I don’t take care of myself. I realized this two days ago when I started to feel sick, which I’m attributing to being overtired. I’m a people pleaser, my love language is acts of service, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I’m known to go and go and go until I fall out from exhaustion. I tend to put everything and everyone before myself and my own needs. These tendencies make me an awesome wife, mother, friend, and employee…but they drain me.
I haven’t written a post in three weeks because everything has taken precedence over creating time to write. When I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a need to write that was so overwhelming it feels like the words on this page are pouring out of me; I decided I need to set some boundaries with the people I love and work for, in order to create time for self care. This sounds easy but setting boundaries is really hard for me. For example, all I’ve wanted to do is write and yet here I sit, continually being interrupted by my sweet husband to look at gates for our fence. In this very moment I’m feeling anxious about asking him to leave the room and give me some space to write. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I love that he wants to spend time with me this morning, but I need to write.
Writing feels like self-care to me. There’s something about sitting at this desk with a warm cup of coffee and letting my thoughts flow out onto the page. There’s a catharsis that is happening with each sentence… a release that feels better than any hot bath or massage. Honestly, being anonymous makes this even better. I can tell you that I feel so overwhelmed inside, that my chest feels heavy and my mind is a constant stream of thoughts, without worrying that my mom will read this and comment.
Writing takes time and it, for me at least, requires some quiet. I started this post while my family was still in bed sleeping. Now, the house is filled with the beautiful sounds of the people I love and I’m starting to feel the need to shut this computer down and be with them. I don’t want them to feel that my writing a blog post comes before them. Putting myself and my needs before their’s feels selfish to me. But I’m empty. Isn’t this where the “put your oxygen mask on first” line comes in? I’m completely aware that I cannot properly take care of my family if my needs are not met, but I’ve gotten really good at casting my needs aside for the sake for others and it’s a hard habit to break.
Ignoring the messy house, the pile of laundry, and the grocery list in order to read a book or go for a walk is not something I’m good at. It’s more difficult than just “simplify your life to create time for yourself” because there will always be action items that require my time. And yes, simplifying my life will create more time, but it only helps if I use that time for relaxation and rest.
Today is Sunday and as I finish this post I’m thinking about how I want this day to look. I need to go to the grocery store. My mom is coming over. There’s a basket full of clean laundry that needs to be put away. I’m already thinking ahead to the busyness of the week and if there is anything that I can accomplish today that will make another day this week easier? The questions I should be asking instead are:
What time will I set aside for myself today?
What will refresh me today?
What sounds like fun today?
How can I take care of myself today?
So I’m going to start small. I’m going to start another Less for Now challenge where I create time every single day to do something for myself. Something that I think is fun, that’s rejuvenating. Something that makes me feel full. I’m going to do this for 30 days and see how I feel. Since I am a goal driven person who thrives on accomplishment, I think that creating this goal may be the best way to form the habit of taking time for self-care.
But for today, I will still accomplish. Today I will still put my needs aside…except for an hour. Today, I will take an hour to do something that refreshes me. As I look out my window, I see a beautiful morning, and I’m going to go enjoy it. I’m going to go for a walk. The laundry will have to wait.