When I was in Montessori training, my guide Michael imparted to me a great wisdom: “The world will take all you have to give it, leave some for yourself.” In other words, how can you expect an empty pitcher to fill up glasses? I had told him of 2017-2018 school year and how burnt out and burnt up it had left me feeling.
My issue last year was that I had taken no time for myself. No time to create or do the basic, little things that bring me joy. I even gave up on cooking dinner most nights, because I was too exhausted to even think of making a meal and I LOVE to cook. I didn’t sew, I didn’t write, and while we did build the juggernaut, it sat empty and growing nothing, but weeds. My mother bought me my chicken coop for Christmas, but I didn’t have the energy or emotional capital to put it together.
All of this affected my physical well being as well. In February, I started seeing the signs of a respiratory infection. It turned into bronchitis, which left me with a cough that lasted into August. All I wanted to do was sleep, but the stresses of STAAR testing prep meant I was up until the early morning making new centers and small group activities for interventions.
Contrary to what this post might indicate, I don’t enjoy complaining. I put so much effort into remaining positive in face of adversity, but that requires having something about which to be positive. That cliched, but necessary light at the end of the tunnel.
Life is still hectic, but the little things help. It sounds ridiculous, but having a nice hand cream, good pens, or fancier creamer in my coffee makes the day easier. My new tankless water heater means I can fill up the tub without the water getting cold at the end and Dr. Teal’s Epsom salts elevate an evening soak to a new level.
Yoga with my students might just lead to yoga in a grownup person class. Blue Apron has encouraged me to cook new things. I even get sewing done, from time to time, thanks to my new Bernina. Gardening has been a lifeline and a spiritual experience, as I see things literally spring to life because of the role I played in putting the seeds where they needed to be. Coaxing the green things into food that will one day nourish my body, nourishes my spirit in the meantime. Alas, it can only truly be done in earnest on the weekends; I must satisfy myself by watering my seedlings in the garage.
For me, self-care is a matter of self-worth. It means that I realize that I have value and needs that must be addressed. No one is going to do that for me, except maybe Fella. He has been known to drive to school with tacos for me. It is a permissiveness to take time for me, with a knowledge that those moments mean more me to give; refilling the tank so that it won’t run dry.