Sometimes, doing what one needs to do for one's well-being creates feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and worthlessness. In a society where being exhausted is a status symbol, working oneself to the bone is admired, and pushing oneself to the brink is a measure of success. One needs to do some self-reflection and reevaluate one's personal needs and belief system. Speaking from a personal perspective, I understand the conflict the need for self-care creates. I struggle with the need to rest and recharge my batteries daily. I often find that when I do take some time for myself to rest and recharge, I cannot fully commit to doing so because my mind won't stop racing through the list of all the things I could/should be doing.
I spoke with my friends at the market this weekend, and I am not alone in this struggle. My friends also expressed frustration with their inner conflict of taking time to rest and recharge their batteries vs. taking care of the endless to-do list. Although my friends were women, and our stories and situations are very similar, I don't believe this is a problem faced by women alone. I know my bib overall wearing wonder struggles with taking the time to rest and relax. He cannot sit still, and I have found that forcing him to sit still creates anxiety and frustration. This goes against what I want him to do, which is relax and recharge.
However, I find that while he is running around like a chicken with his head cut off, I cannot commit to relaxing because I feel guilty, anxious, and like I am not pulling my weight. Although Eric does nothing to create these feelings, I feel guilty about not rushing about and pushing myself to do an endless amount of chores. However, there is no win in this situation. Especially now, my need to rest is great. I have been in a Lupus flare for months, which is taking a toll on my physical and mental well-being. If I push myself too hard, I am down for days. If I rest and relax, everything around me piles up and falls apart. Right now, there is no balance. Delegating energy and prioritizing tasks is a challenge for me. There is a constant pull of want vs. need when it comes to energy expenditure. For example, I want to do things with Jordan because it is summer, she is growing up so fast, and I view my time with her as limited. However, endless chores need to be taken care of and weigh upon me mentally when they aren't completed. The trouble is, I remember how I used to be able to do everything I wanted and needed with ease, and admitting that has changed is difficult.
I have found through conversation; I am not alone in this struggle. My friends feel the same pressure to perform and suffer when they don't prioritize themselves over work. I don't know how to fix this within myself. I don't know how to change the inner dialogue I have in my head that tells me I am worthless for sitting on the couch, I am shameful for napping, and I am wasting my time sitting quietly reading a book. I am not successful at setting limits for myself and making a schedule for both work and rest. I try, but each week I feel like I fail miserably, which adds to the negative dialogue.
Being overwhelmed is compounded by knowing what I need to do and how to change. However, making those changes is challenging. Like my friends, I, too, don't know how to make the changes, strike a balance, and create a positive inner dialogue. Please know, dear reader, you are not alone if you have these feelings. Perhaps the first step in changing the dialogue is having an honest dialogue with another person rather than just in your head. Perhaps supporting each other and creating space to have these conversations will help to turn things around. I suppose adding "change inner dialogue" to the chore list is not the way to get it done. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, give yourself a break, and keep washing your hands.