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How do you self soothe?

Family, children, finances, health issues, we all have them.  I am neither pounding my chest, or feeling ‘special’ in this regard.  It just is what it is. Like many people, I struggle now and then.

I am a talker. Talking is something that helps whether I am riding alone in the car or walking Izzy. I think walking the dog is the most cathartic. Izzy is our 10-year-old fawn pug.  She is deaf as a stump and is currently on several heart medications like an old Italian woman who fights the signs of slowing down while shoving a 20-pound lasagna in the oven.  The topics I can cover in a two-block walk and the peace of mind I receive rivals the treatments of a Manhattan Park Avenue Shrink (with all due respect).

Dogs heal the soul.

A dog that does not hear, does not follow directions, but follows patterns and habits.  Izzy knows how I work and when I need some type of acknowledgment or pat on the back, her one ear up, other ear down, droopy eyes look and that doggie smile makes it.  She knows my secrets, she keeps sacred the Christmas presents I have been buying and hiding and her snoring makes me laugh when I feel like it is just too much.

Think of the things you cannot say or ask someone else but you can ask your dog:

  • Should I make another pot of Death Wish coffee? Yes?  Good idea!
  • Do these jeans make me look fat?
  • Is this hair color too dark?
  • Ooo, I like these shoes on Zappos. What d’ya think?  Yes, I will order them now!
  • Izzy, should I eat this brownie?

Other things can quiet the mind, like chocolate, but then I asked myself, “Why do you hide the candy from yourself?”  I cannot remember where I hide Christmas presents but I know where every single piece of the Halloween stash is hidden. Who am I kidding?  In the past month, I think I have chewed over 75 pieces of gum in a feeble attempt to keep my jaws busy and avoid Malt Balls and Peanut m&m’s.  I probably have TMJ.

But is that enough to bring peace and soothe the mind? Oh no, not even close so, how about baking?  I am not a baker but they say the slow and methodical task of baking can quiet the mind. So in the spirit of things, I have baked over a dozen different desserts and snacks, some edible, some never made it to the table.  Today’s special? Dark Chocolate with Dried Cranberry Brownies.  So far no one has expired… but the day is not over yet.  I do not find this relaxing, it is frustrating yet I persevere.

(Licking the batter bowl does not count as actually eating the brownie, does it?)

So, if I look like a lunatic walking Izzy and you see me having a full-blown conversation searching for divine intervention or absolution, maybe you are feeling that way too? Might I suggest that we try to be kind(er) to each other? Let’s try and remember that what we see is not always the way it is.  Times are trying in our country, our community and within our circle of family and friends. People are struggling with illness, recovering from a horrendous accident, burying a parent or just trying to get by.  Let’s not judge; let’s be present.  Turn off the phone when talking with someone. At work, stop typing when you are on the phone with a coworker or client and take a moment to listen, really listen. Ask someone if they are OK.  You will be surprised what you receive in return. Sometimes the soothing comes to you in unexpected ways.

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