When I woke at 6 am this morning it was to begin the daily ritual of packing lunch for my husband to take to work, washing vegetables and making fresh juice, feeding the animals, preparing our breakfast, showering, dressing, and setting the table so we could enjoy our first meal of the day together before going our separate ways.
All of this takes 90 minutes, and once my beloved has driven off in his Jeep I usually brew a coffee and spend time with my Bible and in prayer before putting the washing on, clearing our dishes and attending to overnight business emails.
Then it's time to write my to-do list, text my daughters with a morning greeting, and make the bed. From there the day rarely slows but progresses forward with Elefantz work and home duties until around 7pm.
But this morning something different happened.
As I cleared the breakfast dishes I looked around the kitchen and before I could stem the tide an endless list of necessary household chores scrolled through my mind and went on, and on, and on until I silently shouted "stop!".
An overwhelming sense of panic took hold of my heart and I wondered how on earth I could catch up on so much when I had designs that needed to be drawn, traced and stitched, and business commitments yet to be met. I'd fallen badly behind in everything recently due to extra family responsibilities that took me away from home many hours on most days.
Hiding my panic, I kissed Mr E goodbye as he left for work and sat down to assess life as it stands right now.
I breathed, deep breaths, and actually allowed myself to 'feel' the weariness which has come to visit me each and every day these past couple of months. I didn't brew coffee, didn't read my Bible, ignored the dishes and the washing and the emails and even the morning greeting texts to my girls. I simply sat still and let my body speak to me.
Wiping all else from my mind I couldn't ignore the burning and tenderness in my osteo-arthritic fingers, the discomfort of very dry feet which was worse than usual, the cracking flesh of my heels and the aching ankles from too many hours standing and walking on hardwood floors, legs that were well past needing to be shaved, and hair that was in dire need of a wash.
And that's when I realised I needed more than the sleep we enjoyed during our two days away.
I needed to acknowledge some essential self care, time devoted to looking after my body and attending to it's needs.
I know there's a whole lot of women who see pampering themselves as a life essential, but most women, ordinary everyday gals like us, can easily forget that we need to look after ourselves just as much as we care for our loved ones, homes and other unique responsibilites.
So this morning I decided the house could wait, the business could wait, and I could talk to God about the things that were really needful today while I indulged in some self care.
I began by washing my hair, shaving my legs and massaging my feet with lovely rich lavender infused cream. Then it was time for a pedicure and some pretty mauve toenail varnish...
I brewed a pot of favourite tea...
...lit a candle, served a couple of special biscuits we keep for guests on a tiny green glass dish, opened a wonderful book which is helping my need to simplify...
... and poured the tea into my favourite English cup.
Then I promptly forgot about everything else and lost myself in this precious moment of solitude and calm.
Then I promptly forgot about everything else and lost myself in this precious moment of solitude and calm.
Some personal care, an hour of drinking tea, reading and pondering in the quiet relaxed atmosphere, the gentle flickering of my vanilla candle, and life seemed do-able once more.
I didn't set the table perfectly, and I never though to tidy it or change the stained tablecloth. Those things simply didn't matter. What mattered were the few things which contributed to healing my state of mind, things that give me pleasure and which I too often neglect.
Self care is not a luxury.
It's an essential.
When not abused, an hour or two of self indulgent care each week can fill an empty emotional tank with mental and spiritual refreshment, not to mention the physical renewal it also brings.
Can I suggest that each week we take a few minutes to stop and assess what's missing in our personal care and give ourselves a small parcel of time to put things right?
Tell me, are you also in need of self care today?
Oh Jenny what a fabulous post. It is so true, everyone needs to recharge on a regular basis. And shave their legs once in awhile :)
Jenny, you could have been speaking directly to me with this post. I've just endured a family crisis, thought I could just carry on as usual which I did for a while, then realized,no, silly woman, you can't. I'm resting and stitching for this week.
Thank you Jenny...I need to do this more. I don't pamper myself at all anymore and I can tell and I am sure others notice it too! So now I will try to get in the habit of some self-care from this day on. It will take a bit for that to really take hold I am sure!
Reading your post today made me really think this is me.
Thank you to put it into words...so simple yet hard to do.
You could have been speaking for me! I have been running behind and neglecting all but the things that shout the loudest!
Shave legs? Oh yea - I do that in summer, lol. The extra growth keeps me warm in winter but don't tell anyone.
I've been so rushed lately, I forget to enjoy the feel of shampoo in my hair, the warmth of the dish water on my own arthritic fingers, and the peace and quiet after John goes to bed at 10pm....til the neighbor wakes at 3am with his loud stereo...good post, hon. Glad you were able to slow down and take care of YOU.
So true Jenny!
I'm just in this period of my life.....thinking about what I could do to slow down
a little bit....
Enjoy your time for you!
Jenny, your post today has made me think about my appearance and my care.
I can make braids in my calves :))
You better listen to you. You better take a little time for myself.
Thanks for reminding me. Bless you.
My dear friend thank you so much for such a sweet post once again :)
It's like you speaking to all of us ..
I am sitting and thinking ...hmmm I am going to make myself a big glass of fresh juice and my fav book and off I go to my happy land
Love you x
Jenny we all need time for ourselves once in a while when household chores and work must be set aside. On reading your post I went and had a look in the mirror, I should have gone to the hairdressers weeks ago, why didn´t I? never time of course. well thanks to you I made that appointment :-)
muito bom visitar seu blog logo pela manhã e lebrar que temos que parar para cuidar de nos mesmos e esquecer um pouco o trabalho.
Um bom dia pra você.
What a timely post. It seems there are more demands on my time now the kids are grown then there were years ago. I'm so ground down and in need of some down time. Hubs is really good about helping carve it out on the weekend when he can -- he needs it too. But that doesn't happen often. Maybe I just need to do like you and stop for a moment.
So interesting that so many of us are on the same page. After years and years of caring for so many I am finding myself at the end of my physical and emotional reserves and decided just the other day to address the problem. While my tasks have changed the realities of life remain and if I am to weather all this I need to take care of things. Setting aside a special personal time is essential. When my Dear Son died 4 years ago I became insular to survive. While I am still somewhat that way, I have tried to be more involved with church and social issues. As a result I am even more stressed to find personal time. Your timely post has reminded me to step back and deal with all of this. Thank you for sharing. May your day be productive and the contentment we all seek be yours.
God used you today, isn't it amazing what can happen when we sit still sometimes. Thank you.
Good Morning Jenny! Your post this morning is such an important message for all of us! Like you, I tend to look after everyone or everything else before I even start to consider myself. Although, every so often I stop and realize "ME" time is needed. A nice long bath, putting my hair up in rollers or even just putting on a pretty dress for the day can make all the difference. Thank You for sharing and reminding us that we are important and we have to take time to care for ourselves. Have a fantastic day all for you and about you!
God Bless you and keep you. I love that I found your blog, Thank you for your lovely hand work and your insightful thoughts.
Oh mi querida Jenny!
Siempre su comentario es tan oportuno!
Estoy considerando,este año, cuidar más de mi.
Gracias por sus palabras y por compartir parte de sus dias, y sentirnos tan identificadas!
Cariños Vicky Dc
You have spoken to my heart this afternoon. I am please to see you take very good care of yourself. Please keep doing that and keep sharing with us. We all need the reminders that we are human. Thank you
Many good thoughts! I'm so glad you took care of you for a while. I do it occasionally, not often. I used to treat myself to professional manicures weekly - it's fairly cheap here - and a pedicure about every 3 weeks, and even a facial now and then. Since money has become so tight, all those are simply good memories. LOL I do study the scriptures every day, and sometimes go extra deep.
I don't very often simply play any more. I was thinking this morning that I should take the last day of every month, walk into the quilt room and just play, not work on any specific goal. The last time I did that, I made some of my Scrap Vortex, which is languishing on the wall. I had a great day, and I want to have that more often. Thanks for the timely reminder, as once again we are moving along a similar path.
What a beautiful post. One thing that has helped me so much since starting my little embroidery business is scheduling a day off from the business. It is so easy to get involved in the business that everything gets put on the back burner just like you experienced. That day off has been a lifesaver in catching up on all that needs to be done.
wow Jenny what a wonderful post and you have made me realize that i was doing the same,i am taking time out for myself today,thankyou for a reality check and i am so glad that you got to spend time on your self,take care my friend xx
oh dear, I'm sorry to read that you are dealing with so much. Glad you realized it and took some time off for yourself. I hope you are able to keep up the ritual of some "me time".
very rarely give me 'me time' like that, mine is usually sitting down & knitting or a spot of gardening, then a nice hot cuppa, vary rarely 'pamper' myself
glad you took the time to realise that's what was needed for yourself, hope it helped calm the storm that was brewing in your mind.
thanx for sharing
Beautiful post Jenny. It's learning to not sweat the unimportant things but to remember what is important--ourselves. If we don't look after us we can't look after anyone else.
I am so pleased that you stopped and relaxed your mind, body and soul. The housework etc will always be there, you may not.
Take care xxx
Your words are so wise Jenny. Running around taking care of everyone else has dominated my time lately, I feel like I'm in a whirlwind being blown around and around with no chance of getting out...but I must do just as you suggest and take a little time for myself...I may even get to read some of my dear friends blogs.
So, so easy to put ourselves last, do everything plus more and then have nothing to give when our loved ones come home let alone for ourselves. I'm glad you remembered to breath!! Take care. x
Thank you for the reminder to stop and just breathe. I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately and keep saying I need to find a place in this busy house to just sit and be quiet and relax. Every single day I have to go to either work, or take my youngest to her classes and help at that location, or take her to work. There is rarely a day to stay home and just be. Something always needs to be done around here! As I write this, I am on my way out the door to go and teach a sewing class at the store where I work. God bless you for your wisdom!
Your post really spoke to me, Jenny. Since Christmas, my focus has been on family issues with little or no time to enjoy sewing/quilting projects or to just take my time while grocery shopping. I was reminded this week while fighting a respiratory virus that I need to take better care of myself. I spent 3 days sitting in a chair drinking tea and feeling miserable. If you listen, your body will definitely talk to you.
Yes. I fall into the category of ordinary woman who tends to everyone else's needs over my own needs. I pride myself on never getting facials, mani or pedi's, massage's, spa days like all my former (friends) who think only of themselves and spend fortunes each week for their self-pleasure. I like being a simple woman. I like taking care of myself...I just need to do it more often. Thankfully you took stock of your own needs and met them. Just the simple act of taking the time to polish my nails adds a smile to my face...then two days later when they are all chipped from chores I tell myself not to bother putting on that pretty polish. Am I not worthy? Thank you Jenny for sharing your personal story and giving permission to all of us women who need self-care. Bless You Dear...
We often forget that the seasons of our life dictates what we need to be doing to care for ourselves. I went in for a pedicure today - unfortunately cataracts keep me from doing it myself - and then took an hour to simply sit and breathe. It can change our whole outlook! blessings, marlene
Wow let's all get together and do the relaxing and pedicures and eat and drink tea ! I am sitting here with my Physio placed Boot on today,for Plantar Faciitis and tear inside my heel.Had it 6 months and it's taken this long just to get to surgeon then another physio! Time to relax
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