Waking up with a throbbing headache is an easy way for me to start the day with the mindset that I’ve already failed myself. For my initial thoughts to be that I made some dumb decisions the day before, resulting in me overdoing things and feeling the effects the next day.
To think about what I did the day before and minimize saying “But I just did groceries in the morning, took a long rest, and made dinner and did some dishes at night.” But then if I think some more I think about how there were actually quite a lot of dishes and because our dishwasher is broken it required multiple rotations of handwashing, rinsing, drying and putting away (I’ve learned that an overflowing dishrack is an easy way to overflow my brain, it’s too hard to know where to start without disrupting the carefully structured mound and having something fall to the floor).
And then I remind myself that the kids were helping and “helping” with the dishes which takes much brain energy and patience to navigate. And then of course there was the hustling them out the door in the morning, piano practice done, teeth brushed (no small feats)…and dealing with some emotional situations upon arrival at their strike day camp (because a friend J made the time before wasn’t there that day). And the afternoon pick up which again was met with criticism and some disdain.
And then with a value pack of ground beef ready to expire making 4 simple meals (but of just 2 dishes), while also fielding snack requests of heaps of boiled eggs (their food requests could be worse). Then during dinner seeing H in pain (which rarely shows) from his leaking elbow bursitis. Later, helping get the kids to bed.
And then add in some downtime of rewatching an old, familiar pick/me-up movie – the easiest kind for me to handle, but nonetheless takes brain power too.
All in all, it was a day that upon reflection was much fuller than it seemed at first. And that’s not necessarily my fault.
I think the same can be said for anyone, concussion or not. We often get to the end of the day and say “I wish it was more productive” or “ugh, I didn’t really get anything done” – but once you break it all down – the kids, the traffic, the meetings, the surprise fires to put out, the chores, the random life curveballs. It makes you step back and appreciate your abilities a bit more. And then if you think back to the preceding days and all that happened in those, it’s no wonder we have moments where our body physically and/or mentally tells us “Stooooooooop!…….I am tapped. out.”
As I write this, I have a generous friend over today engaged in a giggling game of Dora Jenga with the girls while I rest. It has been easy for me to lay on the guilt of not being with my kids even though I want to be with them and am in the same house as them…but instead I will frame it as a success. A success of planning and leaning on friends to allow my brain to heal. A success of them bonding with this amazing human being who they love spending time with and who models the women I would love for them to become. A success to pace my day so I have the capabilities to take J to her music class tonight and hopefully leave with just a minor headache and not a throbbing one.
So I’ll go ahead and say that despite the busy-ness of yesterday call it a success of dealing with life to the best of my abilities and that a successful day today includes a whole lot of rest and that *not* folding the heap of laundry will be a success in pacing and resting. Lying in bed with a heat pad to my head is a success in self care. Having amazing care for the kids is a success for them, my giving friend, and me. And having grace that while I wish I could fold laundry, be with the kids, buy a new dishwasher, organize our calendar, do some banking and take J to music class…I will choose to still find the success in my day regardless of if I accomplish one of those things or even none of those things.
We all really need to cut ourselves some slack. To say that life is hard and know that’s not whining – that’s a fact. But to also not stew in a state of suffering from our hardship, but allow ourselves to feel the pain of the situation (allowing ourselves to say “this sucks”), and be kind to ourselves as we try to navigate it.
We often talk about how we should be spreading a little more kindness out into the world, but we should probably take a scoop of that kindness and apply it to ourselves too. It can only help us be healthier, happier and better able to bring more love, hope and value into the world.