Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Woman Down!

Women are notorious for over-doing it. We take on so much responsibility in the home, at work, with family and friends that we forget to take care of ourselves. In my case it's back problems. I have degenerative disc disease, and sometimes the flare ups are so bad that I can't even get out of bed. When I go down, I go down hard, and then the guilt sets in.

Who is going to buy groceries? How will I make supper? What happens to all my scheduled meetings this week? My project will fall behind, my kids will starve, my husband will get tired of waiting on me hand and foot, my boss will fire me... I churn into a tailspin of irrational fear which segues into depression and hopelessness.

But let's be realistic.

My family won't starve because my husband makes a killer spaghetti. I will not be fired because my boss is a compassionate guy, who values the work I do and understands that sometimes shit just happens. My husband is here for me in sickness and in health. I picked him because he's amazing and I know I could count on him in an apocalypse, much less a week of me down with back pain.

I know all of this, and yet I still worry. I feel so much guilt in situations where I can't even put on my own shoes or go to the bathroom unassisted. I feel betrayed by my body. I feel like a burden on my entire family.  My job is to take care of them, not for them to take care of me --- yet they do, and it's incredibly humbling.

The importance of taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally should never be downplayed. Some might say that when we go down, it's our bodies way of telling us that it's time to stop, reassess, rest, and rejuvenate. When I'm laying flat on my back for days, I have time to reflect on how I got to this point. I make new promises to myself to take better care of my body. I promise to rest more, worry less, sleep more, and stop doing things (like cleaning the bathroom and scouring the shower stalls from top to bottom) myself, and let my kids and husband help me.

As I lay here feeling sorry for myself, friends and neighbors bring me snacks and keep me company. Phone calls and texts from out of town friends pour in to check on me. Another friend sends flowers.  All of these people, who have counted on me, are now caring for me. I suddenly realize that while my body is forcing me to rest for my physical well-being, my emotional needs are also being met. My cup runneth over, Janes. I'm definitely #BLESSED.

We all want to be warriors, but the reality is that we're only human. Recognize your limits. Ask for help. Don't push yourself until you break. Take care of your body, your mind, and your soul. This is how we stay #unchained.

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