Sunday, April 29, 2012

Loving Myself a Little Bit More

Every once in a while my mom reminds me that when you fly in an airplane they always tell you that if there is a problem you are to put your own oxygen mask on first then help the people around you.  Point being:  You can't take care of others if you are not okay.  This is a good reminder for busy moms.  My mother is very wise!

For about the past four years, I have either been pregnant (and working very hard to stay pregnant) or I have been nursing a baby.  During that time, I never felt like my body belonged to me - it was being used for someone else's well-being.  My family is complete, and I do not intend to be pregnant or nursing again (tiny sob, mixed emotions here.) I have decided it is time to focus on me a bit and consider what I need to do for my own health so that I can be a better mom and wife.

One morning recently I got up early and made breakfast and packed lunches for my husband and children.  Each of the four of them left the house that morning with healthy, homemade well-balanced meals that were made with lots of love from mama.  And do you know what I had for lunch that same day?  Diet Coke and peanut M & Ms.  By the time I had made and packed breakfast and lunches for my family, the three kids were up, the dog needed to go potty, my husband wanted me to make sure his tie was straight...and I was still in my PJs and needing to get ready for work myself.  No time for mommy to pack a lunch for herself!  Hours later, at work, when my lunch hour rolled around it hit me that at that moment my husband and children were eating very well and I had nothing for myself.  It is the way of mothers to always put their babies first.  But maybe, I could do a better job as a wife, mother, teacher, friend if I considered my needs every morning instead of allowing myself to be pushed on the back burner.

In addition to just being a busy mom, I have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.  I have found that I have a lot more energy and feel so much better when I follow the guidelines for eating, sleeping and taking the right medicines.  This too, takes deliberate planning ahead and making a real effort to take care of myself despite the daily chaos I experience as a working mom.  I have been reading and rereading the book Adrenal Fatigue:  The 21st Century Stress Syndrome that my doctor gave me (Thank you, Mel.) Using it as a constant resource keeps me on track and reminds me what is truly good for me in my situation. 

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome

So that brings me to now.  I have decided to make a conscious effort to love myself a little bit more. I will take it one week at a time starting right away.  This week I will plan ahead for meals for myself so that I, too, am getting the healthy well-balanced meals I have been providing for my family.  I will exercise in some way every day whether it be a long walk, taking advantage of my gym membership, or dancing with my students.  I will be in bed by 10:00 at the latest.  I will exchange my beloved Diet Coke with water.  Perhaps my peanut M & Ms will have to be just peanuts without the M & M part!  I will consider what I am putting in my mouth - is what I'm putting in my mouth showing myself love or is what I'm putting in my mouth hurting me? I will make time to do something for myself during the week - reading for enjoyment, a bubble bath, watching a movie, getting a pedicure, or having a girls' night out with a friend.

A quick trip to the grocery store today and I'm ready for my "loving myself" week ahead! :)

Years ago an older woman shared with me that she found certain "plugs" in her life that she needed to have "plugged in" in order for her to function well on a day to day basis.  I have thought about that a lot lately.  These are my plugs:
  • Spending time alone with God
  • Exercising
  • Doing something creative (scrapbooking, blogging, crafts, etc.)
  • Clean house
  • Sleep
These five things keep me going strong.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Therefore, I can do all things MUCH better if I start my day alone with God! I am also in a much better mood and feel more like me when I have taken time to exercise and get at least 8 hours sleep at night.  I feel more like me when I am engaging in a creative activity.  And I function a WHOLE LOT better when my house is clean and organized.  I will try to make sure I am "plugged in" this week too! My sweet husband recognizes these things about me and is so helpful with the housework and supportive any time I say I'm leaving to go to the gym! Super thankful for that man!

I will reflect on my "loving myself" project every now and then on my blog.  Having my 86 readers checking in on me will hold me accountable and will be encouraging too! I would love to hear what you are doing to love yourself too. Please leave a comment! :)


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