Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help—Or Take It When It’s Offered

This one is a biggie for me. I’m an only child who has been fiercely independent since birth and I’d rather do it my way and fail than admit I can’t do it at all. That’s why I was more surprised than anyone when the first words out of my mouth in the ambulance were, “I want my mother.” Eight hours and 1000 miles later she was at my side. She washed my hair, cooked for my family, did my laundry, ran my errands—and I had no choice but to let her. She, along with my husband, kept things going----—and the world didn’t end. Letting people help you doesn’t make you weak—it makes you smart.

Indulge In Guilt-Free Guilty Pleasures

I’ve never been someone who can just sit and watch television—until now. I let myself binge all the shows I’d heard about, and watch all my favorite movies---multiple times. I enjoyed some of my favorite not-so-healthy-foods, and read celebrity gossip mags---and I didn’t beat myself up for not being more “productive.” It’s okay to treat yourself to mindless activity every once in a while.

It wasn’t all watching Sex In the City reruns for hours and catching up on the Cardi B drama. I tackled the stack of books that have been sitting on my nightstand for months. I enrolled in an online nutrition course that I’ve been curious about. I cleaned out my closet by sitting on my bed while my mother held up items for approval, and listened patiently as I explained why I REALLY needed to keep that power suit from my first job interview 20+ years ago-----before throwing it in the “donate” pile. My point here is don’t focus on what you CAN’T do in a difficult situation---find the things you CAN.

Connect—and Reconnect

If you are like me, you “connect” with your friends and family via texts, cram a month’s worth of “catching up” into an hour-long lunch, and send your phone calls to voice mail. So I think the best thing that came of this whole experience was connection. So many friends carved out space in between work, carpool, and their own crazy, busy schedules to simply come over and hang out for an hour or two. I spent hours on the phone solving the world’s problems with my best friend 1000 miles away. And one night when the pain was too bad to sleep, I curled up on the couch with my mother and had a Reese Witherspoon movie marathon until 2 a.m. I realized in those moments that I’m guilty of taking people for granted, and that although you may not talk every day, those friends and family members who show up for you when you need them—even when it’s inconvenient--—are what make life special. Make time for the people you care about and let them know they are loved.