Stories from a life in progress.

Self care

Yesterday I was a little bit on edge, all day.  Not enough that I noticed much, not until late in the afternoon.  For once I had few deadlines and a full day with Smiley Boy here, so I promised him I'd spend more time with him, and I did.  But it was harder than I expected.  I was a little short tempered, and I had to be careful not to snap.

After Smiley Boy went home, I had some supper, did a little bit more work, and put myself in bed early.  When in doubt, when I'm not sure why I'm a little on edge or a little bit anxious, it's time to have a rest -- if not sleep, then some peace and quiet in a dim room and no interactions with anyone.  I didn't spend my evening with knitting and TV, as I had planned.  There's too much stimulation in those.  I read a little, played a simple iPad game, listened to quiet music, and went to sleep.

It's hard to know how to take care of myself sometimes.  This morning on Facebook, a relative who is training to be a nurse posted that one of her instructors challenged students to make up a plan for self-care.  I appreciate the idea, because I know both how important it is and how hard it is to do.  

I have a feeling, you see, that I didn't get enough rest last weekend, between an evening out with friends and live music and then too much thinking and planning on Sunday for the work I wanted to do this week.  It really, really matters what I do on the weekend -- if I don't get enough of a break, by the middle of the following week I'm grouchy, tired, and ready to either cry or yell at people, depending on the mood you catch me in.  Quiet time is not optional for me.  That means I need to limit my choices for weekends.  There are a few things I would love to do, and there's weekend time available, but it would mean not getting enough of a break and that messes up other things.

But there's such a thing as too little activity, too.  It was really good for me to get out and hang with great friends last weekend.  Actually, I think I don't do this often enough.  I can be a terrible homebody, and that makes other things in my heart go wrong.

There's so much balance needed in good self care, and I need different things at different times, and I can't always tell what is most important when -- ironically, the more in need of something I am, the more of the wrong things I tend to do.  If I need a break, sometimes I get spastic and want to do EVERYTHING at once.  If I need to get out of my house and out of my own head for a while, sometimes I'm too moody and mopey to kick myself out for fresh air and distraction.

I'm working on becoming more aware of my patterns and aware of the balance.  It's hard for me and it's taking time to learn, and I hope I'm getting somewhere, because without taking care of myself I can't take good care of anyone else either.  Nobody benefits from that.