Happy New Year! So, how excited are you all to be starting a new calendar year?!?!?!?! I have mixed feelings about the whole “It’s a new year. Everything starts anew” idea. On the one hand, it’s really just the next day of the next week of the next month of the next year in a reeeeeally (hopefully) long story of a life. On the other hand, it seems like a convenient time to re-evaluate goals and give ourselves permission to forget the failures of previous year and start again with new enthusiasm.
On that note, I was totally planning on getting this year started right!!!!
You caught that, right? “planning” Yep. The new year had different plans right off the bat.
January 1, 2016:
Me: Yay! It’s a new year. THIS year, I am definitely going to re-start training for the next triathlon AND I’m going to eat healthy AND finally get the house organized AND be super organized with meal planning and stuff AND get the mini-me’s room organized AND really be a great veterinarian AND make time for friends AND get places on time AND save lots of money AND make my house look like something out of a magazine that is super chill but really awesome….
The Universe: Hahahahahahahahaha. Hahaha. Whew. Haha.
January 1st I was scheduled to work; it’s my holiday to take care of hospitalized patients. I planned to go run after doing the treatments at work (even though I am still recovering from the virus-progressing-to-bronchitis fun times as is tradition for me this time of year), then head home to get started on the big cleaning day.
I woke up with a headache. Not unusual lately. I apparently sleep on my right side, because all fluid in my whole head was lodged in the right side, especially the sinuses. Usually this gets better the longer I am up (being mostly upright and walking around and all…). Not on that day. My headache got worse and worse. I took NSAIDs and a decongestant when I got to work, drank 2 cups of coffee, ate a little something, drank plenty of water… Nothing. Just getting worse.
Got home, after not running, and took more NSAIDs, drank more water, and hid my head under a blanket. Nothing. Plus I was freezing. I took a super hot shower, which made my sinuses feel better but I still had a headache and while standing in the shower, I suddenly felt SO SLEEPY that I almost fell asleep standing up. In the shower. I got out of the shower and went straight into bed without even drying off. Woke up in 45 minutes. Headache was mostly gone, but it was still hovering around the edges and my body felt dead tired.
I made it back to work, came home, ate a sandwich and went right back to bed.
I’m still feeling like my body is tired and I am still coughing up my lungs, but the headache is mostly gone.
I learned 2 things that day:
1) I have a wonderful little family. My husband and daughter didn’t expect epic things from me that day. They snuggled with me when I needed it; they did their own things when I needed a nap; they took care of their own dinner.
2) My resolutions needed to be adjusted.
Apparently the Universe and my body got tired of trying to nudge me toward a healthier mindset and decided to just shove me in that direction. I don’t have my goals quite right. Turns out, I don’t need to push myself as hard as I can. (Now there’s something that IS REALLY, REALLY hard for me to get my head around.) I need to take care of myself. There it is. My new goal.
Take care of yourself.
Woah. Such a cliché little phrase of 4 words. But that day, it meant something.
Take care of yourself. You only get one go at this. No one but you is expecting you to be perfect and to do everything.
You want to exercise because you know it helps you feel better? You should definitely do that. You want to beat yourself up because you didn’t run as fast or as far or as often as you planned? No. Not this year.
You want to eat healthier because you want to fuel your body with good stuff instead of junk that makes you feel cranky and sluggish? You should do that. You want to mentally berate yourself because you ate too many cookies at work and you worked too late to make the meal you planned and now you’re having a PB&J for dinner? No. Not this year.
You want to organize things so that you can find them easily (since your memory is not so good lately)? Good idea. You want to get frustrated because your stuff doesn’t look like a magazine or pictures on Facebook and Pinterest? No. Not anymore.
Take care of yourself.
I have a hard time setting aside time for me to take care of me. It feels selfish and I have a really long list of things I “should” be doing instead. But that’s silly. I know, I know. I’ve heard the whole “you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others – that’s why they say that in the pre-flight instructions” stories and all the little inspirational quotes. And they’re true and they sound good. But I never actually internalized them. They were just another thing to put in my “you should do this” file in my brain <– which is totally disorganized and often misplaced (the files in my brain, not my brain itself. Thank god that thing is encased in bone or it would have been lost a long time ago!)
My body and my spirit were telling me to take care of myself. I am important and, although I am unique and irreplaceable, I don’t have to do everything. And, even though this is REALLY hard to admit, I can’t do everything. I just can’t. And you know what? That’s not a failure or a weakness. It’s just a fact. I can do a lot of awesome things, but I can’t do everything all at the same time. I’m going to have to pick and choose what I can do. (It’s hard for me to even type that). And the way to decide what I am going to do is to take care of myself. Number one. And not in the “look out for number one” kind of way. More of the “I need to water and nourish this tree so it can provide fruit and shade and protection for others and so it will be able to weather the storms” kind of way.
So I have rested and slept and snuggled with my family and I haven’t put any pressure on myself this weekend. Each day, I still made a to-do list because if I don’t make a list, I feel confused and directionless and like I’m forgetting everything I wanted to accomplish and it’s just not good for my brain. But this time, my list just had 2 tasks on it: one was something I needed to get done that day, but was very attainable since it was just one thing; the other was “Take care of yourself.”
Each day that may be different. The past few days, it has meant that I needed to rest. But tomorrow that may mean I try out the online yoga site I looked at or I might go run or swim after work, even though there are lots of things I “should” be doing then.
Today’s to-do list says:
1.Take care of yourself.
- Do laundry.
If I have energy and the desire, I’ll also clean up the kitchen and plan meals for the week.
If not, that’s ok.
It’s not even on my list.