Be Kind to Yourself

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Lately I’ve felt so busy and rushed. A lot of it is me getting caught up in the momentum of my own hot air.

All around me is the evidence of things undone, evidence of my incompetence at being organised and keeping on top of my own life, let alone that of my family’s. Oh, the basics, the bare bones, usually get done – cooking, dishes, laundry, grocery shopping – but all the other extra things like Christmas preparation, paperwork such as tax, de-cluttering, recycling, filing, redecorating, are ever before me, taunting me daily.

I sleep late. I am sleep interrupted. I wake tired. Increasingly more and more tired. Rinse and repeat. Daily.

I’m the sort of person who wakes and rushes into the day. I seldom sit to even think what has to be done. I run on autopilot and that would be great if I had a brilliant, efficient down-pat routine, but I don’t.

I get interrupted half way through tasks, on my own volition. Then there are the kiddy interruptions that break my rhythm.

My internal mood temperature starts to climb. I continue rushing about, my breakfast of my favourite home-made yogurt still an intention, the warmed up espresso machine still sitting waiting for its first shot of the morning.

Clutter jars my eyes as I rush about trying to pacify the baby, the toddler and get the Mac-Man his coffee. It breaks my mental rhythm which is sorely tested as my mood temperature hits boiling point.

The internal voice instructs, “I can’t stop.” I need to use each moment to get something done. Rush. Rush. Rush. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Soon I’m creating my own whirlwind of nothing.

Then suddenly, as I stand in limbo tossing up whether to keep on rushing about, clearing, de-cluttering, tidying up since there’s never enough time and because I need peace of mind by creating a clean visual palette; OR whether I should steal a chance to get my breakfast……..it dawns on me that I need to stop.

I need to be kind to myself. I need to stop. I need to give myself a small bubble of space to breathe. I need to recharge my physical energy. I need to eat my breakfast.

Extrapolated, I need to stop more. I need to give myself a small bubble of space to breathe at many points throughout each day. I need to count sleep as part of this. I need to make sure I stop amidst the rush to deliberately breathe, a quiet meditation of sorts, to centre myself and my mind – to sit in the eye of my own tornado of ‘shoulds’ and ‘needs’ and ‘have tos’. I need to learn to be kind to myself.

In the moments where I find it too tempting to think and worry about 2012 right now, I have to stop. I have to remind myself that the invisible, maybe perceived, pressure to start from day dot on the right foot is not necessary. I am not going to achieve all my goals in one day. No one does. I give myself permission to wait, to reflect, to re-evaluate, every single day of 2012, if I have to to ensure I get to where I want and need to be. I can make resolutions every day, if necessary.

In the moments where I start running in circles like a dog chasing its tail, going nowhere fast, if at all, I have to stop. I remind myself I have to have a plan. One for each day’s tasks. I have to tell my perfectionist tendencies to “talk to the hand” when I feel the need to edit my lists before I’ve even written it all down, or when I find myself revisiting something (even this post’s edit) over and over and over. I have to set a deadline and give myself permission to let go when I get there; that’s as “perfect” as it will be.

I give myself permission to be kind to myself. And in all the moments where I start feeling the pressure rise and my blood boil, I need to remember the amazing concept of “One Moment Meditation” shared with me by the lovely Kirri White of Happy Mum’s at Home.

I need to learn to be kind to myself.

Are you good at treating yourself kindly? What are your tips for doing so?

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I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

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36 thoughts on “Be Kind to Yourself

  1. I find that this time of the year is so busy that it is so easy to run around at high speeds, often not getting much done. I start the day slowly thinking what I want to accomplish- often writing little lists. I always try and schedule a little ‘me’ time. If I find myself getting too stressed out, I sit down and focus on five different things that I can feel (while closing my eyes) such as the chair underneath me, the cold tiles touching my toes etc. I find that helps a lot.

    • Thanks for these tips, Katie. I will have to try the quiet, centering meditation. It’s pointless going round in circles otherwise and just adds to the overwhelm. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. I know that feeling very well! When my second baby was just born, I would always try and use every minute to do something, because you just didn’t know when he’d wake up again and your hands would be tied for another hour. I still do that to a certain extent but not nearly as much. I have a few bits here and there where I sit down and have time for me. That’s usually at breakfast with bub either sleeping or on his jungle gym while my toddler had his breakfast and watches tv, and around lunchtime when they both go down for a sleep. I still have the guilts and think that I should be doing something productive, but I figure, I also need some me time and while I can cook while they are awake, I can’t have me time!

    • I guess it’s such a moving feast while they are young, Anna. I find just as I feel I have a rhythm, it all changes. I can’t keep up. I assume it might get a little more routine when they are a bit older. I think part of it all might be to accept it as it is, lower my expectations and then take it from there, always ensuring some “me time”. If I do that maybe the clutter will remain invisible for longer, and not jar my eyes and my emotions so much. One can only try!

  3. I get caught up in seeing everything that needs doing as well. I’m usually always rushing around, but a lot of times, everything else can wait. While I still have my lists, I’m learning to expect and accept that it may not all get done, and that’s okay. It’s hard to learn to stop and breathe and take some time for yourself. I’m still learning that 🙂

    • I think you may have hit the nail on the head, Deb. Expectations. I need to reevaluate one and be more realistic. I also need to learn to eat my elephants one teaspoonful at a time and try not to get overwhelmed by the size or extent of things around me. I think I may need better lists too!

  4. You do need to be kind to yourself, you deserve it. I hope you get a bit of a break over Christmas to rejuvenate. I thoroughly enjoy having a nice shower daily to rejuvenate, something little but helpful plus naps. Nap whenever, if ever, you can.

    • Thanks, Ames. Naps are great when I can get them, especially if they are uninterrupted. So far my break has been nice. It will be extra nice If I can get some “me-time” alone to reflect and think a bit about 2012. I hope you have a good time too.

  5. Oh Veronica, I feel for you. It’s so intense sometimes. I know this feeling well too. I can’t seem to cope with constant damands and interruptions anymore. That breakfast scenario I could totally relate to. Sometimes I have just stopped all the stuff I was doing for others and said “Enough! If Mummy doesn’t get breakfast and a bit a space, Mummy won’t be able to function!”. And it’s the truth, we need to take care of ourselves first if we’re going to be any use to the family. What a lovely reminder you have given to be kind to ourselves. I hope you find some breathing space and moments for you today. x

    • Thanks, Deb. We get so busy with so much in life we need reminders about the most basic if things. I know I do all the time. “Me first” isn’t always selfish when it’s about replenishing our energy, refreshing our minds and renewing our hearts.

  6. I understand this only too well.
    I’ve been routine-less for a little while and it’s not working. Things are not going as well and keep getting forgotten. I feel like I’m not on top.
    One of my goals for the new years is to create more structure and try and p,an times to get everything done, and times for me as well.

    Don’t be too hard in yourself. You’re in an exhausting season of life, but it will pass. Sleep will come eventually, and when that happens, life gets so much easier. Xxx

    • I understand, Jess. Little structure doesn’t work for my sanity either. I think my solution is a bit more planning and scheduling but I think I also need to accept the reality of life with little ones. Their needs don’t always fit with the timing of mine, whether that’s my needs or wants. The next season of things will be a bit different. And the one after too. My scheduling will just have to include snippets of replenishing moments for myself when I am least likely to be interrupted!

  7. This post speaks to me – I am exactly the same. And while our instinct is to rush faster to get it all done, you are right, the best thing to do is stop and give ourselves some space. I’ve been flattened by sickness this week which is a physical reminder that I can’t do it all indefinitely. I hope you can find ways to get things done without hurting yourself in the process. Have a great xmas Veronica, I hope it is a lovely family filled time for you and your family!

    • I hope you had a lovely Christmas, Kirsty, recovered from your sickness and found some time to give yourself space. I have in little snippets, but I do long for an extended period of space. I realise, however, that I just need to grab what I can get at this stage of things. That’s okay too; a new way of doing things from days before kids. 🙂

  8. I think I would be like that if I wasn’t so darn tired. Having two very wakeful children means there’s nothing strategic about anything I do – I just do what I can see needs doing at the time and relax about the rest.

    Having a good cry or going for a walk seems to help me refocus. You do need to do something to break the cycle because as my MCHN told me lots when my first was really small, when Mummy is down the whole family is down.

    You aren’t alone. xo

    • Kate, I can appreciate dealing with wakeful children. Mine struggle with sleep though they do get some. It does mean going from a mindset of being structured to squeezing in what can be done. I do find that tough because I never feel productive enough but little snippets or snapshots of quiet time or alone time, even when I’m surrounded by chaos, still has to count for something. Your MCHN is right about breaking the cycle. Else it is like a debilitating whirlpool or vortex. I’ve had a couple of sleep-ins this break so far so that helps. I hope you’ve had some moments too.

  9. This sounds all very familiar. I can so feel your tiredness and exhaustion through the screen.

    I find that being in the outdoors really helps me. Either going for a walk or a jog. Or just sitting on a park bench.

    It’s hard when you’re used to getting things done with set goals and plans. Motherhood doesn’t prepare you for the curve balls that hinder you from being as productive as what you used to.

    Just take it easy, V. Like I said in my last comment, sometimes you just have to let the exhaustion and all that is overwhelming just override you.

    • Your words ring in my ears, Grace. Going with the flow and letting the exhaustion take over is hard but I think necessary, especially when I stop functioning properly because I am sleep deprived. You train extensively to be something like a doctor or lawyer beforehand, but for most of us, motherhood is learnt on the job. That’s probably why those curve balls and previously successful routines that now fail are so hard to swallow, at least till we change expectations. Being outdoors this trip, which I’m not enough I must say in my normal days, has helped somewhat. Things to consider incorporating into my 2012!

  10. I am absolutely no help to you whatsoever, other than to be a horrible warning for adrenal fatigue and burnout! Yes, STOP, don’t go down that path. The feelings you describe are almost exactly what prompted me to start my blog. To search for ways to get organised, take care and have fun. To make myself accountable and sort my shit out. I’m actually having fun doing it (most of the time). But I think the most important thing is to take care of yourself, something I’m slowly getting better at, albeit with constant reminding from my family and my readers 😉

    • Mutual accountability – that’s what I need and the feedback, including yours, Laney, has been very important. I need to look after my body as well as my mind and heart more in 2012. I look forward to gleaning more tips from your journey too. I hope you’ve recuperated well and are in a good place to start a fresh year.

  11. Absolutely!!! Well said!
    It is so very hard to let go of the perfectionism isn’t it?
    I’ve been feeling totally overwhelmed over the last couple of weeks, to the point of it almost paralysing me in that I can’t get the motivation to get anything done, because it all seems to much, too hard, and I don’t know where to start; and yet I am rushing round and feel like I am taking 1 step forward and two steps back.
    xx Sannah

    • Being caught up in busyness and being ruled by perfectionism is overwhelming. Makes us shut down. I hope you managed to get some R & R over the Christmas and New Year period and are feeling more like you are moving forward happily and joyfully.

  12. Oh hun – I do so hope you get a break of Chrissy. Just time to be still and do nothing, think nothing – even if it just for a little while. I know the exhausting cycle you are on so well and there are days I just open my eyes when I wake in the morning and think to myself – I would pay someone a thousand bucks to do my day for and just let me sleep.
    Pity I don’t have that thousand bucks to spare or someone stupid enough to take me up on it.
    Take care hun and I really do hope you have a lovely Christmas. xxx

    • Thanks for your words, Sonia. Back to a bit of a better routine now the New Year is here but it’s so easy to get caught up on the exhausting treadmill again. Aiming to be more mindful in 2012 and try to avoid that!

  13. Oh Veronica I so get this. I hope you get a break over Christmas. Even if you have to miss a day of laundry or dirty dishes. They will still be there after you take some time out.

    Hope you have a great Christmas and get some me time!
    x

  14. Nope, certainly not that great at being kind to myself though I am slowly learning. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely Veronica. I hope you get a chance to rest, relax and catch yourself. Wishing you a lovely Christmas

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