Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Caring for the Weary Mind

Exhaustion.  Sleep-deprivation.  Limitations.  All unwelcome side effects of mental illness, especially during a slump (I'm currently coming out of my 4th slump since November).

Sometimes adding life to mental illness breeds some of that exhaustion and those limitations.  Yesterday was one of those days.
  • It was Monday, so I was back to being the only parent home during the day to manage these three kiddos while my husband is at work.
  • My cousin's wife came over to go through my maternity/baby boy clothes, which was great, but that meant that:
    • I had to have the house presentable - lots of deep cleaning that was necessary, but also lots of work.
    • She stayed for most of the kids' naptime, so I didn't get nearly enough alone time to recharge (more about being an introvert below).
  • I took all three kids grocery shopping right when they woke up from naps.  
  • We got home to a surprise visit from my brother-in-law and two nephews (4 and 1).
  • I cooked part of dinner last night which I hadn't planned on.
  • I walked with a friend I hadn't connected with in awhile after dinner.
  • I had a not-so-restful night due to eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream before bed (bad idea), feeding the baby in the wee hours of the morning, and an unusually early wake up call from the baby who was more than ready to start her day.

As a freshman in college, I took the Myers-Briggs assessment.  I was shocked when the results showed that I was almost right down the middle introvert/extrovert.  I would have put myself as way, way, WAY extroverted, probably because I compulsively filled my time (you can read more about my OCD struggle with time here).  Most of that time was spent with others DOING stuff.  

But the older I get, the more I see that the results were right.  I am an introvert.  I think having kids (and losing any personal space I once thought I had) brought out my true personality more.   

I can easily get overloaded, especially with a day like yesterday.  So I decided to take today off.  Not off from my responsibilities.  I'm still taking care of the kids, making dinner, straightening up the house, doing the dishes, and cleaning up potty training messes (ugh).  Rather, I took off from rushing around trying to accomplish things, that frantic scramble that I can so easily fall in to.

Instead, I've taken it easy today.  
  • We took our time getting ready this morning.  
  • I made pancakes for breakfast.  
  • I watched a couple of shows with the boys.  
  • We went for a leisurely walk.  
  • I picked up some light reading from a friend (I've been reading Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas and TrueFaced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch - although interesting, this is NOT light reading; Karen Kingsbury and Mary Higgins Clark are more what I need!).  
  • I'm protecting this naptime by not answering my phone.  
  • I'm meeting a friend for coffee tonight sans kids.  
  • I'll be able to relax with my husband after the kids go to bed - watch some TV or a movie.  
Today, I'm taking care of my weary body and mind.

What are some things that you do to take care of yourself?  I'd love to hear!