Self-care: Empty tanks and relationships.

I woke up in a panic on Saturday morning after having a dream that my muscles literally deflated.

Like, straight out of a cartoon. A needle pressed to them, and POP! Down they went. It was an irrational fear that came from needing to be down from any and all weight lifting for a solid week post-oral surgery, and then to take it slow when I started.

I have never, ever felt like that in regards to my body before. I went through my pregnancy without those types of feelings or having those kinds of dreams. I went through the several weeks of postpartum, the same. So why now?


My tank is empty.

Completely bone dry.

Absolutely nothing left.

Much like I sometimes do with my chronic pain from my spinal disease, I sometimes approach my “regular” day-to-day life in the same manor. Instead of borrowing spoons from the following day, or days after… my mindset is: if I can just make it to x-day, or if I can just make it to the end of the week, month, through the Holiday, etc., I’ll be okay.

However, unlike when I run out of spoons and end up down for a few days from activities like running or weight lifting, I can’t sit life out for a few days because I made it to that goal day, and things still didn’t get better.

October was a rough month. It was filled with an astronomical amount of stress, which caused a flare in my disease, and also caused my anxiety to run amok.

“If I can just make it to November…”

Oh, wait. That won’t work either. Just a few days after Halloween, I was scheduled to finally get my wisdom teeth out. So I would have to “just make it” through the recovery of that. And then, as things were starting to ease up, my son got sick.

Those goal days blur right into more stressful, anxiety filled, tough days, and pass in the blink of an eye.

I never get to sit and refill my tank.

I end up so empty, that not even a speck of dust is floating around in the bottom of my tank.images

I’m absolutely terrible at being assertive for myself.

It took getting pregnant to start becoming assertive and saying no to going beyond my physical capabilities in my job. It took finally having my son for me to saying no to being married to my job, unnecessarily. If I’m to be a good employee, I need sleep. I need to eat. I need to recharge. I also won’t be a good employee if I end up resentful that I never get to spend time with my child or family.

Yet in my personal life, I still struggle.

Maybe it’s the circle of people I have surrounding me. Only a scarce few willing to drag my sorry behind from the middle of the parched desert to a teeny-tiny puddle of water to relieve me.

Self-care comes in a variety of forms. It’s not just taking a few minutes out of your day to do something you love. Sitting somewhere, alone, enjoying the peace and quiet of being child free for a little while. Taking a relaxing bubble bath. Going for a walk, hike or maybe even a paddle. It’s not just treating yourself to a spa day. Or a shopping day where you buy that outfit you really love.

Self-care is all-inclusive.

The primary cause of success in your self-care is you. Obviously. However, if you have people surrounding you that are unsupportive of your needs in order to keep that tank of yours full, it’s going to be difficult and you’ll struggle to succeed.

If you don’t have people in your life that you know that you can lean on 100% in a time of need, you’ll struggle.

If you do not have people in your life that you can look at and all out say “I am empty, I need a moment to recharge” without causing tension, an argument, or even have that person need to “take a break” from you? You’ll struggle.

You’ll struggle because you’ll feel alone.

You’ll struggle because you’ll feel like you don’t have a voice.

You’ll struggle because you’ll feel like you don’t have anything to hang on to.

You’ll struggle because you’ll fear the aftermath of finally speaking up and being assertive for yourself and your needs.

1-600x600Find people to fill your life with that fulfill you and give you what you need. You should never feel alone when surrounded by people who claim to be your friends and love you. You should never feel you have to quiet your voice for your needs. You should always have people around you who love you enough to grasp on to you and let you hang on tightly to them when you need. And you should always be able to be able to be assertive for yourself and your needs without worry of repercussion.

Self-care habits are hard enough to work on by themselves, just as recognizing what you need as self-care is. Don’t let those around you hold you back, cause you to struggle, on top of it all.

Posted by

Mother. Photographer. Writer. Founder of Fit Fridays for Mental Health. Former powerlifter turned weightlifter. Coach & Nutritionist. Spondy/PCOS/Endo. Bully breed advocate.

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