There must have been a bad moon rising last week. Every day brought with it some disruption, upset, or annoyance - computer glitches, household mechanical failures, sleepless nights, sick dogs. It was in pursuit of a remedy for the latter that I became acquainted with the notion of a Feel Good Shot. Both of my little dogs are prone to digestive upsets, Magic in particular. We never know what brings on these occasional bouts of abdominal distress, because he's not a forager - is in fact, a rather picky eater. But they definitely make him miserable for a few days.
And when one of my dogs is miserable, than I'm miserable too. That's just the way of it.
My vet offered a new medication that's akin to a miracle drug for all manner of canine intestinal distress. She gave Magic an injection which was supposed to take effect immediately. "He should feel better by the time you get home," she promised. "We call it the Feel Good shot."
Ah, a Feel Good shot. At the end of the week, I desperately needed one of those for myself.
The thing about a series of upsets - even relatively minor ones like those of last week - it that they derail me from my carefully laid plans and routines. I am a creature of habit, I love my daily routines, and when they get disrupted I don't feel good. They also prevent me from putting myself first, and though that sounds completely self absorbed, I finally understand that if I don't take care of myself and my own emotional and physical needs, I can't possibly take care of the other people and things in my life.
But that means recognizing what Feeling Good means. Like most women, I'm more likely to think about what's going to make other people feel good than what it takes for me to feel that way myself. To even devote the time to consider what's necessary for my own happiness seemed self-indulgent. There's certainly nothing wrong with being considerate of other people, or with the desire to care for them and make them happy. But I've finally accepted the fact that I have to put myself at the top of that list, because if I don't Feel Good about myself and my own life, there's nothing I can do to make the people I love feel good about theirs.
Feeling Good for me is the sense of peace that comes from feeling energized, organized, confident, attractive, and loved. How do I get to that place? What's my Feel Good Shot?
The daily routine, of course, which means my morning coffee and book time, exercise, productive work, being outdoors, regular dinner time, evening relaxation with a good TV program or movie, and a relaxing bath before bed. But beyond that, it's being able to do the things I find fulfilling - writing, reading widely, playing music, keeping a nice home, spending quality time with my family.
When I was young, I got allergy shots every week, and the allergist would specially blend the injection each time depending on the time of year or the particular allergens that were affecting me. Like those allergy shots, I think our feel good shots need to be blended exactly the same way, with specific and very individualized ingredients depending on our emotional and physical needs of the day. There are times when all I want to do is play music, or read books. There are other times when my legs just itch for a long bike ride or walk. Sometimes nothing makes me feel better than scrubbing the bathtub until it shines or cleaning all the clutter out of my closet.
The point is to learn what makes you feel good - what calms your anxious heart, makes your inner spirit smile, fills you with a sense of well being. Take notice of the things you do as you go about the business of your own precious Life in General. Is it that first cup of coffee in the morning that makes getting out of bed worthwhile? Or is it a bracing hot shower and singing along with your favorite tunes as they blast through the steamy air? What energizes you through your workday? Does a comforting, healthy lunch you packed at home the night before or joining with your co-workers around a common table, sharing a meal and conversation give you the extra boost you need to make it until quitting time. And what sets you up for a restful sleep? Curling up on the couch with your significant other and watching a good movie, reading bedtime stories to your kids, doing yoga or meditating, writing in a gratitude journal?
I promise you that feeling good can be just that simple and routine. If you start to notice those times throughout your normal day when you're the most happy, the most content, the most productive, and then look around to see why, you'll find all the ingredients for your own Feel Good Shot right there for the taking.
Give it a try. And come back and tell me what works for you.
Feel good shots are meant to be shared.