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Why We Need to Remember: We Count Too

By Sandy Schroeder

As we reach out to help others, and teach our children to care, sometimes we forget that we need compassion too. In the daily scramble, it is easy to forget to take care of ourselves.

When is the last time you simply stopped and gave yourself permission to make a mistake, or take a needed afternoon off?

As we all navigate busy family and work schedules, it is easy to skip taking breaks and blame ourselves if things go off course. 

When I was a young mom, learning everything as I went, a dear friend of mine, who had two very busy teens, would often advise: “You count too.”

Practicing Self-Compassion

When we allow ourselves to count, good things happen. The Harvard health community says self-compassion can improve health, well-being and relationships. It can also help to reduce anxiety and depression.

Here are five ways to treat yourself better.

Tap Your Favorites – Take time to pause with your favorite healthy snack. Savor fresh fruit, teas, juices or nuts. Go for a long walk or a run in the park. Sit outside in a quiet spot. Take a long, hot shower or warm bath.

Review Recent Battles – If you have recently tangled with someone, been turned down for a position you wanted, or suffered some other painful encounter, jot down a few notes on what happened, without pointing the finger at yourself or anyone else. You might even write a summary of the situation. Consider how you felt, and accept and nurture your feelings.

Imagine a Response – Think about the stress or challenges you are currently facing, and imagine what you would say to a friend if they were facing similar situations. You might advise them to kick back with a funny movie. Or you might suggest that they get away for an afternoon, a day or the weekend. Or you might just get together and talk.

Explore Meditation – Try a simple breathing exercise, attend a class on mindfulness meditation, or try a tai chi meditation in motion class. Learning how to let go for a little bit can make the rest of the day a lot better.

Opt for Pure Fun – Reach way back to things that made you feel good when you were a kid. This is the time to self-indulge. You, and your friends or family, could spend Saturday afternoon watching favorite movies back-to-back, take over the kitchen for cookie-making or pizza creations, or head off to the nearest comic bookstore. Whatever works.

Much of life is pretty serious, but learning how to opt out here and there, to treat ourselves better, might actually help us stay on track, and come through when we need to.


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