Sharing the lessons along the way…

Posts tagged ‘self-care’

I am not a Unicorn!!

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

I know this might be hard to believe, but I am a human being.  As such, I find that others often expect the alternate universe Tawny who has magical powers, is a unicorn or perhaps the Tawny that flies in invisible planes and can be in more than one place at a time.

Unlike the superhero Tawny who may or may not live in an alternate universe, I am not available 24/7 ready and willing to leap a tall buildings in a single bound.

In this reality, I need time to recuperate rest and not be “on” for others 24/7.  This was true long before my chronic condition, in fact.  I have known this about myself for a long time.  It wasn’t until after my diagnosis that I began to honor it more.  I know when I can absolutely do nothing more for anyone else unless I take care of myself.

Every now and again, I wish I could be in that alternate universe.  I wish I was a unicorn, had some magical beans or a wand or something so that I could continue to help all who need it in the best possible way.  Or to simply get to hang out with people I miss terribly and don’t get to see that often anymore.

And every now and again, I have others place these superhuman expectation on me.  To help in ways I am unable, or to do just that one more thing.  Sometimes they even use guilt to push me to wave my magic wand despite having already done as much as I could.

In this universe, I do the very best I can from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.  If anyone is going to challenge that “best” then it will be me because I know more than anyone else does just how important it is for me to do as much as I can to make life just a little bit better than it was before I arrived.

Believe me when I say this, I will always be harder on myself about it than anyone’s guilt trip or anyone’s attempt to push one of my buttons.  That’s why those guilt trips and button pushing attempts are less likely to work anymore and the answer is still no.

Actually, I hardly have anyone in my inner circle who doesn’t respect the answer no because they know me well enough to know that I totally would if I could.  They know it isn’t personal.  They know that I am not a unicorn and I love them for it!

I am grateful for everything I can do and spend my time and energy figuring out ways to do even more without sacrificing my well-being in the process.

Wouldn’t it be just a little bit fun though to have a super power, have unlimited energy (not the pathological kind), to constantly be able to serve humanity without any regard for self-care, have magic wands or magic beans or fly invisible planes?

Tipping the scales


In the spirit of transparency, which is what I strive for most with this blog, I have to tell you I am exhausted and a bit off-balance.

Just as the needs of those I serve are seemingly endless, so too are my own needs.  The balance has somehow shifted in the past couple months to mine getting a bit less attention than others’.

Fortunately, I know I am tired.  I know I the balance is off, and I have a plan to address it.

I have known it for a while, but was hoping my body would work with me until there was a bit of a break.  Yesterday, my body made it quite clear that it would wait no longer.  It has my full attention now.

I have not come this far, only to come this far, so whatever it takes to keep this roll going, I am planning to make happen.

Step One:            Take time off if I need to take time off.  And I will use it to                                                    recuperate.

Step Two:            To finish out February and throughout March, I will consider my                                      well-being and self-care needs before I consider anyone else’s.

Step Three:        Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.

Self-care isn’t rocket science.  I know what I need, and I need to meet those needs because I certainly know how.  That doesn’t mean I cannot do things for others, it just means I need to take more time to fill my own tank better first.  I started toward that end as I posted my last blog, but it wasn’t enough.  Fortunately, I always have a plan B, C, etc.  Generally, I need them!

There have been countless times in my life where I have tried to be everything to everyone.  And countless times, I have fallen short of the mark because, well, it is simply not humanly possible to do so.  I doubt anyone expects that of me, so it is time for me to let that expectation of myself go as well.

I don’t have to move at the speed of light to make magic happen.  I have proven that time and again.

My action plan for this week was to post a blog.  Action plan completed!  Not to worry, I am ok and taking care of what I need to take care of, and everything will appear as it did before this post!  😉




Off to the Races in 2016

Racing Ruby

My life has raced along since the start of 2016.  Right out of the gate, my life at work was off to the races.  It will likely be much the same throughout the year as we grow and expand several new wellness programs.

If you have ever ran, biked, swam, rowed or otherwise been in a race, you may know that giving your all during that race takes a toll on the body at the very same time it can be invigorating and exciting.  Most races are short-lived and have a specific distance after which you can rest and recover before training for the next.

Each day often feels like a race.  At the end of the workday, I come home, walk my dog, feed us both and then crash.  I only hope that my body gets enough rest and recovery time before starting the next leg of race for the week as I go.  At the end of the workweek races, I have very little left of me.

In response to this wonderfully exciting, not likely to end anytime soon, race at work, I have had to make some adjustments in my self-care and planning on weekends and evenings.

I have stepped up my healthy eating to yet another level, have set my bedtime routine earlier and my phone/screen time after work has been limited.  So far, these changes have been helpful in being able to make it through the workweek, but doesn’t always allow for there to be energy to do much other than rest and recover on weekends.

It has made for some great bonding time with my alien vampire baby dog Ruby
, but it hasn’t  allowed for as much social time with my friends and family. I am still getting some on the weekends, but with my level of fatigue and the colder temperatures, that is a bit more challenging to do.

There have already been many extras and many exciting things in 2016, for which I am both grateful and feel honored.  (Lightning Hero Award!) My plan is to keep honing my self-care as I move through month #2 of 2016 to keep the momentum going.

How is 2016 treating you so far?  Do you ever feel like you are always off to the races?




Are you a holiday Zombie?

It is a well-known fact that we cannot move forward when our thoughts are consumed with something from the past.  Whether those thoughts are positive or negative from the past, if we are consumed by them, we cannot move forward fully.

Being consumed with overly positive thoughts is no less serving for us than being consumed by traumatic or upsetting events.  We miss this moment, right now, when we allow our thoughts to drift fully into those past events.

That is not to say that we cannot have happy or not so happy memories—that isn’t what I am talking about.  I am talking about the wishing for a different time, living the emotions from a different time, and missing being present now.

Around the holidays, anniversaries of deaths and other times of the year, this becomes more prevalent.  The steady diet of past events swirling about in our heads creates a lot of stress on our bodies, and we move about our day like zombies because we are reliving the past instead of living in today.

Moving forward becomes quite a bit like trudging along in quicksand because we are literally stuck in another time and place.  If it gets thick enough inside our minds, even the people in our lives today take on the characteristics of those from the time period in which we are stuck.

We may see only negatives or only perceive someone doing something to us that might be similar to what someone from our past did.  Or we overly glamorize someone because they remind us of someone (or some feeling) we knew in that past moment we find ourselves.  Either way, we aren’t seeing it for what it really is today.

I have struggled in the quicksand at various times in my life.  All I know for sure about it is that it is no way to live with any quality.  I know for sure that there is no true way to discern what is happening right now when I am looking at it through those past filters.

We cannot get out of quicksand by fighting the quicksand.  Thoughts of the past and memories are going to flood our thoughts.  That doesn’t mean that we have to give them the power to overtake our lives.  So how do we get out of the quicksand?

I have done it in many ways over the years of managing quicksand, but I am by no means an expert about how you might find your way safely away from it.  What worked for me each time was different, but the critical factor was that I truly was willing to do something to get out of it.

As we trudge through the holiday season’s quicksand together, I want to hear from you.  I want to know how you have gotten yourself through it and to the other side of it.  I will share mine throughout the month, if you share yours too.  Imagine the list we can compile to help others if we do it together!


In all seriousness…

Little Tawny

When I was a little girl, I wondered what I was doing here.  I remember obsessing about it so much that I wrote a note to God on my little chalkboard asking him to tell me, and waited for a response.  I was sad and disappointed when there was no response on my chalkboard.

It was hard to be so young and to feel so lost.  Other kids played on the playground seemingly unconcerned about why they were here and I couldn’t understand why I seemed to be the only one who cared about it.

It seems the answer to that question came in the form of life events after that.  When I knew I was here to make a difference, then I had to figure out how I could make the biggest difference in this life.

All life events in my teens and early 20’s led me to the conclusion that I needed to make a difference in my own life before I could make a bigger impact for others doing whatever it was I would be doing.  As I worked on healing my own issues, it seems the questions about why I am here and how I can make a difference started to answer themselves through the process.

Being able to take care of myself first and then help others was not easy for me to put into practice.  Fortunately, life gave me illness to hone that skill set.  Now that illness isn’t in the forefront of my life, I notice that I have to make more deliberate and conscious efforts to make sure I am practicing self-care.

Part of my self-care is including playtime—fun and laughter– because that serious little girl missed a lot of that growing up.

I like that as I look back at how all the events in my life have shaped me.  I like that I know why I am here and how I can best serve while I am here.  I also like that I have so many people in my life who also know how they can best serve and seek to do so in their lives.

Day 16 and beyond the half way mark of the challenge.  I needed to be writing again as part of my self-care, so I am grateful to have been inspired by a great team of writers and one larger-than-life Dinosaur.






Serenity Sunday

zeke and rube 11-9-15

By Thursday evening, I knew what I had to do.  I needed to scrap most of the plans and tentative plans for my weekend and instead assertively plan some down time.  The weekend needed to be without agendas and without needing to rush to do anything.

At my step mom’s Birthday party Friday evening, I had canceled everything tentative or planned except my Saturday bike ride.  Biking is physical therapy, so that stayed because it was important.  Of course, we went a bit farther and with a bit more intensity than we meant to, so I was quite a bit more tired than I usually am afterwards.

Just the same, Ruby and I made our way out to the Art Harvest in our own time and for however long we wanted.  My legs were tired that was for sure.  It was hot, Ruby and I both were sure of that too.

Asleep from exhaustion and contentment by 7:30pm, I awoke early for a day that was already scheduled as a serene one.  There was no agenda.  No itinerary.  I had things I needed to do to get ready for the week, but no cares about what order or time frame they happened.

Ruby got to her walk and got to see her cousin Zeke.  Later she got to see her Aunt Marilyn, who just returned from China.  I attempted to try to recreate the last two-three weeks to catch her up (Geez, it has been full of so much) as if she nor I had anything to do today.

Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and more was accomplished quite early in the day.  My favorite music played in the background and I loved doing all of it.

It is amazing what a difference a day of rest provides.  No one needed anything from me, expected anything from me (except for Ruby) and I feel like I am rejuvenated and ready for another busy week.  To boot, I still have the rest of the afternoon and evening to do with what I wish!

Self-care is so important to my ability to do what I most want to do in this life—be the change and limit the amount my illness interferes in my ability to do so.

Day Eight and going strong for Team Pepper!


Kitt O'Malley

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