Creating a Personal Time habit is as easy as brushing your teeth

It seems that we are always “too busy” to take care of ourselves. There are so many items in our lives that demand our attention, that at times, or better said, way too often we put our own personal time on the shelf. If we simply created a task for ourselves every day to have a little alone time, it’d be simple and create a habit.  We either dabble a little each day or we wait until the weekend and try to get it all in at once.

However, let me ask you a simple question — how often do you brush your teeth?  

Most of us will say, “When we get up (after breakfast)” or, “before bed.”  This is pretty close to what my dentist recommends each time I visit, as well as nicely advising me to make sure I’m using my floss. We all know that if we do as the dentist suggests our teeth will be their best pearly whites. This results in about 14 teeth brushing events a week, and not much time out of our super busy day, either. We manage to always fit that in, taking up about 5 minutes in the morning and evening.

Small steps have a big impact over our lifetime.

Anonymous, 3.9.22

So how does brushing our teeth twice a day relate to our personal time you ask?  Okay, what if we waited to brush our teeth until the weekend, like we do with managing our personal alone time? Seven brushing events on Saturday and seven on Sunday, would that accomplish the same thing as brushing daily? No, it doesn’t really cut it. Okay, what if we brush our teeth every other day? No, doesn’t accomplish what our teeth need to be their best pearly whites either. 

We need to do the same with our personal time and mental health. We need to take care of it daily, like brushing our teeth. We have made a habit of taking those few minutes each morning and evening to simply brush our teeth. We can take just a few minutes to do a few yoga poses, meditate, stretch, write in a journal, listen to our favorite song and dance it out, or whatever to aid in our own health each morning and evening. Being connected to our own being and what it needs each day will aid in making sure we are taking care of our whole selves. Starting a new habit takes continuous doing. Brushing our teeth became a habit that we do every day and we don’t even think about it!

Small steps have a big impact over our lifetime.

When the cup is broken

I didn’t know I could feel like this. I didn’t know my partner would look at me with concern in his eyes, asking gently if I am okay. I blink plainly and say I am okay. But I can’t help but ask myself, “Am I okay?”

I have flashes of vision where I am watching myself in my normal grind and I recognize myself but then at times, I wish I could make myself stop moving, and hug her hard, tight, the all-knowing hug. The kind of hug that a loved one gives you when you need it the absolute most, while you collapse from the weight of whatever is holding you back. I know I am happy, at my core, my days are full of joy streaming from my miracle babies, but giving them that joy back is hard to muster. 

My friends and family don’t know that I am constantly dehydrated–to scary levels that have stopped me in my tracks, where my partner has had to bring me gatorade x4 as we wait for my heart to stop pounding, when I don’t feel like I am going to pass-out, and my electrolytes to regulate. This is perpetual because when you are dehydrated you need to rest, seriously, after an episode like that. But I barely know what that rest is. My partner tries hard, but we have 2 kids, two little ones, who need us the most at this stage in their childhood. He worries about me a lot. I can see it in his eyes and it breaks my heart. I saw the way my daughter looked at me when I was crying, and it broke me more. I know I am doing my best, but it doesn’t feel very “best” to me. 

“They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, but I have a dry well over here. The cup is broken.” 

ANONYMOUS, 3.2.2022

I go through the motions, and am thinking 4 steps ahead to do, prep, gather whatever is needed for my children, household, etc. I cannot stop my brain, I am hard on myself. This is when I think of that scene from The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood movie, when you see the mom lose herself after the kiddos have been sick and she checks herself into a motel and she does nothing but sleep for 3 days straight. Now granted, she was doped up, and coming off pills but there is a LOT of truth in the overwhelmed, exhaustion shown in that movie that I would bet any mother could relate to in some capacity. Now, I recall that scene and I think about how I need to book that quiet, solitary bed for myself to get much needed rest. 

So I guess the answer is no, I am not okay. I didn’t know that I would feel this way as a mother. This level of exhaustion is so much deeper than I realized it could exist. It is starting to consume me. I feel my body shutting down. Everything aches daily. My brain struggles to focus and recall. I feel like I am on the brink of tears all the time. I lie to myself every day a million times a day. I lie to my family, I lie to my friends, I lie to my kids. I am not okay.