Ahhh, Saturday is here again! What a week I had, but it went by so quickly, and now it is time to switch gears and take a little time out for myself. The house is quiet, my boys are gone, and the only things keeping me company are my kitty and a PVR full of shows that I haven’t had the time to watch yet. Today is a day to do some couch surfing, tv watching, coffee drinking, and if I have the energy maybe a hot bath and a new book….. wow, what a lazy day!! I try not to feel guilty for days like today, because they are good for me. It gives me a chance to decompress, and restore some of my energy so I can get through the following week…. Saturday is the only day that I don’t have my son, and that is still very hard for me. So instead of brooding and missing him every weekend, I try to put the focus on what I can do for myself that will only enhance the time I spend with him for the rest of the week… So a happy and well rested mom makes for a happier child… or at least that is how I justify taking the day off anyhow 😉
Living with my pain can be a slippery slope. I can manage quite well for weeks on end, and all it takes is overdoing it on a particular day, and it can send me spiraling down into the depths of darkness in a matter of hours, and then it takes me weeks to catch up to where I was. It is a short trip back to the starting line, and a long jaunt back to where I was. It truly is one step forward and three steps back some days.
I am guilty of pushing myself too hard at times. It helps immensely to have a partner in life that is always aware of how I feel and how hard I push… he is always the first to tell me that he thinks I am “overdoing” it, but what mother doesn’t? When I start pushing the envelope, and start feeling that I need to back off in order to preserve myself, I consciously make a decision to get back to basics… and this is what that means to me….
MY WEEKEND SELF-CARE REGIMEN
– Eating properly –
This means both quality and quantity of food. I am so guilty of letting my pain affect my eating habits. There are days that I don’t eat at all until 9 at night, after my son is in bed. I forget to eat for nourishment and restoration and consider it a chore. What are my healthful comfort foods? What is it I crave? What minerals and nutrients am I lacking in my diet?
If you have chronic pain, you know all too well how challenging this is at the BEST of times! And during difficult spells, sleep becomes close to non existant. REM sleep phases are very crucial for repair and physical relaxation. Most days I get 2-4 hours of sleep. I have sleep medication to help me with this, but I don’t like taking it, especially when my son is home. I fear that I won’t be able to wake myself up if he needs me. So I reserve taking it for Friday nights, and I let myself sleep in on Saturdays.
Well obviously we do this every day (At least I hope we all do! HA HA!)!! But how many people consider bathing a chore, just like everything else we do in a day? Taking baths for me is usually a necessity each day to get myself moving, so it has almost become a chore for me. On the weekend I make my bathing ritual to be about nothing but relaxation and time for myself. I use my favorite bubble baths, gels, and lotions. I turn the jets on…. I take a glass of ice water and a book into the tub with me. It is like my own spa treatment!
– Smiling –
This might seem to be a strange ‘basic’ need, but it isn’t really. We all NEED to smile…. And when you are in pain all the time, it is hard to smile some days. When we grimace we tighten and brace the muscles in our head, neck, and shoulders. Frowning can cause us more physical pain as well as not doing much for our emotional state. So smiling is insanely important. Getting back to basics, I ask myself what it is that will make me smile in that moment? Is it looking through photographs of family? Is it a call or a text message to a friend? Is it putting in my favorite movie and cuddling up on the couch? I methodically concentrate on relaxing every muscle in my face and neck, and try to turn that frown upside down!
and last but not least….
– Spiritual fulfillment –
Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to start preaching anytime soon! I am not talking about religious fulfillment…. It doesn’t matter what doctrine you follow, I mean taking care of your inner spirit. What makes you soul feel good and free? When pain becomes the chains that bind you physically, what is it do you need to ensure that you don’t feel spiritually confined as well. Does that make sense?
For me lately, it is this blog and my Facebook page…. It does my soul wonders to know that the connection I can create with another person is considered valuable or meaningful. Simple words of encouragement and support change my perception of the physical pain I am feeling. To go from feeling useLESS to useFUL is a magical feeling for me.
In my everyday life I am spiritually fulfilled by my son, as ALL parents probably feel, but I am talking about something that is all your own. If you remove all outside sources, what fulfills YOU as a person… not as a mom, sister, coworker, dog-walker, cleaning lady and chief bottle washer 😉 Remove all the hats you wear each day, and when it is ONLY you that you need to worry about, ask yourself what it is you need to fill up the tank in your soul!
How are YOU taking care of yourself this weekend?