Self-care-or cutting myself some slack

I’ve been taking it easy lately. I’ve been defiant about it, too. I’ve been eating food I don’t normally let my kids eat.

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Comfort food. Frozen food. Food which normally makes me cringe and for which I judge other people when I see it in their shopping carts. And I’ve been loving it. I’ve been loving my over-processed, heavy with sodium and preservatives diet. 

Well, mentally I love it, but I have to be honest physically I’m not at my best.

Also, I’ve been sleeping in, which normally makes me anxious. In my normal life 10am rolls around and I feel like I’m behind. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been up since five and have been working straight for five hours. I usually feel anxious. These days, I’m still war ravaged from my 20 year battle with insomnia,  but instead of feeling virtuous by only getting three hours of sleep,  I now take a Benedryl and roll over. Some days I’m in bed till 10am. 

I’m not sure what’s happening. I have a hunch though. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. And I just had my 44th birthday.  

 

I teach people about self-care. I scold my clients and students for pushing themselves too hard. I push myself too hard. Unfortunately, I think my shift to taking it down a notch is a mixture of mid-life realization that I’m not actually immortal and pure mid-life exhaustion. Most of us wait till we’re in a health crisis or think we’re retiring to slow down and take care of ourselves.

Somehow my shift has happened slowly and naturally. A long time ago I was someone who chastised myself for every unhealthy bite I took. I weighed

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myself constantly and my internal commentary was harsh and critical.

I used to cringe if I didn’t seem to get ten hours smashed into eight. I sewed my daughter’s Halloween costumes, while making all-natural, from scratch meals and supervising Halloween crafts, ditto for every other holiday including St. Patrick’s Day and Sweetest Day.  I was a warrior.

I made homemade pizza sauce and froze it, I grew vegetables and pureed my kids’ non preservative, all-natural baby food.

Self-care only meant swiping the razor over my legs once in awhile and occasionally taking off the chipping, fading toe nail polish I’d put on while my daughter napped six weeks earlier. Self-care was a concept in my professional life only.

I have made progress and getting older has helped a bit. I’m a bit more mellow than I used to be. I have some health issues that make demands of my diet so usually I’m fairly conscious of that. But the last few weeks have been almost hedonistic.

Now, I’m not going to argue that eating frozen burritos is self-care, far from it. But for me, it’s the concept of letting myself be human  that’s revolutionary. Cutting myself some slack is novel. It’s a new form of self-care. It’s very different than taking six cardio classes a week, like I used to in my 20s.  I’m allowed to have lazy days, I’m allowed to indulge, be silly just for the sake of being silly. 

Self-care is a big buzz word these days. We’re killing ourselves and I’m no exception. The cost of stress, insomnia, constant motion and over-thinking are high. But the highest cost of my hectic lifestyle and incessant self-berating is what I’m teaching my children.

So, while I’m proud of myself for letting go of my negative self-talk and overly demanding ways, it’s time to get back to who I really am. I’m a diabetic, gluten-sensative yogini who believes in whole, unprocessed, all-natural, made from scratch meals, slowing down and taking care of myself body, mind and spirit.

Today I pledge to walk cause it’s a nice day, not just because I put sugar in my morning coffee. I promise myself to just sit in the silence because it’s pleasant, not just because I need to model behavior for my clients.  I allow myself long, lazy yoga practices where I sink into poses and relax onto bolsters because they feel good, not just so I can prep for my next client or class. But most of all I vow to myself to just let myself be me.

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