I'll be honest with myself first and foremost, and then you: I have been REALLY slacking and falling behind when it comes to my self-care. The results: my energy levels are low and I've been waking up every morning feeling fatigued and just so sluggish. With all the demands of motherhood, teaching, and endless feeding, it is so EASY to just forget yourself and put your needs on the backburner. Sometimes, I miss those days when I would have time to sip chai in peace and engage in meaningful conversations with my friends. I try and replicate that now with my 6 yr old. It's a hit and miss tbh.
But that's not the point. The point is: I fell behind when it comes to self-care despite making attempts to actively advocate for and prioritize it in my life Slowly but surely, things started falling through the cracks. So sneakingly, I didn't even notice it happening! First, it was my morning routine - the few min/hours of peace I got before the kids wake up, then my afternoon naps, then it was my daily meditation practice and yoga and finally, my diet! I was so busy feeding little tummies, I wasn't being mindful about what I'm putting in my body. I was mindlessly eating anything just to curb my hunger. It was a downhill spiral and I ended up at the doctor's office this week with intermittent aches and pains. My body was sort of getting desperate and crying for help!
And there I was - sitting at the doctor's office with my aching body, scared to death. I had been noticing a swollen lymph node in my neck for a while - about a month to be precise. But every time I thought of doing something about it, I got interrupted by someone - a crying baby, someone needed to be fed, someone spilled something and had to be cleaned. The amount of work is quite insane, so I kept putting my worries and my problems aside and would kneel down to comfort the crying baby, to feed a hungry child and to clean up messes. it's so easy to fall into that loop, put others before you so you can attend to their needs, but it backfires. it backfired for me and then I had to finally muster up the courage to attend to my needs - listen to my aching body, my soul and my heart.
I felt overcome by so much sadness while driving to the doctor's office so I decided to just let it out! I don't even know why but I just felt like crying. Maybe I felt guilty about not putting my needs first. Maybe it was the fear that I would end up making the same mistakes as so many other burnt out moms. Maybe I was sad because I am not giving my kids my best possible self! I was thinking too many thoughts and feeling too many feelings!
Sitting at the doctor's office, I was exhausted chasing all the thoughts bombarding me. I tried grounding myself by taking deep breaths. Alhamdulillah, things went well and the doctor reassured me I wasn't dying - it was just crushing pain of my sinuses left unchecked for a bit too long! I was relieved, but that crazy train of thought right before seeing the doctor made me realize how short life is and how vulnerable we are. It reminded me of the hadith of the prophet:
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Take benefit of five before five:
your youth before your old age,
your health before your sickness,
your wealth before your poverty,
your free-time before your preoccupation,
and your life before your death.”
Why does it have to take a crazy diagnosis or a life-changing event for us to realize we need to get our act together and focus on the right things? It doesn't have to be this way - we CAN focus and work towards our relationship with Allah SWT, prioritize our wellbeing and give our family & friends the love and care they deserve - starting today!
May Allah SWT enrich our lives with health, fulfillment and all the beautiful things in this world and akhirah (Ameen)