The other night I attended a Restorative Yin Yoga class. It was one hour of bliss that I desperately needed and craved. During this one hour, I was able to just shut out the world, observe my breath, quiet my mind and stretch my body. I was able to completely forget about my fears, worries, concerns and day-to-day irritations, at least for a little while.
It was an hour of rest that I needed badly after a few long weeks at work combined with my crazy, busy home life. I have been stressed lately and it has been spilling over into my relationships with my family. I am more cranky than usual, I am less patient and less understanding. I am not sleeping well or enough and all that has a ripple effect on my daily life and the people in it.The yoga class helped me a lot to remind myself why self-care and rest are so important. Self-care is not something I have always practiced. I had to learn this in the last few years since my divorce. I always believed that self-care meant being selfish. I grew up with a mother who never did anything for herself. Everything she did was for her family. I don't remember her ever going out for coffee with a friend or to a movie. She was always home and there for us. I am not sure if it was something women of her generation didn't do or if it was just a select few, like my Mom. While I still appreciate the fact that she was always there for us, I naturally grew up believing that this is what you do for your family and that doing things for yourself would be selfish.
So, when my own children were small I also, more often than not, put myself at the bottom of the list when it came to taking care of people. In the last few years, I had to learn doing things by myself and for myself. I needed self-care and restful times because I was dealing with a lot of stress issues due to my divorce. It was a steep learning curve. I remember the first day when I was home by myself (my son had just starting going to be with his father every other week and my daughters had moved out) and I decided to just stay in bed and read all day and watch movies. It was a cold winter day and doing this was wonderful, as I wanted to be cozy and warm. I remember feeling so guilty thinking about all the things I could and should have done in the house but at that point, I desperately needed the rest. I went to work the next day a much happier person. I was happier, more relaxed and a lot more pleasant to be around.
Since that day one of my daughters has moved back into my house with my granddaughter, who is as busy and chatty as she is sweet and adorable. Because my daughter's schedule sometimes requires her working on weekends, I spend a lot of time with and looking after my granddaughter. My adult son, who has Down Syndrome, Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease also lives with me every other week and my life tends to be quite busy and a little crazy at times.
I have tried to make self-care and rest a regular thing throughout my week. Yoga classes help enormously. However, I have also started going straight to my room after a long day at work or on days when I am mentally and physically drained, to just be by myself for a while. I find that a half hour of quietness with nobody talking to me does a great deal for my well being. It helps me to recharge my batteries. I try to fit in a few minutes to myself every day, sometimes by simply getting up 15 minutes before everyone else does in the morning and doing a short meditation or simply sitting by myself to drink a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise. Self-care doesn't have to be anything elaborate. A few minutes at the beginning or end of the day, or even just on a lunchbreak. I sometimes sit in the lunchroom at work for 10 or 15 minutes with my headphones in my ears listening to relaxing music and my eyes closed to drown out the noise of my day. It could be anything that helps to take your mind off your obligations, stresses and fears for a little while - a short 15-minute walk in the fresh air; a hot bath or foot soak at the end of a long day.
We can all get into the habit of practicing self-care. We will be much happier people, especially as parents when we do take the time to rest and recharge once in a while. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
Author: Ingrid Bizio
Ingrid Bizio has had a keen interest in books and foreign languages since her childhood in Germany. She immigrated to Canada at the age of 23, has three grown children (her youngest child has Down Syndrome and multiple health challenges) and is now, in her turn, reading books to her granddaughter in German and English. Ingrid works part time in jewelry sales and is an inspirational creative writer for a business Facebook page. She currently resides in Medicine Hat, Alberta.