Friday, June 3, 2016

Stop the Glorification of Busy

I'm a professional problem solver, well actually a social worker, but it's all the same. Day in and day out I help people manage their lives. So imagine my surprise when I returned this week from several days off only to realize that I haven't been managing mine very well. I spent last week in Atlanta for school and the weekend prior at a retreat for adoptive moms. I returned so well rested and ready for life. Today I found myself exhausted and going through the motions and I asked myself why I'm so tired. Then I took a look at my schedule. When life got hard, I got busier. Oh it wasn't intentional, but I thought the more I filled my life with satisfying places and tasks the happier I'd be. But guess what? It didn't work out like that. Marriage? Hard. Raising a child with complex trauma, HARD. Being a parent in general, hard. Adjusting to living life with an incurable disease, extremely HARD. With each hard thing I'd get more "involved." Work two jobs. Go to grad school. Volunteer for multiple organizations. Help coach little league. No wonder my coffee can't sustain me anymore. I'm exhausted ya'll.

It's a vicious cycle though. When you have chronic illness and you increase your stress, whether it's good stress or bad stress, you become more inflamed. The more I took on the more inflamed I'd get and the more steroids I'd need to function at the level I was before. I decided earlier this week that I'd start to wean myself from the roids and start to be more gentle to my arthritic self. But today I also decided I was going to be more kind to my family and my soul and take life a little bit slower. So I dropped down to one class this quarter. Gave notice to some of the organizations I volunteer with that I'm going to take a hiatus. Opened up my schedule for more family time, and more self care.

Self care. That's a word many mommies wince at. We get so busy caring for our children and everyone around us that we forget that we can't pour from an empty cup. I was raised by an overbearing mother who even today laughs at the idea of self care and calls it selfish and inconsiderate. But let me tell you, it's not. So I'm borrowing from a list over at and sharing some ideas for self care. You can view the full blog here:

Inner Self-Care
Make a date with yourself. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you, not work or things on your to-do list (reading, your hobby, walking around the neighborhood, visiting a museum or gallery, etc.)
Read books and watch movies you enjoy
Paint or write something that lets out your creative energy
Take a quick nap. Only 10 to 20 minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.
Learn mindfulness or connect with a spiritual practice that vibes with you.

Outer Self-Care
Eat something you enjoy.
Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear or clean out your backpack/purse.
Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.
Stretch. 5-10 minutes to get out the kinks helps your body and mind.
Use lotion or a product that makes you happy.
Spend time with real friends and other people who lift you up.