Self-Study, Self-Care: “I Need Some Air”

My family and I just returned from a big road trip vacation to Taos, New Mexico. It was our first time visiting, and it was beautiful, and it lead me to a realization of something I haven’t consciously landed on before that I wanted to share with you.

There are a couple of important factors that come into play in this post and lesson that I learned on this trip:

  1.     My son and I experience motion sickness.
  2.     I have PTSD from a serious car accident which makes driving and long rides especially difficult.
  3.     A major family value is the importance of adventuring.

The combination of these three is often an interesting recipe — my son and I may both struggle with the trip, but we both value and love adventuring enough to know the struggle will be worth it. We are not going to let sickness or struggle keep us from enjoying what the world has to offer.

Taos, NM is beautiful, and much of that beauty comes from the mountains and valleys, which means that the drive in is very curvy and windy and up and down. We had already been on the road for 10 hours before we hit the curves, so we were ready to be there, but also:

  1. Motion sickness is about to potentially strike both me and my son.
  2. My PTSD hyper-vigilance has been going for a long time already, and my ability to stay rational is also slipping away more quickly with each perceived threat.
  3. We are all tired and doing our best.

Motion sickness medicine is amazing and often does the trick, but not always. At one point about halfway through the windy drive in to Taos, I asked my son how he was doing. He paused and said “not too bad.” I knew that meant his motion sickness medicine was potentially not going to be enough, that often a “not too bad” is quickly followed by a “not good.”

A few more minutes passed, and we came upon the small town of Eagles Nest, NM. I looked back at my son and knew the text-book pale face of someone not feeling that well. I asked the car, “Does anyone think we should stop and get out of the car for a few minutes, get some air and just sit for a minute?”

My son immediately said – YES!
My husband found a little place to pull off that had a picnic bench and some small shops along the road. We enjoyed a few minutes to walk, go to the bathroom, find an ice cream shop, etc.

As we walked back to the car, I told my son that I wanted him to feel empowered to ask for some air anytime he needed, that it was never a problem to say – “Hey, I need to get out of the car and get some air.” For those of us with motion sickness, that time out of the car and that fresh air is a game changer.

We finished the ride without problem or sickness. I also finished the ride thinking about my message to my son and how I need to take that message as well. There are many times I really want to get out of the car or that I really need some air, and while I have gotten accustomed to asking for that when it comes to motion sickness, I have not yet found comfort asking for that with my PTSD.

Sickness is tangible. No one wants someone to be sick in their car. It is easier for me to ask to stop at a gas station or park to avoid that.

PTSD is harder. There is nothing tangible to avoid other than me actually opening the door and bailing out of the moving car. But I feel just as terribly. And sometimes a little space, a little air, some time out of the car can help me reset.

Self-study is important to help us grow and learn.
Self-care is important.
I hope we can all work on speaking up and speaking our truth when we need a little air. Saying so when we need to stop the ride and get out/off so that in a few more minutes we can get back in/on and enjoy the adventure.

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I help busy career and family-focused individuals feel stronger by putting themselves back on their priority list and into their schedules. I value community and safe yoga, laid-back and heart-forward practices. 500 E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) through Yoga Alliance with over 500 hours of accredited training and 2,500 hours of leading yoga and meditation for my community. Online Yoga Concierge, Owner: You, Yourself, and Yoga in, Kirksville, MO

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