern as what caused you stress to begin with. You had surgery, Dan’s surgery, a busy semester, a load of commitments that required many trips, and now becoming a Full Professor – more, more, more. Your plans for self care involve pedicures, massages, meditation, reading, baths, walks, yoga, kickboxing – again, more, more, more. You don’t do anything small! 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving.

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