Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Me" time

It's been pretty stressful the last little while in a lot of areas for me: work, home, church, family relationships.  Lots of change.  Lots of uncertainty.

The stress can really get to me when I am not rested, when I've allowed the tyranny of Just One More Thing to take over.  So the last couple of weeks I have been taking every opportunity to make a little "me" time.  After a couple of days of much-needed time off from work and a change of duties, I find myself able to make small jokes where I couldn't have before that time.  Dealing with the changes in my personal life and family relationships has been challenging as well. But I do remember the principles of recovery from codependency - that it's important to make time for me because self-care is the first step to setting healthy boundaries.  

So earlier today I found myself coming back from picking up some lunch (and carrying it back to my desk - which is another issue) when I heard music coming from the other side of the door that led to the stairwell.  Singing, to be exact. Our department has a choir that sings for Veterans in nursing homes and other places. So I decided to stop, go into the stairwell and eat my lunch while I listened to the Canada Remembers Chorus practice their next performance.  It only took about ten minutes, tops, but that little interlude left me going back to my desk with a smile on my face.

Later, after work, hubby picked me up and we turned our attention to where we might go on our weekly "date" which has been a fixture since the children were old enough to look after each other at home without us.  Instead of the usual haunts, we decided to hop in the vehicle and head about 35 miles away to one of our favorite restaurants - just because we like it there and this was our night. What a lovely treat it was to be able to do something out of the ordinary. 

This photo taken last summer, late August 2011
Right now, he's out doing something he loves doing ever since last summer when our daughter and her boyfriend presented him with a ride-on lawnmower. Yes, he's mowing the lawn, wearing his hearing-protection earmuffs, with a huge grin all over his face.  I'm smiling just thinking about it.

It's those little things that count, those things that tell us that we matter, that God cares enough to give us not only what we need, but sometimes what we want - those times when we are reminded that life can be fun ... and good ... and not sucky.  

Sometimes we just have to be intentional about looking after our own needs.  It's okay to do that.  It's okay to make some "me" time if we need to. We're people too; we're not invincible. I had forgotten how easy it is to slip back into those old patterns of behaving where I'd put my own need for nurturing aside and nurture someone else's stuff at my own expense, over-extend myself, and then resent the person not only for not appreciating it, but for coming to expect it!! I've had to remind myself lately that I can't do it all perfectly the first time.  And that when someone has a problem with something I do, I can acknowledge the feelings of hurt, frustration and anger that I might have, and then focus on what needs to happen so that I don't do that again or so that the person who gave me the bad news learns a more tactful way to give bad news. ;)  And to remember that what I DO doesn't define who I AM.  Huge lesson!  One I have to relearn over and over again.

When I make more time for me, though, it reduces my stress and allows me to stay grateful for the many blessings in my daily life.  Not the least of which is the ability to make some time for me in my busy schedule.  ;)

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