I have been at work for a week now and have really been enjoying it. It’s nice seeing some of my colleagues; I find I look after myself a little better (I actually end up putting some face cream on as part of the morning routine) and the work is proving fascinating.
I have been trying to take care of myself by having a short half hour nap after work with the baby and eating healthily, despite this I am finding myself getting increasingly fatigued. Last night I felt very down, I barely had the energy to pray and found myself snapping at the children. I spent all evening trying to find some time to do my weekly Arabic homework and managed to do part of it in fits and starts. The evening seems to disappear in between prayers, meals, feeding the baby and trying to get the house in some kind of order.
I think part of the problem is because I am still breastfeeding and my Doctor suggested I am low in vitamin D and iron. I am due my vitamin D shot next week and hope this gives me a boost. At the same time I am still overweight following my pregnancy. Initially I tried to lose weight a few months ago when the baby was five months. I had painful knees and thought it was because of the excess weight, I refused to go to the doctor because I thought he would just tell me to lose weight as that was causing the pain. I tried to eat a little less and found myself feeling weak and dozy. I tried to push myself and power-walk and found my joints getting really painful. I felt in a catch-22 of extra weight causing pain and dieting causing exhaustion, meaning I couldn’t lose the weight that I thought was causing the problem. In the end I went to the doctor at my wits end as I felt I could not do anything more. He took one look and gave me the vitamin D/iron diagnosis. I felt a bit silly then.
I realised I should have been a little kinder to myself, listened to my body and I should have gone to the Doctor in the first place.
After my visit to the Doctor, I had time to reflect on how I had been treating myself. I had been telling myself I was too greedy and too slow and just needed to work harder to lose weight. This was unusual for me as I have always had a fairly positive body image, perhaps because I have never been particularly overweight. I think this was also because I have never judged myself in terms of my looks but in terms of my personality and my achievements (you have to when you look like the geekiest kid at school!).
I decided to turn my internal dialogue on its head. I realised after four children, all breastfed, sixteen years of working full time and ten years of sleeping about six hours a night, I had the body I deserve and I had earned the right to be happy in the body I had ended up with. With four children, I also need a lap big enough to fit them all in. Once I had taken this kinder approach to myself, I felt more comfortable in my body and more ready to eat healthily.
So last night after feeling so exhausted and complaining to poor hubby that my mind is keen to keep going, but my body is refusing to drag along after it, I fell asleep thinking I needed a few slow days.
So today, I will take a slightly longer lunch at work, I will take fruit and nuts in to snack on. I will have an hours nap when I get home and I will spend some time playing with my children. In between, I will try my best to spend half an hour trying to finish my Arabic homework, which is truly becoming a labour of love.
What will you do to be kind to yourself today? What negative thoughts do you hold about yourself that are unfair and would be more beneficial for you to let go of? How do you recover when it all feels a little too much? Please do share insh’Allah.