If I had to choose a theme song, it would probably be I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers because I’m a fighter. Actually, I take that back. I’m just plain stubborn. Sometimes that works for me, other times against. It’s trying to find that balance between pushing through and pushing too hard. I’m so determined to not allow my illness to define me that sometimes I make the wrong decisions. I drag myself to work on days that I have no business doing so, I go to the gym or for a run when I should be resting, etc. It’s difficult to find that balance but I’m working on it. I’m learning to listen to my body and be kind to myself. But man is that hard. I think sometimes that I’m afraid I’ll let others down or that I’m a burden and that’s why I don’t stop, why I push myself so hard. Or maybe it’s that I feel the need to pretend I’m ok. Which is silly because who am I fooling besides myself? Nobody, that’s who! And the problem is that by not taking care of myself, by not allowing my body to rest and heal, I’m not 100%. To anyone. And then I have let everyone down. It’s a scary step for me to put myself first. As a wife and mom, it goes against every fiber of my being. And yet, I must remember the oxygen mask must go on me first if I’m to be of any use to my family, my friends, my coworkers. That’s some scary stuff right there.
This struggle is real. And it’s HARD! It’s about completely changing my way of thinking. My doctor suggested I take time out each day to do something for myself. To spend time in meditation or prayer (still struggling here), practice breathing and breath work, manage stress better, get enough sleep. She said to journal and start doing something I enjoy but haven’t done in a while. That it’s ok to take naps and to say no to people. And to listen to my body – really listen. Pay attention to when I’m tired or hurting. That I’m entitled to these things. That I MUST do these things.
What am I doing for myself? I run. Running allows me to clear my head. When I run I feel strong and normal. I love to read. I mean, I will read ANYTHING. I love to cook and garden. I go to the gym each morning. It’s not that I can’t carve out time for myself, it’s that I’m a nurturer by nature. It’s who I am. I feel the need to help others first and I put myself last. Always. And that is what needs to change. And change stinks. And it’s hard. And nobody likes it. And yet, we must all allow ourselves to change, to grow. So what can you do for yourself? What do you need to work on? Where can you carve out time in your day for YOU. Let’s do this together.