Some of you may know that I take horseback riding lessons. It’s my escape. When I am on the back of a horse, the rest of the world fades away. It’s just me and the horse, trying to relax and communicate.
I take lessons with younger students—actually they are decades younger: mostly tweens and early teens. I’m sure they think it’s odd for someone my age to be taking lessons with them, but they are polite about it, and we have fun together.
My lessons have been going on for a few years, and I wish I could say I was getting better. Of course, my instructors will say that I am, but somehow I feel like I am barely progressing. I didn’t ride in my early years so I don’t know that I will ever become a really good rider. But I keep trying.
Why? Two reasons. I love to challenge myself. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always pushed myself, striving to be the best at everything. I’m determined—some might say stubborn—so riding well is a goal I will pursue as long as I possibly can.
Secondly, riding is “me” time. The lessons help counterbalance the many things I do every day that feel like “have-to’s” and not “want-to’s.” I am totally in the moment when I ride a horse. My mind slows down, and I let my body relax into the horse’s rhythm. I find myself paying attention to my senses and feeling at peace with the world around me.
So here’s my question for you: are you fitting in some “me” time? Have you carved out time for an activity whose whole purpose is providing personal enjoyment?
I know what you’re thinking—being a parent is fulfilling enough, and you are happy just spending time with your kids. But keep in mind that you have needs, too. When you
neglect your own personal dreams and wishes, then often the rest of your existence feels a little less meaningful. It’s as if you are sacrificing a part of yourself to be a better parent, daughter, wife, employee, etc.
Here’s my advice: you need to fit in time for an enriching activity, something you do just for you. It will make all the rest of those hours and days better. Trust me.
Feeling like you can’t cope? That stress is a message from the universe telling you that you need to be kinder and gentler to yourself. Here’s how:
1. Make a list of all the things you wish you had time to do.
2. Pick three.
3. Put your list of three “want-to’s” on your refrigerator door.
4. Find a friend to watch your kids.
5. Make a date with yourself to have some “me” time.
You need to recharge your batteries. Spoil yourself a little now and then, and by all means, don’t feel guilty about it. It’s good for your mental health. And besides, your kids will be thrilled to see you smiling and happy.
You deserve a break today, so what are you waiting for? Giddy-up!
~ Love, Peggy
PS - This month we welcome a new columnist, Dr. Melanie Wilhelm of Pediatric Specialists, who will write a health column for Tidewater Family every month. Welcome, Melanie!