Every morning when I get to work, I look up and print out a motivational quote for the day. This is probably a terrible use of office resources, but it gives me a good jumping off point for the day and every time I look at it during the day it reminds me to refocus. Also, I’m super cheesy and really like motivational quotes. Because I have been struggling lately with it, I found myself browsing through quotes about self care. This is the one I picked out.
Self care is this super cheesy buzzword that has been flying around for a while now. As we established earlier I am super cheesy, so I’m a big fan of this idea. I also suck at it.
This fall has been pure chaos. I have an infant who somehow got a cold that seemed to never end and he didn’t sleep through the night for almost a month because he was waking up coughing. Harvest never seemed to stop, which meant I was working somewhere around 60 hours a week most weeks. I was working through one of my most reading-intensive graduate school classes. I picked up a side gig 8-10 hours a week for some extra money. AND we have a major project going on the farm. I was responding to other people’s requests for my time and making sure I fit their needs into my schedule. No wonder there were days I felt like I was drowning.
With all of the things I did do this fall, there were even more things I didn’t do. I didn’t get to play with my son for more than a few minutes each night. I didn’t get to go to my favorite aerial yoga class. I didn’t get to visit my best friend. I didn’t get to read a book for pleasure. I didn’t get my eyebrows waxed. I didn’t get to spend hardly any time running or at the gym. I didn’t get to go to church very frequently. I didn’t get to take Kenton to the zoo or the science museum. I didn’t get to spend much time taking care of my livestock. I didn’t get to cuddle in bed with my dogs.
All of these things are things that I love and that feed my soul. They relax me and help me reset my brain so that I can work better and more efficiently. When I’m burned out, those things rekindle my fire for life. In short, they contribute to my happiness, balance, and well-being; just like that quote says.
Its really easy to get caught up in what has to be done, and miss out on those self-care things. So what was it that made me realize I was being really bad at taking care of myself? Well, luckily for me, I have some experience pushing myself too far without investing in myself (this is sarcasm). First, I got a cold. A really bad cold. From an infant. I got sick and couldn’t kick it. Then I started breaking out, another one of my body’s best stress responses. Then my gut reacted. I’ve actually made two different emergency room visits for this in my life. Every time I swear I’m going to change my lifestyle, and I do for a while. Basically, my stomach starts to hurt and eventually it feels like someone is stabbing me in the stomach and the pain is so intense that I can’t function. So I go to the ER they do a bunch of scans, tell me its either gastroenteritis or an ulcer, give me some heartburn meds and tell me to watch the spicy food and coffee for a while. Maybe they’ll even send me to a gastroenterologist just to be safe. Luckily this year I caught myself before I hit the ER. I noticed myself headed that direction and decided it was time to stop.
So last Sunday I did a couple things. First, I folded laundry. This sounds silly but it relaxes me and I feel better having it done. Then I dropped the baby off with mom and I went to my yoga class. Then I came home and I laid in bed with the baby and my dog until it was time for me to drive to my best friend’s house and hang out with her until hubby got off work. After that, we ordered a pizza and did farm chores. That night Kenton slept through the night for the first time in a long time. It was great.
I’ll admit, I have regressed a little this week and haven’t made it to the gym and have been nose to the grindstone at work and with school. But now that I have publicly come out as terrible at self care, I HAVE to be committed to be better at it!
I encourage you to be better at it too! In the United States, farmer suicides are on the rise, so even my tough farmer friends need to decide what it is that contributes to their happiness, balance and well-being and chase those things. You cannot pour from an empty glass, so make sure that you are taking the time to refill your glass!
As for me, tonight I will be hitting the treadmill, putting a roast in the oven, and hanging out with my dogs and my baby until hubby gets home!