Sometimes self-care is working?

I’ve been doing a pretty bad job of prioritizing myself lately. It’s been tough with personal stressors like re-planning my wedding for the third time, having my best friend drop out of it last-minute (but another amazing friend come through for me to take her place), and communicating with contractors and insurance to do some fairly serious home repairs. Not to mention being emotionally overwhelmed by coronavirus and related restrictions and the George Floyd murder and resulting protests. I feel guilty about having all of this stress sometimes- I have the privilege to host a fancy wedding, to own a home, to have good friends, to be white and be able to step back from BLM when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

But for a moment, I’d like to take time for me. I suck at asking for help. I try to do everything and do it perfectly because of this stupid inner voice telling me I have to or I’m not good enough. And I do. But it’s exhausting. It’s really starting to take it’s toll. I haven’t had time to think about my job in the past three weeks as a result.

What was really weird, was that yesterday was the first time I had some free time. What did I want to do with it? Work.  I was so excited to have time to watch presentations from an online teaching conference I had registered for. It was the weirdest feeling to finally have free time and want to do job-related activities. Not because I felt like I was behind, but because I genuinely enjoy teaching and learning about pedagogy.

I realized that I need to take a step back. I can’t do everything (or I can, but I’m not willing to pay the price of emotional exhaustion). But that’s okay. I don’t have to. Let me just remind everyone of a few things. First of all, you are good enough. Even if you aren’t perfectly doing your job or being a perfect friend or partner or family member. Even if you aren’t getting everything done or even most of it. Secondly, you are important. If you don’t make time for yourself, pretty soon you won’t be able to get anything done because of the mountain of stress you’ve created for yourself. Third, self-care looks different for everyone. It’s not always bubblebaths and wine and chocolate (although it totally can be). It might just be allowing yourself to take a break. Going to sleep earlier. Ordering out. Or even doing your job. Don’t judge yourself on what you need to do to take care of yourself. But do listen to yourself. Be honest. Figure out what you need, whether it’s that bubble bath or watching that conference presentation or something completely different.

These are tough times for everyone. Take care of yourself!

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