“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
As the mom of a rambunctious toddler, I’m always tired. Always. So I really don’t think twice about the mornings I wake up exhausted. I’m used to it. I just get up, find the nearest caffeine fix, and take on the day. Lately, I’ve been feeling everything a little extra. Extra tired, extra sore, extra drained. To put it in official medical terms: blah. Still, I ignored it and chalked it up to typical mom life. Well, this morning I woke up at 4 a.m. with the most excruciating migraine, that I could feel before I even opened my eyes. I’ve been having daily headaches for the past few weeks (sign #1), so I didn’t find it at all surprising. After a long 3 hours of being wide awake, I finally fell back asleep…only to be woken up a short time later by my son, because “GOOD MORNING!”, it was time to start our day. I had a doctor appointment nice and early, so I didn’t even bother trying to roll back over. I just sat up, got myself out of bed…and that was as far as I got. The room was spinning, my headache took over, and my entire body felt weighed down with bricks. I instantly thought “damn it, I’m getting sick!” but when I sat there and really focused, I realized I didn’t feel sick. I felt depleted. I felt run down, like a machine slowly losing all of its power. My body had checked out on me, and I was done.
I’m totally fine, and with a little rest, my symptoms eased up. It was not some big, dramatic episode…but it WAS a wake up call. It was a reminder to listen to my body. For weeks it had been screaming at me, trying to tell me something. It wanted me to slow down. It wanted me to eat more, sleep more, sit down more – but I refused to do that – because as a mother, wife, and woman, I figured I can do it all. But just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should.
It’s not just about me, though. I’m not the only one affected when I push myself too far. I’m letting down my child, my husband, and the people around me who need me to be at my best. I’m being stubborn by wanting to be a superhero, and as a result, I’m the one who needs saving. I constantly want to be there for everyone around me, and I try my hardest to put them all first. I’ve always thought that was how it was supposed to be. Them first, then me. But it can’t be that way. Without making yourself your #1 priority, you can’t give your all to the people around you. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you care about everyone else any less. Taking care of YOU doesn’t mean you’re not taking care of THEM. It just means you’re smart enough to know that you can’t help others until you help yourself.
I have to start remembering to do the important, little things. Along with taking care of myself physically, I have to cater to myself emotionally and mentally as well. Every so often, you just need to recharge your batteries and focus on your well-being. I’m currently trying to teach myself how to do that. I have to remind myself that I’m worthy of the same care that I treat others with. I have to let go and recognize when I’ve had enough. I have to learn to let myself off the hook for not being indestructible. I’m not weak if I need a little help – I’m just human.
When you feel like you have nothing else to give, but try to keep going anyway, remember…
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
We all reach our breaking point sometimes. We all feel stressed and overwhelmed; tired and in need of a break. Do not feel bad. Do not feel guilty. Do not feel like you’re failing. Do not forget about YOU.
Life is hectic, and sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to prioritize your needs. You think there’s just not enough time in the day, or that you’re selfish for thinking of yourself. STOP. Stop making excuses. Stop being pigheaded. Stop putting yourself last. Do the little things to keep your sanity, and start focusing on your health. Put everything down and go take a bath. Meditate. Have a snack. Read a book. Go out for a drink. Take a nap. Whatever it is that you need to do to feel rejuvenated…do it. I promise the world won’t crumble into pieces if you take a time-out. Remember how important you are, how loved you are, and treat yourself just as wonderfully as you do everyone else – because at the end of the day, YOU are your longest commitment. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Nourish yourself. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day, and the rest will fall into place.
Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m off to bed. I’m tired, and I’d like to make sure I get a good nights rest. Why? Because I deserve it.