Take time for yourself.
You need to rest/sleep.
Self-care is so important.
You are important.
You can’t keep working at this rate, one day it’ll catch up with you.
Yeah. I’ve heard it all. And, until it actually happened, I just smiled, nodded and agreed with the person spouting their wisdom…then I got back to work.
For the past 4.5 years, I’ve worked hard. I mean, really, really stinkin’ hard. Most days (not all) I work 15-16 hour days but lately it’s been more like 20 hours per day. It takes time and energy to build an empire and plan for world domination, and with only 24 hours in a day, I tried to put most (if not all) of them to good use.
Until I couldn’t.
For the past month, I’ve pushed myself past what was healthy. Past what I knew I was capable of. But, the demands were there and the work had to get done. No one else could do it. My team was already taxed to the max, so as the leader of my crazy company, I needed to step up, give more, do more, push more and get it all done. And I did.
Until I couldn’t.
Last Friday I woke at 1:30am and started to work. That was atypical, but recently, my mind just won’t shut down. If I wake to shift in bed, I’m up. There’s no getting back to sleep. I’m a classic insomniac. And that is not something I say with pride.
So last Friday I woke at 1:30am and got to work. By 7:30am when my kids woke I’d put in a solid 6 hours of work, was ahead of my plan for the day (how couldn’t I be?!) until it all came to a screeching halt. All of a sudden I was shaky, agitated, exhausted, nauseous and to be honest, I’ve never felt so awful in my life. I managed to get my kids to school then headed to bed. I tried to sleep but couldn’t.
I was restless, my body wouldn’t settle, my mind wouldn’t stop. I had things to do, but no energy to do it. No amount of willpower was getting me out of the hole I had dug for myself. My body wouldn’t rest. It was revolting against me the only way it could…by knocking me flat.
It was time to stop. I had hit the wall of exhaustion and it felt like the worst illness ever.
I’ve never been scared of my body before, but I can honestly say that last Friday, I was scared. I didn’t know how to stop, to breathe, to rest. I couldn’t stop or breathe or rest.
So, I reached out. To friends, to family, to loved ones. I broke down so I could build back up.
It’s true that your body will only handle so much. You and your mind can push and push and push and still feel like you can push some more, but your body is the ultimate gauge of how healthy you are. Because when it’s maxed (and after 4.5 years I think I’m finally maxed), it gives up. No notice. It just…stops.
It’s not a pleasant fall and it’s been 4 days of medication, fever, sleep meds and self-care to get my feet back under me. Four days isn’t so bad…but I still have some recovery to do. I have to rest.
As I laid in bed trying to rest, the following questions kept coming forward in my mind: Why do I push so hard?
There are the typical excuses of world domination, founding a company, wanting to be successful, showing up all those who doubt me, etc…but the real reason? I think it’s because I don’t want people to think I’m not working for them. I want people to know that I’m working…literally day in and day out…to help build our business. I need them to know that they haven’t sacrificed their family’s lives for someone who sits around and does nothing.
And that’s where I’ve gone wrong. I’ve sacrificed my own body for this. I’ve sacrificed my health for this. I’ve sacrificed my own family for this. And while our mission at Hot Mama is extremely important, it cannot be at the cost of me.
It cannot be at the cost of me.
I went to the doctor on Sunday and she asked when I wanted to be admitted to the hospital. I didn’t even tell my husband that. She said, “do you want to be admitted now or would you like to keep killing yourself for another week and really feel the depths of exhaustion…because you’re there now…next step is medical”.
Talk about a wake-up call.
So Mamas…here’s me . Claiming myself back. I talk and I talk and I talk about the importance of prioritizing. Of putting yourself high up on your list. But I certainly don’t practice it. I try to. I do small things, but it’s time I role model to all of those who follow me the importance of rest.
And yes, right now…I need medication. I need meds to help me sleep. I’m okay with that. Because after a few nights of sleeping from 9pm to 7am I’m slowly crawling back to myself. I’m committing to rest. I’m committing to me and my own importance.
I’m important. It’s time I start treating myself like it. I need rest. And so do you, Mama.
Don’t be me. Don’t push so hard and work so hard your body breaks and shuts down. Learn from me. I am not a martyr so I’d best stop acting like one. I will commit to rest. I will commit to sleep. I will commit to these things because I know I need it.
I’ll write about how I plan to take care of me soon; maybe I’ll even come up with the ultimate self-care guide. But for now, I commit to sleep. For now, I will use the medication my doctor gave me, but soon I will come up with a new plan to help with insomnia and I will let you know what works for me and what doesn’t.
But Mama, please listen: if you’re tired, exhausted, pushed to your max…don’t be me. You need to stop. Put your head on your pillow, tell yourself you’ve done the best you can with the time you’ve had each day and rest. Just rest. Rest your mind, your body, your soul.
Because trust me when I say that if you don’t, your body will eventually take over your mind and the results are not pretty and they are certainly not fun.
Rest, Mama. You need to rest. Ain’t no shame in that. And that is what I’ve learned over the last four days. There’s no shame in resting.
And rest I shall.