I haven't been taking terribly good care of myself lately. I fear the stress and uncertainty of having two sick kitties has been getting to me. Well, that plus a whole host of other stupid stuff...
Unfortunately, my response to stress isn't the healthiest. I tend to throw myself headlong into "fix everything" mode, which actually doesn't work too well when the situation you are trying to fix is completely out of your control.
But alas, this is a coping mechanism that I picked up very early in my childhood when my family fell apart at age 5 and the only person available to take care of me was, well... me. I guess somehow I decided that since nobody else was willing to take on any responsibility, it was all up to me.
Not surprisingly though, it's pretty hard for a 5 year old to fix the sort of things that needed fixing in my family. It did give me an illusion of control though, and it would appear that I instinctively head that direction whenever life throws me a few curveballs.
Of course, it never works. I exhaust myself trying to remedy situations that are really irremediable. Then I get angry... both angry that I'm in the situation in the first place and angry that I'm working myself to the bone trying to fix it.
Then I decide that since life has treated me so unfairly, I need to "treat myself" to something. This generally means that I start eating junk, staying up late, and drinking a few too many margaritas.
This of course makes me feel even more exhausted and overwhelmed, not to mention the headaches.... it's a vicious cycle!
So, I'm on a mission to take better care of myself... even if that means doing a bit less in the "fixing everything" department. And, in truth, the vast majority of my "fixing" is pure illusion anyway.
This means that I'm going to bed earlier. No more staying up until all hours just so I don't have to disturb a kitty to give him his medication. They're getting their meds when it's time for their meds, even if it means I have to wake them up to do it.
I've also decided that it's OK to allow myself to order most of my kitty necessities online instead of driving all over town each week to get what they need. I know that it's probably a bit less "eco friendly" and I'm not supporting the local business that I otherwise would be, but it's actually cheaper for me, and the sanity factor is HUGE. I even allowed myself to have the pharmacy deliver Sputnik's medication for $5 instead of driving across town to pick it up.
And I'm letting myself buy salad greens instead of trying to salvage the bug infested stuff from my garden. Maybe next year I'll find a way to keep the leaf miners off of my greens, but until then, I'm making it easier for myself to eat better.
And, last but not least, I've decided that I need to spend a bit less time cruising the blogosphere. It's not that I don't love all of my blogging buddies, but it gets to the point where it's just not healthy. Especially when I feel compelled to leave a comment on every post I read, just to "be supportive" even when I really don't have anything to say. But rest assured, I'm still out there even if I'm not leaving lengthy comments on all of your posts anymore.
So far, so good. I feel a LOT less stressed, angry and overwhelmed. And the truth is that I'm really not much good to my kitties or anyone else when I feel so crappy.
So here's to securing your own oxygen mask before you try to help anyone else.
So how about you? Do any of you ever feel like you need a reminder that putting yourself first now and then really is OK?