Too Much!

One day last week I spent sometime updating calendar. There were at least a dozen things – some work related, some volunteer related, some kid related – that I knew were happening, but had not yet made it onto the calendar. I am generally pretty good about getting things down on the calendar as soon as they are scheduled, so it was unusual for me to have to actually make the time to do a calendar update. As soon as it was done, I realized why all of those things had not made it onto the calendar….there is just too much happening in the next month.

That same afternoon I was chatting with a friend at school pick up. A friend who I have seen quite infrequently recently because we both have too much on our plates. I told her about my time spent updating the calendar and how i had decided that if I just didn’t look at it, then none of it was real. We laughed.

Later in the week, the subject of the calendar came up with my husband. We operate off a shared Google calendar, so he gets notifications overtime I put something on the calendar. That day I did my major update, he got a separate notification for each of the dozen or so events I created on the calendar. He joked to somebody that there is just too much on that calendar which functions as our shared brain. But there’s more truth than humor in that statement.

Too much. Even though I have become so much better at learning to say no, there is still too much. Some of it is ongoing – the work meetings and events, sports practices, therapy appointments, medication checks, orthodontist visits, and  tutor appointments are all things that take up space on the calendar on a regular cycle. Some of it is seasonal – year end awards ceremonies, scout events, performances, track meets and parties are all taking up space but will soon give way to the more open calendar of summer break. That calendar is really not vastly different than many other families, but lately when I look at it, instead of seeing the individual events, I just see too much.

And what do I do with too much? I power through. But sometimes powering through comes at a cost, as I was reminded this past weekend.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling mentally tired (my normal these days), but physically fine. By the time I had showered and headed out for a day full of work events, I noticed that my back was a little sore. I proceeded to stand on my feet for the next few hours, and when I finally sat down I realized that my back was actually very sore. Another two hours passed as I sat in a meeting and then drove home. By the time I pulled into my driveway the soreness in my back had become full blown pain. As that afternoon and evening progressed, the pain became worse and worse.

My husband asked me what I had done to hurt myself. My answer – nothing. I didn’t do anything. I could not put my finger on any one act of lifting or bending or moving that had caused strain to my back. His response to that – perhaps it was my body sending me a message that I needed to slow down from the too much. He also pointed out that I can’t take care of anybody else, if I am out of commission myself.

So my body sent a warning shot – a pretty painful warning shot, but one that I am already mostly recovered from physically (thanks to a couple days of rest, ice and ibuprofen). All of those things that combine to be the too much are still on the calendar (in fact a couple more things were added just today), but on most days there is time in between the things that are the too much. And it is how I choose to fill (or not fill) those moments that contribute to or take away from my own physical and mental well being. It’s not all of those dates on the calendar that are causing my strain, it’s my own inability (or unwillingness) to use the time in between to care for myself. So as I lay on an ice pack and drifted off to sleep last night, I made myself a promise to pay more attention to my own needs and make the time to care for those needs. There is very little of the too much that I can actually rid from our lives right now. What I can do is add something to make  the too much feel a little easier….

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Too Peopley!

I woke up this morning and for the first time in months, realized that there was nowhere to be, nobody who needed me, and nothing that had to be done. Bliss!

I am an introvert, who lives a life that is undoubtedly more suited to an extrovert. My world is super people-y. Much of that is by choice –  I chose a career that is people-centric, volunteering in my kids’ school and writing this blog. Throw in balancing a partner and one child who are extroverts with another child who is both introverted and struggles with anxiety and life lived at full speed has a tendency to catch up with me.

This week, life caught up with me. I have been feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. So when I realized that my Friday off was actually a Friday off for the first time in months, I excitedly planned for a day that would look something like this (but substitute the pizza with leftover curry chicken that I cooked for dinner earlier in the week)…

But that adage about making plans and God laughing? That is a running theme in my life in ways both big and small. I spoke out loud my intent to recharge by avoiding the world today, and within moments I heard from my daughter “The cat is spraying and it looks like there is blood.”

It sounds awful to admit it, but I was SO RESENTFUL of the fact that nowhere to be, nobody who needed me, and nothing that had to be done had turned into someplace to be, because somebody needed me, and it really could not be put off until later. Yup. I was resentful of an elderly cat who clearly needed to see the vet. Not my finest moment.

And it wasn’t just one moment, it was several moments of my loudly lamenting that my plans of hiding from the world had been ruined. Honestly, I was pretty irrational for about 15 minutes. But I pulled it together, because that cat is as much a part of our family as any of the people who live in the house. And we love her. And we show up for those that we love. So off to the vet we went,  and of course my whole day wasn’t ruined – it took less than 90 minutes from the time we left the house until the time we were back.

The moral of the story – I clearly need to be doing a better job of self care and carving out people-free zones in my life.

And the P.S. to the story – I typed this blog post while snuggled under a cosy blanket with the cat snuggled in sleeping next to me. I am getting my planned day after all!

Clean Teeth + No More Gray = (Almost) Human

If you’ve read this post, you probably know that self care has fallen way down to the bottom of my list. By the time I get through the must dos every week – work, various therapy appointments for my son, volunteering, keeping food in the house, trying to get solid time in with both kids, and hopefully getting an hour or two with my husband – there is very little time or energy left for taking care of me. I know I should. And I know it’s bad for both my physical and mental health that I don’t. I’m trying to be better.

This morning I finally got in a slightly over due teeth cleaning. This afternoon I got in a long overdue hair cut and highlights. I (almost) feel human! Now if I can just stay awake long enough to enjoy date night (something else we don’t do nearly enough!) this will have been a fantastic self-care Friday!