Already Revising My Resolutions: Focusing on Self Care

Isabel Bloedwater / Creative CommonsOne thing that has surprised me about parenting is the exhaustion.  I expected it when I had a newborn, but I’m almost two years in at this point, and I’m still exhausted.  Differently exhausted, to be sure, but exhausted still.I’m exhausted by the mental energy it takes to be at least one step ahead of a curious and busy toddler.  I’m exhausted by nights when she wakes up at 4:42 in the morning asking for a snack, like she did this morning.  I’m exhausted by picking up her toys over and over and over. I’m exhausted by making decisions that have the potential to have such long-lasting impact on her life, like which child care center to trust with her care, which vaccines she should have and when, which preschool will balance our parenting philosophies with solid early education, and  which dentist to see for her first dental exam. I’m exhausted by all of the evenings it takes over an hour to get her to sleep and then I stay up too late into the night trying to find just a little time for me.Of that list, the only one I can control is the last one, so my only New Year's resolution was to be in bed by 10pm every night until I felt rested.  And while I am getting significantly more sleep than I was last month, I’m still a long way from rested. Honestly, I’m still really dragging.This week while going through a pile of old magazines headed for the recycle bin, I found an article about our perpetual quest for more energy and focus in an old issue of (sadly, defunct) Whole Living. The author included a list of factors that contribute to low energy, including lack of exercise, poor food choices, hormonal imbalances and stress.Stress.Compared to my old high-speed, high-anxiety, corporate manager life, my current world feels blissfully stress-free. Assessing my stress level didn’t even occur to me.  But a quote in this part of the article got my attention: “Women are underappreciated and overworked,” said one doctor.  “You are roadkill unless you take care of yourself.”That’s it. I feel like roadkill. In the month of December, my self-care habits slipped. We were all sick, one after another. Our babysitter was unavailable for a week because her kids were sick. The LHM was home from work the week after Christmas and my routine got all out of whack. I was not getting the alone time I need; I was not eating well; I was not exercising. And the result is stress.So I’m revising my resolution. This week, in addition to going to bed early, I’m focusing on adding back to my life the things that my body and soul need.  Yesterday I went to the gym.  Today I’m making a big batch of broccoli with our dinner and skipping the bread.  A couple of nights ago I had a long talk with The LHM about how we are currently balancing parenting responsibilities and how we can lighten my load a bit.I don’t really expect that I’m going to stop feeling tired right away, but I already feel a bit lighter.What is the most stressful thing in your life right now? What is getting in the way of your self care?  What one step could you take today to move away from stress and toward a calmer, happier you?

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