I didn’t plan to write a blog this week because in my head the 52 weeks were over, but as the days went by I kept thinking of new topics and it quickly dawned on me that the act of putting pen to paper had become a mechanism for me to take a step back, digest, and allow new ideas and behaviors to manifest.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense; ever since I can remember I've been a visual learner. For example, I vividly recall studying for exams with my class notes and an entirely blank notebook; I would repeatedly rewrite my notes and each time I wrote it down I'd be able to commit a little more of the material to memory. Even today, I always have a notebook and pen in my hand because the act of writing things down allows me to process and absorb. Are you starting to wonder yet what this has to do with self-care?
Well, in my mind last week was going to be perfect; work was finally settling down (after a nightmare of a week) and I was really excited to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at home with the family. The menu was set and all the ingredients were waiting in the fridge; I'd even picked up wood and fire starter to make a nice fire. While it wasn’t the Thanksgiving any of us had hoped for, I had these big plans to make the best of it and create new traditions.
Unfortunately, before the day was over a host of small problems started to pop up. In isolation they weren’t really anything major, but the truth is, these little "issues" started to negatively affect the perfect day I'd envisioned and that evening we never did quite manage to settle down in front of the fire. A few hours into Thanksgiving morning the boys started fighting and it hit me that I really needed to take a moment before my mood completely ruined not only Thanksgiving but the rest of the week.
I packed the boys up, got into the car, and just started to drive. My little guy kept saying, "Mommy, where are you taking me?" The thing is, I didn’t have an answer because at that moment I really didn't know; the important thing was that it was ok I didn’t have my act together and that I needed a minute to reset. I'm always trying to be everything to everyone and in this moment I needed to acknowledge that I wasn’t ok and I didn’t have to be; we're all human and we all have our "moments."
It's completely normal to have times when we're not okay and we should all be comfortable knowing and sharing that with others; it's only when we openly share that we can truly start to heal and begin to feel better. It's important to shed the sense of shame that surrounds not being okay; we must let go of the notion that if we're feeling pain of any kind, it's some kind of sign that we're weak or doing something wrong. If this describes you, please know you're not alone in thinking and feeling this way; it’s how most of us have been raised, conditioned, and taught to feel.
The next time you're not ok, I challenge you to take a moment and say it out loud either to yourself or someone who shares your company. The quicker we can allow ourselves to process, the quicker we can move forward and enable the emotional healing process to begin. For me, the little drive I took was extremely helpful and all I needed, but for you, you may need a different tactic to get yourself back on track; whatever you decide, or however long it takes, just know that it's totally fine.