So, it may be February already, but it's still good to look at some goals I set at the beginning of 2016 to make sure I take care of myself in this fostering life. I was especially inspired by Maralee at A Musing Maralee to take time to reflect, define, and schedule my self-care. I took myself out for coffee with my laptop and wrote out what I was currently doing and if it met my goals of taking care of myself and recharging or not.
1. Run twice per week early in the morning, prepare podcasts to listen to on Sunday. I feel better when I run, and I enjoy being outside by myself in the early morning, even though it's hard to get out of bed. I have been doing this for over a year, but I do skip if I'm not feeling 100% or if a child woke me up during the night. I skip even though I know that 40 minutes of sleep really won't make up for the stress reduction from exercise and listening to a sermon or something that makes me laugh. It's so hard to convince myself of that early in the morning, though.
2. Go out by myself to a coffee shop once per month. Oops, have not done this yet. One problem I'm finding is that I overschedule myself with so many things I want to be involved with and should be involved with, that I feel like I shouldn't leave just to be by myself and do my own thing. I've already been doing my own thing. I frequently leave the kids home with B for one meeting or another. But while these things are essential to me, they aren't helping me slow down. And sometimes I need to slow down, enjoy a coffee, and enjoy different surroundings. One thing B and I do is take turns on sleeping in on weekends, and if I'm not actually sick or sleep-deprived, I may wake up anyway and duck out for breakfast by myself. I did that once awhile back and it was great.
3. Go out with friends every other week, scheduled on Tuesdays but flexible if other events come up. Lots of good things have come up lately, so maybe I don't need to schedule myself as much as I was thinking a month or so ago. I started going to a weekly Bible study, so I'm pretty covered every week, though if I'm honest I need some fun friend outings as well.
4. Be involved in things that I'm passionate about. This is also where I run into overscheduling, but in some ways I need to do these things. The daily life of fostering the child in our home drives my time, emotions, and energy in many ways, and I believe in those sacrifices. But I also want to do something outside of focusing on that one child, which includes being involved in the broader world of foster care, and also being involved in a cause completely unrelated to foster care. The foster care activities help me feel like I have a voice and I'm not alone, and the other cause gets me excited and talking about a completely different topic. I think I need both to be healthy, but they all take time. I need to forgive myself when I skip something that is a part of one of those causes, because I really can't do it all.
5. Forgive yourself for convenience choices, but try to eat quality food. I'm just realizing I need to work on this. I used to eat fruits and vegetables non-stop, but somehow I've been feeding them to the kids and not eating them myself. Mainly I'm just running around too much to stop and make something healthy that I enjoy eating, or I just forget that now that we have bigger kids I need to buy more produce. In the checkout lane the other day, the clerk was incredulous about the amount of produce, and we still ran out in a week.