Self-care set point

Hello everyone! I apologize for my hiatus. Adulting invaded my writing space.  I started the decluttering method by Marie Kondo. I only keep things which “spark joy.” I’m down to my dog, chocolate, and coffee maker.. Just kidding . . . I have quite a way to go. I’m also brushing up on my Spanish. ¿Como estas?

Two months ago my boyfriend and I started renovating a badly neglected 1959 ranch. We deemed it the “rescue house.” Like a rescue dog, it suffered neglect, had goofy quirks and a ton of potential. It also reeked of cat urine! In true Californian hippy dippy fashion I named and spoke to it. I assured her that we would love her back to life. We just needed her patience and trust. I gave her a good saging and hoped to God the neighbors didn’t think we were potheads.

Holy moly was she beat up! First,I prepped walls for painting. I swear one room had over 500 nail holes. When filling hole 100 I declared, “What the F**k!” A few minutes later my lovely boyfriend yelled, “What the hell!” He informed me the previous owner attached a fan to the ceiling via caulk.

During my initial visits to the house, I left feeling tense, overwhelmed,and guilty that I did not stay longer to help. I noticed myself waking up cranky on the weekends, particularly the ones in which I committed to other social engagements. I just wanted to walk my doggie by the bay, go on dates again with my boyfriend, eat scones from my favorite cafe and curl up on my couch with a book. Instead I ran around like a crazy woman. Breakfast conversations with my boyfriend shifted from meaningful topics such as social justice to how quickly porcelain tile would become the equivalent of shag carpet. Initially a great, trendy idea but later a decorator’s disaster.

One morning I chastised the French press for not accommodating the amount of water I poured into it. My boyfriend calmly walked into the kitchen, “You ok?.” I paused, checked in with myself and realized the answer was, “no.” For weeks I had functioned outside of my setpoint, that delicate balance between doing and being needed to be a semi-sane person in this overstimulating world.

I made a conscious choice to move back to a place of homeostasis.I began saying “no” more often. I stopped feeling compelled to answer emails and texts immediately. I declined social invitations which would cause more stress than joy. I limited my  house renovation time to a few hours a week. I carved out more time to walk by the bay, read, and cuddle with Frankie, who is currently cone-bound due to a hot spot. My boyfriend and I went on a date!

I encourage you to check yourself. Are you attending to your set point? What do you need to let go? What do you need to take on? Do you need a scone?

Take care my friends.

Imperfectly,

Amelia

frankie-cone

Not My Problem: A Mantra for Those Who Take on Too Much

 

Popcorn
Popcorn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I received an exasperating email from a dear friend. She volunteered to help with her children’s school popcorn fundraiser. Her initial commitment involved collecting and counting money but quickly evolved to managing every aspect of this endeavor. She repeatedly reached out to other parents for assistance, including the PTA president. . .Crickets. . .Instead she received phone calls and email inquiries about when and where to pick up the popcorn. She felt tempted to reply, “go pop your own f’ing popcorn. I’m done!” Knowing my friend, she likely replied with something kinder after she concocted a revenge fantasy of pelting apathetic parents with popcorn.

Several years ago I received a lucrative contract to help an agency complete assessments which had spent several months piling up in a file cabinet. When I pulled the drawer open, I noticed some were already out of compliance and others would soon follow. I quickly realized I could not dig this agency out of the hole it created. I instantly felt anxious and worried. I contacted my supervisor who replied, “Amelia, this is not your problem. Go to work on time. Work hard while you’re there and leave on time. The fact that they need additional staff will quickly rise to the top. If you try to save them, they won’t take the needed steps to address their problem.”

I’ve carried this sage advice into subsequent work environments. Transferring it into my personal relationships poses a tougher challenge. I think women are particularly susceptible to rescuing others. Maybe it goes back to deep evolutionary wiring telling us if a tribe member is struggling the tribe will die! Regardless, the tribe will not perish if we do not assume others’ problems. I try to enlist people in my life to remind me of this fact. For example, I called my sweet sister a few weeks ago and before I even recounted my dilemma, I told her, “I need you to remind me this is NOT my problem. . .I can’t save everyone. I’m not Jesus.” To each compassionate, yet irrational point I made, she lovingly replied, “not your problem.”

Where in your life do you need to remind yourself, “Not my problem”? If you run around placing oxygen masks on everyone else, and pass out because you forgot to put on yours, THEN you have a problem!

Imperfectly,

Amelia