Sorry for being away for a while suddenly, I’ve had burn-out.
I had been pushing too hard for too long, and after a sudden rush of illnesses in May, I had to slam the brakes and heed my mama’s orders to stay with her for a week while my dad went on the motorbike trip I was meant to go on with him, my uncle and a family friend.
So, on mama’s orders, I went to stay with her for a week.
(Because mum knows best – and she might be small, but defying her orders has scary consequences…)
And I healed up. I rested. And slept. And laughed at the chickens next door.
And played with Tinkerbell, my parents’ cat.
And sat in the sunshine with a hat that made me feel like a Japanese woman in the paddy fields collecting rice with a scyth.
And I cooked. Every day. At least once a day.
Out of all the restorative activities I did, cooking well and eating well were the things that helped me the most.
Into the moment, senses open: watching everything, smelling the subtle changes of food cooking, listening to the subtle variations in sound between a liquidy bubbling and an agitated spattering, feeling the firmness of flesh, both from meat and vegetables, and the weight of the knife sinking in. Cooking the dishes I love the most. Sharing these beloved dishes with loved ones. Eating together.
These are the things that did the most good to heal my mind and body.
I also played with makeup, just for giggles:
I rediscovered the things that helped me feel most that I was looking after myself – funny things, like rediscovering flossing my teeth.
I’m not entirely sure why, but I always feel like I’m looking after myself when I make the time and effort to floss my teeth, at least once a day when I’m feeling under the weather. I think it’s because it’s something so fiddly, and you have to pay attention, and you have to be careful with yourself otherwise it will easily hurt and cause bleeding. But it’s a different kind of “clean” too, after several days of it.
Now I realise that I’m ridiculously fortunate – I don’t have children yet to worry about, I literally could just up and leave for a week and leave my other half to fend for himself and the Missy-cat.
But I was also daft enough to get myself into that state to begin with – forgetting the most important things that I need to feel good and healthy:
Not getting enough time outside amongst the trees and preferably in the quiet
Not getting enough sleep, either as one long sleep or cobbled together
Not spending enough time cooking in the kitchen
Not zonking out in front of the TV a couple of times a week for an hour, just to let my brain rest!
Not getting to eat with my other half often enough
Not making enough space within myself as well as in my day-to-day activities
Or even worse, I do rest for a bit, maybe a couple of hours, or a morning, or a day (a whole freakin’ day! Gracious…), and I will rest up so that, in exchange for me resting, I can be ready for the next week at work/that motorbike trip into France/that important presentation tomorrow.
Bargaining with myself and my body – rest in exchange for more pummelling.
Y’see, I know you’ve done the same. We all do it, and half the time, it tends to work in our favour.
But it always catches up with you.
It’s like Hiro says:
“Bargaining with your body like that is like your lover turning over to you in bed whispering tenderly, “I love you – let’s make love”, and you reply:
“Hmmm, yes, sex will relieve my stress.”
Sure, it might help relieve some stress, but you’re creating problems in your relationship later.”
Hiro Boga – “Become Your Own Business Advisor”
It must’ve happened to you too – you try to DO ALL THE THINGS! And then you feel tired, or on the verge of overwhelm, so you rest a little, in the hope that you’ll be able to pick yourself back up and keep running.
And you do keep running. Then out of nowhere BAM! You’re struck down with illness, broken limbs, money trouble, disconnect…<insert your own pain here>
So what’s the solution?
Make your emergency contingency plans.
Ask for help – from your other half, your friends, your neighbours if you’re close to them, your family if they’re nearby – you’d do the same for them if they asked your help, right?
Bring in good food to help you recover – fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, soups, breads, fresh egg pasta – whatever it takes. And don’t forget a few favourites to savour – maybe a little chocolate, or a slice of your favourite cake, or yoghurt, granola and honey, if that’s your favourite. Or ready yourself with a bottle of gherkins, if you prefer!
Take back your softest blankets from your cat, or get the cat to sleep with you in the blanket. Take your time with everything you do, moment to moment. Cook with as much spaciousness and ease as you can – start preparing meals a good half an hour earlier so that you can take the time you want to absorb the sensual experience. Sit in the sun with your wide-brimmed hat in the garden if you have one, and take in the quiet and green of the garden for a day (try not to sunburn your hands, like I did! 😛 ). Watch movies. Watch TV. Sleep as much as you need to.
Do everything that you need to do to recover.
And, depending on how far run down you’d become, you’ll start to recover.
Whilst you’re at it, have a good think:
What needs to change?
What needs to go?
What needs to stay?
What can you do to bring more space, time and quieter moments into your life?
It’s not easy, I know. It’s even harder if you’ve got children on top of a career, or you’re launching a business, or you’re caring for others.
I don’t think there really are easy choices these days when it comes to things like this.
But, quite frankly, if any decision you have to make is going to be difficult, you might as well plump for the choices that are most aligned with what you need and want in order to remain as sane and healthy as possible. More things are possible when you’re sane and healthy than when you’re run ragged and on the verge of collapsing. It’ll also help you feel better day to day – which, as the saying goes, “Is when most of life tends to happen.”
I hope you’re all well and enjoying the summer.