Re-Learning How to Take Care of Myself

I’ve been living in Asheville for over two months now, and it’s been a mid-range roller coaster with moderate ups and downs. The new job and the Couchsurfing; the church-searching and the solitude; newfound stability versus my inner nomad.

I’ve been attending a local support group twice a week for the last month, and I’m learning how to take care of myself again after a year in Charlotte where I let my life slowly slide away.

I’m learning to take care of all of myself.

At my new job, we sometimes check in with something called our MEPS:

MENTALLY,

EMOTIONALLY,

PHYSICALLY,

SPIRITUALLY.

You can rate your MEPS on a 1-10 healthy scale and/or you can simply list what healthy things you are and aren’t actively doing in each arena. It’s a great way to self-assess your current state-of-being.

“You’re only as strong as your weakest,” I hear, and it’s so true.

If you’re eating well and working out and otherwise taking care of your physical body but do nothing to regulate your emotions, you’re not healthy.

If you’re a spiritual superstar with prayer and meditation and church attendance but do nothing to stimulate your mind and sharpen your passions, you’re not healthy.

Life is a balancing act, always in flux. Here’s my current MEPS and what I’m doing (and not doing) to get healthy.

Got a #selfiestick for my birthday! Still working out the kinkz. #AVL #Asheville #riverartsdistrict #frenchbroadriver #tree

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MENTALLY

I’d give myself a 6 out of 10 right now. My goal is to read a little every night before bed, though sometimes I’m so exhausted at the end of a work day (or non-work day) that I just skip such a “little” step. But even fifteen minutes away from my phone and Internet and madness of the world can be so restorative.

I’d also like to get more actively engaged with other blogs I follow slash should be following, along with some podcasts/sermons I’ve been putting on the back-burner for too long.

On the positive front, I’ve been investing much of my time at Your Other Brothers these last few months, and that blog community is already among the most rewarding endeavors of my life. It’s such a joy to sift through and edit my brothers’ stories each week and let the world unwrap them, post by beautiful post.

I’m also currently working on my #RunningTo book, and I hope to fall into a steady rhythm now that my job has picked up and routines are finally being established. It’s been a rough, long process, this blasted second book.

But THIS YEAR. I’m determined to finish my next book this year.

EMOTIONALLY

My emotions are the most fluid of all the facets in my MEPS, as I could give myself a number right now that quite literally changes within the hour. After a hard first month in Asheville riddled in secrets and shame, I’m starting to find a groove amid renewed vulnerability with others.

I’ve learned continued vulnerability is hard after you write so openly on a blog or in a book, and people then expect you to be “better” or even “fixed.”

Alas. Struggles persist. Emotions build. Tempers flare. The new job has been mostly good, but there have been some emotional moments. How I’ve often killed for some of my dearest friends to live just down the street or even in my own home.

Though I still don’t have any regular face-to-face community in my new city (beyond that anonymous support group), I’m taking advantage of the dear people in my life from coast to coast thanks to the wonders of technology.

I’m grateful to know so many trusted individuals the world over who can handle my ever-shifting emotions.

PHYSICALLY

I’ll go 6 out of 10 here. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve started running again! It had been months since my last run. I’d love to do another half-marathon this year.

I’m also doing lots of little things like push-ups when I wake up, protein shakes, and even cooking my own meals. I’ve always been self-conscious of my cooking ability, but it’s rewarding to put together a meal made by my own hands and then consume it. I also get free meals at my new job, more food on the healthier end of the spectrum.

Perks.

SPIRITUALLY

Oh boy. Y’all are gonna think I’m such a great Christian right now. I’d give myself a 3. Maybe a 4.

I mean, I pray. I pray a lotttt. Praying has always come easy. I’m stuck in my head so much, and it’s only natural that while I’m talking to myself all day long I throw some words heavenward, too.

Alas, I haven’t read the Bible on a consistent basis since probably a year ago, and I’m currently church-less. Though I’m looking. I hope to hone in on a place soon, but I’m definitely feeling the starvation of not having any regular place of worship and community.

So yeah, if I’m only as strong as my weakest, then my health is a 3 or 4 out of 10 right now. Striving for my spiritual life to turn upward as I build all the little things. Together.

How about you guys? What’s your current MEPS? Where are you excelling, and where are you struggling?

  • Marielena

    Great blog post, Tom! It’s always a challenge to balance our MEPS … on any given day. I think the trick for me is not to judge myself when I feel that I’ve fallen short in any area, but to be gentle with myself, accept where I am and know that I’m doing the best I can. Another great acronym I learned many years ago is HALT. Never do anything when we’re too HUNGRY. ANGRY. LONELY. TIRED. If I’m in any of those states, I step back, pause and give myself some time. Thanks again for your sharing, Tom, your honesty and vulnerability and talented writing! Love you!!!!

  • Red

    I like this MEPS tool. For me, balancing life is constantly at the forefront of my prayers. When there is so much responsibility on your plate, its too easy to let one or more of these MEPS to crumble. Taking the time to ponder these areas and adequately score yourself seems difficult at first for me. This will be a good challenge to make time and score myself. Great post Tom. God bless you man.

    • Glad you enjoyed this, Red. Prayers for a healthy MEPS. Thanks for stopping by my neck of the virtual woods!