2016 has been a year of changes and challenges. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to roll, to adapt and carry on. Then this year, hormones happened. I found myself in unfamiliar territory.
Women often take care of everyone but themselves. It’s easy to fall in to this habit, especially when we are part of the sandwich generation. We have children to raise, relationships to nurture, and aging parents who need care. The children have extra-curricular activities that demand more and more of our time. There are bills to pay, dishes and laundry to do, and significant others who need attention. Somewhere within our 24 hours each day, we are supposed to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. And when are we supposed to fit in “me” time? When am I supposed to fit in sufficient writing time?
I don’t know about you, but there are not enough hours in my day to get it all done, let alone do it all well!
The beginning of my end was a routine doctor appointment. I knew my blood pressure was up that day, but when it was high enough to alarm the nurse, I tried to brush it off as white-coat syndrome. I think I might have had her fooled until she asked if my children were healthy. Both of us were caught off-guard by me suddenly dissolving in tears. Thankfully my NP is like a friend. My words tumbled out. What a relief to finally be able to say all the things I hadn’t even realized I needed to say!
She admonished that I need to take care of me. While it’s admirable to want to be superwoman, I have to take care of myself FIRST. Physically and mentally. Soon, a low-dose anxiety medicine had me feeling more in control. I was sleeping again, had energy to exercise, and was even motivated to eat better.
Then life threw me another curve ball, and although it was expected at some point, I wasn’t quite ready. My youngest moved out. While I’m feeling empty and unneeded, my hubby is feeling his oats and acting like he’s 18 again! Adjusting to an empty nest has been… interesting!
By making myself a priority again, I've found it easier to juggle the responsibilities on my plate. Daily walks, drinking more water, trying to eat better, and sharing my concerns with Hubby and trusted friends all contribute to feeling more balanced and capable. Writing has become even more important because it's a creative outlet for me.
Changes and challenges will probably continue, but I’ve rediscovered my ability to roll, to adapt and carry on.
Do you have any tips for keeping your life balanced? Please share!