Self-care is not an option for me

I’ve been very quiet here over the last month. I haven’t been checking my stats and I certainly haven’t been blogging – my last post was published 24 days ago. I even took a week away from social media, without sharing a single post.

This is not my normal.

Not check my stats? Stay away from Facebook? Not write – at all?

No way!

But, I did it and I enjoyed the break. And, the world didn’t end.

My blog didn’t die. My Facebook page still gained followers. I was not forgotten.

What had been forgotten, was my need for self-care. And, I realised, that self-care is not an option for me.

It’s a necessity.

Self-care is not an option for me -

I’d pushed myself for too long. I’d put everyone else first. I’d put off exercise and downtime. Months of stress, anxiety and strain had conditioned me (again) to ignore my own needs because I was too busy to tend to them.

I was unable to give myself permission to be kind to myself. I could not permit myself to switch off or let go because of the risk of falling behind. Even though I was not getting anywhere in my blind panic. Hence a month without a blog post!

I’ve been here before, many, many times. I’ve preached about the importance of self-care. I’ve lived through a health scare, directly attributed to stress. I know what I have to do.

Yet, I still struggle to follow through.

Why do I find this so hard?

Anyway, after a particularly gruelling term 2, I had nothing left. Not even a trip away for a few days, with doting grandmothers to help out, provided relief.

Last weekend, after returning home, my body finally faltered. Three cold sores, a head cold, sinus and exhaustion. Not terrible afflictions, but they could not be ignored.

It turns out my mental exhaustion was also no longer to be ignored.

I could not focus, I struggled to sleep, I could not bear to read another article on autism or disability or special needs. I just wanted to switch my brain off and sleep for a week.

I had to step away and look after myself.

While the week of sleeping didn’t eventuate, I did retreat from social media. I binge watched my favourite online series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I took some naps. I got back into cross-stitching. I coloured. I watched Wimbledon.

I gave myself permission to let go. I allowed myself to do nothing. I lived without the weight of expectation.

It was SO GOOD. `

However, life goes on and, while it would be awesome to live that way forever, it’s not realistic.

The kids head back to school this week. My husband is back at work. I need to finalise my book, prepare for my APAC presentations in September and meet paid writing commitments.

I need to embrace the unique stresses of my life again. There’s no avoiding that.

So, instead I’ve thought about my needs moving forward and I’ve come up with a plan. Although, with my track record, I’ll need help to keep myself honest and on track!

I have to be kind to myself and remember I NEED THIS.

I need to prioritise my own self-care. There is no other option because it’s not an option. It’s a necessity.

I need to prioritise exercise. I WILL make time to walk 5km, three times a week.

I need to prioritise downtime. I WILL turn off the laptop after 7pm each night.

I need to prioritise relationships. I WILL make time to meet up with a friend once a week.

I need to prioritise myself. I WILL practice letting go and will allow myself to switch off each day.

I now know the world will not end. I now know how good it is to just be.

I now know I cannot ignore my own needs or put off practicing self-care.

I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

I need to accept that self-care is not an option for me. It’s a necessity.

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4 Responses

  1. Vanessa says:

    It had sounded like a rough year with transition challenges in your household. It’s so easy to let self care slip. And sometimes if you refuse to let it slip, others get mad at you for looking after your health because they don’t see it that way. I feel lost with self-care right now, in case that isn’t obvious haha. Yesterday I didn’t leave the house and just pottered around, and that was good, so it’s better than nothing.

  2. As I was reading this in my inbox earlier today I was nodding along and going ‘yep, yep, aha, yep’. It’s so easy to push ourselves to the back even though we absolutely know how important self care is. Setting boundaries around our own wellbeing can be so hard, especially when so much is being asked of you. Sounds like your week of stepping away was worth it, and I hope your plan works. xox

  3. Kirsty I need to follow your plan also. I have been burnt out for so long, when the crap hits the fan, the gauge is already at pressure point and I have nowhere to find reprieve. When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was light an incence and told myself to go gently. Glad you are feeling better x
    Alicia O’Brien recently posted..The “it’s as cold as ferk” garden edition

  4. Oh you poor chickie, yes definitely time to take care of you. My hubster has had some worrying symptoms a bit like your TIA but that was ruled out last year. However it’s gotten worse this year, so he was tested for MS. The good news is: he got the all clear. The bad news is: it’s caused by STRESS. Sigh. Now if only he could learn how to prioritise his own self-care! Much as I love him, it’s not something I can do FOR him!

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