Welcome again to the Guilty Pleasures Revolution!
Today, on Day 8, we're going to talk about what we do when we're so exhausted we can barely breathe.
Having my own business and working from home, just like everything else, has its pros and cons. One of the cons is the seemingly never-ending phone calls I receive from my son at school – “Mom, I forgot my lunch – again. Can you drop it off, pleeeeeze?” But on this one day I was glad I got the call, because as fate would have it, I was able to help a sister working-mama who was in desperate need of loving self-care and attention. On that day, almost on cue, I got a call from my son's school that he had forgotten his drumsticks at home with a pleading – and loving – request to drop them off. So, I gathered them up and headed to the school. As I approached, there was a van idling in front of the school, facing the opposite parking direction. Sensing that something was amiss, I felt leery parking there because I didn't want the driver to suddenly take off without realizing that I had parked in front of her. So, I moved to the opposite side.
As I crossed the street, I was struck for a moment by the driver who appeared to have her head down -- as if reading something. At first I considered that I might know the person behind the wheel because I thought I recognized the van and wanted to say hello to her. But as I got closer, I couldn’t see who it was. All I saw was hair streaming down in front of her face.
When I came back out of the school, I peered over toward the driver's side window and saw that the person's head was still down and appeared not to have moved. Then I got really concerned. I thought perhaps she was sick, so I gently knocked on the side door. Partly startled and partly dazed, she lifted her head and rolled down the window, as I asked if she was feeling o.k. or if she needed any help.
She looked at me and seemed embarrassed at first, and then she said, "Oh, no, I'm o.k..........I'm just so exhausted.....I'm soooooooo exhausted. I must have fallen asleep."
We spoke for a few moments and she told me about what lead up to her being there and her crazy work schedule, her other kids, etc.
There was a look in her eyes that seemed so grateful for someone actually noticing her. Not for being asleep in her van in front of the school, but for the acknowledgement that she mattered. In that moment there was an unspoken communication, a warm blanket, a hug. A silent understanding and confirmation between sisters of the same society: over-worked and overwhelmed moms!
I told her I was glad she was o.k. and to take care of herself. I went on my way and I could see in my rear view mirror that she too rode off. I ran scenarios through my mind as to what might have happened if I hadn't come along, or if this had happened to her somewhere else -- even driving perhaps.
I recalled the many times I had felt the same way. So exhausted, but not being able to see that I might have had a choice or to reach out for help. Instead, I soldiered on, as “good” women do, as if there were some sort of badge of honor to be won, thinking, there would always be another time – some other time – for me to stop and rest.
And I get it; there are times when only mom will do..... when only mom can do. So what then?
Then is when you notice what your body is telling you. You notice what your inner guidance is whispering. The answers are all there within. You just need to pay attention. Pay attention to the signs and the hunches, the body aches and the exhaustion, the tears and the yelling. All signs that you are stretched way too thin.
And then stop. Breathe....listen to the inner urge to slow down. Love yourself enough to care for you. If you don't, your body will give you no choice but to stop. And that kind of halt is no fun at all. This is serious stuff. If you don't take care of yourself, you cannot care for anyone else -- even those you love the most.
I always say, “if you can’t do it for you, do it for them.” Somehow, we moms find the motivation when it’s for our kids – and that’s o.k. With time, compassion, love and practice our motivation becomes the love for ourselves too.
Here are 5 “Emergency” Guilty Pleasures for lack of sleep or when you are just doing too much:
1. Love Your Eyes: Rub the palms of your hands together to cause friction. Cup your hands and close your eyes. Place your cupped hands over your closed eyes and sit in this position for 30 – 60 seconds. Your tired eyes will feel refreshed!
2. Movement: This is counter-intuitive to being so tired you don’t want to move off the chair, but just changing position in your chair or getting up to walk, stretch and move will bring some much needed oxygen to your brain and refresh you.
3. A Pinch of This: With your thumb and index finger, pinch the soft, loose skin between the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand (doesn’t matter which had does what). Hold the pinch for a minute or two. You will feel more awake. (Sitting in a boring meeting? No problem, put your hands in your lap and do this exercise. Works like a charm!)
4. Chamomile to the rescue. To help you doze off to sleep and get proper rest, drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed. If you don’t like to drink it, bathe in it, or just smell it. It will signal the same calming effects in your brain.
5. 4 – 7 – 8 Breathing: This combination of 4 – 7 – 8 is part of yogic practice. You inhale to the count of 4, hold to the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 8. Check out this YouTube video of Dr. Andrew Weil as he explains the benefits and demonstrates.
And for a bonus #6 Emergency Guilty Pleasure, use one of the badges from My Secret Badges download below. Sometimes we need a reminder to stop and take care of ourselves. Cut out the one that speaks to you and put it some place you know you will see it each day (i.e., your purse, your coat pocket, your desk drawer, etc.). When you happen upon it, it will be reminder and a gift from you to you... and a gentle reminder to take care and breathe!
Affirmation for Day 8: Today I will notice what my body and my intuition are telling me. Today I will respond. Today I choose me!
Be sure to watch your inbox Monday for Day 9 of the Guilty Pleasures Revolution!
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Here's to choosing you!
Paula G. Rosario
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