Making change in our own lives can be hard. As a "type A" person I have to do it all. I am sure many of you overachievers can relate. The house must be clean, the laundry must be folded, the beds must be made, the work must always be caught up, the to-do list is before anything resembling sitting, relaxing, or enjoying. I was realizing last spring that I was working so hard to keep working at 150%, that I was not able to actually do any of the things I enjoy - such as working in my garden, harvesting herbs, distilling hydrosols, making herbal products. I was working. Working. Working. And I was stressing. Panic attacks, heart palpitations, waking up 5 times a night with full on heart pounding sweating shaking panic feelings. That is no way to live. So, over the past few months we have been making change. It takes time to plan, move, wiggle, resign, transition, step away, resignresignresign, just say no, and walk away from so many things. But, it was the right thing to do, and I am feeling better about the future.
When we work only for others, we burn out. It is a guarantee. While I have always rolled my eyes at the whole take care of yourself first idea, as I think we can take care of ourselves AND others at the same time, I was stuck in that rut of always doing and being everything for everyone else, without thinking ever of myself. It was definitely impacting me in being unable to sleep and having panic attacks. I could feel deeply things had to change, and I could not continue. I know many of us steamroll full speed ahead until something happens that forces us to change or stop - cancer, heart attack, injury, illness. But we shouldn't need an excuse to make deep life and systemic changes for our health and wellbeing. We should be able to make these changes JUST BECAUSE WE WANT TO, and not have to justify why we have to prioritize ourselves and our families over...everything else.
This is something we all need to do in some way - to take time to dabble, sit, be, and not feel that we must fill all the gaps with some other measure of success or achievement.
So, as my roles are wrapping up and I have more time, I am slowly working to give myself a break. To bake bread. Pick herbs. Read a book. Sit still. To read something that is not for a business, or a skill, or a function. To give myself permission to not complete or achieve anything if I don't want to. Spend time just hanging out with my teenagers. To focus on the health needs they have with time, attention, and consideration. To focus on my health needs with time, attention, and consideration.
What do you do for yourself? How do you take time to be?
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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