This Monday, I want to remind you to cut yourself some slack.
I used to be a chronic overachiever… to the point where any downtime I had spent not being productive would give me anxiety. Last year my daughter was born… with colic… while I was finishing my MBA… and working from home rather than taking a true maternity leave, instead asking for help from all of the people around me who would have loved to step in, I tried to do as much as possible all by myself. And I paid for it.
In December of last year, a painful red rash developed on my right eyebrow. Concerned about the possible contagious effects to my newborn daughter, I went to the dermatologist to get it checked right away, where it was diagnosed as an allergic reaction to something topical. They sent me home with steroid cream and fragrance-free products.
The rash spread up my scalp and down my eyelid, getting worse and worse to the point where I could not open my right eye. The pain was like nothing I had ever felt – shooting pains through my skull with a creepy, crawly feeling on and under the skin.
Finally on Christmas Eve, Chatham took me to the Emergency Room where I was diagnosed with shingles. Yes, shingles at 26 years old. The causes? Stress and exhaustion. Check and check.
The realization that the most painful experience of my life (yes, including labor) was totally avoidable was a watershed moment for me. What is the point of pushing yourself to achieve, just for the sake of achievement, if your health suffers as a result? Why let your pride get in the way of asking for help?
So, this Monday, I want to remind you to take care of yourself. Cut yourself some slack.
Rest. Take a nap or a bubble bath or a walk. You don’t have to fill all of your waking hours with productivity. It took me far too long to learn this.
Forgot to invite one of your close friend’s to your child’s birthday party? Apologize and don’t beat yourself up (as much as you want to). If your friend is a true friend, they’ll understand and forgive you. (If you’re reading this, I am so sorry, once again!)
Forgot to RSVP to your nephew’s birthday party? Apologize and don’t beat yourself up (as much as you want to).
A lot of good comes from apologizing. Nothing good comes from beating yourself up.
Take joy in the little things. We got a beautiful little pie pumpkin in our organic co-op bin last week, and I promptly placed it on display in the center of our coffee table. Chatham asked me what I’m going to do with it. And I told him I’m just going to look at it for awhile. He laughed.
Put your phone down.
Prioritize your relationships with people you care about above all. Think about the fondest memories you have now. Do you remember binge-watching America’s Next Top Model, or do you remember binge-watching America’s Next Top Model with your sisters? Exactly.
No links to share this week. Turn off your computer and go tell someone you appreciate them. And don’t get shingles.