I became aware recently of the busyness that has taken over my life, and the bodily sensations that come with it. A familiar tightness of the diaphragm and a narrowed field of awareness sets in, informing me that I need to pay attention. At some point a few days ago, I finally ran out of steam. I just couldn’t bring myself to do one more thing. I decided that evening that I needed a real day off, and that the following day would be that day. As I spent the next day connecting to my greater self in meditation, yoga, hooping, and rest, I realized I had not tended to my own needs for quite some time. Owning my own business allows me to work from home which has its benefits and drawbacks. The benefit is a flexible schedule. It was easy enough to take that day off when I realized I needed it. The drawback, as I’m sure many moms can attest, is that the work is never done. I can always look around and see something that needs my attention. One day bleeds into the next with an unending to do list. If I don’t set up some boundaries and limitations around my work and time at home, I’ll lose my mind. Part of maintaining balance is paying attention to my own needs and cues about how to care for myself.
During my day long contemplation, I remembered a conversation I overheard at work one day. The conversation struck something deep within and has been one that has stayed with me as a reminder. Two colleagues were talking about an upcoming event that they would like to go to, both expressing the need for a day for themselves. They grumbled about the housework, taking care of kids and husbands, and all the chores and demands required to meet their family’s needs and desires. They continued on, in a misery loves company fashion, about how they couldn’t possibly take time, and that their sacrifice of self was somehow necessary for the success of their family. I couldn’t help it. I had to say my piece. Don’t get me wrong. I recognize how busy we all are, and don’t invalidate the real sacrifices women make to support the success of their families. But what I felt compelled to point out, is that if we don’t model self-care to our children and our families, then they are doomed to inherit the legacy of busyness and burnout. It’s not enough, in my opinion, to martyr ourselves for our family’s benefit. We learn the bulk of our behaviors by observation, mimicking, and practicing those of our teachers, namely our parents. If we don’t demonstrate a practice of self-care, neither will they. After putting in my two cents, I encouraged the women to do something nice for themselves, and if not for themselves, then for their children.
After a real day off I feel better. Taking a day to put it all aside and tend to me is vital to my continuing on with healthy balance. Along with my daily meditation practice, I need an occasional, uninterrupted day to hit the reset button and start again. This sacred time with myself provides space, room for clarity, and wisdom about being. After this much needed pause, there are some things that I will lay down, some things I will take at a slower pace, some things I will eliminate completely, and some things I will give more focused attention. I’ll continue to practice and use the tools of balance. If not for me, then for the legacy I will leave.