By Teri Tibor, Employer Services Account Specialist
I came to a startling revelation this year. I realized that I was sprinting as fast as I could through everything on my to-do list. I don’t mean actually running or speeding, just anxiously rushing through every task I have on a daily basis in an attempt to feel caught up or on top of things. The end result was less like a runner’s high and more like high anxiety.
I noticed that I had little to no memory of what I had done that day and didn’t really get anymore done than I would have if I had approached it at more relaxed pace. I also realized that the people and things that I cared the most about suffered for this.
The consequences of this self-imposed unyielding pace were detrimental. It took a toll on my health and my relationships. I had been living in fight or flight mode for a long time and it was no longer sustainable. 2022 had been a tough year; I lost my oldest friend two months after I started my new job. Then, in the midst of a busy fourth quarter and the holidays, our family had the chance to buy a house and we made the move on Christmas Eve. It was a great opportunity, but not without ample stress.
My typical schedule left no room for rest or relaxation. I have never taken an actual vacation in my entire life. My family and I do go camping in the summer and I liked to think of those trips as mini vacations. Yet, they are just for the weekend and can sometimes feel more stressful than relaxing.
I also realized that I almost never did things for myself. Apparently, they call this self-care. I always had too many other things I deemed more important. You know, the important things in your life like your kids, your family, your pets, your job, your home and all the necessary chores and general upkeep of all the afore mentioned. But just managing these things alone was not leading me down a path I enjoyed. I wanted to do more than just survive as I ran through life.
So, I decided to change directions. It hasn’t been as easy as I hoped to change my outlook and day to day behavior to reach this more enjoyable path, but a new path requires new and healthier habits. I know it will take time like anything worth doing, so for now, I am practicing this strange new concept of self-care. I think of it like buying new sneakers, a fancy water bottle, good athletic shorts, and putting together a rocking playlist. Because if I’m going to be running through life, I might as well enjoy the run.
Here are a few things I found helpful for me:
https://communitychiroak.com/ – I have been seeing Dr. Peter Ryan for 17 years. He is awesome and has saved me from needing spinal surgery.
https://www.chryswell.com/ – Tammy Smith is amazing and has helped me with mind and body healing.
https://solsticebodyworkak.com/ – Jamie Newsom Eaton is wonderful and does lymphatic drainage massage and barefoot massage.
By Kevina “Liz” Mitchell, Employee Benefits Account Specialist
To give context I have two skin issues on opposing sides of the spectrum. If my skin gets too dry there is an inevitable eczematic flair up. If my skin gets too oily, specifically in the T-zone area, I get cystic acne. Middle and High school Picture Day were the stuff of nightmares for me, because in the late 90’s – early 2000’s, there wasn’t the variety of skincare products available like today unless you were willing to sell off pieces of your soul. I think the absolute best at that time was Proactiv…which was too harsh for my skin *laughs in teenage angst*. So, I have a couple of school pictures (that went into the yearbooks) where I have a couple of golf ball sized lumps on my gooey face. They were gross.
Now in 2022, we have skincare products like supermarkets full of food. You can find something for everyone and have a grand ‘ol time! There are products for sensitive skin, medicated ones, Korean skincare (I love it), vegan products, and the list goes on. But before you dive into the actual products, it’s important to have a general understanding of your skin.
Do you have dry, combination, or oily skin? Do you have underlying health issues that affect your epidermis? How does your skin react to the different seasons? These questions are important to answer because if one starts slathering themselves with unknown concoctions willy nilly, well…it could lead to varying degrees of disaster. For example, if your skin is naturally oily and you choose to use an oil-based product, you could find yourself with a sudden outbreak because your pores are extra clogged or you may find that your face is now dripping with oil and making a mess. I am guilty of both.
But once you cross that hurdle you get to swan dive into the world of self-care! Creams, mud masks, toners, mists, cleansers, serums, STEAM! You can steam your FACE!! Clearly I am a huge fan, but there really is something to doing something nice for yourself every once in a while. We’re the only person we can’t get away from so we should be kind to the person we look at in the mirror. Skin care is a great start! It’s where it all started for me.