It is no secret that we R.W.’s have a lot on our plates. Between family, work, home, and a myriad of other activities and responsibilities, we juggle a whole ‘lotta balls in the air, and take care of a whole ‘lotta people, often bringing upon ourselves a whole ‘lotta stress.
In order to keep ourselves sane and healthy, we need therapy. Maybe not always in the form of professional/medical therapy. Sometimes, when we are lucky, we fit in therapy in the form of a relaxing vacation, or even a spa visit that includes massage & relaxation therapy.
But those forms of rehabilitation are usually infrequent at best and often cost-prohibitive. So, resourceful beings that we are, we R.W.’s come up with other ways to cope, other methods of self-preservation, that meet our immediate needs to help find our way back to our own personal calm. I call these Moments of Therapy, or MOT’s.
The most obvious and immediately effective means of help arrives in the form of other R.W.’s. We love the men in our lives, really, we do. But they just don’t “get it” like other women do. Hence why we build such incredibly strong, durable, and long-lasting relationships with each other. An MOT can be as simple as a phone call or text with a BFF or sister, or a meeting over coffee or lunch. Men roll their eyes over the term “Retail Therapy”, but that can provide a much-needed MOT. Yesterday I needed to take a run out in search of new sports bras and a couple of jackets for work. Not a really exciting shopping focus, but I reached out to a BFF to see if she wanted to join me. Sure enough, she came along – actually, she even drove. Not because she needed to do any shopping. Simply because she was just as in need of an MOT as I was.
When women get together, we can cover just about 100 topics in a couple of hours or less. We can discuss everything from careers, to family, to spouses, to children, to home issues, to personal issues like weight and aging, bills, chores, the latest books or movies we’ve seen….we can get into deep philosophical issues about our emotions, our psyche, and yes, guys, sometimes even about sex. (But not as often as you men would like to believe!). Amazingly, these sessions are never considered to be complaining. Just releasing, venting, getting it out there and reviewed. Therapeutic. As a matter of fact, when one of my BFF’s and I get together after work every few weeks or so for drinks and apps, we call our get-togethers Therapy Sessions. We’ll email each other with “how’s your schedule look for another session?”
When we are especially fortunate, these R.W.’s MOT’s can turn into full-blown Personal Board of Directors Meetings. Outings or gatherings that last more than an hour of two, and usually involving more than one other woman. I have a Board Meeting coming up this next weekend as my BFF’s come into town for a Chick’s Weekend. We all look forward to these meetings for weeks or months at a time; regular daily RW responsibilities are put on hold, and the focus is just each other and having fun. The results are happy, refreshed women who have taken comfort from each other, knowing that none of us are truly crazy because we all understand each other’s issues and likely have “been there, done that — and survived.”
However…we can not always rely on other RW’s to pull us out of a funk, or give ourselves a stress break, or revitalize us. We need to know how to take smaller chunks of time devoted to our individual MOT’s. I’ve learned over time that most of us do not do this enough, nor have trained ourselves to do them well — but they are vitally important.
Personal MOT’s do not have to be extensive or lengthy or complicated. But they do need to be moments when we cut ourselves some slack. Remove a couple responsibilities off our plate so we can just breathe and re-adjust. This is not always easy — it has taken me most of my adult life to learn how to do this. Here are a couple of examples….
I’ve had to admit to a diminished level of energy, as predicted by my doctor, as I weave my way through my radiation treatments. So I’ve just lately had to learn again how to be ok with taking some things off my daily to-do list. Last night the item crossed off the list was cooking dinner. We ordered in pizza. Not healthy, but easy and relaxing. After we ate, I put my feet up and watched some tv…. Not something I do often. Simple MOT.
This morning for the first time in a long time, I played hooky from attending church (hoping God understands). I slept in to catch up on some sleep (which rarely happens in my house), read the newspaper, did some writing, went for a bike ride, and spent time gardening in gloriously perfect weather. I purposefully planned all of this. Saturday evening I was giddy with excitement and anticipation over my planned Sunday stretch of MOT’s. The result? Relaxed, happy, more Zen-focused me. A benefit just not to my well-being, but to my family, and likely my co-workers on Monday morning.
We busy, ball-juggling, care-giving R.W.’s need to recognize and respect our need for Moments of Therapy. And we need to learn how to practice them. What is your MOT? Sitting and enjoying a mug of coffee on your porch? A walk through the Park with your pet? Curled up in a comfy chair with a good book? A nap in the shade? Soaking in the tub? A short trip to the store with a BFF? Find your MOT. And do it. You earned it.