Stress has long been an acquaintance. She thinks I can’t live without her and that we are close friends. Over the years we have been inseparable on numerous occasions. I always share my deepest, darkest thoughts with her, and she has walked beside me reminding me of all that could go wrong, and of the judgements of others around me.
I have tried to de-tangle myself from her influence many times. Meditation, yoga, dietary improvements, aromatherapy, massage, exercise and engaging in my passion for nature photography have all helped to quieten her loud, rather raucous, repetitive, nasally voice.
I don’t feel she has ever really liked me or respected me. Lottie Stress on many occasions has been far too quick to reprimand or ridicule. A real friend wouldn’t adversely affect my health either the way she has – the forgetfulness, the neck and shoulder pain, the migraines, the hypertension, the mood swings, and the sleep deprivation.
Lately I have been a bit lackadaisical in my self-care. I have been placing the needs of others ahead of my own. I have also been languishing a little bit too long in the victim pool to the extent that I have become rather shrivelled and prune-like. Lottie loves it when this happens. She takes it as an invitation to come visit.
This week, the concept of personal responsibility has come up a few times in various ways. Last Sunday night, a talk about “personal responsibility” was shared at a local gathering I attended. There was an overtone that this lesson in personal responsibility was most applicable to those not in attendance (as opposed to those people who sat there in the audience).
I sat there self-righteously, thinking this talk was for someone else. Later Irealised the message was for me. I had not been taking personal responsibility for my own well-being.
The week continued as it had started with a myriad of sign posts all pointing to the fact that I had left me behind. On Wednesday after a very long day at work I received a call from my doctor telling me I was being referred to the local hospital to further investigate something they had found in tests undertaken. On telling my sister (a nurse) about this, she asked me, “Have you been looking after yourself? Are you stressed? How is your immune system at the moment?”
Importance of Self-Care
I barrelled on toward the end of the week, continuing to leave me standing on the sidelines, patiently waiting until receiving an opportunity for nurturance. By Friday afternoon, Stress had arrived on my doorstep, bags in hand and ready to take up residence in my head. Tired, sleep deprived and emotionally irrational I sat there listening to every negative anecdote of doom and failure that came from her lips. It made the problem-solving required for my nine-to-five job more arduous than it should have been.
Over my Saturday morning coffee I mulled over the events of the week. I recognised once again I really had lost my way with the mindfulness and self-care. I needed to get back into a regime of self-support.
True friends are supportive and caring. They nurture you and encourage you to reach your goals. They don’t derail you. Stress hurts me every single time – she is not a friend. Sadly, I have not been a true friend to myself either.
I need to make a change – NOW. My body has been sending me signals for a little while telling me that if I don’t get this all in hand, there are problems health-wise on the horizon which can otherwise be avoided without medication. It is time to make time for the things that support and nurture me, and to send Stress packing.
Anne McCormack is a New Zealand-based Photographer, and Spiritual Healing Facilitator. Anne’s first book is Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind. Her second book,the award-winning book, Peacock Dreaming: The Wisdom Of Flowers recently awarded the B.R.A.G.Medallion.
Lovitude: Trying To Calm The Monkey Mind is available from Anne at www.thepeacockdreamingblog.com
Feature image courtesy of Counselling via Pixabay.