Self Care in Stressful Times | #MondayMusings

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.”
– Unknown

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 




22 thoughts

  1. Well said Esha.. Often we forget about self care and end up exhausted. Lately i have understood the importance of delegation. I had a good read. Wish you happy and balancing days ahead.

    1. Thank you Shilpa! I’m glad you’ve shared your own experience on the importance of delegation. Small things we do can often have a big impact on our lives. Wishing you a wonderful start to the week ahead, Shilpa. Take care.

  2. Taking care of ourselves means that we will perform our duties even better. it is a good investment. I hope things are less stressful for you hence forth, Esha. Take care!

    1. Yes, hoping and praying things ease a bit at my end. I know how important it is to have taken this step to recharge myself. I think we all need it but don’t realise until it’s too late. So good to see you stop by the blog and share your thoughts. Thank you so much for your kind words, Arvind!

  3. We must remember that self-care is like the mask warning in a flight. Help ourselves first, wear the mask first, and then proceed to do the same for others.
    Esha, I hear you, darling! And, I am SO VERY HAPPY for you that you decided to look after your needs too. I am glad you began writing, working and delegating, instead of putting yourself at the end of your priority list.
    Tight hugs to you, sweetie! We will catch up once Arjyo finishes his exams.
    Take care!

    1. So glad to hear you say this, Shilpa! I’m being a little focused on my own needs now and it feels so much better when I give myself this attention and care! Spent so many years of life neglecting myself just because duty meant doing things for others since the expectations are built around you and how can you let them down? Glad better sense finally prevailed. I have no intentions to become a martyr anymore. Thanks for your kind words, dear! Yes, would love to catch up once Arjyo’s exams are done. You take care too! <3

  4. So true Esha …… we must take time out for self care. We are known to neglect it.

    Give yourself the same care and attention that you give others, then watch yourself bloom” sums it all up. One needs to keep refueling 🙂 and that can happen only when we start taking care of our own self too …

    Thanks for sharing this ……. its a very important message for all to understand, accept and make it a way of life.

    1. Absolutely, Monika. There is no way to move ahead unless we refuel and recharge our minds and our bodies! Learning things the hard way and even after all these years, one wonders how much more one needs to learn to be able to live well. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Monika.

        1. Thank you so much, Monika. Wishing you a smashing day ahead as well, dear! 🙂

  5. ‘Don’t be a martyr at any cost trying to everything on your own’. My mother told me the same thing yesterday in her own words. I tell her the same but she cannot adhere to it because she tells me it has become an inseparable part of her being – Being the Martyr. Her warning for me is to not let it happen to me. Thank you for reiterating it. Bigs bigs hugs from me for managing to come out of the storm. I hope and wish the storm is over not to return sooner. Please carry on with your self-care efforts and writing your morning pages. The anger, the fears, the exhaustion, the energy sapping thought process need to be given a vent out. I wish you more calming days to follow for you.

    1. I know from seeing my mom too that our moms have had a very different perspective on these situations, given that they grew up in very different times and I guess, a lot of that also comes from the kind os people they are, always accommodating everybody in their lives no matter what comes. I’m trying my best, Anamika to come out of this and it is an ongoing process, given that challenges continue in my life but writing has allowed me some breathing space and the Morning Pages give me a place to vent it out in the morning so I can empty myself of the angst before the day begins, which can be a relief! Thanks for wishing me calming days…I need them so badly! Hugs right back to you too! Sharing halves the angst. I feel better already! <3

  6. Self care is very important which we women often ignore. I am happy that your blog reminded you to take care of yourself and take the charge.
    We get energy through self care and this is the only thing to keep in mind. Rest follows.

    1. You said it, Geethica. Timely action can and does usually make a difference when it comes to self-care.

  7. 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. So very well said, Esha. I wish some of the people in my life would read and follow this. Big hug from Singapore–I hope your troubles melt away soon.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Damyanti. I hope your words come true! Hugs right back. <3

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