Weighty Matters

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Self-Kindness

on April 2, 2016

When life is tough and issues appear to pile on, I have found that it is helpful to treat myself with as much kindness as I can muster.  Being nice to ourselves is necessary, particularly when nobody or nothing else is leaning toward that course of action.

Emotional and mental stress can affect us physically – whether in general, chronically, or even acutely.  You know from my previous post that it was a high suckage week for me.  As if all that had already happened wasn’t enough, on Thursday morning when I was getting dressed, I felt a pop in my hip.  Okay, not actually my hip.  I’ll be honest it was high on my right butt cheek.  Immediately, I experienced greater discomfort in walking, including throbbing going down the back of my right leg and also horizontally around to the front like in the crease of my upper leg.

Oh, and all week, I’ve had increased, uncomfortable tightness in the back of my problem knee.   I can’t decide whether it was better for me to now have two painful conditions on the same side, or whether I should have wished for one on each side to balance things out.

Whatever the case, I was miserable all morning at work and extra grouchy.  Luckily, I already had an acupuncture appointment scheduled for the late afternoon.  I called the practitioner and asked if we could switch to a private session because of the new problems.  She was able to bring me in earlier.  I got a thorough treatment and, thankfully, was already feeling better by the next morning.

Good thing because I had determined that this was going to be a weekend of relaxation and fun for me.  I’d taken Friday off from work  to get some things done around the house in the morning.  Then, I had plans to be in Miami that evening to see a good friend of mine perform in a community theater group play.  (I was scheduled to do rowing class in the morning but decided to give my body more time to improve.)

I’ve spent two days doing things that I wanted to do and not worrying about work stresses or other issues.  I joined my friend’s family for dinner last night and then we sat together and thoroughly enjoyed the play.  I stayed up on the mainland overnight and this morning went to a continuing class of my Tai Chi.  Yes, I was feeling that much better physically.  Acupuncture is amazing!

After class, I got together with two dear friends whom I do not see nearly often as we all would like.  In fact, it’s been two years since I saw her and more than four years since I saw him.  (He was living in Texas for a couple of years.)  We had a great time over a leisurely lunch.  Then I did some shopping.  I bought a few clothes, visited Trader Joe’s, browsed Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought a few neat kitchen things that I don’t need but will enjoy, and, of course, hit a pet superstore for things that Natty will like.

Among the things that I bought were three small bunches of bright yellow daffodils.  I love daffodils – from their uplifting color to their sweet aroma.  They just delight me.  We had bulbs planted all around our house up in New Jersey and I always looked forward to seeing their green shoots break through the ground in spring.  I miss them here in Florida so it’s no surprise that I immediately smiled when I saw them available in the flower section of TJ’s.  They’re sitting in a vase on my table right now.  I see them every time I look up and smell them even when looking at the screen while I type.

I had one element of stress intrude on my weekend.  I discovered that it was more difficult than I expected to stick with my protein/fat/carb ratios while away from home.   Oddly enough, the toughest part was getting in enough full/healthy fat.  Last night I did fine with a warm kale salad – even pushing away the small white potatoes that were included.  (Odd choice in a salad, I thought.)  To up the fat ratio, I should have asked for some ranch or bleu cheese dressing.  This morning at the hotel’s free breakfast, I expected there to be eggs available, but there weren’t any for some reason.  I didn’t want to eat a waffle or cereal, so I grabbed two small yogurts.  Lunch featured a salad bar in which I passed by things like croutons, Chinese noodles and pasta salad.  I opted for a small bowl of chili to round out the meal by did not pick up any muffins or corn bread.  Again, I should have picked a fuller fat dressing, but overall I think I was closer in my ratios.

There were also a couple of instances when a cookie looked far too tasty to pass up and later I let myself get far too hungry past dinner time.  I needed something to eat asap, chose an egg and cheese sandwich from Starbuck’s for expediency.  I intended to not eat any of the bread but I caved and had half of the roll.  It’s the first white flour bread that I’ve eaten in five weeks.

I’m not beating myself up over my food choices.  I did the best that I could outside of my home and home-work environment where I can do a more thorough job of planning and preparing.  I had a couple of small indulgences, enjoyed them, and now they’re over.  I already know what I’m going to eat for breakfast and lunch tomorrow and will plan dinner as well as meals for the next few days once I’m up and moving.

Being gentle and kind to myself is so important.  My recovery is not served by me getting angry about a spare cookie or piece of bread here and there.  Instead of focusing and being negative about those indulgences, it is far better for me to look at the good things that I did on the fly.  I also am embracing the lesson. I have a conference coming up in the future, which means that I will face nearly a week of not being home where I can carefully plan and prepare my meals.  I know I’ll have a fridge in the hotel room, but don’t know about a microwave.  I plan to bring in some backup foods for snacks or to supplement meals if my ratios weren’t balanced.  My goal will be to not get so far out of whack that I can’t reel myself back in.  I have reasonable expectations for what I can and cannot do ahead of time.  I also resolve to be kind to myself as I go through the process.

 

 

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