New Year’s resolutions have never been my cup of tea. I’ve pledged to do many-a-thing, only to find I never start or my enthusiasm wanes in a month or two. Last year instead of a resolution, I chose a word of intention to guide me through the year: space.
Looking back, using a word of intention was much easier to carry through the year than a resolution. There’s grace with using a word that no matter how many times I forgot about it or did not follow it, I could still come back to its guiding principle.
Throughout the year I would remind myself of my word and see how I was making space in my life, or more often, not. I did incorporate some regular practices of space- a 30 minute time of prayer and awakening before my family gets up each day, walks to restore my body, striking a yoga pose at random (needed) times throughout the day, and catching quick 10-15 minute rests when needed.
Did I still overschedule myself? Yes. Was I able to downsize at least some areas of life? Yes. Was it enough space to give myself and my body enough time to recharge? No.
Over the last year I have grappled with how to work full time, be the mother of two small children, wife to an Episcopal priest, and also deal with the effects of my two auto-immune diseases (psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia). There were weeks, months even, when I seemed to strike a decent balance. There were also weeks and months when I was way off-kilter.
Thinking about my health and my life, I’ve been proactive with seeking professionals to help me work toward the healthiest I can be. I see a rhuematologist who prescribes the best medicines for my conditions and adjusts them when necessary. I spent a few months at Integrative Therapies to learn conventional and alternative therapies to ease my pain and teach me strategies for work and life.
Most recently, I started seeing a counselor at the Presbyterian Counseling Center who aided in a helpful shift in perspective on what my body needs. I’ve learned to think of my body as a rechargeable battery. Just as parents have to be attuned to the “batteries” of their children, enforcing periods of rest to help them recharge, I find I have to do the same with myself. I check my battery level constantly throughout the day. I can wake up charged to 100% or only just 40%. I can find myself at lunchtime with 75% or just 50%. My goal for each day is to stay above 60%, because it takes a lot less time to recharge from 60% than it does from 30%!
Keeping myself well charged requires rest and physical activity; you know, those things our doctors tell us to get! But they are more than just recommended for those with auto-immunes. They are a necessity to maintaining a healthy, active life. However, there is simply not enough time each day to meet all of my needs and the tasks of daily life. After much conversation with BJ and Jeff, I will start a new schedule in January working three-quarter time, or about 30 hours each week. My plan is to work on Sundays, full days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and half days Mondays and Thursdays. There will be much needed space added to my life.
So what is my word for 2016, you are now asking? No. (As in saying no to things that are too much for me.)