I was thinking about naming this post "How much space is there?" but then I felt strongly impressed to take down notes and explore feelings I have had lately about how to walk the line between taking care of myself mentally and physically while also giving my all to the other things in my life that I love. This is a balance I wasn't good at before I became sick as well.
So walk with me, even if you are not physically sick.
Here is the story of my last week;
I didn't feel well. I slept a bunch. I had friends who want to support me come and pick up my children while I took long rests each afternoon.
That sucks. But I learned a great lesson I will tell you about in another post some day soon.
Friday rolled around and I decided it was time to try getting out of bed. We went visiting teaching. That felt good. We went to the splash park and that felt good as well. We picked up all the toys in the playroom and I detailed the kitchen. That felt FaNtAsTiC! SOOOOOOO fantastic! I took a nap instead of making dinner. We picked up pizza then went to a ward activity at the park where we watched Tangled until 10:30 as a family. That felt even better than cleaning! It was so nice to have fun with my precious family! Friday was tiring, but I had kept SoMe balance in that nap.
Saturday is when it all went wrong. Friday felt so wonderful getting back into the swing of things, so I thought that Saturday would be even better! No nap! No sleeping in! Just energetic happenings all the day! It would be FaNtAsTiC!!! It was, until I began with the dry heaves.
The day had a lot to do with the Farmers Market in my city, processing 10-ish pounds of tomatoes and roasting them into a sauce (and there are ten more glorious pounds!;), taking the family to a water park for 3 hours, finishing processing said tomatoes and sauce, getting ready for a date with the husband, picking up a babysitter, and going on a date until 10:30 at night. It was all great until about halfway through the movie and my head began to hurt "a bit". As the pain in my head slowly increased, so did the pain in the rest of my body until I was sure I was going to lose my dinner (not dinner! I finally tried 5 Guys! Not 5 Guys! Don't lose that!) We made it home but I only made it to the garbage can in the garage.
I didn't take the babysitter home. Wonderful Husband did. I spent the next hour making friends with the commode (doesn't commode sound less offensive than other words? No? Well shoot...)
I woke up this morning not much better.
Resting gives me time to reflect though.
Yesterday I was trying to ressurrect the girl I used to be. But like my dad says, there is no going back and that should be a good thing-- so lets all try to learn something shall we?
It would appear that sleeping in a nap are a must for the latest version of my body. But what about working out? Mowing the lawn? Cleaning? Water parks? Cooking? Service? Dates (late night ones appear to be out of the question)? Weeding and watering the garden? Playing with the boys? Going out with friends? Crafts? The list goes on and you may insert whatever activities make you smile.
The question that gets to me lately is, "How much and how tired am I allowed to make myself doing them?" Doing too much I guess is bad. But it is my firm belief that doing too little is worse. Much worse. My very self worth is derived from my daily accomplishments-- not compared to anyone else's daily accomplishments-- but compared with what I had energy and ability for. If I do less than what I am capable of, I cannot look myself in the eye. I cannot look you in the eye. I certainly cannot look my beautiful children in the eye.
I walk a line every day of physical and mental wellness between doing too much and doing too little. I don't think it is just me walking this line. I think it is a line everyone walks. I think it is a line I walked before it was made obvious by health issues-- I just often ignored the fact that I was often falling off of it into the "doing too much" category, resulting in an exhausted mind and body which was unable to cope with what was important because of it.
So now that my physical limitations are closely mirroring my mental limitations, I am forced to examine how to do better.
Here is how I have begun to do that.
I sat down (I have sat all morning-- resting!) I grabbed my journal and a pen, and I marked down when I need to rest for sure to keep my health up to par. Well, the latest par. My par is low.
I need to sleep in, so I marked down the time I wake up.
I need to take a nap (gah! Nap! Who has TIME for that?), so I marked down the exact hours I usually do that.
Do you know what I saw??
MANY hours in between all of that! Many! My life isn't over after all! Yesssss.... I assumed a daily nap was a DEATH SENTENCE!!!! But not true at all!
This week, I am going to try to fill those hours which are left to the capacity with things I want to do. I am going to give those hours my all. I am going to live my life.
My rule is this-- I may do what I desire, but I may not let my desires interfere with sleeping in and nap time (Ha-- I am like a baby!) and that is it.
I am going to try this for a week and see how it goes. Then, I will adjust my intensity if it proves to be too much on my health.
I am so excited to live this week! Aren't you?
If you were to take good care of your mental and physical health this week-- what would you do differently? What if you penned in your physical and emotional needs first and planned your other wants and needs around it? Would the world fall apart? I'll let you know how it goes for me. I hope you try it too.
If I were to look you in the eye right now, I would encourage you to sleep if you need sleep. I would encourage you to rest and read a book if you need to rest and read a book. I would encourage you to have a date with your husband. I would encourage you to take a few hours for your favorite hobby. I would encourage you to have a night with your friends. If I were your doctor I would order you to do it. I would say, "Do these things first, and mold your other many responsibilities around this."
Why is it so easy to care for others and so impossibly difficult to do it for myself?
I plan on going full throttle during the many free hours I saw. I made a list I titled, "My All" and I listed under the things I will give my all during the many hours I have in between taking care of my body by resting. I listed things like;
Playing with the boys
shopping for groceries
mowing the lawn
weeding and watering the lawn and garden
I won't have time for every single one of these things every day. But if I live my hours that I do have, I will have time to do many of them well and happily. I repeat
I will have time to do many of them well and happily.
Life isn't over. It is just changed. It can still be good. I just can't do every good thing all in one day.