I had an epiphany the other day. Not a giant one exploding with rainbows and world peace or anything. Just a small, obvious moment of clarity. I realized that not taking care of myself is like saying nothing else really matters.
I skip meals, skip sleep, skip taking my vitamins All. Of. The. Time.
I am talking daily.
I get busy.
I don’t eat breakfast or lunch and then eat 27 snacks to make up for it. I eat junk food. I sit still too much typing on my computer and playing with Tiny-Small on the floor. I don’t get the proper amount of exercise anymore. Sleep? Oh forget that. I will skip sleep in the name of blog posting or watching TV or just enjoying the quiet. I will skip a lot of things to have some quiet time all to myself. In short, I don’t always take care of myself very well. I don’t have any excuses for not taking care of myself, except, maybe laziness. I just haven’t made the whole “I am a person with needs” thing a priority yet. It’s pretty ridiculous when you can’t make sleeping and eating a priority, right?
The thing is when you don’t eat well or sleep enough it limits your ability to do other things well. I get cranky or I can’t think or I find myself down in the dumps. This is what made me realize that not taking care of myself well means I won’t get to do all of the other things I really want to do. I mean sure, staying up late will get my blog post written for a couple of nights, but stay up late for a couple of weeks and I won’t even want to write anything let alone have the ability to write anything with any kind of lucidity. If I don’t eat well I get all shaky from being hungry or I get shaky from eating way too much candy and chocolate chip cookies. Shaky hands make for bad painting. Then, throw in the whole cranky mom thing and you have a dysfunctional basket case. I become a walking disaster.
So, from now on when I think about skimping on my need for food, sleep, relaxation and exercise in the name of my art, I will remember that without all of those needs being met there won’t be any art. There won’t be any good parenting and there likely won’t be any living a long, healthy life. That seems unacceptable to me. I want to be the best I can be as often as possible. I especially want to live a really long life so I can see Tiny-Small grow up and be amazing. I also want to be a better partner to poor Jim who puts up with my cranky, sloth-like nature.
I’m on a quest to get better sleep. To eat more vegetables. To relax more and have more fun. To be a more present, patient, and less cranky mom. All of this starts with taking care of myself better. It seems so easy, but why does it prove to be so hard? It seems like it should come naturally and yet it is still a struggle. Do you have trouble taking care of yourself? Do you find that skimping on your basic necessities ends up backfiring in the end? What is your experience with all of this making yourself a priority thing? Are you taking care of yourself?
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