lessons in self-care...it's not what you think
It's been extra quiet over here in our household. No doubt things have slowed down by you, too. School is cancelled, restaurants closed, libraries shut down, jobs have become more remote. No more gatherings, no more play dates for the kids, no more of our daily routines that kept us...well...connected. If you have ever felt alone in your life, well, this touches on that. This reminds us of that. Of what it feels like to be alone. To be lonely. To really be on your own. And if you are a single parent, flying solo these days, well..this one is especially for you.
You see, I have been a single parent for...well...a long time. I usually write and share stories with you about things that have happened in the past, things I have already worked through. It gives me a different perspective where I can share the lessons I have learned, the wisdom I have gained, the mistakes I have made. But not this time. I am sitting in the thick of it with you...looking at you, seeing you and showing you a bit of myself, too. And it's a bit messy over here.
Ok...a lot messy over here.
You see...we are all traveling in unknown territories, uncharted waters...I get that. But when you have to do it on your own...when all of the responsibilities fall solely on your shoulders. When just surviving starts and ends with you, the weight gets heavy. When emotions are high, money is tight, grocery stores are becoming a bit unpredictable, friends are disappearing...well, you get where I am headed with this. Maybe you are just trying to make it through the day, caring for your children the best you can. Maybe you are living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you are wondering who still actually cares, who actually is there for you. Maybe you are trying to heal from heartache and the stillness is too much, the distractions now gone. Maybe you have lost your job or know someone who is sick or worried that you might get sick...and maybe the stress of it all is just too much...and now this.
In the best of times, it is hard. It always has been. But with what is going on now, it is all magnified. I feel it too. The full weight of financially providing for our children. The full weight of supporting them emotionally. The full weight of keeping them safe, grounded, resilient. The full weight of keeping them fed, healthy, happy. And every little bump that happens now, feels like a tidal wave without any end in sight. And none of this can be handled even remotely graceful if we are not taking care of ourselves...
You see, I am working through this right now...just like you...and learning quite a bit about myself in the process. I am learning what self care really looks like for me and it's not what you think. I am finding it is more about about tightening my people circle, strengthening my boundaries and cutting out folks who are only in it for themselves or when it's convenient. It's about not chasing people, and really, not having those people in your lives that put you in that position to make you feel that way to begin with. It's about shutting out the bullshit floating all around and anyone who wants to bring it with them. It's about going in a different direction instead of trying to convince someone to go with you in yours. And it's sometimes about forgiving people who were never sorry to begin with and accepting apologies you were never going to receive from them anyway...and being ok with that.
Like, really ok with that.
Self-care is sometimes just about knowing your worth and your value...and honoring that daily.
It's about surrounding yourself with people that respect you, that can step up and not only be there for you, but be there with you. And friends...now is not the time for anything less.
Gather up the people that really care about you...that really want to be in your lives...you'll know the difference. They'll be the ones that instead of offering up their perspective on your struggles, or telling you they are too busy to check in (you know the ones), they will be dropping a meal off at your door or finding a way to connect, to help, to listen. They will be inviting you for a walk, a drink together (at 6 feet apart, of course), a bonfire. You won't need to tell them that this is hard... they will just know. You won't need to ask them to check in on you...they just will. And when they do, you'll know...those are your people. That is your tribe.
And everything just gets a little easier when you have your people at your back.
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