Letter from the Editor: To care for others, first care for yourself

Greetings and Salutations my Marshmallow Peeps!

This May | June Issue rings in our 2nd anniversary here at Eat The Marshmallow! Yippee! We made it another year! While this is always cause for celebration, Maki and I have found that our adventures here at Eat The Marshmallow have made it increasingly difficult to find a good work/ life/caregiving balance. It is so hard. Why is it so hard?! Well, for one, life is perpetually pulling us in multiple directions. I often feel like I have the memory retention of a goldfish. Case in point, about a month ago, I was chasing my daughter around the house reminding her each step of the way what needed to get done so she could be ready on time to leave for her ballet class. I was frustrated at how easily she wandered off task and how we were once again heading to ballet late. In the car I was lecturing her about how it was high time she took some responsibility for getting herself ready for her extra-curricular activities in a timely fashion. She said to me, wearing the cheekiest of cheeky grins on her face, “Mom, how can you expect me to do all of these things? I’m just a kid, my brain is still developing!” I looked at her from the rear view mirror and said, “Well my brain is aging, so where does that leave us?!”

Oye-vay. Moments like that have led me to re-examine what I do for “brain breaks” and other self-care strategies and in doing so, I realized that:

  1. I don’t get enough breaks.
  2. I should definitely do myself a favor and make it mandatory to take a few mini-pauses during the day when I can.
  3. If I don’t create these boundaries and prioritize them, no one else will.

I also realized that this is a common challenge for all of us who are responsible for the care of others. Families are really good at needing things. All the time and right away. We really need to prioritize these “mini-pauses” for ourselves and for the good of all those around us! When the proverbial oxygen masks fall from the overhead compartment of the plane, the crew instructs that you, the adult, put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting your child. What use is an oxygen-deprived adult in this situational metaphor? To be in our best state-of-being as parents, we need to take good care of ourselves, and NOT put our own needs last after the ever-growing laundry list of to-dos.

So, guess what? For our sophomore anniversary issue, our theme is self-care! We will kick the issue off by sharing what both Maki and I do to give our “aging brains” much needed breaks. When I need a little reset, I take a walk. If it is the right time of year (like now) I walk around like Ferdinand the Bull, literally smelling the flowers along the way. If I can’t get out long enough to take a walk, then I go out on to my patio (as I no longer have a home with a garden) and see how my little potted plants are doing. This potted plant garden serves as a place where I can gaze upon these little plants growing, and engage with my “abiding urge to pursue beauty,” (as my friend and former sculpture teacher Alba Corrado so eloquently said).

Maki, my fearless ETM co-captain, also takes walks to hit the “reset button.” But because she lives in a pretty rainy climate, she also has a strategy for the indoors! She watches episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race then doodles and draws the queens runway looks. Again, she too is engaging in observing beauty! What is it they say about birds of a feather…?

What do you do for mini-breaks? Remember, if you don’t bother with the mini-breaks, you are in for a larger mental tidy!

In gratitude,

Anouck

and a GINORMOUS THANK YOU to my fearless co-captain Maki, without whom none of this would be possible, and to all of this year’s generous and talented contributing writers: Kelly, Vinay, Margaret, Meghaan, and Jeremy. You guys are THE BEST!!!

Party, cake, streamers and songs to come, Woohoo!

Heart and Brain comic is by Nick Seluk at theAwkwardYeti.com

 

 

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