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Monday, June 28, 2010

Take Good Care

Are you doing a great job of taking care of everyone in your life except yourself?

That's how I was living my life for quite a while. I was supermom, wife, daughter, teacher, friend, and more.  Then there came a day when I found I couldn't breathe.  It happened again and then again, day after day, and I was frightened. I came to understand I was experiencing panic attacks, which landed me squarely in a therapist's office for the first time in my life.  He helped me understand that I was caught in a loop many women find themselves in. We take on too much. We don't say no. We need to be extremely good at all of it -- giving giving giving.  We think that to take time for our self is to be "selfish."  But I learned (unwillingly at first) that this was a misconception and that taking time for myself every day was a way of being good to everyone in my life.  If I wasn't physically and emotionally healthy first, I couldn't be present for everyone else later.

I started with little things. My therapist and I made a list of things I could do for myself that would make me feel happy and cared for.   That list included 10 minutes of quiet meditation, a weekly manicure, 30 minutes at the gym or a 30 minute walk in my neighborhood with headphones and some great music. Everyone in my family understood this time was sacred. MY time. It could not be pushed back if someone else's needs popped up. I carved out that time every day no matter what, because I understood how important it was for everyone. 

I argued so strongly about it at first and assured the therapist there was NO time for me to do this. But oddly there was -- once I made it a priority.  And no matter how busy my day gets,  I still keep that daily "me time" as an essential part of my day today.  So, what do you do to pamper yourself?    

  

10 comments:

Lora said...

time spent doing nothing. i love being bored out of my mind (even if i have to lie and say i'm pooping to do it)

teri said...

Lora, I'm laughing so hard at your comment that the dog and cat are looking at me as if I'm crazy. (And they lick their private parts, so how bad must _I_ be for them to think I'm crazy?)

Bea said...

I have always taken the airline safety message to heart, parents take care of your oxygen needs first then help your children.
It's true, period.
You can not give when you are empty. :)Bea

Holli said...

I definitely do this for myself "now". I definitely didn't do it "before". And oh my god I don't know why not.... lol

Sandy..... said...

Thank you for the reminder. I totally read myself, in your post. For me, the mixture of getting it all done... and the guilt of past wrongs... tend to keep women in the constant... "move move move", mode. I need to be better in the "me time dept." but I DO manage 30 minutes of reading time a day. Usually it's on my lunch hour at work... but hey - I get it in.

Kalanna said...

This is a sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I like how you described that out of breathe feeling. I find it really hard to balance because I do feel - on a good day - like I can do "everything." /sigh

freebird said...

Being a stay-at-home wife I feel guilty if I am not available whenever my retired husband calls my name. He helps to make me feel guilty too by getting in a snit if I don't come running. It's hard to start a project that will take some time (like wet paint can't wait kind of thing) wondering if I'll be called for. I've finally started saying I am going to be busy for an hour or whatever and that has helped. Even those of us who aren't trying to be all things have trouble with this concept of "me" first.

tryingtocreatearteveryday said...

I work as a counsellor and also suffer from depression...so l understand everything you are sayingx I have had to learn to be "good" to myself and not be the perfect mum, wife,friend,counsellor ect. It is hard but you have done one of the hsardest things to do..talk openly about it my friend..well donexlynda
http://chocolatelifeandjazz.blogspot.com
http://tryingtocreatearteveryday.blogspot.com
(ps..l subscribe to your blog as l think it is greatx)
lynda

teri said...

Just want to say thanks to those who responded publicly and those who responded privately to talk about your lives. It means so much to me to hear what you have to say. I wish we lived closer and could sit over coffee or tea to chat one day! xo-teri

Thauna said...

I do this some days better than others. Some days I think, what do I WANT to do, what will bring me joy in this moment. Other days I'm on autopilot and flying by the seat of my pants.