By Guest Blogger Shaniqua Wheeler
“AHHHHHHH!” I sat on the floor screaming as my body lay there, feet kicking like a two year old who’d just been denied McDonald’s. Of course this was all just an internal battle that I did not want the rest of my family to recognize. (They’d just worry about me, or call me crazy.)
Where to go and what to do? I’ve really been personally challenging myself in these unprecedented times. Safety is a priority in my household and this pandemic is trying to make an example out of me.
I suffer from bi-polar anxiety and depression, P.T.S.D. with a semi-rule out of schizophrenia. I am not ashamed of my diagnosis, and wanted to blog about it in hopes that others who may suffer with mental illness will know they are not alone. I want to welcome other moms into my life virtually and remind you that you are OK. I hope to share some ideas that have helped me on a daily basis, and especially during these trying times of quarantine and COVID.
Back to my story … mid-day was approaching as I’d just entered a video call with my psychiatrist. She’d recommended that I try and find a “quiet space” to gather my thoughts each day, or squeeze in a nap to free myself of the everyday duties I’d taken on. (And, yes of course I chose this life.)
Was she joking? I mean not only am I a mother to a six year old and toddler, but also a wife and homemaker. There’s no resting lady!!! My life consists of a continuous cycle of cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing, changing diapers, playing, refereeing, virtual learning, teaching (let’s be honest) and a whole bunch of other stuff. I barely remember to take my medication! How can I squeeze in what you’re calling “me time?”
“It is VITAL!” she interrupted as I was just pitching my best defense. The fact that she’d cared so much is what led me to ponder. Because of my “condition” it is very much VITAL that I find time for myself and ways to be healthier. Although I find it impossible at times and a tad bit offensive, I must say that it is just one thing I’ve got to do. Why not start now while I am still?
So I’ve been trying to find small moments in my day where I can implement “me time.” You are going to laugh but here are just a few creative (and pretty silly) things I’ve done just to smile and entertain my brain, but also so that I am following the guidelines of my doctor.
– Meditating in the car without the kids, even if the trip is as big as a store run or as short as a drive to the mailbox. Or just blast your favorite song and singalong, if it’s safe to do so. Your brain loves these random, relaxing and exciting moments.
– Doing a victory dance when I take out the garbage. This is exercise and happy thoughts.
– Brushing my hair and teeth everyday to my favorite tune or my child’s favorite.
– Playing my favorite song while I do chores.
– Enjoying outside time in the backyard with the kiddos while we roll around in the grass or paint my toes.
– Pinning motivating and spiritual sticky notes everywhere in my home. I need to hear it, see it. and feel it for my brain to believe it!
– Locking the bathroom door while I shower. (Only when my husband is home to watch the kids.) I need to focus on me, and kids don’t care about daddy being home because they’ll still bother me!
– Setting my alarm to the very annoying chicken song that my boys love so that I can take my medication. We dance to the bathroom while I grab what I need.
– Buying some extra healthy snacks for the kids so I can sneak in one or two when I don’t have the time to “meal prep” or fix a nice pretty salad.
All of these are just to say be creative, do what you can safely at whatever time you may have. Find the time and those little moments in the day because we must take care of ourselves. What’s a kingdom without its King or Queen?
My story is a little different than yours but its no more important. I must force myself to find those times so that I am at my best for my whole team and I encourage you to do so as well. If you won’t do it for yourself because of that selfish feeling you may be getting, (this is the case for some parents) then do it for them! They need you and I need you to be healthier! You are kind, beautiful and strong. Let’s take care of the whole team.
A Motivated Mind
DISCLAIMER : I am in no way, shape or form a medical advisor and would not encourage anyone to do these things if it is not safe for you to do so. Please follow the guidelines and directions from your doctor before moving forward with anything. I made sure myself that even though silly, my doctor was aware of these activities before I performed them. I am also not giving any advice to any parent to abandon their children to perform these activities. I love you and your kiddos, please be safe but also happy and healthy.
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