Advocate For Yourself

I have a confession: I used to be pretty terrible at self-care. I’ve gotten much better and in order to do so, I had to have a plan.

Like Hannibal of the A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together. I’ve got a Plan A, B, C and D usually for most situations and self-care is definitely on my list to keep up.

However, I do put my kids and husband in front of my needs very often. My job is epic levels of stress, which I have handled for over eight years. I’m at burn-out. I know it, I take steps to combat it and that helps me to recover. Part of my current plan involves making certain changes and I’m happy to be taking baby-steps.

But here’s the thing, no matter how you find your happy, I feel that discovering the best ways to get the most bang for your buck depends on figuring out how you tick. Listening to your body, heart and mind to heal thyself is harder than I thought it would be. It has taken me years to trust that quiet center of my soul and to hear what resonates within it. Even more so, the time it has taken me to understand when I need to take a moment and what helps me to flourish.

I’m an INFJ or what is called an Advocate. When I discovered that, then read up on it, something stood out to me.

“It makes sense that their friends and colleagues will come to think of them as quiet Extraverted types, but they would all do well to remember that Advocates need time alone to decompress and recharge, and to not become too alarmed when they suddenly withdraw.”

This is very true of me. I can chatter as happily as a magpie, but I also need the quiet of being alone. I appreciate my husband deeply for understanding this about me. I love him and my children no less, but I find that the way I try to take care of myself deals quite a bit with turning inward.

These aren’t sojourns off into the wilderness for hours, though a walk in the morning has been a part of caring for myself. More, that these are little actions I take for myself. Constant day in and day out small things that help me reflect on feeling like the best version of myself. Things like reading alone in bed, listening to nature sounds, meditation, a hot bath, feeling a cool breeze on a sunny day for several minutes, giving in to silliness/laughter, being honest in what I’m feeling at that moment, breathing deep, going to bed at a consistent time, forgiving myself when I’m not at my best, singing along to the radio in my car or cuddling one of my kitties.

There’s no wrong or right to it and there is no guilt involved. I am giving attention to myself in small and manageable bites. It helps me be a better wife, mother, co-worker and support professional. On the whole, I have reaped enough benefits to know that it has been worth it for me and I certainly feel it is worth it for anyone to advocate to themselves, for themselves.

This is a part of the Spring 2017 Support Driven Writing Challenge. Just like with self-care, we’re writing for ourselves as an adventure! Come join us!