After months or years of being on continuous red alert, things are finally settled. “Now, I can relax,” you might think, and, in some ways, you would be right; but, once you let your guard down it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with the challenges of your new life, and to suddenly get sick. I know it’s counter-intuitive to think you are more likely to fall ill when the extreme pressure is over, but the body-mind has a way of stepping up to the plate when threats are constant, and relaxing its vigilance when things calm down. How paradoxical that the same deep, cellular relief allowing you to open up and heal, makes you more prone to opportunistic colds and infections. However, it’s typical, after the real threat has passed, to suddenly get sick with something. By taking very good care of yourself you can actually strengthen your immune system.
The following simple, but not easy, suggestions will keep you healthy:
Eat well (lots of fruits, veggies, yogurt or probiotics, and whole grains).
Relax (meditate, resist over-scheduling yourself, listen to music, lie on the couch and read a book, have a cup of tea, take a warm bath, etc.).
Get enough sleep.
Soak up some nature (walk or drive someplace for a change of scene).
Keep writing in your journal; you are still processing and venting is good.
Remind yourself that you are over the worst, but that very same relief necessitates greater vigilance and self care.
While you know you have been through an emotional wringer you may not be aware of how romantically vulnerable you are. By all means, date, but be careful. Not necessarily so cautious of others as of your own new porosity and desire to connect. A strong desire to find someone may cloud your good sense. Those of you who have been coupled for decades know the joys of long-term intimacy and may want to replicate them the first chance you can. Of course, some will run for the hills at the hint of anything serious; either tendency is a red flag and fairly screams: slow down. This is a perfect time to develop or renew your relationship with yourself. If you have done almost everything as a couple, you can learn how to independently go to a movie, museum, or restaurant. Even if the thought of doing things solo gives you the heebie-jeebies, experiment. You are not the same person you were years ago and you may love the freedom of doing what you want when you want without having to consider someone’s else’s preferences. Allow the joy of discovering new aspects of yourself, while making friends (see Losing Friends), and seeing where an open heart and mind lead. If you feel some anxiety, let it work in your favor, as it does for test-taking, sharpening the mind and reaction times. If more than a little nervousness plagues you, try some Rescue Remedy (see Herbal and Homeopathic Helpers). Freedom can be a heady experience, but you will adjust and come to love captaining your own ship.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang