Even when we know that life is rushing by and things are piling up, we tend to forget to do things for ourselves, replenish, and even to just take a step back. At times this is my nemesis. While I am good at making sure everyone else has what they need, I always seem to be missing to do something for me like taking my own medicine. If you have spent a few days with me then you know I have an afternoon alarm for meds, and used to have a morning reminder to eat lunch. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sometimes I need to be reminded that I am not superwoman. In late June I needed a reminder to cut something from my life and unplug.

With June’s post about my Roller Coaster Year, I openly admitted to feeling a bit overwhelmed and needing a breather. Since spring sprung I had been pushing to get a wide variety of things done from doctor appointments to school registration not to mention my ever growing “honey do” list. While I have been pushing very hard to shrink my ever growing list, not much else in my life has taken a break or slowed up.

At some point I realized the folly of my ways. If I didn’t slow something down, or cut something out, well I was quite likely to burn out. The anxiety of it all was physically wearing me down. Other than pushing forward and completing my honey dos, there wasn’t much I could do to ease the anxiety I was feeling. As one project after another was completed it was true that some tension subsided but the fear of burning out, or getting sick, stayed with me.

What would happen if I did get sick before the end of the summer? What if my summer “honey dos” got left undone? The big answer is that we would all survive. Life would continue to move forward.

Still I felt a need to get projects completed. What would give? The answer was step back; put projects into perspective (make a list); and see if anythjng could be sidelined.

The first thing to get evaluated was my limited free time.

After my first few kid free days, I knew the likelihood of having lots of kid free time was unlikely. Two weekends a month I watch one niece. That is always a given. While time with my other nieces and nephews is not always planned, my youngest nephew dislikes going more than a few days being away from his second home. So my free time is not really just mine. Yet my free time was the only thing I had any wiggle room with.

Ultimately the decision wasn’t hard. I needed to unplug and put our blog on hold.

After all, when would the kids ever be this age again? Answer: never.

I knew that once school started back up and really got going that I would have more wiggle room to write. The priority was to get the boys’ bedroom completed and then see what other projects I had time for. With my priorities straightened out in my head I plunged back into my long list of projects.

The good news was I had plenty time to do fun things with my family including a weekend spent with a college pal and her family and to have lots of adventures with the munchkins!!!

The downside? I was right about burning out. After a month of pushing, pushing, pushing… when I began to slow down a bit I did end up with a summer cold. While I needed to slow down for a few days I still felt like I was in a good place.

With school started and a routine firming up, I can see that there will be room for me to add writing back into my routine. As a family oriented person, I don’t always do a lot of “me” things. I tend to focus on time spent with my family and the things they want to do. Writing, that is all me. Even is Rent-a-Dad proofs a post for me or gives me his thoughts, my posts are my posts. It is important to have something that is mine.

Please pardon the interruption in our regularly scheduled programming but this week Balancing Life’s Lemons is experiencing a technical glitch. Ok, maybe not so technical as much as health related and sadly unavoidable. From the end of January through the early bits of March our household generally becomes a war zone for germs. This year really has been no different. The past week of hacking and coughing has been a deeper reminder of how important self-care is especially when you are sick and the world has lost its mind.

sick

A couple of weeks back my eldest nephew shared a variety of germs with us. It was only a matter of time to see which ones we caught and which ones we were able to avoid. Rent-a-Dad was hoping not one germ would stick as he has had a horrible cough since December the doctors told him would go away slowly. Unfortunately a cold bug with a nasty cough (possibly the respiratory flu) took hold in our house and has been fighting to keep its footing. We have also been fighting the good fight with all the hygiene tips and chicken soup we can manage.

As someone who is a bit of a neat freak, being sick always cramps my style. I am caught between wanting a decently clean house and not wanting to get out of bed. Toss children into the mix and I am constantly feeling like the toys that aren’t getting put away may just eat me. Not to mention that if I am sick the kids might be as well. The whole combination is never a fun experience.

Some point during this dance of clean, rest, feed people, rest, do laundry I finally get it. I have depleted my reserves and am not truly getting better so I need to sit down and do something for me like sleep. The past week has really been no different. I stress about a half-written post but my brain can’t focus enough to follow up on the research I have accumulated. It’s not like I have had the time anyway between taking kids to lessons, getting food prepared, attempting some form of cleaning with the kids and fitting in a nap or I may pass out.

The post sits by patiently waiting to be finished. That is something I can put on hold. I can use the time I normally would write to take a nap or get ketchup out of the carpet. Ketchup first then maybe nap. Fundamentally I know if I keep going full tilt that nothing will truly get done because I am just draining myself further. Sometimes I just need a reminder that self-care in the face of sickness is the right path.

If you are somewhat like me here are a few tips and links to look at while you are trying to fight getting the rest you need:

 

Tips of Self-Care when You are Sick

1- Plan a nap and take it

Silence your cell phone, close your bedroom door and take a nap! Doctor’s and mother’s orders! Your body will thank you later.

 

2- Eat lightly

Chicken soup is the go to food when people are sick because of all the vitamins and nutrients in it. Soup in general is good comfort food for when a cold or the flu has gotten it’s fingers into you for the same reason. Most soups are packed with nutrients you need to get better from protein to a variety of vitamins. Soup is also a good go-to food because it is light. You can eat a little and go take a nap without worrying about indigestion.

 

3- Leave the Chores for Later

I have a hard time heeding this advice because I stress over the five toys sitting on the floor in the family room. Try not to stress the little things and only worry about the chores needing done now. Focus on feeding your family/yourself, taking care of your pets and chores that you feel truly do need to get done. Studies show that light exercise when you are sick is not bad for you but to avoid excessive exercising as it could worsen your illness or cause your body to take longer to heal.

 

4- Silence off Your Phone

I know I already said this in reference to taking a nap but it is good sound advice when you are sick. Let the people you care about the most know you are sick and tell them you are silencing your phone. Set-up a check-in time if you are afraid of loosing contact for a day but give yourself some well deserved down time including time away from electronic devices.

 

5- Do something for yourself

A nap counts but there is a list of other things you can do from taking a longer shower to eating a scoop of ice-cream. Give-in, at least ever so lightly, to some well deserved pleasures as the boost in endorphins make you feel better even when you have been knocked flat by a cold bug.

Don’t forget to take your medicine!! Often I am so caught up in everyone else’s needs I forget to do things like take any medicine from my daily vitamins so cold meds.

 

Want more ideas on self-care? Check out these articles:

Some of what I feel has me feeling even worse lately is the current political climate. Everyday I feel like something new and worse is attacking me from the outside so how can I battle what is attacking me from the inside? When that happens, self-care is the top priority because how can you help others if your own help fails?

 

Sick Day Survival Guide

Time to Replenish

101 Self-Care Suggestions When It All Feels Like Too Much

How to avoid being psychologically destroyed by your newsfeed