Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Taking Care of You aka The Dwindling Roll

I have read often during parenting and just for life in general that one needs to invest in "self care". That if you don't take care of you, who will take care of them? (and them can refer to children, parents, other family members, friends, etc) That you can't fill from an empty cup. That in case of an air emergency, put on your own mask first before assisting others.

I used to dread the term "self care". I'm still not real fond of it. However, if you are going to help others with their care, you deserve to give yourself at least (if not more) than what you are willing/required to give away to others. Yes. DESERVE.

BUT what does that look like? HOW does one take time in an already filled, overwhelmed feeling of a day FIND time to take? I have never been walking around when a yellow cup, air bag and strap magically appear in front of me making me aware or reminding me of the need to put on said mask before assisting others. Usually, by the time I remember or take notice, I am well into assisting others without putting on my mask first!

For the days you don't remember, I have found a reminder that will be in front of you every day. You will notice it slipping away as it is used up AND if like at my house, YOU will be replacing it when it is empty/used up. What is this wondrous bit of knowledge? Have you guessed?

Toilet paper!

DISCLAIMER: I am preaching to myself with this post as well as I am far from reaching where I should be with my own self care. However, journaling, blogging and support of others I'm finding is part of my self care. We gotta start somewhere, sometime. Might as well be here....and now.

In this example, we start out as a full roll. I purchase by the square feet on the package and MUST be 2 ply. Bigger rolls = less times I have to change it out!

Lesson: Start out in the best "big roll 2 ply" condition you can: good sleep, fully hydrated, fed, medicated (if necessary), exercise (if you can't find 10 minutes now, will you find it when you are sick?), listen to music to get you moving, find something that makes you laugh and something to be grateful for

Approaching used up, mask dropping phase. Time to be careful. Your spare a square is running low. Keep some for you! Try and avoid the desperate cry for more while in a somewhat precarious balancing act!

Lesson: NOTICE when you are getting used up. Time to have a spare roll available on back up (accept help if people offer. ASK if necessary). The more people that are counting on us, the faster we disappear. Use those last few squares (actually, real paper probably works better for this) to write down a list of activities that may not take a lot of time, but make you feel better. This list comes in handy for when you are entering the land of Overwhelm. You won't need to THINK of something to do on top of already feeling stressed out.

Uh oh! Empty roll. No paper left. The mask is swinging around wildly in front of you. Now what?

Lesson: DON'T feel guilty about getting drained/used up/overwhelmed. It happens sometimes without us noticing. We are slowly slipping away in the hustle and bustle of life. Don't seek an hour, take 5 minutes to sit somewhere and take a deep breath. Let it out. Repeat.

Notice it's time to replace the empty roll....and start the whole cycle again!

If you are here and you have not felt like a full roll in awhile, it is never to late to start doing things a bit differently to have a different tomorrow.

There are numerous resources about self care available online and books. If you can't think of some activities that will help, look some up to start a list.  Keep the list in a visible spot so when you can grab a few minutes you don't have to think of something that helps. 

Self care doesn't mean by yourself. If you have not "peopled" (been around anyone other than your child(ren), people depending on you), find a way to get out and about....especially if there is sunshine available!

Get out of the habit of saying there isn't enough time. We might be looking for a significant chunk of time and we should plan for those, but do not overlook the small moments of joy available in a day. I have learned to say that taking time sitting with a cat on my lap is lowering my blood pressure. ;)

Personally, my best self care is spending time alone with God. Praying. Reading the Bible...not a book about the Bible. I don't do it enough. When I do, I am never disappointed and always reminded that I do not have to do life on my own. You don't either.

1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.