3 September 2009

Self Preservation

I need to rest today. I feel it in my bones. I had a meeting Monday night, then two days working, yesterday I worked alone. What needed doing has been done, I took time on Tuesday afternoon to visit my sick friend after work, I returned many phone calls, interviewed a new volunteer, bought groceries for our food bank and fund-raising, wrote the newsletter and a lot of emails, organised a few things and dealt with the clients who wandered in. Today I return to my home, and today I'm looking after myself.

I will have crumpets and tea for breakfast.

There is half finished liquid soap waiting for me in the fridge; it looks like a huge piece of golden chewing gum I will finish the processing and bottle it today.

There is bread to be made. I will make the bed.

I will write.

And cook dinner tonight - I am tossing up between homemade pasta and pumpkin risotto.

I'll check on the ginger beer plant and look at the laundry, but won't do any.

And then make my way out to the front veranda and water some very dry plants. I'll stay out there with tea and knitting for a while.

Everything that could be done today will still be there tomorrow, but tomorrow I'll be rested and capable, and pleased I took some time out.

I hope you're looking after yourself too. It is not weakness or laziness to take time out for yourself. It is a necessary part of life, especially if you're caring for others, working outside the home or parenting young children. Not only does it renew your energy and give you the strength to carry on, it soothes away any resentment that may have been building. We all know it's important to look after our family; you are part of that family too, you also need nurturing and support. If you have the time, please tell me how you look after your own well being. Or if you don't, tell me why. I hope my male readers also respond to this. How do you look after yourself?

Take care, friends.



  1. Hi Rhonda
    Oh how right you are about taking time out for youself. My husband has become a work-aholic and now doesn't know how to slow down he is working himself into an early grave. He is renovating our house, selling real estate plus he helps me at night to run our cleaning business which is bringing in alot more income than the real estate. It is now starting to affect his health and he has lost over 50kilos in a year.

  2. Thank you, Rhonda. This was a timely reminder for me.

    Barb in GA

  3. What a wonderful post today and such a lovely reminder to look after ourselves too! I know as women and as caretakers we tend to forget this very important item on our to do list...I am allowing myself to spend time on my blog and visiting friends near and far in order to allow for a little 'me' time!

  4. ery sensible advice. So often 'soldiering on' can only worsen the ailment so you are out of action for longer!! I hope you get your rest and feel better soon


  5. oh I love pumpkin risotto. Would you mind sharing the recipe you use?

  6. In pursuing the simple life, I try to take what needs to be done at a slower pace. As you know and said, it will still be there tomorrow.
    Connecting to nature is what gives me my energy and strength. I work/play in my garden. I stroll through my back yard with camera in hand to focus on and appreciate my surroundings. We all need to care for ourselves. We become more when we do so.
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  7. Great post Rhonda! It IS so important to look after ourselves!
    I was always someone to run myself into the ground for others until I was too far gone to do anything but collapse. I never understood why I should take time to renew and rejuvenate myself until I saw the soup bowl theory - how can you fill everyone's bowls from your cauldron if your own is empty?
    Now the best way to rejuvenate myself is to be in nature, and let myself slow down to match the everlasting slow and steady way of the natural world. It takes a few hours, but does so much good!
    This concept is also one of the main foci of my life coaching philosophy (I'm a life coach by profession). So many women don't realize that taking time for themselves should be one of their top priorities! It's amazing!

  8. After two gruelingly hot hours in the garden this morning I began to vomit due to heat exhaustion.

    I love to make my garden beautiful and I should have stopped when my face felt strange...but I was almost done..:O I had a vision of what I longed to do...

    I have a hard time stopping before I meet a goal. Especially when the accomplishment of it brings me so much pleasure.

    I have had a long very cool shower, water, carrot juice, health cookie, grapes and some peanut butter pretzels.

    Sat here and just watched hulu tv

    The kids are to get home shortly and I feel ready to enjoy them.

    I stopped in the garden at 92* and 35% humidity said "stupidity" ha!

  9. At the moment, I'm in the first trimester of pregnancy so, every opportunity I get, I'm napping. It feels vaguely like a waste of time but I know I'll be unable to function if I don't get enough rest so I'm pushing the guilt aside, lying on the couch and shutting my eyes as the boys read their bookies beside me (or, sometimes, jump up and down on me, depending on their mood!)

    When I have the energy, I do the things that I can. Every other day, I consider everything beyond bathing, feeding and dressing the children (and myself) to be a bonus

    Enjoy your quiet day.
    Karen (in Scotland)

  10. Well done for resting Rhonda, and for all the good work you do at your centre, and for yourselves :) You are a lesson and an inspiration :)

    As you know, I'm writing to a bit of a deadline at the minute... I HAVE to look after myself, or I won't be able to work, but it's very easy NOT to at times like these... For me it's about acceptance.

    I'm accepting I won't always be eating healthily, but making an effort. I make packed lunch when I can, and make sure I make tea at home, but don't beat myself up about the odd chocolate bar (or two) from the vending machine.

    I'm accepting that I can't do much exercise at the minute, but again, I'm making an effort. I walk to and from the library, and make sure I get out of the house every day, even if it's just for fifteen minutes.

    I'm accepting that I can't bake and clean and cook and generally home make as much as I'd like to right now, but I'm making an effort. I do cook our tea, I do sit and eat breakfast, and I keep up a general routine of keeping the place tidy, but I don't beat myself up about eating an easy cous cous salad three nights in a row (or nothing but home made bread and porridge another day).

    I also started a small cheery project for myself :) I have prioritised writing above everything else, including socialising and crafting, for these few short weeks, so my blog (which I wanted to be a kind of gardening/crafting blog) is looking a bit sparse.

    So each day, I'm posting two photos - one representing working, one relaxing, since they're the two things I need to keep up right now. And it's fun finding things to photograph! (although this is only day two...).

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder, keep up the good work, and the resting :)


  11. Thank you, so much for reminding us that it is ok, and even recommended, to take time out to rest.

    I would love to think that my Sundays were the day of rest I was raised to believe they were intended to be, however, with our responsibilities at church and then fellowship with friends we are often spent at the end of the weekend.

    So... I find myself taking short catnaps on some weekday afternoons. It is a wonderful way to be ready to be awake and refreshed, ready to greet my husband as he comes in from a long day at work.

    That is one way I try to maintain my health and "good nature"...

    Becky K.
    Hospitality Lane

  12. What a great post.

    Over the weekend Daddy took Top Ender away camping and left Baby Boy and I here alone. Baby Boy became ill a few hours later and slept a lot, as Babies do when they need to heal, and it left me with time to be me and not Mummy or Wife.

    I needed it a lot more than I realised as I was coming down with the same bug as Baby Boy, but the time I spent recharging was great for me, and I think helped me get over my bug a lot quicker!

  13. I love the orchid picture. I happen to have one of those same ones. It does very well here in Maryland, USA.

  14. I don't read fiction very often, but when I need a good mental vacation I find a book with a good storyline and settle down on the couch for a long read. I'm not able to physically leave for a vacation, so I travel through books. Becoming absorbed in a story gets my mind off the problems at hand. When I "return" I'm more relaxed, and things don't look so bad. I certainly feel better! Liz

  15. Just surfing the web and going through old posts on your blog is some time out for me. Also, I love looking on a shopping website where people put beautiful, handmade items. I've only ever bought once, but I love looking at the marvelous things people create, it's inspiring - I will learn to sew one day!! I also love to curl up on the lounge with a trashy romance novel! That's escapism!
    Thanks for reminding us that it's ok to have some time to ourselves Rhonda. I think us young mums particularly need that message. We don't need to have all of those balls in the air all of the time!


  16. I must learn to stop and rest .
    Even when I sit I am doing "Something"
    I love to really get everything out of each day But you start to feel yes,Resentment!

    Your day sounds very calm...

  17. I started the day very early today. I think I was as excited as the kids for their first day back at school. By the time I walked with them to school, I'd already done laundry, hung it to dry and made three loaves of bread.

    After that, I welcomed my child-free day with a long walk with friends. Although I really wanted to start cleaning and organizing the house (after your inspiration spring cleaning posts), I only managed to can some tomatoes and make a batch of pickled beans and carrots. Now my feet hurt and I'm relaxing a bit. I can always do some tidying after picking up the kids.

    It's hard to take a break in the middle of my messy home, but I'm trying to ignore the mess around me and sit still sometimes with my feet up.

  18. thanks for the reminder.

    Today has been anything but on track and I decided to just go with the flow, do what was needed and set the "list" aside until tomorrow.
    School starts in less than a week for us here and I had set up too many projects for myself this week. I decided I'm going to enjoy the rest of the week with my son before he starts 3rd grade and put off the projects until next week.
    Today is a good day. Apparently God thought I needed a rest and some communication with the outside world.
    I hope today refreshes you. :)

  19. Yes, I always say to people if you dont look after yourself then you cannot look after anyone else.

    Wise words, as always.

  20. I heartily agree with Kristy - reading this blog is one way I take care of me. It is an inspiration in so many ways. Today, it helps me remember to take care of me! I also find that I can't do as much as I can 10, 20 or 30 years ago. That is fine as long as I can remember it. I also have found since retirement that my body will speak to me and is happy when I listen, which I didn't do while working (actually, I couldn't hear it - too much caught up in the stress). I read. I putter. I bake. And I love my naps.

  21. I love your philosophy on the laundry...look at it and move on. It will wait. I think I'll take it easy the rest of the evening as well...xoxoxo

  22. I have 5 children aged from 5 to 15 (I'm a homemaker) and when I find my temper getting short or my patience wearing thin, I grab my camera and head to the park with the kids.

    {I have plenty of photos of the kids on my blog which reflects the many times I've used this toool!}

    Nothing makes me happier than taking photos and it cheers the kids up too - the fresh air, the change of scenery from the walls inside the house and being the absolute centre of my attention through the camera lens.

    I hope you enjoy your day,

    Vanessa x

  23. I am on the third day of my vacation and feel so relaxed and rested already. The day before my vacation started I was finding fault with everything and everybody. Looking back, I can see I was just taking on too much for everything and everyone leaving myself neglected. Doesn't work. Thanks for a great post.

  24. The most important lesson I learned for myself was to say "no, sorry I can't help " those times I'm already stretched. I've had a hard time doing this in the past, and it cost me a good deal healthwise.

    When I feel the need for down time, it varies ....I might nap, sit in the sun and read, knit or do some kind of handwork, potter in the garden, take a walk..the right thing varies at different times.

    I also make sure I eat well, being hungry or under-nourished leads to a very cranky, under-functioning not-nice me!


  25. I used to relax by putting on an apron and spending hours in the kitchen. Which is a way of relaxing my family enjoyed. :)

    These days I get the necessary housework accomplished, make some tea, and read favorite blogs (which is why I am HERE)or a book.

    I also just started working on my scrapbook journal again, writing what worked in this year's garden.

  26. We all need a rest sometimes. Last week was a particularly hard week in the garden. On Sunday night I went to bed at 8pm and woke at 8am, so that's what I do! Sleep.

  27. My Mum has always told me to look after yourself, because you are the backbone of the family!
    When I had babies, 3 under 4years, I only concentrated on very simple home cooked meals, washing but no ironing and strict 1 hr rest everyday. Even if no one would sleep, quiet lie downs with a book or whatever. I kept this up till school days and with babies awake most of the day and night, it kept my sanity!
    No one ever died of dust! But good basic food and clean clothes puts everyone in a good frame of mind!
    Then when school started, every Friday after school, I would shut the house down till dinnertime! Phone off hook, curtains closed, any callers were unanswered and in the dark we rested! Maybe slept or watched a quiet video, but nothing energetic. Friends and Family learnt to not call and it gave us peace after a busy week.
    Now, the best rest is to take the phone off the hook! Lock the house up, close the blinds, don't answer the door. Just shutting out the busy world for a day and doing nothing or whatever is a BIG SPOIL!
    We can all find sometime if we really try, rather than staying busy for busy sake! Be kind to yourself!

  28. Thank you so much Rhonda- I am also aching with tiredness today, and this was a reminder that it is OK to rest-essential, actually.Unfortunately I am in a paid workplace where there is a culture-and a team of younger workers with the energy for it-of going on no matter what.Without sounding like a grumpy 54 year old-I work hard- it is difficult to take time out from what is demanding and challenging work.
    So today-a welcome day off-rest and recuperation and a focus on the few months remaining till I can "retire".
    Enjoy your break-this has been the post I needed to read today, so thank you...

  29. Thanks for posting this. I had expected to have one of those days today as I have been sick with a cold this past week, however yesterday my husband broke his ankle and is home (and a contractor, so no pay for six weeks), but cannot be much help with our little ones.

    I think I'll still attempt several mini breaks today though, thanks for reminding me of the importance of it.


  30. Hi Rhonda-Jean - It's Chantel from Ashfield - It's been a long time between chats!

    What a lovely and important post Rhonda - We do need to look after ourselves. I'm so glad you are today. I'll be thinking of you knitting on your verandah :)

  31. I took the day to travel to a nearby (under 2 hrs) city to see my grandchildren. While there, I picked up Nourishing Traditions, and will be relaxing and reading it the next few days.

    I find I can no longer clean the house perfectly in a day. So I spread it out. I also still work two days a week. I keep things picked up, but the dusting may have to wait a day or two.

    Your blog has been such a blessing in my life.

  32. I am glad you are taking the time to look after yourself. I do much the same as you...leaving big chores such as laundry for the next day.

    I spend my day relaxing, knitting, reading and having a cup of tea while putting my feet up on my favorite spot on the couch.

    We all need time to rejuvenate or else we will not have the energy to take care of those we love. :)

  33. Shelagh C. in HoustonSeptember 03, 2009 10:25 am

    Hi Rhonda,

    What a great post, as usual, and I'm glad you are taking your own advice and having some down time. All those chores will still be there when you are refreshed.

    Like some of the others, I am retired and, having only myself to take care of (apart from the dogs and cats), if I feel the need for a day off I take it. I've learned to listen to my body, particularly since I'm having some health issues this year.

    If I don't feel like doing anything around the house or garden I don't do it. Instead, I read, knit, crochet, take the dogs for a walk or just take a nap. Even a 30 minute nap can make a big difference.

    I hope your day off did you a lot of good and that you'll be raring to go tomorrow.

  34. I know how you feel, we all need time to relax and renew. We started observing Sabbath Friday sundown to Saturday sundown and it took me the longest time to get used to the idea that I did not have to be working or doing something every second of the day. Now, I look forward to Saturday all week long. I read, nap, crochet, we walk the dogs, watch a movie, spend a lot of time together as a family and once in a while I'll cook but usually we have relaxed meals. It does wonders for the soul, down time is so important. Now I refer to those days as "gate closed" Saturdays after seeing the phrase here. It doesn't have to be Sabbath for the non-religious, etc., but find the time for yourself! We could all use it.

  35. New here...Texas USA...enjoy your thoughts. I do Tai Chi for Seniors 3x week/20 minutes and Meditate every morning for 15 minutes. Been doing it for 40 yrs (am 61). I have to go within to deal with the "without" of everyday life...renews and recharges my inner strength batteries. I work in a Prison 2x/wk and gets stressful sometimes, so that's what has always worked for me. Haved lived the "pioneer" life for most of mine and love it! It's good to take time...to take time!

  36. Unfortunately, I am like Donetta, I won't stop until whatever I am working on is finished. By the time I do stop, I am exhausted and wonder why I didn't sit down and rest. This is usually when I am doing yard work or cleaning the house. I like it when they are finished and look nice.

    I unwind by sitting and knitting. That is usually how I spend my evenings until time to go to bed and then I read.

    I used to be a work-aholic and couldn't get my job how of my head. I didn't knit then so it was hard to unwind. Wish I had started knitting sooner, but I don't work now so it is great.

    Hope you are rested and ready for another day.


  37. Rhonda, you are such a busy lady, you always have "full on" days, you need to rest and relax. Enjoy.


  38. Hi Rhonda, good to hear you are having some down time and just attending to what truly makes you happy. I hope you have a beautiful day out on the porch with your knitting, your cuppa and your thirsty plants! When I have a little time up my sleeve, and no children pulling on my apron strings(!) I like to grab a book or a magazine and take myself to the backyard with a cup of indulgent percolated coffee and read for an hour or so. Have a nice 'day off' Rhonda, hope you actually take time to put your feet up while doing all those little things.

  39. I am glad you are taking time for yourself Rhonda..it took me many years to learn that. Now I have what I call 'me time'..as often as I want to! It's easier for me to do of course since retirement. So what did you make for supper..I'm leaning towards the homemade pasta??
    I'm off to relax with my knitting. I sure don't have enough squares as yet but I work on them when I can. I hope the deadline isn't looming..or else my blanket shall be very small indeed!! grin

  40. Hi Rhonda,
    This time of year is the busiest for me with work and preparing for school (both kids and college for myself), canning and freezing. The switching seasons leave me breathless. My favorite thing to do is to set my alarm a few minutes early and stretch out that wake up time. I find it to be the best time of the day to cuddle my DH and pamper myself by feeling relaxed instead of rushed.
    Blessings from Horton, Michigan USA

  41. I don't. I don't take care of myself.

    I push and push and run and run. Then I get ill and have to stop.

    I don't plan it that way. It's just how I seem to be made.

    Your post made me cry. And feel guilty. It was exactly what I needed to read.

    Now I want tea and crumpets.{g}

  42. Like others who hae commented,I find it hard to stop & sit... I am one of those who if something needs doing,I get on & do it,in the garden thats not so bad as sometimes the weather steps in to slow you lol! but in a house ha! its never done is it? I am slowly learning to l.e.a.v.e things...
    such a hard lesson for me,but I am making steps. I am changing. & thats quite exciting for its hard to do.
    GTM x x

  43. Today I was in the garden hanging out washing while my 2 and 3 year old played on the trampoline.

    When I had finished and was taking the basket back inside my 3 year old said "mum why don't you lie down with me on the trampoline and we'll look at the beautiful sky together".

    So that's just what we did, miss 2 kept jumping around us and miss 3 rattled on in the way only a 3 year old can and I lay in the soft sunshine watching the bees buzzing around my lavender.

    And I knew I was truly alive.

  44. Taking time for yourself is important. I do it by spinning. Everything can wait, I sit at the wheel, feel the wool sliding through my fingers. I find it very meditative and I become centered. Even 10 minutes at the wheel makes me feel like I had a power nap. Weeks and weeks will go by, I look at that beautiful piece of equipment and think I should spend time with it. Then, everything around me feels like it is too much (trying to simplify is still a lot of work!).. then I spin and wonder why I let so many weeks go by, I am renewed.

    Great post, Rhonda, thank you!

    (a woman that has been one with her spinning wheel the last week! Maybe some housecleaning should happen tomorrow....)

  45. Please, please post your pumpkin risoto recipe, its sounds yummy and I like all things pumpkin :)

  46. Dear Rhonda,
    I don't take time out for myself ever.Being a hands on mum of four kids. Hopefulyy I look forward to the one day when they are a bit more self suficient!
    Hope you enjoyed your lazy (sic) day!

  47. Hi Rhonda,

    I love reading your blog and others, twittering and finding all kinds of things of interest on the computer. However, it is one of the things I do that I need to be willing to step away from and give it and me a rest. Sometimes I need to be told. That's what reading this post made me think about. Thanks.

  48. Love these words of you: Everything that could be done today will still be there tomorrow, but tomorrow I'll be rested and capable, and pleased I took some time out.

    I think that can be a great lesson to all of us.

    Love from Mama Monique

  49. I took the liberty of e-mailing your post to my husband--this is something he's been really struggling with lately. He was raised to believe that "idle hands are the Devil's playground" and will push himself to the point of illness rather than take a day, or even an afternoon, to rest and relax. Thank you for your timely post, and your lovely blog! I can't tell you how helpful your posts have been to me at this point in our lives.

  50. I loved the concept of a Sabbath Saturday, but how do we deal with school homework and assignments?

  51. Hello Rhonda, From time to time what takes time for yourself that can nevertheless? s `afternoon if we eating on have always weerga I half uurtje on the bank to lie, close m. `n to look and sleep a smattering this way can continue I the complete afternoon and s `evening after eating takes over my lief and I a long walk and speaks we of everything what our occupies. That gives also a type of rest.

  52. I read this, and thought - that's exactly how I feel! I need a 'down' day as I call it - to rest and do little things, but not major undertakings. Since I work full time, I think I'll take that day on Saturday so I can be rested to enjoy the holiday weekend with my family on Sunday and Monday. I do love your blog. I learn so much here. Much love - Denise in NC (USA)

  53. Hill upon Hill, we deal with homework assignments by our daughter either doing it on Friday afternoon if it's short, or on Sunday. But our Sabbath is for religious reasons, and we consider it to be work for her so she doesn't do it on Saturday.


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