There is a reason there is a U in us. You might think I’ve lost my mind and you may be right but that’s besides the point so just let it go. There is a reason there is a U in us. Because in every relationship, you are a part. You are a big part. Without you, there wouldn’t be the relationship. And because of this, you are very important. Unfortunately when a family member is going through stuff, “you” tend to put yourself last as far as your needs, your wants, your stuff. Well I’m here to tell you that this is only going to hurt the relationships with those around you, including with the one who needs you the most. It is important that when everything starts blowing up around you that you find yourself a Jack Ryan and fast. I don’t care if he takes the form of a young Alec Baldwin or Harrison Ford or if he takes the form of Ben Affleck or Chris Pine (he’d be my personal choice, do with that what you will), but you need yourself a Jack Ryan that can figure all your shit out and help you save the day. Trust me on this one. Just make sure that your Jack Ryan meets your needs appropriately. Or something.
So how can you make sure that the U in us is taken care of? There are a few suggestions I have for you. Here they go:
- Get bodywork. Often. I just had an acupuncture treatment where my body felt so relaxed and heavy that I literally could not open my eyes. I had someone paying attention to the stress zones and sore spots and needs of my body for one hour and this is priceless. It helps me re-energize and reboot for the long haul ahead. Caring for someone who is ill whether it be mentally or physically is exhausting and you need all the help you can get. A little bodywork can go a very long way when it comes to helping put the U back into us. Massage, acupuncture, a facial, taking a spa, getting a personal training session, or hiring a pool boy are all totally appropriate options.
- Find someone to talk to on a regular basis. And I don’t mean your mother. Or your best friends. Or facebook. Find a professional. Preferably one who is a good listener and can let you put everything out on the table and start to put two and two together out of the mess surrounding you. What a relief it is to talk to someone who doesn’t judge you and has to listen to whatever you have to say for a full 50 minutes. It’s essential. Please do it and do it quickly for everyone’s sake, especially yours. Dump all of it on this person for it is their job to look at it all objectively and help you clean it up.
- Get yourself a lizard savior king. Alright maybe that’s just me but it helped. Do with it what you will.
- Make sure you take space for yourself whether it be to exercise, go for a walk, go shopping, have a drink out with friends, hear some live music, whatever. Whatever is therapeutic for you and a distraction for you needs to happen. We are so busy finding coping skills and distractions and strategies for our loved ones that we forget about our own. But what happens when we forget how to take care of ourselves? We become so depleted that we can’t possibly take care of anyone. Remember, you are the most important letter in us. Why? Because I said so.
- Allow other people to feel for you. For U. When we were at Children’s Hospital and in crisis, one of the social workers kept saying, “I can’t imagine how this must have felt to you. I cannot imagine what you are going through. You must have been so scared and so upset. What can we do for you to support you?” And at first I was all, I’m fine, really, just take care of her and I kept saying that over and over. And she kept saying “How can we help you? You’ve been through so much and you must be feeling so many things right now” until finally I broke down and allowed myself to admit that yes, I had been through a lot, I was scared to death, and I needed help and support from others. Take it. Don’t try to go it alone because remember, U are the biggest letter in us.
- Don’t worry about your weight from all the eating your feelings you’re doing or the lack of time for exercise. Just buy jeggings.
- Lean on your spouse or you significant other or your god or your pet or somebody close. Be vulnerable. Let them know how much it hurts. Expose yourself. Not that way you pervert. Jeesh.
- Breathe in and breathe out everyday. Count your breaths in, count your breaths out. Expand your inhales and expand your exhales. Some days all you can do is breathe and thank god that you still are breathing. So make every breath count. Make every breath important. Make every breath strong and sustainable. Breathe in peace and breathe out anything that doesn’t serve. Breathe in your pool boy and breathe out everything else. Sorry I got distracted but you get my point. Breathe.
- Try to laugh at least once a day even if it leads to crying. Watch Amy Schumer or Jimmy Fallon or whoever makes you laugh till you pee yourself. Laugh hard and laugh often. Rinse and repeat.
- Take care of you. If you need help with that, I am here and so are so many others who have been in your shoes.