Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taking a Minute for ME!...and You

Man, it's been a while since I posted! We all have moments where life gets crazy...and that's my excuse, a whole lot of crazy. Sick baby, trips, all piles up and somehow we have to deal with it.

As Law Enforcement wives, dealing with crazy is done usually alone thanks to overtime, regular shift hours, the guy who decided, just as your spouse is about to get off work, it's time to smash into a tree with his car. In this crazy life there are plenty of hard times...even if the hard times are just dirty diapers and when to find time to go to the store. No matter how life goes, we have to remember to take care of ourselves. We are important. 

In the last several weeks I have been feeling so tired and burned out. We live in a rural area and sometimes I get down about having to drive an hour to Target, or the fact my mom lives 4 hours away and I could really use a break from my sick one year old. I've been down about sometimes feeling like a single mom because my husband is doing necessary overtime. I feel lonely, tired of the routine, and...when I really am honest...just plain sorry for myself. I've been in a pitty party. And I've decided it's great...because I am tested to fulfill the challenge I put on this blog. I'm not going to just get through life, I'm going to thrive. But sometimes I need to take time to figure out how.

So, in order to get out of my pitty party, I had to think of some ways to thrive. An attitude adjustment was a great start, and remembering positive perspective. Yes, my kid is sick, but she is mine, and alive, and more than willing for kisses and snuggles with Pooh and me. Yes, I'm alone this evening and my dinner is overcooked, but my husband has a great job that allows me to stay at home, which is best for our daughter. Yes, I may live in the boonies an hour from a real grocery store, but we couldn't live in a more beautiful place or afford for me to stay at home if we didn't. I am thankful...even for crazy.

One way to cope with crazy in my life is to step back and take time for myself. It's so easy to be everything for everyone. I'm a nurse, jungle gym, teacher, maid, friend, name it. But sometimes these real life elements of just getting by, shield ourselves from remembering we are just people...and we need a reboot once and a while.

When we had our daughter and my husband was gone at Academy, I did a horrible job of remembering to take care of myself. I felt like a couldn't. If I did, who would feed the baby, clean the house, make sure my husband got rest on the weekends or the dog got a bath so he didn't stink up my just cleaned house? But my wonderful mom reminded me one thing...who would do that if I were to fall apart? And how do I make sure I don't fall apart? I have to remember to refill my own fuel. I have to first take care of myself, then the family and other responsibilities. When I was forgetting to take care of myself I became depressed, way too skinny (too busy or tired to eat), irritable, impatient, negative...the list goes on, and nothing on it is positive.

It's been a year since that crazy time. And crazy is still always will. And I have finally learned, and accepted, how to better take care of myself. So not only have I not been posting because life has been nuts...I also haven't been posting because I've been taking care of myself. I've been too tired, my posts would have been half-assed anyway, and I just plain didn't feel like it. I'm trying to be an honest example here by saying this to you...YOU ARE IMPORTANT! YOU COME FIRST! YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! NOW!!!

Does that sound like I'm yelling at you? It's more of a sister shaking your shoulders. Even if you think you're doing ok in the self-care department...take a little more time. Despite what our grandmothers tell us, and Hollywood is ok and sometimes necessary to not be everything to everyone.

I'm not saying drop everything and spend a bunch of money on a vacation. I'm saying, even if it's simple, do something for YOU today. Take a hot bath, cook what YOU want for dinner, heck! don't cook dinner. Be honest with yourself and ask someone for help with something. Eat chocolate!!! :)

Below are some ideas for self-care. Try them and see how much better you feel. When leaders are on par with life, those that follow line up too. So as moms, if we are feeling good, it will help our children. If we have more in our fuel tank, we have more to give with more left over. Enjoy these links and remember YOU are IMPORTANT! Believe it by taking time for yourself!

Your Self Care Checklist:

1. Join an online book club. I said it, online. Now you have no reason to miss the meeting. Discuss books when it works for you and meet people from all over! Great for people with busy schedules!

 2. Take a bubble bath or hot shower. It's great for alone time, relaxes muscles, and refreshes your senses. If you like DIY, make your own scented bath bubbles. Here are some lovely ideas to make your bath time like a spa at home.
De-Kid your bathroom- There is nothing more disappointing than being faced with a tub full of kids toys when your tired and just want to relax in the bath. Who wants to have to pickup first? Start a routine of clearing the tub of toys after each bath, have your kids help. Store toys in a basket nearby for ease. Then, when you feel like a bath after a long day, it's always ready for you.
Your special things- Have a fluffy bath towel and selection of soaps just for your bath time. Keep these items separate from everyday use, it will make using them more special.
Music- Make a playlist of relaxing music and play it on a convenient iPod dock or your computer. Here is a link to relaxing music playlists
Candles- Nothing says Spa like the flicker of warm candlelight. Dollar stores or your local thrift shop have inexpensive candle holders. Craft stores are also a great place to pick up a bulk package of simple candles. Better yet, splurge on a pack of Yankee Candles from Bed Bath & Beyond!
Water Temperature- Make sure your bathing/shower water is not too hot or not too cold. Hot water can strip all your skin’s moisture and leave it dry. Too cold of water will leave you chilled or sick. If it is summer, moderately cold water will cool you off while aiding calmness. If it's winter, go for mild warm water.

3. Take a drive. Here is an awesome list of
road trips by state!
Sometimes we all need a little change of scenery and some wind in our hair!

 4. Skip Cooking. Do take out tonight and take a break from cooking. Sometimes the best date night my husband gives me is when I don't have to cook...or do dishes!

5. Ask for help. Simple as that. Sometimes we are so used to having to do it all on our own that we forget to ask for help when we can. Getting a little help can lighten the load and make us feel less burdened. Maybe asking for help will free you up for more you time!

6. Forget about it...for now. Next time dinner is over and you jump to clear the table...stop! The dishes will always be there, the little ones gathered around your table won't. So take extra time for conversation or down time before cleaning up the dishes. If you were to die tomorrow, would the dishes have mattered over time spent together?

7. Sometimes it's ok to hide it. Company coming over? Does it feel like you have too much to do? Instead of cleaning every room in your house...close the doors. No one is going to go in your bedrooms so just shut the door and leave the mess for another day. If someone judges you for not having a showcase house...ditch 'em. They aren't a true friend and you have better things to not stressing!

8. Movie Night! Pick out a list of movies YOU want to watch...and watch them! Cuddled up on the couch with a blanket, popcorn, and pj's of course! Here is a list of 100 movies every woman should watch!

9. Get yourself. Leave the kids at home (Dad won't kill them with his cooking), or take a break from your usual shopping buddy, and go out by yourself. Shop where you want to, take time to think, enjoy a quiet coffee shop, listen to your kind of music on a drive. Sometimes being alone helps to reconnect with a lost feeling of freedom.

10. Get some sunshine! Sunshine is natures medicine. Studies show a little sun in your life goes a long way to curb depression and diabetes, boost immunities, brighten your mood (catch the pun?), and improve sleep. So curl up with a good book on the back porch, go for a walk, tan, garden, play with your kids in the yard, or even sit by a window if you're stuck inside. Just remember your sunscreen!

Do you have other ideas for self care? Comment below and help other LEO spouses deal with their own dose of crazy!

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