A little more than a month ago, I lost it. I really and truly lost it.
I was struggling with work, my health, my husband, and my kids. Life had gotten busy (so very busy) and I began shutting down in nearly every way. Emotional and exhausted, my wellness became the furthest thing from my own mind. People needed me and I knew it. People wanted my time and I gave it. I gave and I gave and gave until there wasn’t a moment left to give to myself or anyone else.
Dinner with girlfriends? Who had time for that?
Getting my hair done? Yeah, right.
30 minutes of yoga? Fat chance.
It didn’t matter whether these things would make me feel happy, better, or more focused. They were constraints of time and energy that I couldn’t afford to spare.
For a while, all that self-sacrifice seemed to be working. Deadlines were being met. Dinners and school lunches were made. Laundry was done. But slowly, I was becoming undone.
I hadn’t had any fun — any real fun — in ages. I hadn’t laughed. I hadn’t felt pretty. I hadn’t felt strong. What I did feel was spiritless, and it was affecting more than just myself.
My kids felt it. Mom didn’t have patience like she used to. Sure, she was taking care of us, but not with a whole lot of heart. My husband felt it, too, as we fought over the menial trappings of who drank the last of the juice.
Then, one Sunday evening after yet another ridiculous argument (this time involving uncovered patio furniture), my husband muttered, “I don’t know how to make you happy.”
Neither did I, but blubbering and broken in my husband’s arms, I suspected the change would need to begin with me.
“What do you need?” My husband begged, “Do you even know?”
I needed help. I needed rest. I needed church. I needed fun. I needed laughter. I needed creativity.
But what I needed most was time.
As I began rattling off what felt like a giant wish list of impossible intangibles, it occurred to me that what I didn’t need was an invitation.
I didn’t need an invitation or permission to make myself a priority.
What had I been putting off? And for what reason? At what cost? Was I worth yoga, friends, a haircut, a Sunday service, or a new dress? I believed I was. Was I worth a daily walk, a healthy meal, or a nap on a Saturday afternoon? Of course I was.
But to make time for myself, sacrifices would need to be made. I’d need to learn to ask for help, make my intentions known, heck, even Sharpie myself down on the family calendar big and bold to declare the permanency of my plans.
I’ll admit, in the beginning it felt selfish. My kids didn’t always understand why more was being asked of them, or why mom wasn’t readily available for the tasking or asking. And it bothered me to ask my husband to lean in even harder, but it didn’t take long before a noticeable shift started to occur. Soon, lightness and laughter began to trickle into my household, and little by little, I began to feel satisfied, able, ready, and yes, even happy.
If I’ve learned nothing else from making my wellness a priority, I’ve learned that in order to be the heart of my home, I’d need to care for the body that houses it and the spirit that inspires it. And I’d need to do it as much for myself as I would for the people I love.More On