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 it.you can read their survivor GEMS Blogs:
Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:
Running away from being still
The fertile ground of giving (coming soon)