As we climb out of the fog of loss, stress and grief left by the pandemic many of us are feeling relief, but along with that comes realizations of who we are and what we should be doing with our lives.
I'm one of those "afterwards" people. I am strong and there for everyone how ever they need me to be until "afterwards." I don't cry or crumble in moments of stress until "afterwards." "I don't complain or feel any type of pain or discomfort until "afterwards."
After a few weeks or months, my body would react to the stress that I felt in the moment of crisis. I would wake up with an ache in my back, a slight headache or a even a bruise that I had no clue was there. Once I had a sprained meniscus in my right knee. One day I was walking just fine and the next morning I couldn't walk downstairs.
When my body would react or tears would begin to fall, I would quickly try to get it together because that loss of control used to scare me. I would say "I don't have time for this, I have to get myself together." I felt like I always needed to be strong for my family, friends, staff, and anyone that I thought was depending on me.
It's taken me some time, but I've learned and I'm still learning how to show vulnerability and release the stress that could come back to attack me later. I am definitely a work in progress.
I'm working daily to get real with myself and what I need to feel whole, instead of just giving everyone else what they need to feel whole. I've learned to say "no" to being on committees, leading programs or taking care of other people. I've learned that it's not selfish to take care of yourself first, in fact it's selfish not too. You aren't any good to anyone else if you're well emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Here are a few tips to help you get real with yourself:
1. Ask yourself what will happen if you say no or stop doing for everyone else at the expense of yourself?
2. Make a list of things that you never seem to have time to do for yourself and do them immediately.
3. Make a chart or list of how much time you spend doing, giving to others and then how much time someone does or gives to you.
I'm not saying that you should totally stop being generous with your time or resources. I'm simply telling you to make sure that your tank is full before you pour all you have out to others.
Take the time to relax, eat well, laugh, and even splurge on yourself, so that when you give to others or do for others, it is not at the expense of your own well being.