“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out." - Matthew 6:2-4 MSG
This is me at a pretty cool photo shoot for postpartum doula life a few weeks back. Before I realized we would be homeschooling, I thought I would just be working with and writing for moms. But alas, God had other plans. Homeschool being one.
Homeschooling a special needs child gives you hundreds of opportunities practice small acts of kindness with great love in the dark. When nobody is looking, we're tidying the tornado that rips through our world again and again and again. Sometimes with words. Sometimes with a squeeze. And sometimes by avoiding eye contact - because, like a dominant doberman, my daughter will aggress with too much social stimulation.
When life gives you lemons - a.k.a. all the wildness - you can either make some super delicious lemonade with it... or you can not. With six years of mothering a gorgeous child with sensory processing disorder and fifteen years mothering me - a woman living with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) - under my belt, I have personally come to the conclusion that either we choose to thrive... to make the lemonade... or we choose to not thrive.
Your body is the vehicle to help you carry out your entire life's purpose. You need to fuel it well. Here are my top five tips for creating and maintaining a machine that can carry you through the entire year, without too much hassle.
Note: if you're on a chronic disease journey, like me, there might be some hassle. Still, check out the tips below and let me know what you would add, based on your wild path!
Happy 2019, precious friends!
I'm starting off the New Year with an inbox full of questions about how to be well, and I wanted to create a really simple resource for friends and family who aren't sure where to start with lifestyle changes. I am a strong believer that God wants great things for all of us! Which means we don't beat ourselves up for past choices or things that happen which are truly beyond our control. Instead, we take the reigns and serve our temple well.
Can I tell you how excited I am for this series?
Surrender was my word for 2018. And as I prepare to dig into life-giving, purpose-driven goal setting for the coming year - it seems appropriate to share with you some takeaways from this adventure-packed year.
As I talk about burnout today, something I've touched upon before, I think about an afternoon several years ago...
It was a wonderful afternoon. We celebrated with guests, and back before Dengue met special parenting, I adored having guests. But it was also an afternoon that filled me with frustration. Despite having worked all week, on top of caring for my infant son, I had not even once voiced what I needed for (or on!) this day. I needed help. I needed a nap. I needed someone to tell me it was okay to take a break. I really needed to sit. My back ached.
I didn't do any of that, though. I said I didn’t mind – and so the dishes and I partnered in an angry scrub-fest that didn’t serve either of us very well.
While I walked away from the situation feeling broken, the dishes didn’t. The dishes dried up and moved on – waiting for the next opportunity to be used. I did not seek out this opportunity, and in fact, avoided hosting another large gathering for quite some time.
Today, as a lifestyle and wellness mentor who specializes in acceptance and adaptation, I know better.
You should know that shortly after that event, I herniated a disc in my back. It was clear my body needed more than what I was giving it. I re-learned how to walk, and by God's mercy and grace I entered into the field I am in now.
And what I consistently tell women today who are burnt out or burning out is this: take care of you. Self care is absolutely other care. No one else is going to say, "Sheila, take a break!" Unless you are visibly unwell.
So, Sheila, I'm going to tell you today to take a break before you are visibly falling apart. First and foremost, I urge you to rest in your Father's arms (as a woman of faith, I pray before I act almost always) and see how He's encouraging you where you're at. Then, create a personal action plan to serve your current space.
A note to my special parenting tribe, if you are already in burnout, these tips will still add life to your life. But, also you might need to create a support system so that you can actually tend to your needs.
Here are three super simple tools that I use daily. You can support your body before you hit the wall. Read on!
Adrena-what? I know, I know! I didn't even you the word adrenal yet. But your adrenal glands (the ones responsible for your hormones) are reacting to every single stressor on your life. Think of your adrenals as critical in the fight or flight response. Sometimes, that response is necessary. And sometimes it's not. Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands have worked too hard for too long.
Interesting fact - I heard on a podcast the other day that every four minutes the part of the brain responsible for our stress-response is checking our environment to see if we're really okay!
You can incorporate any or all three of the tips above to send signals to your brain, that yes you are okay.
I could ramble on and on about this adventure called stress prevention, but today I'll leave you here. Do your own research (pinterest is great!) on healthy fats, support supplements (this one is my favorite), and movement/meditation, and tell me how you're going to avoid burnout during this season - or a season that hasn't even found you yet. As my Pastor says, you're either in a storm or you're headed toward one!
Life is real while we're still here on earth. I'm so glad to do it all with you!
love sharing helpful resources! I may also make a small cut that keeps me fully caffeinated and my brain research-packed (because we can't serve from an empty well, and I really love collecting all the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom I can for both of us.) Always, I'll do my best to keep you on the right path, but I'm no doctor even though I play one at home - often - and mostly for myself. Life with CFS sure keeps things interesting! Life with you + CFS keeps things full of JOY, too.