Thirteen times. That’s how many moves my family and I made before I started high school in New Hampshire. We primarily moved up and down the east coast. From Massachusetts to New Hampshire to as far as South Carolina and back up to New Hampshire where I ultimately graduated from high school and college. We did make a pit stop in New Jersey for a short time too.
The most difficult moves were when I was in third grade. We moved so many times waiting for our house to be built I had two class pictures and attended three different elementary schools. I remember vividly pretending to be sick so I wouldn’t have to be the new girl for the third time. I thought maybe I could avoid going to this school all together in my young mind.
I think this experience impacted me as a parent in a positive way. I encouraged my two sons to come to me to tell me if they needed what we affectionately call “mental health” days. I didn’t want them to lie and tell me they were sick when really they just needed a day off. Even at a young age, I wanted to model self-care and make it a priority. It has brought us closer because mental health days always required a conversation that allowed them to share why they needed one. And sometimes I said no. But, I hope it helps them learn to recognize when they need to push themselves and when they need to take a break as they spread their wings and become more independent.
You see, I’ve been a recovering workaholic my entire life. At fifty one, I have come to value myself more than ever. To recognize my limits. To give myself the gift of taking care of me. Mind, body and spirit. In today’s electronic age it’s easy to make ourselves available twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. But is that really good for us?
What I’ve learned is we actually are much more productive, creative and efficient when we support ourselves by prioritizing self-care. Not to mention happier and healthier. What is your intuition telling you today? Is there something you could do to increase self-care this week? Consider this your permission slip to go do it! It could be as simple as getting up early to enjoy a cup of coffee before attacking your to-do list.