I dropped kiddo at school today and then went straight to a meeting about his medical needs (there’s always a meeting isn’t there?). The meeting went well, everything was tied up smoothly and I left feeling upbeat, perhaps like a successful business woman would feel after landing a huge financial deal. The rest of the day was mine, so I headed into town.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that this year is all about embracing self care for me. I’m terrible at it, that I can’t deny. I walked towards the shops with drive, a drive to relax. That’s was my first fault. My inner mind was saying “you’ve got to relax, this is your ONLY time, make the most of it”. So I immediately put myself under pressure to take the pressure off. Hhhmmmm not sure that’s going to work is it.
I rang my husband to update him on the meeting as he had to work. I asked him, “what am I supposed to be doing today?”. He replied “having a rest day darling, go and get some nice lunch and enjoy yourself”.
I tried, I really did. But I was just overwhelmed by a wave of guilt that I wasn’t working. Now I don’t have a paid job, but caring for my son, attending his meetings, keeping my house safe for him and pleasant for my husband is my work. And it’s bloody exhausting. That’s what caring for a son with autism and adhd will do to you.
I don’t get holiday or annual leave. But I do occasionally get afternoons like this. I just find it so hard to switch off, to stop my brain being on high alert. I’ve trained myself to assess my surroundings like something out of a Bond movie. “I’ve got two exits, some stairs, and a couple that look like they’re enjoying themselves”. I must keep kiddo safe. So when I don’t have to use that part of my brain, where does all that energy go? I’ll tell you where. Into feeling guilty that I’m not using it.
So starting today, I’m going to train my brain in a different way. Instead of my mind being constantly active to a point it gives me IBS, the challenge is to empty it.
How will I do this? Well today I’m trying what I’m terming a “mindfulness lunch”. I’m going to concentrate on the here and now. Appreciate all the flavours of the food. Let the music playing through the speakers to fill my mind. And let other people serve me a coffee and some eggs. Finally, my breathing. I’ve taken up yoga recently and there’s a fantastic practice of concentrating on your breathing to put your mind and your body in the same place. If you haven’t tried yoga yet I recommend it. So here goes, wish me luck!
Maybe today will be my first guilt free lunch in four years…
Thanks for reading,