During the last six weeks my husband had back surgery, my daughter was treated for two hairline fractures in her back, my brother-in-law survived two strokes, and my oldest son fractured a bone in his foot and sprained his ankle too. In the middle of all this, I was teaching part-time at the community college in a composition class with an intensive 8-week format. Oh, and my first book launched.
Last night I was sitting on the screened porch painting a birdhouse when my sixteen-year-old son opened the sliding door and asked me what I was doing.
“I’m crafting for self-care,” I said.
He responded by saying something about how crafting was lame.
To this I could have answered in a number of ways. I could have pointed out that crafting typically doesn’t result in broken bones or sprains unlike soccer (all three of our teens love and play the sport), or I could have simply snapped at him for putting down my passion. But I let it go, and I hope I taught him something. Not something about reacting, but about how necessary it is to engage in self-care.
Stress not only triggers symptoms of mental illness, it can be a factor in physical illness as well.
When my book launched, in addition to everything else going on, I attempted to have four book-related events in the span of about ten days. I had to postpone one of them, but even that wasn’t enough. After engaging in a conference call as a guest speaker for recovery specialists, I had a health scare resulting in a call to 911.
I’m ok, and everything is fine, but I’ve come up with a couple of truths: One is I can probably only handle two book-related promotional events per month, and second, I have to do self-care, whatever that means to me in a particular moment. Sometimes crafting feels like work so I don’t even do that.
That’s when I know just sitting still in a spot of sunshine is enough.