Two months ago I declared “Enough, already!” on the things that I have too much of in my life—physical and emotional time and energy zappers—in order to make room for better things. Since I tend to come up with these ideas and then promptly forget about them, I’m giving each month a theme to help me remember.
In March, I declared “Enough procrastination, already!” and got some long-put-off things done. In April, I said “Enough, already!” to garbage. I put more thought into what I bought and how it was packaged. I looked for ways to reuse or recycle things that in the past we’ve thrown out. I now use up food before it moves to the back of the fridge and evolves into a new life form.
Now it’s a new month—time for a new theme. I kicked around a few ideas: clutter, driving, shopping, blah, blah, blah. But I knew that I was avoiding what I really need to do most—I’ve been avoiding it for years. I concentrate on improving my physical environment or aspects of my personality that are holding me back or my appalling lack of time management skills, but I ignore the engine that runs the machine of my life: me. As I wrote the other day, my emotional underwear is in tatters and it’s because I just don’t take care of myself.
Although I come from a long line of martyrs and I probably sigh more than most people, I don’t ignore my health through some sense of martyrdom. It’s partly due to habit. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time and energy doing things that weren’t good for me, and although my biggest vices now are chocolate and Coke (the kind that comes in a can), I never quite got the hang of treating my body well. And part of it is that, as the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease; in my busy life of kids, clients, mother, accident-prone cats, endless laundry and grocery shopping, etcetera, I’m not the squeakiest wheel.
I’ve read the women’s magazines and parenting books that tell me that unless I take care of myself I can’t take care of anyone else. I recognize how too much stress and too little sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition affect me (and sometimes, unfortunately, those around me). It doesn’t require a PhD to figure this out—I’ve known it for years. I just need to make it a priority. So this month's theme is "Enough neglecting myself, already!" (not catchy, but the best I could come up with in my present overtired, stressed out, anemic state).
I’m inspired to finally do this by someone near and dear to me (if you’re reading this, you know who you are. Hi! Love you!) who recently made a big decision to put his health and well-being first. The change in him has been amazing.
So I’ve made five promises to myself (not rules, because I’ll rebel against my own authority and break those right away): to get enough sleep, to eat better, to exercise regularly, to spend some time every day doing something I love, and to find ways to reduce and manage my stress level. For this month, as I go about my daily life of work and chores and driving to and fro, I’ll try to listen to my own body and give it what it needs.