If You Could Write Your Own Prescription…

In May I spent a lot of time thinking about and writing about meditation and other mindfulness practices, and toward the end of the last post, “Minding the Gap”, I introduced the idea of self-compassion because I know most parents are very hard on themselves — worry and guilt seem to play a big role in this job.  It’s true that there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with raising children, which is why we feel so much pressure, and it’s also true that we’re all trying to do the best we can with the time, energy, and other resources we have available.  It’s easy to forget.

This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t continue to try to do a better job, however.  We can simultaneously hold the ideas that we are “good enough”, while at the same time knowing that we can do even better.  To really rise to our potential, to enjoy this process of raising children, learning and growing are key.  And in order to learn and grow, we need to take care of ourselves.  It’s the familiar “put your oxygen mask on first…” concept.  Which makes sense and sounds great, but can be so hard to do in the midst of working, laundry, and shuttling kids around.  So here’s the deal — we need a plan. 

As a crazy coincidence, as I’ve been thinking about these ideas of self-care and self-compassion this week, I happened to be listening to a recorded conversation between two authors, Lissa Ranking and Brenee Brown, and they touched on this very topic of taking care of themselves.  Here’s what they both said:  they have written themselves their own health prescriptions. They have these prescriptions written on pieces of paper that they carry around with them.  On their lists are things like how much sleep they need, foods they avoid, exercise schedules, and other items that fall into the category of “sanity maintenance”, like limiting work hours and getting comfortable with saying “no”.

Before this, I hadn’t really thought about how I take care of myself as a “prescription” before, but the idea really resonates with me.  Without knowing it, I would say that up until now my prescription has included: 

  • 9 Hours of Sleep:  I’m a sleeper — always have been, always will be. For years I’ve envied those who could get by on seven hours or less (my uncle is a four-hour per night person), and tried to get by on less myself for a while, hoping I could train my body. Nope. So finally I’ve accepted it — I’m a sleeper.
  • Daily Meditation.  I’ve written a lot about this recently, so will only say that I’m on my cushion for 30-minutes a day.  When I miss a day, my emotions and energy suffer.
  • Sooo fresh — we picked them ourselves!
  • No Sugar or Flour.  I started following the Paleo diet when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and it has made a world of difference for me.  I have almost no inflammation in my body, and have much less pain than others who have the same health issues I do.  The first weeks coming off of sugar were tough, I can’t deny it, but they were totally worth it.  I eat protein, vegetables, and some fruit (low glycemic, primarily apples) and have no sugar cravings.

Now I’m thinking about adding to it, and have had a lot of fun the past couple of days just thinking about what I will include.  I want my prescriptions to be realistic and sustainable — daily massages would be wonderful, but just won’t happen. Maybe a monthly massage, though?  And I love having fresh flowers on my desk, so maybe a weekly purchase of fresh flowers?  The possibilities are endless, and soooo much fun to consider. So I’m curious to know — What’s on your personal prescription list?  What should be on it?  Any good ideas?

“Enjoying a life of extreme self care means living and working in a soul-nurturing environment; developing a greater appreciation for, and connection with, nature; doing work that provides an opportunity to express your greatest gifts and talents; and caring for your emotional, physical, and spiritual health in a way that’s aligned with who you are and what you most need.”

 – Cheryl Richardson, Extreme Self-Care



About Lori Dunlap

Lori Dunlap worked for almost twenty years in the corporate world, first as a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and then at a large research university as a program director and adjunct faculty member. In addition to homeschooling her two sons, she writes regularly about education and parenting issues. You can read her blog at www.teachyourown.org, or connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TeachYourOwn

Posted on June 5, 2013, in Health, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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