Originally posted Feb. 23, 2009
Okay. Step away from the computer, run outside and reclaim what's left of your lunch hour or that reprieve you earned when you coaxed your baby into going down for a nap. Come on now, it's a sunny, fabulous day and you don't want to miss it.
I'm a 'throw open the curtains, get your butt out there and enjoy the sun' kind of Mom, but sometimes I need to be reminded to soak some up rays for myself. This morning at my chiropractor's office, after I finally let the gossip magazine go slack in my lap, I closed my eyes and let the electrodes and ice pack repair my aching back while I simply sat. A moment later I realized that my shoulders were becoming warm. I'd been sitting with my back to the sun, a condition I quickly remedied. The sun had found me in that quiet little room, and, like a plant leaning into its warmth, I decided that I would enjoy a little sunlight therapy while I was at it. But the timer went off too soon and I left the office wanting more, so I skipped my errands and went home instead.
I dragged an old chair out of the garage and leaned it up against the southern, sunny side of my house, found a cushion for my seat and an old wool blanket to drape over my lap against the February air and sat. I closed my eyes and leaned back for a bit.
What a treat. In spite of the 20 degree air, I was warm as toast and pleased that there was nary a breeze. I soon became aware of all of the little sounds around me as I settled in. The drip, drip, drip of the melting icicle that still clings to my roof, the chirping of various birds, and the mailman slamming the mail truck's door mingled with the distant sounds of traffic ambling by on the next block.
I admit that I peeked at my mailman, wondering if he noticed me sitting there in my snowy yard, but then I decided I didn't give a hoot. I pushed the thought away as I took a deep breath and gave myself permission to relax.
Being still is a funny thing. Sometimes you don't realize how tight your body is until you allow yourself to fully unwind. If you ever give sun-sitting a try you might be surprised by what comes up. It's not just your body's level of vitamin D (which depends on you getting a minimum of 10 minutes a day of direct sun exposure to flourish). You may feel like stretching, so stretch. You might discover the urge to yawn, or even find yourself taking a few deep breaths. You may uncross your legs and unshrug your shoulders and goodness only knows what might bubble up to the surface. For me, the solution to a minor conundrum suddenly became clear, though I hadn't sat down with the intention to find one. I just sat, and that's enough.
I feel like I made a fabulous re-discovery today. I even felt inspired to pamper myself with a cup of herbal tea before returning to my desk. It seems that a little self-care engenders more of the same, you know? Whatever happened, I'm liking it. I may need to add sunscreen to my routine, but my spirits are lifted and I feel energized enough to keep on with my day and keep up with my kids, so you, too, give it a try. Come on, get on out there and catch some rays.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.