Self-care is not selfish.
Updated: Apr 16, 2021
“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Amy March from Little Women
One day last spring, I was simultaneously riding my Peloton and sobbing hysterically. Alarmed, my husband walked in and asked me what was wrong. I struggled to verbalize what was going on in my head because it wasn’t one specific thing. It was weeks of stress, anxiety, fear and uncertainty that I had been trying to manage through exercise exorcisms. And I was failing. Miserably.
I told him that I felt claustrophobic and I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to run away and escape. I felt invisible and under-appreciated for all the extra things I had taken on since the pandemic started. I felt like I was failing at everything. I cried and cried because I had tried so hard to be that super mom who could keep everything together while juggling work and having my kids home ALL. THE. TIME. But the truth was that I had completely fallen apart.
I thought that I had been doing a good job of taking care of myself. I was exercising daily and making more home cooked, healthy meals. I was forcing myself (and sometimes my husband and kids) to take daily walk breaks. I was attending Zoom Happy Hours in an attempt to keep up some semblance of a social life. But my normal routine wasn’t cutting it. My Covid meltdowns were more frequent and more intense as quarantine dragged on with no relief in sight.
When I objectively looked at my routine, I realized that I had been focusing solely on my physical health. What I was missing was a break. Time to myself. The feeling of doing nothing. I used to have time after the kids went to bed to relax and binge watch TV but that time was now spent ordering groceries, printing out worksheets for the next day of remote learning and catching up on work that didn’t get done during the day. I realized that all of the moments I used to have to myself to take a deep breath, relax and reset were gone. And it was making me crazy.