How My Week of Extreme Self Care Turned into The One-Day Escape Hatch

I ran into my neighbor yesterday, one of those wonderful folks who helped me out a few weeks ago, when I hit the wall.  And then bounced off.  Before being run over by a truck.

You get the picture.

Anyway, seeing her reminded me of a promise I’d made to myself during that crazy time: I was going to take a week and take care of myself.  That’s right, one whole week.

I must have been delirious when I made this decision.  After all, Ken was out of town for the second week in a row, my father-in-law had just died, Nico was throwing daily kindergarten-induced tantrums, and I was spending my days running back and forth to my mother’s nursing facility, taking care of the 800,000 details someone needs to deal with when a loved one is ill.

Time for me?  And that would happen…when?

Exactly.

But my body and brain were fried, my migraines were back, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to kick them if I didn’t start taking better care of myself.

And then I got an email hyping Cheryl Richardson’s latest book, The Art of Extreme Self Care.

The title alone inspired me to start my own Week of Extreme Self Care.  Which, after all my responsibilities were met, quickly morphed into The Emergency Night Drinking Wine With Friends Who Stopped By After My Kids Went to Bed (for my sanity), the Emergency Massage (for my migraines) and The Emergency Dance Class (for my soul).

Not bad, huh?  Three things I did for myself in the midst of one of those crazy-busy “I’m superhuman or at least I’m pretending to be” kind of periods.  I chalked the rest of my aspirations up to the One Day When I Have More Time folder that lives inside my head and called it a day.  There’d be more time to take care of myself and my health down the line.

Ha.

That’s always what we think, don’t we?  There’ll be more time tomorrow.  I can do it next week.  Or: there’s always this weekend.  Except the weeks don’t slow down; if anything, they just move faster.  And my to-do list?  Hmm, I might know if I could find it.

Which brings me back to The Week of Extreme Self Care, Part II.  As in: I need one.  Again.  Problem is, so does Ken.  And I’m still taking care of my mom.  And Nico’s been home sick from school the past three days.  So…. I could put it off indefinitely, hoping that things will open up some time in the next month or two, except I’ve seen our schedule and know there’s no way in hell that’s gonna happen.  In the meantime, my body has started sending up SOS signals, asking me to take better care of myself.  Again.

So why don’t I?  Why don’t I just cut the cord and run?  Put myself and my needs first—reboot my brain and body so that I can start functioning like a normal human being again.

Because I get all tripped up in this thing called obligation.  And duty.  As in: it’s my duty to put my family first.  It’s my obligation to take care of my ailing mother.  It’s my responsibility to clean up this mess of a house.

Well, what about my duty to take care of myself?   Why is it that we spend so much time putting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?  And then keep pushing the envelope until the day we finally snap, and want to run away.

But here’s the trick: if I can run away for just one day, then I don’t have to run away for real.

Hence, the one-night escape hatch!

In a little bit, I’m going to get in my car and drive to a little town an hour away, where I’m going to spend one whole day and one whole night doing whatever the hell I please.  One whole day I don’t have to keep track of anything, organize anything, cook anything, clean anything, problem-solve anything or keep anyone from killing each other.  Hell, I might not even speak to anyone, if I don’t want to.

Ahh, bliss.

How about you?  What’s your escape hatch?  And how long until you use it?

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2 Responses to How My Week of Extreme Self Care Turned into The One-Day Escape Hatch

  1. Iyan February 28, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

    Tara,Thank you for the acknowledgment! This is deitnifely a powerful article. Congrats!I have to acknowledge that I am not Superwoman. We can have everything we want, just not at the same time. Right now, I want to raise my toddler, keep my marriage healthy, write a book, earn my share of my family’s finances (part-time), contribute to society, and remain a helpful daughter and friend.I hope my books will help the world with their positive, eye-opening messages about mental illness. I hope spending lots of time with my son will help the world by contributing a functional adult man someday. I hope my financial donations will allow my chosen causes to help the world. That’s the most I can do in this decade. Once my son and future kids are a bit older, I plan to join all the kick-ass women of the West directly changing the world. But, I can’t have that right at this minute, and I have to hope that’s enough.[]

    • Tanja February 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Iyan, what a wonderful (and clear) vision you have! And I think you absolutely nailed it when you said we can have everything we want, just not at the same time. So right on, sister. Excited for everything you’re doing today AND tomorrow!

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