I was talking to a friend and she was saying how hard it was to do for herself when the kids were not in school for the holidays. I remember last year, she made the same comment about the summer, that without the schedule, she wasn’t able to do enough for herself and by the end of the summer or winter break, she felt sluggish, cranky, heavier, and like she had to start all over again. Kind of like math for kids after three months off, the progress they made is often lost.
I remember those days, I would spend the summer trying to keep my kids up to speed. It wasn’t perfect and we couldn’t do it every day, but we did our best to either get ahead or at least maintain the lessons.
My friend needs to do the same. Sure, she may not be able to go to her favorite yoga class at 10am, but maybe once a week she might get up extra early and get in a 730am class before everyone wakes up? Or how about escaping the football marathon and go for a power walk with her dog and her favorite tunes?
I think we feel the need to always be with our family when they are home or on school break, and we feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. We drop our priorities to the bottom of the pile, and aren’t as generous to ourselves as we are to everyone else.
My family went to the movies, and I said, “go in peace”, opting happily to stay home and give myself a mani-pedi, organize my purse, and read. Yes I just read a book for two hours and it was heavenly. When they came back, they were all jacked at how good the movie was (American Hustle), and that I should have gone. But having that few ours of alone quiet time to just not talk was indeed joyous.
I remember taking solo early morning walks on family vacations, to get a chance to think. Getting up, quietly leaving everyone sleeping and coming back more energized, refreshed, and cheerful after a brisk sunrise hike, alone.
There first few days my family is all together, I find myself getting cranking, I am the one who is supposed to have the schedule organized, and the food, and the presents, and the events, and it is exhausting. I was in a mood, and couldn’t explain why. It just was. After going to the gym, getting a good sweat and stretch in, even if just 30 minutes, made all the difference. I hadn’t done anything for ME in days, and my body was reacting and so was my energy and biorhythms.
I see this same physical and emotional state in my friends. They have forgotten about their mental and physical health while making sure everyone else is taken care of. They cook what they don’t usually, they eat junk food because it is there, they skip their usual exercise programs to accomodate everyone else’s schedules and get lost in the mix.
When my friend said, oh I can’t wait to get back to my yoga and walks and healthily food. I wondered why she was waiting? Even if she could just squeeze in a class or workout a couple of times a week, she would feel so much better. And if she told everyone, tonight dinner is soup and salad. That’s what I want and its darn good!!
My women friends are often worn out by the end of the winter break, and when you ask what they have done for themselves, they can’t think of much. And they are afraid to take any time for their own well being. We need to change that around, and put ourselves first sometimes.
We need to remember to ASK or TELL others that we need help or that we just need time to do something for ourselves. We need to put ourselves FIRST sometimes, otherwise we aren’t our best.
Ask for help so you can take that power walk, meet a girl friend, say no to an outing and not feel guilty. If you see a family member or friends struggling, offer to help or invite them for a quiet walk.
My cranky mood went away after I was able to workout, sit in the gym sauna, go for a beach walk with my dogs, and not have to talk to anyone for several hours!! At one point, when my daughters whined that I was trying to plan or micro manage, I blurted out, well, how do you thing we manage to get where we are going, and eat, and have toilet paper, and gas in the car, and bills paid, and yadayadayada…there was silence. They realized I was coordinating five people’s lives while they just dealt with one. After my rant, they were less defensive and more understanding of my mood. And then my mood shifted.
Discussing this with my friends, this was a universal conundrum, taking care of the group before taking care of themselves. And trying not to resent them for it!!
Don’t get me wrong, we love our family and friends and in-laws. I love them to pieces, but I have to remember to love me the most, take care of me, then everyone else, like on the plane when they explain how to use the oxygen masks.
Take care of yourselves, and you will be much better for everyone else. A bit of self involvement and selfishness can be a very good thing.