Refreshment for Homemakers

Filling up your soul reserves

The hardest thing to do when you're stay-at-home is take time for yourself. I get so stressed and so--well, depressed, that I don't take care of myself. There's always something else to do when your job is your home. It also doesn't help that I'm a workaholic, a tendency that seems to be part of the American character.

I've been reading Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much again, and this bit leaped out at me today:

We could only relax and take care of our personal needs when the chores were completed and the house had been straightened up. And when that was done, we were much too tired to do anything else. Cleanliness was always next to godliness, and many times godliness seemed very far away.

Godliness seems pretty darn far away today, I tell you what. I've got laundry to fold, dishes to do, children to feed. It's the day of rest but moms don't get to rest--or so we tell ourselves. And of course, what makes it worse is that though I'm medically retired, I have this site still, and money pressures. I get angry when I think about my disability, denied because my eligibility expired a month and a half before my cardiac arrest--and then I get scared about money, start writing and can't stop until I'm exhausted.

I can bitch about that, or I can do something for myself. If I don't, I'm going to get sick again and be of even less use to anyone. And this, my dears, is true for you as well, no matter how robust you are.

I try to take a little time every day and just "be." It's the hardest thing I do all day. I have a horror of just sitting. I can't even "just" watch TV; I spin, knit or, if I'm not really watching but just being companionable, I write.

If I am well and truly exhausted and don't have time for a nap, one technique I use is one my therapist taught me. It's called KOF regeneration. She has no idea what K-O-F stands for, and I couldn't find it in my research. (If you know, please tell us.) A couple of rambling hippies taught it to her years ago, and it works. This is what you do:

Get in a comfortable position where your elbows are supported. You can lie down or sit, it doesn't matter as long as your elbows have support. Lace your fingers together, fingers inside along the palms--like you're playing "This is the church, this is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people." Put your hands palms-in on your stomach just about at or below the belly-button. Close your eyes and breathe.

That's it.

In about five minutes or so you seem to enter a peaceful, restful state without really trying. Stay there as long as you can, and when you have to get up and move around again you'll find yourself much refreshed. Try it and see.

Lynn Siprelle wrote this some time in 2008, probably. She can't remember exactly.