Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make Time to Focus on You

Over the last 67 days, my mother has been in the hospital with an undiagnosed condition. As most people would in this situation, I have lost myself in the shuffle. I travel daily from school, where I'm working on my MBA, about 40 miles to the hospital, where I'm working on keeping my mom's hope intact. It's no easy schedule, but it's nothing heroic. It's just how family works.

The problem? I've stopped working out. I've stopped bike commuting. I've stopped cooking meals at home. And... I've stopped regulating my asthma.

The detrimental effect didn't happen instantly. The delayed effects made my laziness easier to justify. "I still feel pretty good," I would tell myself. No dice. I'm run down and simple tasks like walking a few blocks to my car seem to make me wheeze. Ugh. I ran a marathon this year. What is my problem?

Yesterday in an interview I was asked how I would maintain a work/life balance in a consulting career. Without any hesitation I responded, "I just would. You have to draw the line. This time is mine; that time is everyone else's." It seems so simple. If that is how I feel about work, why is it not how I feel about what is happening now?

This morning, I took my own advice.

Inhalers? Check.

Nasal spray? Check.

Allergy meds? Check.

Eye drops? Check.

Rescue inhaler in my purse? Check.

Swimsuit? Check.

Yes, swimsuit. Living the best life possible with asthma is not just about managing medications, it's about exercise. So in the midst of mid terms, meetings with my mom's doctors, class, commuting from place to place, and spending time with my mom, I took the time to focus on me. I hit the pool for a two mile, mind clearing swim. I stuck it out and breathed easy.

Now, I'm sitting beside my mom's hospital bed, having just taken my nighttime meds, feeling renewed for the first time in 67 days.

My advice for today... don't just take time for yourself, MAKE time for yourself.