It's cold here. Bitter cold. There is a nice layer of frost growing up from the bottom of the French doors that lead to my balcony. I've intended for weeks to put up that plastic liner stuff you seal with a hair dryer, but it's just seemed easier to bundle up in a few pairs of socks as a response to the hefty draft filtering in than go through all that trouble.
I am not going to worry about any of that today. I am paring down, taking a few steps back, making things in my life a bit simpler. I started that last night by staying inside while the snow piled up around the wheels of my car and on my front walk. I clicked off iTunes, closed up the laptop and never even turned on the radio once Lil E went off with his dad for the night. I cleaned the kitchen, took a long bubble bath and got into bed early to read, all mostly in silence. When I chose to answer the phone or send off a text, I took a breath and chose to break that silence. It felt good. It felt uncomfortably quiet and slow during some moments, but it felt good when I woke up this morning to be more refreshed and ready for the day.
In that absence of noise, I realized that getting back to the basics is pretty important for me right now. Rest. Food. Calm. I've only stayed in or alone a handful of times in the last year that Lil E's had regular overnight visitation. I've filled up those hours with friends and fun, which has served me well and been a great distraction from the stress and difficulties of divorce.I will go a thousand miles an hour easily and for long periods of time. Until I crash, that is, until I cry and melt down and feel completely overwhelmed. In that fast pace, I think I've forgotten - or at least not practiced very often - how to listen to my own needs and then how to follow through by putting it all in action. In that choice to be so busy, I've neglected to sit still, to listen to what my brain and my body are telling me over and over they need, to refill the fuel.
So I am treating myself as I would a sick child. It's not that I am ill or even that needy. I recognize, though, that my heart is still healing, and my body and brain need to follow. I am craving those things a weary, whining kid needs during a day at home. Rest. Food. Calm. And I am going to try to keep tending to myself in that way, not just until I feel more whole and more me, but beyond that until this self-care thing becomes a habit.
Is that possible, in the busy-ness of single parenting and schedules and full-time work and life, to get so good at taking care of ourselves that it is ingrained in every day?
What advice do you have? How are you taking steps back and putting yourself first these days?