Coming back, and what the hell does self-care mean?
It is happening slowly, but I am starting to feel like my old self.
My ex supervisor, a certified genius, gave me some good advice: Healing yourself is the most important thing right now and it is very hard to put yourself first and be okay with it. Give yourself the gift of allowing deep healing to occur. Relax. breathe. All of the years in the high stress situation at _______ cannot be undone in a few months.
What she said.
It seems like my healing is taking a long time, but I am noticing some changes: I no longer have to push myself to get out of bed and take a shower or bath every day (which I am sure my family and housemates are excited about); my mood is more even-keeled, with fewer outbursts of anger/tears/hopelessness; my sleep quality is much improved.
And I am relaxing, enjoying being with my family, contacting friends, getting out a few times a day to walk the dog, taking joy from doing household chores and just being active.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what self-care means for me and my current situation. I am very proud that I listened to what my body was telling me to do when I retired from my job. I knew that I was burned out and needed to move on, but I have not been sure about what comes next! In another email exchange, my ex sup reminded me that my anxiety attacks are coming from within. Telling me to STOP and listen to myself! As I have started listening to myself, I have considered the changes I want to make, beginning with not pushing myself so hard and easing up on myself.
I told you, the woman is a freaking genius.
So for me, self-care means listening to myself (which is a total scream, I am so good at listening to other people and now I have to learn to listen to myself), and allowing myself the time to recover, refresh, and renew.
It’s also a time to grieve–the loss of my youth, the loss of a family member a few months ago, losing someone I love a few years ago. I have always been one to push things aside until I am ready to deal with them. I know, it is classic denial, but you can always count on unresolved grief to kick you in the ass and remind you it is still there, waiting for you to deal with it so you can move on and
be done with it! live with it. I do not believe that loss is something one recovers from; rather, it becomes something one can live with. I am proud (mostly) of the way I have handled the last few years (and last few months) of profound change. Hey, we all make mistakes and missteps; it is human nature. I have said it before, I am taking the path less traveled for myself. It is new, exciting, and at times scary as hell!
What is most important to me right now is that I am coming back, baby. It feels good, and right, and I am convinced that I am where I need to be right now.
I have promised myself to blog more, work on my writing projects every day, and be gentle with myself when I do not keep those promises!
One of my favorite movies has always been The Wizard of Oz–my favorite part is when Dorothy gets caught in the twister, her bed and house spinning out of control. At times in the last two years I have felt that I was spinning out of control, caught up in the twister, not in control of my life or my emotions.
I have finally realized that I just need to wait for the spinning to stop. It is slowing down, as I have gained a greater understanding of what is happening, and as I contemplate my next steps.
Self-care, a.k.a listening to myself, has shown me that I have been on, and continue to be on, one hell of a journey.
It is time for me to relax and enjoy it.
Picture from karenlogan.com