All summer long I told myself that things would get better once “school” started and we were back on a schedule. The fluid days of summer seemed carefree for everyone, except me. Our 16-year-old is home schooled, and our 20-year-old who has mental illness lives at home where she runs her own successful business. Both of these require a lot from me, from the twice weekly runs to co-op (a 40 minute drive each way) where I also teach 4 classes plus his other classes that I teach him, as well as his outside classes and social engagements. There’s also running around with our daughter for supplies, post office mailings and more. Adding in volunteer work with the local animal shelter, being part of our Emergency Response Team, and running numerous blog and social media accounts, my time is already stretched BEFORE I even get to the running of a household, dinner, friends, and last but not least spending time with my husband.
To say I am stretched thin is a vast understatement.
This year, I seem to have even more going on, and was scrambling to keep up. Then, it happened. I got sick with a stomach thing and ended up in bed for a whole day. I was too sick to think of blog posts, lesson plans or even the making of dinner, and I slept for 13 hours straight. My body decided to tell me in no uncertain terms that I needed to listen: I NEED TO SLOW DOWN AND TAKE A BREAK. Even thought things DID get a bit backed up, it was the best thing that could have happened. I added another thing to my list of things to do: Take Care of Me. I made a few decisions on ways to help myself from getting that overworked again and decided to make ME a very important thing on my to-do list.
- DELEGATE. I have 2 teens and a husband who are all able to help more around the house. Our daughter works form home, so she was given more of the house keeping chores around the house. I have also increased our sons responsibilities and expect them both to prepare a meal at least once a week. My husband already does a ton around the house, but I asked him to do a few things, like stopping for the dry cleaning on his way home. When I gave up the expectation that I had to be the one to take care of everything, and learned to delegate, it really helped out a lot. It freed up time for other things I needed to do, and it helped the teens with learning about responsibility. They take pride in being part of the running of a household. (Most of the time)
- SAY NO. I like to help people, and I have a hard time saying no. I used to say yes nearly every time I was asked form something, but I’ve learned to say “No.”. I told my son that he can choose 2 social things a week to do. I turned down a request to car pool with another parent that took me way out of my way, and I declined to teach another class at co-op. I moved a tight deadline for a new blog launch to a later date to give myself more time. I let go of a few volunteer things that I was part of to embrace the ones I really enjoyed. Not all of them were easy to do, but I had to choose- and chose to make things easier for me.
- TAKE CARE OF ME. I had put on 10 pounds by eating crappy foods while running around. I started meal planning and fueling my body with nutritious meals. I stopped eating fast food. (except for an occasional French fry) and started eating better. I researched ways to become healthier by using nutritional brands and I added supplements like a Vitamin B12 spray, and some magnesium, as well as melatonin to help me fall asleep. I also added an app to help me meditate and made myself use it at least once a day. I began walking again, even if it was a quick walk around the block, I was moving! I also started reading at night, and no longer feel guilty about the pile of books by my bed. I donated the ones I thought I SHOULD read, and the ones there are the one I WANT TO READ.
At first, I felt terribly guilty about all of it, but my husband put it best. He explained that
I’m still taking a care of our family, but now, I’m including ME as part of it.
He said that I was just as deserving of the care I bestowed on them to be given to me. It just took me a little bit to believe him, but he was right.