Sunday Self Care

Today did NOT go according to plan. I woke up exhausted, with a cold and an incredibly swollen face (which hasn’t happened in 9 months!), and I think it is safe to say I was in the grumpiest mood of my entire life.

I am really bad at asking for help. I just keep-on-keeping-on until I can’t anymore. But I was trying to be better about this, and so I did ask for help several times this week. We returned to our regular schedule after vacation and I could not handle the teething baby. I love his cuddles, but the numerous poo-splosions and endless whimpering were a little more than I could handle. So I asked for a break. Several times. But then there were car problems, FOUR trips to Costco, and of course regularly scheduled appointments that got in the way. So finally I decided to SCHEDULE my break. I put “Lindsay’s Afternoon Off” on our shared family calendar for Sunday and eagerly thought about how I would spend a WHOLE afternoon by myself!

And then I woke up… and if there is anything that can upset me more than exhaustion, a cold, and a swollen face, it’s when things don’t go according to my plan.

My poor husband kept asking me what my plans were for the afternoon and I wanted to yell “DOES IT EVEN MATTER?!?!” but instead I just said “I don’t know” over and over as I thought of what I could possibly do in my miserable state. After moping around the house all morning, repeated trips BACK to bed, and several attempts at things that might make me feel better, I finally fell asleep. And that 45 minute nap worked wonders! I still woke up feeling miserable and my face was still swollen (although not as much!), but I had a little bit better of an attitude. I apologized to my husband, enjoyed the delicious lunch he made, and put my sweet little guy down for a nap before deciding that I would still try to sneak away for some alone time.

So here I sit, enjoying an iced coffee and flourless chocolate scone, finally taking the time to write on my blog, and next I will write a letter to my pen pal to update her on my life. I’m cutting out a few other things I had in my original dream afternoon plan, but I think it is for the best. Because clearly my body wants to rest.

The funny thing is, the whole reason I planned the afternoon off, why I asked for the break, was because I could feel my body crashing. I know how the (and more specifically, my) immune system works. I know that when I am tired and stressed, I get sick. And then I swell. And then I feel miserable. I know that when I eat sugar and depend on coffee it makes things worse. And yet that is all that has been getting me through this week.

I also know this is pretty common.

So as I sit here thinking “why the heck am I writing about this?” I hope that maybe someone else needs to hear it. I am often reminded of something that they brought up in our childbirth class (they were talking about postpartum peeing during sneezes, but I think it applies to many things in life)—they said “it may be common, but it doesn’t mean it’s normal.” So maybe there is someone who is reading this who feels exhausted, like they have nothing left to give, like they are barely making it through the day in order to drag themselves out of bed the next. I want to tell you that you’re not alone. But it’s also not “normal” in the sense of what our bodies were made for. The more I learn about hormones, diet and lifestyle choices, chronic diseases, and conditions such as cancer, dementia, and Alzheimers….well, the more I see how it is all related. It is amazing that we have the power to invest in our overall lifelong health with the small choices we make every day.

But we’re not told that. We’re just told to keep going. To be the best. To attain all the things. To be superwoman.

So I am enjoying this last taste of caffeine and sugar as I develop a plan to nurse my adrenals back to health. I’m going to talk to my husband about regularly scheduling “time off” so I can rest BEFORE I crash. And I would encourage you to do the same—whatever it looks like for you. Reach out and ask for help. It is ok. And if you need some resources, I would be happy to help! Sometimes the first step is the hardest but I guarantee it is worth it!

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