As we move closer to the sun, a feeling of great stagnancy reaches me. As the moon whirls around us, the tides reach and pull bringing me along with it. Sometimes my moods seem to be affected by these celestial events or perhaps it’s coincidence. There’s a strong chance that the memories that bubble up from one month to the next leave an imprint to be remembered the following years.
Summer time leaves me unsteady. In some respects, the happiest I’ve ever been has been in the summer. My anniversary and both of my children’s births occurred in the summer. In between those memories though are some pretty stormy clouds. So after a month of going out and everywhere, I felt a real desire to sit and chew on some of these emotions. I pull everything in and recluse a little. My friends left hanging a little, but I’m pretty lucky in that they are typically the most understanding and gracious of souls.
For the first time in the longest time, Michael took vacation hours AND I had the balls to just stay at home rather than invite myself over to work a few more hours like I normally would. I’m not really a workaholic, but I don’t mind it one bit. It was a stay-cation of sorts. I didn’t exactly relax, as per the standard definition, though. We were cleaning and improving our little living space. We even bought some fancy IKEA shelves to commit to the wall along the desk. It was nice to have the option to relax if we wanted though.
I’ve come away from this rumination session with a few things in mind. There seems to be a large message that we’re always told to go-go-go and no one ever feels like they can relax. I’ve seen that message a lot lately. First, let me say that this can be true. Self care is important. It’s my number one mantra that I need to remind myself of damn near every day. But not everyone relaxes in the same way. If I want to do yoga and meditation to ensure that my self is tended to, I can. If a few moments of prayer really fulfill that desire to be heard and taken care of, I will do that. I think what I’m learning about myself is that cleaning and cooking can be wildly comforting interactions with myself. And occasionally the stagnant, still activities bring on more worries.
The important thing here is that I do have chores that I designate myself. I do have to cook meals 90% of the time. There are tasks I expect of myself. There are also extra-curriculars, I guess you could call them. They are my “kitchen sink” tasks; things that don’t take a lot of mental effort but impact my mental health tremendously. Making the bed is something my grandma has told me time and time again. I finally listened to her about two years ago at the ripe age of 25. It doesn’t require much, but you feel like you’ve really set the standard for the day. While I’m doing them, I can process a lot of the thoughts that sit on the sidelines most of the time.
So many, and I really mean so many, times I have guilted myself for cleaning so much or getting into another project when I could easily just shut off the lights and tell myself that is enough. I’ve only just realized that these tasks, these little ventures are the way I show myself I care about me. I care about my mood when I wake up in the morning. I care about knowing there will be one less challenge to face. I care about how proud I will feel when I hang up a mirror by myself and it’s perfectly level. We all gotta watch out for the dips in mood and some more than others. Sometimes self care looks different to other people. I’m not sure why this has taken me so long to grasp.
I was really debating where to post this, but I think it’s important that I am transparent on here. This blog will remain a little bit of a day in the life sequence as well as some silly reviews. I wouldn’t change that format for anything. But as readers, know that as much as I can blog, I also have learned when to step back and calibrate everything else. My life revolves a lot on my mental health and unfortunately it isn’t something I can just do without. Intention is everything. Self care is everything. Taking one more moment to reflect and anticipate even the next hour can completely reconfigure your day as a parent.