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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Self-Care Saturday

I've had a lot going on in my life in the last few months-- quitting jobs, signing up to sub as a teacher, things at home, etc. I've been overwhelmed and anxious. I knew I needed to take better care of myself and that I needed some "me time." I needed to be away from everyone else and away from everything that was making me feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. Earlier this week, I made plans with a college friend I hadn't seen in a long time. We were going to meet at a football game. I had students on both teams. I was nervous about it all week.

This morning came and I was running late, but when I got there he never showed up. After unsuccessful attempts to contact him, I stood there a few minutes contemplating what I wanted to do.  I thought of something I saw on twitter and made my decision:

As I was leaving two female students who I had when they were in elementary school waved to me. We talked for a few minutes, catching up on life and went our separate ways. I saw a few other students on the football team that I had in elementary school and a few on cheerleading. I noticed how much bigger they had gotten or how much older they looked. I wanted to see my students because I missed them. Being between school counseling jobs, I needed a reminder of why I went into this career in the first place-- the kids. I love building relationships with students and I love helping them. Knowing these students still remembered me and stopped to talk to me was enough of a reminder. 

I walked to my car and knew exactly where I needed to go. Since I drove all the way to Bethlehem, I figured I might as well do something I've been meaning to do for awhile. I parked my car across from a local park that I like to go to in order to be alone in nature. I slowly walked along the tree-lined path, watching leaves fall. Anyone who knows me, knows I walk fast. I'm always on a mission. For once, I took my time. I looked around, just taking nature in. I listened to the running water. I sat on a bench near the waterfall so I could listen to it and admire it. I watched the chestnuts that were bobbing in the water and the leaves that fell from the trees into the water, creating ripples. Ripples. I was reminded of the ripples of kindness many counselors, like Barbara Gruener talk about. I just took in nature through sight and sound. The leaves making ripples made me think... going to my favorite place was my way of being kind to myself when I needed kindness. I filled my own bucket by engaging in Habit 7- Sharpen the Saw. In doing so, I can fill others' buckets, creating a ripple of kindness.

I sat there for an hour or more. I didn't want to leave and deal with life. Where I was, was too serene and tranquil. People walked by me and said hello, but no one who actually knew me knew where I was. No one could find me. Instead that idea scaring me, something about that thought made me feel at peace.

I felt like I could just be me for a little while. For that time, I wasn't a daughter, a friend, a colleague, a sister, etc. I wasn't Miss Davies, Miss Daisy, or even Jess. I enjoyed the anonymity-- the feeling that no one knew who I was and I could just be. I felt safe and calm, maybe even happy. Sitting in this park and enjoying listening to the water under the shade from the trees helped gain back some of my strength. While I was sitting there, I reflected on what is important to me. Everything happens for a reason. Everything is as it should be. What is important to me is my family and my career. I will want to buy a house one day, most likely in Bethlehem, so I can go to this park as often as I need to in order to de-stress. I believe I can do it on my own now. 

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