It’s been a pretty tense month here in upstate New York — at least here at home. Lots of pressure on my husband from over-volunteering, and a large purchase that could help him realize one of his dreams kept going start-stop-start-stop.
On my end of things, it was medical testing that kicked up my anxiety (cardiac calcium scores and MRIs) and left me with many sleepless nights. (Yes, I know they are not difficult or painful, but still — TESTS.)
The pressure on my husband — with nowhere else to decompress — meant that I was the brunt of a lot of misdirected anger. And while there were sincere apologies afterward and he has immediately made changes to bring his pressure down, *my* blood pressure was spiking into really-you-shouldn’t-go-there territory.
When it’s that tough, it’s almost impossible to find one of those self-care apps or mantras or tiny tasks that are supposed to bring you peace and serenity.
Luckily, I found that I had a custom one. At eye level.
One of the perks about working at home, for me, is the companionship of my cats — most especially our 22 pound big galoot of a Maine Coon, Prawn.
His favorite snoozyspace is on the cat tree shelf that is to my desk’s immediate left, and right at eye level.
He is also a very good “fur-sician” in that he can sense when MomCat is having a bad day.
So these days more often than not, when I am working, every so often I will hear a small chirp (yes, Big Cat/Small Voice), and a huge white fuzzy paw will tap me gently.
And when I turn to look at him, I get a Slow Blink.
Slow Blinks, in cat language, mean “I love you. I trust you. It’s all good right now.”
So I find myself slow blinking back. Sometimes once, sometimes actually back-and-forthing with him for a few minutes. And when you Slow Blink, you can’t rush through it. You really do need to relax yourself.
This is my new self-care and peace routine, every day. When Prawn and I do the Slow Blink exercise, both of us relax. He will then generally do his best to look Absolutely Irresistible by turning his head upside down and making “happy paws” (flexing toes rhythmically) until I chuckle and get up for a momentary hug and cuddle.
And I find that I can breathe, and my shoulders are less hunched, and my gut less clenched. And I am sure my blood pressure has ratcheted itself down several points.
Am I suggesting you get a Maine Coon, and they are the answer to everything? Not quite. (Though I have always said that Maine Coons are little dogs in cat suits, and Love and Comedy in Furry Porta-packs. You could do worse.)
But you might take a look inside your own existence and see if there isn’t a small thing you do for yourself that you take for granted, and make it a small moment of treasure that can help you breathe a little easier.