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A spoonful of self-care

This GEMS blog task was to devise a self-care plan that works for me. My personal challenge was that I simply didn’t want to!

Self-care means prioritising myself over everyone else. As a working single mum with young kids and an endless to-do list, I just couldn’t see a way to fit it in.

I don’t like meditation, yoga or listing what I’m grateful for. This task felt like a punishment, as though I’d been set heaps of homework on a sunny weekend.

My negativity with this month’s blog coincided with a flare up of my auto-immune disease. Then the kids and I suffered with recurring sicknesses which needed doctors’ visits – and to add salt to the wounds, both the fridge and the dishwasher broke.

Halt the hectic

I had no choice but to stop. I was left with some rare time to examine my reluctance towards self-care and ponder why I hated the idea of it.

Reflecting on my ugly marriage, I had been conditioned to endure sickness and hardship. If I cried or showed signs of pain, I was told I was selfish. I was treated with hateful disgust and contempt, so I learned to tolerate hardship. I coped by telling myself that I was resilient and could handle whatever was thrown at me.

I became even more gritty as a DV victim survivor and single parent. My trust in others was fragile, so I found ways to independently cope through heartbreaking adversity with a smile pasted on my face. I was a duck serenely skimming over the lake, but frantically paddling beneath the surface.

I look back and realise that I’ve literally made myself sick by putting others first. Sadly, I never considered that I was deserving of time and care.

So, when the appliances blew their fuses and the doctor prescribed bed rest, my self-care strategy became clear.

Find comfort in the calm

I declined invitations and cancelled appointments. I retreated from my busy schedule. I slept instead of exercising and asked colleagues to cover work tasks. I relied on others to prepare meals and entertain the kids.

But stopping was really difficult. I desperately wanted to step back into my usual frantic life. My ingrained thoughts made me feel like I was letting others down when I rested.

I grappled with negative self-talk. Self-care has never come naturally to me, but I could now see that it should.

I was sick of being sick.

The rest time slowed life enough for me to listen to my body and mind. My health gradually returned. The forced period of self-care left me feeling calmer.

I was grateful to feel well.

I caught myself smiling more. I gently resumed my exercise program and happily attended social outings that no longer exhausted me. I played with the kids and we laughed together once more.

Pausing to find peace has built an inner calm. I am worthy of self-care.


Blogging GEMS program

This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, which supports domestic violence survivors to practise the self-care strategies of Gratitude, Exercise, Mindfulness, Support, and Service (GEMS). As they practise the strategies, they blog about can read their survivor GEMS Blogs:

Gratitude Blogs:

Exercise Blogs

Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:

Service Blogs

Support Blogs

Self-care plans

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