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Self Care Is Not An Option

Self Care Is Not An Option

My therapist likes to tell me that I have a “tricky body”. I hope that encompasses tricky brain chemistry, too. December is never a good month for me. It’s usually when I get a cold which mutates into no asthma control and bronchitis, so I’m huffing, puffing, and wheezing come January 1st and everyone expects that I should have worked more, because don’t we have a rush this season? Are you not carrying your weight, SJ?

Why hello there, brain demons, I don’t remember inviting you in. But that’s also what happens when there’s not enough light, so I’m fighting both my mind telling me I’m not good enough, and my body screaming and pleading for rest.

It’s not a good month.

While other people are spending time with their families to make up for the lack of light, I haven’t seen my blood-family for December holidays in six years. I feel more and more alone as I’m asked to work more and more hours, living in a culture that places more value on whether I’ve made money than whether I’m feeling well.

This year, I’m starting off the month with well-controlled asthma, but sometimes it seems like the smallest thing will nudge it into being bad again. I have to be extremely careful. I succumb to viruses pretty quickly as well, and it frustrates me when in the beginning of the virus I rest a lot, it still turns into a full-blown snot fest and I’ve already used up my excuses. That’s why I’m fighting having to rest right now, when there’s a tickle in my throat, because I’m afraid I’m wasting time I could be spending on the things that are important to me, and later I’ll barely have the strength to get out of bed.

I have a tricky body, and this time of year is tricky to begin with. I know that when I stop writing, I need to reexamine what’s going on with me. I’ve stopped writing for about a week and buried myself in stressful things. How do you hit “pause” on the stressful parts of life to give yourself energy for the things that bring you joy? So far all I’ve been able to do is barely cope. The stressful things are pretty time-sensitive, so I get them done and then try to take care of myself with some knitting and cat snuggling. Reading blogs? Writing my own posts? Ha! Just try to survive right now, SJ. Keep your head above water.

It’s frustrating, living in a culture that talks about valuing family and home at this time of year, but keeps us on our toes and too worn out with end-of-year work and deadlines to really appreciate what we have.

Just another reason to work toward opting out.

This time of year, and every time of year, if I want to keep functioning, self care is not an option.

Winter made it.

Winter made it.

Last week, I finally managed to grab my couple of good sweaters from the basement just in time for snow to fall. We’ve had a decent autumn for once, and on Thursday winter made itself known.

A street of houses with snow visible.

I went for a walk today, while it started snowing again, and came back alive! Breathing fine, just COLD. I am finally getting myself out of the dark that was last week. It was such an awful week. Now it seems like even if I don’t have a virus, my body will find ways to knock me out and not let me do the things I want to do. It’s incredibly frustrating.

So I’m working on not letting it get to me, on catching up on my emails and projects, on taking care of myself while doing things for other people. All very important things. And the end of this week is going to be a bit stressful, so I have to store up the energy for it now if I can. Wish me luck! I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to catch up on blogs and all of the other things soon, too.