Do you keep going, going, going until you crash? Remember: if you don’t have time in your schedule to be sick, make sure you schedule time for self-care!
For weeks, I had been getting sick.
Now, for most people, getting sick is a pretty quick process. But for a Melancholy-Choleric, getting sick doesn’t fit into our schedules, so we just don’t allow our bodies to break down like they’re threatening to do.
I sucked on elderberry lozenges like hard candy, and I took up drinking Echinacea tea (though I typically loathe the taste of “dead leaves in water”) solely for the purpose of staying as well as possible.
You see, I had four major vocal events to get through that December, and I simply didn’t have time to be sick in bed or lose my voice, so I did anything and everything I could think of to not do so.
The week leading up to that last performance – singing two rather out-of-my-range songs for my cousin’s New Year’s Eve wedding – I had been coughing more frequently and feeling more and more tired.
But, I had no time for that nonsense, so I chugged more tea, popped more Echinacea pills, and sucked more elderberry lozenges.
I made it through, but barely.
During the reception, I began to feel wimpy again, but I still had to get home before I could really allow myself to fall apart.
On the drive back to Texas, I gulped down coke after coke in my attempts to keep my puny, exhausted body awake and alert, and I was ever so thankful that a friend called to talk with me for an hour or more on the tail end of the trip.
I kept thinking that if I could just make it home, I could have two entire days to be sick before I was needed anywhere again.
Finally, I did make it home, and after unloading the car, I nearly collapsed onto my bed. I turned off my alarm, took the prescription, knock-me-out cough syrup I keep on hand for these lovely occasions, and determined to spend the entirety of the next day in bed.
This part is where I had to laugh at myself: I had consciously scheduled a day to be sick.
Only a Melancholy-Choleric would be so determined to be in control that she would choose her preferred day to fall ill and do whatever it took to follow the plan. What a mess I am!
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As always, I am not a health professional, and I do not play one on the internet. I am simply a mom sharing her best tips and tricks for supporting her family’s health and wellness. Always talk with your doctor before beginning a new wellness routine — bonus points if you can find a holistic practitioner or Functional Medicine doctor near you! View my complete terms & conditions here.
An Important Lesson about Scheduling
As I learned on that long ago trip, we HAVE to take care of ourselves — even when we think we don’t have the time.
Remember: if you don’t have time in your schedule to be sick, then you had better schedule time to prevent it!
See, the problem had been that I had allowed myself to get run down.
I had been super stressed for weeks, then I had been with family and friends nonstop since arriving at my childhood home a few days before Christmas. While I had hidden away for short periods of time while I was there, none of those times had been substantial enough to be truly refreshing for this Melancholy who has HUGE Emotional Needs for Space & Silence.
On top of being physically run down from being so stressed and fighting sickness for so long, by the time I got home, I was also mentally and emotionally exhausted from that lack of “me time.” I needed to schedule a day alone to do nothing but spend time with God and allow Him to refresh me — mind, body, and soul.
Why We Need a Sabbath
No doubt it is for this reason that God instituted the Sabbath, a day of rest, for His people. He knew we needed that downtime to stay healthy in all aspects. As God knew, I hadn’t really given myself a Sabbath in weeks, and my body was showing the signs of this neglect.
Thankfully, He also saw fit to lead me to a place where I had no choice but to rest in Him and just stop for a good long while.
As I am currently in yet another season where my body and mind are in desperate need of some Sabbath healing, I pray that we will all take note of this lesson: make time to take care of yourself! You cannot afford NOT to!
A Special Warning for My Beloved, Fellow Cholerics
Powerful Cholerics of any variety are particularly bad about going-going-going until they run themselves into the ground. So, Cholerics, be warned!
Those with a Choleric-Melancholies Personality mix will keep going, forever trying to make things exactly the way they want them. (Hence, planning my day to be sick for when it conveniently fit my schedule!)
Choleric-Sanguine Personality blends are what we call “the Energizer Bunnies” of the Personality world. They only have two speeds: ON and OFF! They will just keep going until they absolutely crash.
If you’re not sure if you have this Choleric tendency, be sure to check out this overview of The Personalities and grab my free Personalities Simplified Cheatsheet. You can also grab a copy of Wired That Way by Marita Littauer. This book has a Personality Profile included to help you figure out your own unique Personality blend.
By way of a quick “Am I Choleric or not?” quiz, ask yourself these questions?
- Am I one who can lead a group fairly naturally?
- Do I like being in charge?
- Do I typically want things done my way?
- If someone crosses me, is my first inclination to get angry?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you just might be a Choleric. (Be sure to take the complete profile and/or read the book to be sure!)
If everything in you bristles at those questions or makes you want to run away and hide, you are NOT a Choleric. (But, I’m willing to bet you’re married to one or are friends with one!)
Be Sure Your Emotional Needs Are Met, Too
As I mentioned earlier, when I was falling apart that long ago holiday season, I had NOT been taking the time to meet my own Emotional Needs. When our Emotional Needs are not being met, we will automatically feel more drained mentally, emotionally, and physically — which can all lead to illness.
Emotional Needs are THAT important!
Once you know what your unique Personality blend is, be sure to also look at the most important Emotional Needs for both your Primary and Secondary Personalities. Which of your Emotional Needs are not being met right now?
Then, take the time to see to those needs on a daily basis. There is a lot you can do yourself to meet those needs, but don’t forget the power of letting others in on the mystery of your Emotional Needs and allowing them to help you!
What Emotional Needs do you need to share with your spouse? Your children? Your extended family and friends? Decide in which areas you could use some extra support and ask for it! (Yes, I know this part isn’t super fun for most of us, but we NEED it!)
The Challenge for All of Us
Knowing how prone many of us are to NOT taking care of ourselves, I want to challenge each of us (myself included!) to take a long, hard look at your schedule before the crash happens.
Ask yourself these questions:
What activities can be delegated or abandoned entirely?
Cholerics are either absolutely PROS at delegating, or we refuse to delegate at all and insist on doing everything ourselves. If it is not your natural inclination, LEARN to delegate! It will save your bacon more than I can even tell you.
Many of us take on activities that are simply unnecessary. If you’re thinking about a task that is draining you emotionally or physically, ask yourself: is it REALLY necessary? Could you drop it entirely and have the world keep spinning?
Sometimes just clearing our plate of unnecessary or don’t-need-to-be-done-by-us activities is the best form of self-care!
Do you have a solid routine for self-care?
Us moms are TERRIBLE at scheduling in time for self-care of any sort. Most of the time, we figure getting to go to the bathroom by ourselves for 5 minutes or taking a shower that day is a huge win in the self-care department.
I feel you, mama, but I’m here to tell you: you need MORE.
Remember those Emotional Needs we talked about earlier? Take care of them!
And when was the last time you did ANYTHING just for YOU without worrying about taking care of anything or anybody else? Find something you LOVE to do and DO IT!
Do you have periods of rest scheduled in each day/week/month/year?
This question includes getting enough sleep each night! I read a study somewhere that talks about how women need more sleep than men — and I TOTALLY believe it! We need to be getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night!
Sleep deprivation will lead to sickness every time, mama. Do everything you can to get that sleep each night!!
But even beyond sleep, we need regular periods of REST to keep our bodies functioning optimally and our minds healthy and strong. We need simple downtime where we can do something enjoyable or relaxing to refresh our spirits and minds regularly.
I wrote a guest post for YouAreMoreThanMom.com about how busy Work-At-Home moms need to schedule in time for rest and self-care on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Even if you aren’t a WAHM, these tips will be super helpful for you, so be sure to head over and check out this post! (You can think of the house/childcare/meals/etc., as your “work” and “job” as you read the post, if that helps!)
How is your nutrition?
Those of you who have been on the Scattered Woman Crew for a while have heard me harp on the need for solid nutrition on innumerable occasions.
Having walked through cancer and chemo as a result of poor lifestyle and nutrition choices (even if I didn’t know better at the time), this aspect of keeping ourselves health is incredibly important to me. I do NOT want to see any of you have to go through this mess when it is most definitely preventable!
To quote the cliche: we are what we eat, and most of us are eating crap. Is it any wonder we keep getting sick??
If you’re ready to start taking steps toward better nutrition, be sure to check out these 3 Baby Steps to a Healthier Family, as well as this post on how to nourish your body during and after chemo. (You don’t have to have gone through chemo to get a TON out of this post!)
Do you use natural remedies to supplement a strong nutrition plan?
Getting optimal nutrition is a fabulous step in the right direction, and we can make sure those nutritional efforts are not wasted by using natural, non-toxic remedies and supplements when we need them instead of toxic pharmaceuticals that will clog up our systems and leave us struggling with additional side effects.
Please hear me: there are absolutely times where conventional medical interventions are necessary. If you’re dealing with a serious medical situation, make sure you are talking with your doctor!
For less serious situations for which conventional medicine has no answers, come up with a natural solutions game plan.
You can create your own Home Health Arsenal, use essential oils for daily immune system support, or print out your own Bug Buster Protocol Checklist to help you support your body well when the nasties hit.
When you know what natural remedies to use BEFORE sickness strikes, it is MUCH easier to choose non-toxic solutions and not have to rely on typical, OTC medications. Supporting your body well will help you get back up and running quickly — and make your downtime much easier to survive!
(Had I had my Home Health Arsenal and Bug Buster Protocol back during that crazy holiday season that left me in bed for two days — conveniently schedule by me! — I feel quite confident I wouldn’t have gotten nearly so sick for nearly so long. I would have been oiling up as I went about my crazy schedule and been supporting my body through the stress instead of just letting it pile up on me!)
What about YOU?
I know it’s a lot to think about, but it is SO important to learn how to take care of ourselves now — and not when you’re smacked in the face with an illness, autoimmune disease, or worse!
So, how are YOU doing with scheduling in time to take care of yourself?
Are you a self-care pro? (If so, please share your secrets in the comments so we can learn from you!!)
Or are you more like me and struggle to stop accomplishing long enough to take a self-sustaining break?
Tell me in the comments!
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.