This post was written about a month ago. It hasn’t gotten published until now because life has been so hectic that I almost forgot about it in my drafts. Annnd, *cue post about crazy life seasons*, ha!
[First week of August, 2015]
As you may have heard, I’m in a cuckoo-crazy stretch of life right now. It has been one week since we found out that hubs got a new job (quite unexpectedly) in a city that’s four hours away.
It’s fabulous news after being unemployed for five months, but this month might just do me in.
Long story short: He started the new job this week, and comes home for weekends. We are listing our house for sale (that we’ve owned for barely a year!) by the middle of next week, which means I’m Konmari-ing everything like a chipmunk on a venti espresso, while solo parenting our three young high-energy kids, while figuring out how the heck to stage a house for sale (and overthinking it every step of the way), while dealing with various reno projects that have to be wrapped up by the weekend.
(I said all of that on double-speed with a dazed look on my face.)
Then, I’m traveling out of the country on the 20th, and the day after I return we leave for camping with my family (booked before all of this went down!).
[Fast forward to present day for a sec: This was a photo that we took on that trip. Love these girls so much! From left to right: Diana of My Humble Kitchen, Crystal of Money Saving Mom, yours truly, Steph of Keeper of the Home & EntreFamily, and Erin of The Humbled Homemaker. Ok, back to the story…]
The day after we get home from camping, we pick up the moving truck.
If I make it to our new city in one piece, I’ll need a long nap and a cup of tea. Or, you know, something stronger.
[Spoiler alert: we made it to our new city four days ago, and I’m still waiting on my nap. Where are the unpacking fairies?!]
Since we’ve been in various chaotic seasons (more often than not in the last decade, which you can read about in this post) I’ve learned a few things about how to best care for myself so that I can stay strong and effective as the wife and mama of this family.
Surprisingly, what helps me the most during these times is not to chuck my healthy ideals out the window.
In fact, it’s often the opposite. I apply the oxygen mask rule here. (Being married to a pilot makes this analogy especially appropriate.)
I know that take-out and processed convenience foods will soon make me feel sick and tired, so self-care during these seasons often looks like making homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes with buttery green beans for dinner while surrounded by half-filled moving boxes, overflowing laundry hampers, paint cans and drop cloths.
This morning it meant taking a few moments to cook up my comfort-food breakfast of sweet peppers, onions, and peppers fried in butter in my cast-iron pan because starting my day that way gives me the physical stamina that I need right now, and eating it surrounded by the contents of my half-packed china cabinet.
And sometimes, when it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and just eat junk because it’s convenient and cheap and I’m freaking exhausted and overwhelmed, I practice self-care by giving myself permission to buy a few healthier convenience foods.
Another way that I practice self-care during crazy seasons is to intentionally turn off “GO-GO-GO” mode and sit down for a few minutes of rest. This is a bit easier for me, being an INFP (we’re not the task-oriented type), but I do tend to get hyper-focused on tasks when I’ve set my mind to it.
So I sit for half an hour and colour with my kids (adult colouring is the BEST, people. I used to colour ballerinas and trucks in my kids’ colouring books, but now that it’s a trendy thing I get to colour in my grown-up colouring books and I’m in love.)
What I’m saying is this: I have learned in the last decade that making healthy choices matters. Not only for outward reasons (environmental, moral, etc), although those are a factor, but for inward reasons most of all (health, wellness, soul care, etc).
I’ve discovered that honouring my own life by choosing health and wellness is the best form of self-care I can practice when everything around me feels chaotic and the boat is being seriously rocked.
Caring for my own emotional, mental, and physical health are the best gifts I can give myself, and they are one of the greatest lessons I hope to pass on to my children.
I want you to hear this, friends: during times of crazy stress, survival mode, and utter chaos when you feel like you’re drowning, take care of you.
I’m learning that to be the best version of myself, I need to put on my own oxygen mask first.