I think this has been, and probably continues to be one of my hardest lessons. I am, by nature, a fairly active person, and I also tend to be fairly critical of myself. These two character elements seem to conspire to make me feel guilty whenever I take time to do something quiet and just enjoy being in the moment. I love to read, have recently picked up knitting again, and enjoy sitting or walking outside and soaking up creation. However, I find it very difficult to keep my mind from harping at me about all the things I “should” be doing with that time. I also have a tendency to put far to many things on my “to do” list, and then frantically trying to get them done, neglecting to take time for me.
Again, the demands of caring for a toddler have helped me in this respect. I simply HAVE to stop what I’m doing to change, feed, and play with her, in order for her to be her normally happy self. I want her to enjoy being here, and I have no intention of letting the television babysit her. (Not that she is not allowed to watch TV at all, just that it’s not a main portion of her day).
Since we’ve taken in my grandmother to care for her as well, I’ve found it’s even more important to recharge my batteries by taking some time to take care of me. When I let the daily demands take over my entire day, I am far less patient and pleasant with her demands than I am when I’ve been properly caring for myself.
It truly is the case that, just as they say in airplane safety, take care of yourself first, THEN help others. You cannot try to help others before you’ve put on your own oxygen mask, because you’re not going to be much help to them if you’ve passed out. I have to constantly remind myself that I am not being selfish by insisting that I occasionally take time for myself. I am enabling myself to be my best so that I CAN care for others.
Does anyone else have this problem, or is it just me? Do you feel guilty when you’re not “getting something done”?