When the pandemic started in 2020 I discovered an inner strength I didn’t realize I possessed. I like most moms had to make decisions regarding what was most important to me and my family. That year there was solidarity in the struggle and everywhere I looked I witnessed people whose problems seemed more important than mine.
So like most people, I pushed them to the side. It’s pretty simple to what happened next – life forced me to become more resilient. But after a while being resilient by avoiding taking care of yourself will force you to pay attention.
I must say I didn’t realize how long I had out my needs to the side until I felt myself cracking a little at a time in the Spring of 2021. It wasn’t until my hubby forced me to send my kids back to school in August that my willpower began to show me that it wasn’t stronger than my body.
For the first time, my anxiety became an issue. I couldn’t focus. I was overprotective of my kids. I had feelings of panic every time the school or the news reported cases of COVID near us. You see my household was the only one of the nearby family households that did not include a case of COVID. There was a time in which we had 9 people at one time fighting this disease and we ultimately lost one.
But I couldn’t allow myself to grieve because I had to keep my family safe. I accepted this as my duty as a mom, wife, daughter and sister. No one made me, I chose it. Then my body chose to make me slow down.
I developed respiratory problems which according to the doctors wasn’t Asthma nor COVID related. I took more COVID tests in one month in an attempt to get someone to help me breathe correctly as I walked. It took a wonderful nurse practitioner to sit me down and tell me all the terrible health issues that could be causing my breathing problems for me to wake up.
It was time to make some changes!
To go from minor health issues outside of Asthma to potential life altering problems made me approach life differently.
I started 1 major life change – I started focusing on me by tracking the habits of my life.
I tracked my progress on my self care journey.
Now this wasn’t something which was new to me but I didn’t really see it’s importance. I have to admit, Actually tracking my habits made all the difference in the world.
Here’s what I tracked using the notes app on my phone:
1. The intervals between clear breathing and problematic times. I included the minutes between episodes and wrote what I when I began to feel bad.
2. The time of day I began working in time sensitive tasks and what contributed to distractions.
3. The length of time between full meals and the durations of when I let coffee sustain me.
4. The things which prompted headaches and the things I no longer could enjoy..
5. The amount of sleep I got each day.
6. The people I turned to or didn’t turn to in times of frustration, overwhelm and joy.
I was startled by the information I received. The data I reviewed demonstrated feeding my body, soul and mind wasn’t happening anymore. I also noticed a change in my health once I paid attention to what my body was saying to me.
Without making this a longer post, I have since moved from tracking my life through my notes app. I now have dedicated planners and journals to monitoring my habits and ensuring I maintain my focus on self-care.
Each day I track the things which are important to me continued self-care and up I out reminders everywhere I turn so I won’t forget. The habits I monitor now are:
1. Getting my nails done
2. Apple Watch stats – move, exercise, stand, steps, flights
3. Water Intake
4. Medications and Meals
5. Bible Reding Plans
6. Scripture Writing Plans
7. No ponytail & yoga pants days
8. Dates with myself
These were the 8 things I decided were important to me and for me. It has been a touch and go journey of resisting the impulse to not pour into myself. When I miss a day or two, I open my notes app for a reality check. Other times the medical bills from the exploratory health screenings give me a reminder.
I’m grateful for my health scares of 2021 which ended in 2022. I’m grateful to the medical professional who woke me up.
Now I back on the road to caring for myself so I may take care of others. Are you taking care of yourself this year?? What strategies work for you?!
Til next time,
“The first step towards change is awareness.” – Darren Hardy