“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each one of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” – Maya Angelou
Sometimes things just break. Or rather they need a break. This is somewhat difficult for me to acknowledge with myself. I feel like things are going well until they aren’t sometimes. I can be really proud of myself and all of the things that I am “doing” or accomplishing, and then something comes along and just smacks me upside the head and says, “Oh no. That is about enough.” I am not someone who often suffers the debilitating fatigue that a lot of people with MS suffer. I rather live in a constant state of moderate fatigue that makes things difficult but not impossible. I am always resistant to put on the brakes because I just want to do “one more thing.” My body however, is getting very good at speaking louder to me. The good thing is that I am actually hearing the warnings before they get too out of hand.
I have had a hectic couple of weeks, and the weather has been all over the place which is always hard on me. I was doing my morning meditation on Thursday morning and heard “You need to put yourself in the shop.” I knew what that meant right away. I have been doing more physical stuff lately and a lot more walking. That is good but I was tired. We had gone out of town for Easter and then we had company that stayed with us for a few days. On Thursdays, I usually meet some people from my support group to walk around West Edmonton Mall for exercise. In the past, tired or not, I would have pushed through and then been a bear to everyone around me when I got home. But this Thursday I heard the voice saying “Put yourself in the shop.” Not only did I hear it, but I listened to it.
Putting yourself in the shop does not mean you are giving up or giving in. It means you have been pushing for too long and need to focus on self-care. It means refilling your cup so you can start fresh another day. Never feel guilty for doing so. Living with an illness is exhausting. It takes so much energy to go around all day trying to appear “normal” and to complete the necessary tasks of life. You are enough. You can be more than enough if you prioritize self-care. To balance life is hard. Some days you push too hard which means you need to put more weight on the side of kindness to self for awhile.
The following is a list of some self restorative acts that can help you out while you are in the shop.
- accept help from others
- hole up in your bedroom
- do things that bring you joy
- have a bath
- don’t answer the phone
- limit social media
- eat nutritious food
- listen to music
- spend time outdoors
- do something creative
The list will be different for different people. Find the things that bring you joy and do them. Listen to you body. It will tell you what it needs. My voice changes when I am overly tired. I believe that is my body’s way of telling me to be silent and rest. If you are tired, sleep. If you are hungry, eat. There is nothing to feel guilty about for making yourself a priority. You deserve it. The people around you deserve for you to be at your most rested and healed self.
Today, I took time for myself. I did art all morning while I listened to music. Then I made a delicious breakfast and then went outside for awhile in the sunshine. After writing this entry, I am tired. So I am going to take a nap. Because I am worth it.
And so are you my friends.