I had a rough day yesterday. Ian wasn’t home. I had all of the kids and my 4-year-old niece. The house was a mess and I was tiiiiiired.
I was a huge grouch.
Thankfully, though, today is better. I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, sipping a hemp lavender latte and thinking about why I was so on the verge of exploding yesterday.
And what I realized was that while I was taking care of everything else, I wasn’t taking care of myself. My needs got pushed aside as I helped my potty-training toddler and fed the kids a dozen times.
Thankfully, a few months ago, I took the time to write down my needs. I was so drained and felt like something was missing. Yet nothing I was doing was making me feel better.
And I realized that I was trying to fix a bunch of symptoms without addressing the real problem – I didn’t know what my needs were.
So I wrote them down – those things that I just can’t thrive without:
Naturally. Prayer, worship, reading my Bible. Man does life seem better when this is at the forefront.
I’m an introvert. While I love hanging out with other people, it drains me. I need to be alone to recharge my batteries. I love being alone and thinking and praying. This is one of my top needs because not having alone time affects me so much.
My body needs to move. If it doesn’t I feel lazy, tired and achy. My new love is yoga. I love that I get to move and stretch. It’s also a great time for me to pray and clear my mind.
Change of scenery
I need to get out of my space on a regular basis. When I’m cooped up too long, I stress about cleaning, laundry and my complete lack of decorating skills. I need to be outside, giving thanks for the beauty of nature, feeling the sun on my face.
I need time with my husband and my girlfriends. While I need time to myself, I also need a few close friends to confide in and laugh with.
Creativity is so important to me. I love making something beautiful out of raw materials or putting words on a page. I can tell when I’m not taking care of myself when creating turns into a chore, one that feels impossible to complete.
I know this is basic, but when I’m not nourishing my body with good food, I just can’t function well. And this includes eating regularly, which I tend to forget to do as I focus on other things. Yesterday Isaac brought me an apple when I was getting grouchy. They know me.
I have 4 little kids, so I won’t try to convince you that my house is clean all the time. But when I’ve been ignoring my needs, the smallest thing on the floor totally gets to me. Being able to retreat to a clutter-free space, be it my bedroom or the office, (aka my sanctuary) helps me calm down and regroup.
I feel better just knowing what I need. But knowledge without action doesn’t do much. Now, my challenge is to put them into action, balancing my needs with the needs of my family.
Thankfully, many of them can be addressed at one time with a trip to the yoga center with a friend, a walk outside or a fun outing with my family. But I have to be intentional about it. Otherwise, everyone suffers.
Now it’s your turn. What needs are you pushing to the side? What makes you feel rejuvenated and alive? Take some time and figure out what they are and make a plan to put them into action. You need it, mama, and so does your family.