I knew when I took my new job that it would be depressing. Working five days a week with patients and their families discussing chronic disease and how they want to spend their final days, not exactly uplifting conversations. Hospice talks, code status talks, what it might be like when your COPD or CHF advances to the point that you will die. Tough stuff. It is very different than the work I did in the ER. ER social work is a lot of crisis, a lot of keeping your shit together in the moment because you literally can not fall apart. Plus, I worked part time in that role so I always had a few days to recover from the hardest days. I am realizing seven weeks into this new job how critical it is for me to make healthy choices in my work and personal life. I am also realizing that perhaps, it does not come naturally to me. I often leave work feeling very pensive and if truth be told, as I drive to get the kids from daycare and run them to various activities, I feel a sense of dread . I know there will be fights and grouchiness and running, running, running. I know that I truly won't have a moment to just be for several more hours and after spending most of my day in heaviness, I long for some downtime. But, this season of life does not allow for that and really, expecting that from my kids, who after all are just being kids, is not fair. Jeff said to me the other day, " I think sometimes you just get very overwhelmed by things that don't really need to be." TRUTH. It's like I can feel myself becoming edgy and I try and talk myself down from the inevitable freak out but another truth is bitchy Susan almost always prevails. By the end of the night, all I want is some wine. To dull the millions of thoughts that are racing through my head, to cancel out the sadness and pain I have dealt with all day. The thing about that is, for me, choosing wine every night is not an option. I have never tended to be a one glass kind of girl. I am not naive to think that if you know that about yourself that you won't end up with a problem, especially when you have such an emotionally tough job. I have far too many stories of times I have done and said stupid things when I have had too much wine or whatever drink fills the glass, and really at 40, there is no excuse for that. I will not be able to serve my family, my patients, my friends or my co-workers well if I don't take care of myself.
I have thought of all the things available to me that are healthy ways to chill. Reading is hands down one of my favorite. I love a good book! I love escaping to a new world though the eyes of an author! I love a good cup of tea! Lately I have been experimenting with new flavors and really tea can calm me down much better than wine. Exercise, taking 45 minutes to take a walk, with some good music as my companion, such a great stress reliever. I have found that when I take the time to invest in myself, I am able to be the mom I want to be. At the end of the day, that is the most important legacy I am investing in. Do I want my kids to remember their mom as a witch who needed a glass of wine to deal? Absolutely not.
Every day I see patients who are dealing with the consequences of their poor choices. I am not going to lie, it scares the hell out of me to think that I continue to make choices that have some crap consequences.
So, for now, I am taking it one day at at time. One good choice at a time.
I am sure some of you who are reading are wondering why I am sharing these issues? I am sharing because I think the struggle is real for many of us. I wonder how other people handle their self care? You don't have to be a social worker to need to take a moment for yourself, right!? And I know I am not the only mom/forty year old woman who looks forward to her wine?! There are so many jokes about the woman needing wine. I see the humor in it but I think we need to be very careful not to normalize something that potentially could be and most likely is a huge struggle for lots of us! I suppose that is another post for another day! If you have any tips on ways you like to de-stress..I would like to hear them!