Upheavals come in life. I’ve faced one too, lately. But for the past few days, after going through some precious soul-searching moments, I’ve come to realise that I’m not particularly pleased with the way I handled the crises, especially over the past few weeks. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of how I managed my various roles, ensuring everything was taken care of for every member of the family. I just forgot one person in the process. I’m sure you’ve guessed who it was!
Perhaps, I could have done better. But, truth be told, I couldn’t. I struggled to make sense of things and felt like I was falling apart. With energy levels sapping out, I felt drained to the last cell in my body. Depressed. Angry. Fractious.
And then, one day, as I was browsing through the blog, my WOTY post caught my attention—it was about ‘flow’—my focus word for 2019.
“My thoughts for 2019 are like this— to go with the ‘flow’, to accept what comes my way—to go easy with myself, to go easy on expectations that I set for myself or what others expect of me, to flow with ease through the rough patches and flow through experiences, both happy and bitter, without letting my inner calm be shaken or my emotions trampled upon, to flow in abundance, with inspiration and hope and remain steadfast in my goals of being the best version of myself! “
It was a timely reminder of what I had set out to achieve during the year. I had intended to let it flow. Just let go. Of course, I was doing everything that was demanded of the situation, just that they were not facebook-worthy or Instagram-worthy moments that would get me 50 likes to swell my heart and fill me with a sense of achievement. I was tending to sick people, managing the home in the midst of a major upheaval, giving my time, efforts and energy to family who depended on me for moral, physical and emotional support, and juggling work and blogging too, none of which was visible, tangible or measurable by any means!
In the midst of all that I was doing, there was one thing that had gone amiss. I had stopped making self-care a priority. In fact, for more than ten weeks I had been running on a deficit of energy and I couldn’t take it anymore. I took time off and listed out my priorities on how to bring back the focus on my mental, physical and emotional health.
Over the next few days, even though the circumstances hadn’t really altered much, I felt a positive change coming over me. I began to feel less stressed, less irritable and much more in control of my emotions. The exhaustion left me very gradually. A timely step, thanks to the universe, that helped me find a way out of the darkness. In the following week, I even ventured to work out from a co-working space for a day and set up the home office to schedule work hours that were to be strictly followed. That week, I managed to publish 4 blog posts and took up a writing project that kept me busy and happy.
Upheavals continued on the home front and I did everything that I had, within my capacity to fulfil my duties. The home-help went off on leave, returned three days later and announced she would quit. But, I didn’t flinch. I arranged for a substitute to help me out for the next few days, while I sent word asking for a new one. It was tough handling everything alone in a large house, but I was firm not to let negativity to seep into my soul. I still have days that are unpredictable but I don’t let that stress me out.
The reason I’m sharing this today is that we all need reminders to make self-care a priority. even though we know matters. Often times, when you’re running around juggling chores, looking after kids and elderly parents, balancing full-time jobs and other responsibilities we forget to step back and pause. We forget that one essential task that we must prioritise even during the most critical of times—self-care.
We must remember that self-care is like the mask warning when we’re on a flight. When emergencies happen, and the mask drops from the ceiling, we are supposed to help ourself first and then proceed to help others put on their masks. That is why self-care is important. We need not ignore ourself whilst we take care of others.
Being exhausted isn’t nice. Being tired and angry isn’t nice. Over-thinking isn’t nice. Feeling burnt-out isn’t nice. So, if you’re doing any of this, just STOP! Pause for a minute.
Think of yourself and prioritise yourself—be it your health, your me-time or your work. And, please please learn to delegate. Don’t try and do everything yourself. Don’t become a martyr at any cost. It does more damage than good.
Going through these tough times, I’ve learnt to be patient. Things may not change in days or months, but one must learn to look beyond the circumstances to the things that matter the most. One learns to look after oneself even during the most trying of times. One learns to immerse oneself into the moment, to enjoy the minutes for whatever they offer there and then, to be mindful and to live for that moment alone. It is okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes. So, it is even more important to learn to let go of certain things that are low on the list of priorities at the moment.
An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”
I often ask myself what would I have become if I hadn’t had these challenges coming in my life. I cannot even gauge the possibilities of that question but one thing is for sure—someday when I look back at these moments, I’ll probably begin to see how each experience has shaped me to become the person that I see in the mirror every morning—the one who is still standing there, no matter what life throws at her.
Linking with Corinne’s post for #MondayMusings