You might nod your head in understanding, as you’ve been through those seasons, too, where routines just fall by the wayside.
As a consequence, we often find ourselves dealing with something more time-consuming after the fact because we didn’t handle the task at the outset when it was smaller.
This point was painfully and humorously driven home to me recently.
All was quiet in the bedroom, except for the whisper of our slow and rhythmic breathing. Throughout the evening, the gentle sounds of the forest had drifted in on the warm summer air through the screened-in window, but even those were beginning to fade as dawn approached.
Without warning, I shot bolt upright, pulling wildly at the covers to free my tangled self, filling the tiny room with a loud and constant stream of “Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!” I scrambled out of bed and attempted to stand, but instead fell against the wall as pain clawed at my foot. I wanted to be quiet so my husband could continue to sleep, but it was a lost cause as anguished utterances continued to stream spontaneously from my lips. The cramp in my arch was so severe that it felt like my toes had been folded almost completely under my foot. In spite of the pain and still not quite awake, I marveled that my bones could actually be that flexible and yet not break.
My husband, who was now pretty much wide awake, asked if there was anything he could do to help as I floundered around to the end of the bed. I declined, sure that I could break the iron grip myself. I bent over in the semi-darkness, intent on grabbing my toes, peeling them out from underneath my foot and flattening them to the floor in submission. My hand refused to cooperate, as it clubbed clumsily and ineffectively against my foot; my arm was completely and totally asleep from fingertip to elbow.
As I laughed in frustration—and still continued to express my torment—I asked Keith for help, explaining my dilemma. He laughed too, and jumped out of bed to help. His hands were working just fine, thankfully, and he was able to coax those errant little piggies out so they were facing towards the front of my feet where they belonged.
Walking just a few steps around the house usually solves this midnight misfortune in minutes. This time, that solution proved to be a non-starter. In addition, I was left with relatively sore arch muscles that felt as though I had stepped on a hard rock with a bare foot. Fancy that: apparently your toes can’t curl up under your feet without some residual side effect. And every once in a while they would twitch threateningly, as if they were signaling another possible attempt to go rogue.
Here is the real kicker to the story: This whole episode was preventable.
My doctor had recommended that I needed more potassium.
He was right. When I get enough, the leg cramps disappear.
And he was right about how to make them subside: do not just try to wait them out or massage them away; get up right away and walk them off.
Very counter-intuitive, simple and successful.
So why am I suffering again?
Because I ceased to take care of myself in some small ways, and those seemingly inconsequential choices have now caught up with me.
It was time to pay the piper, and this time the currency was painful cramps, interrupted sleep, and unnaturally bent toes.
As a wise friend once told me: We must take the time to care for ourselves, or we will take more time later to bring our lives back towards normal.
Although we have all heard this multiple times, we need to continue to encourage one another to move self-care higher up on the list. When we are rested, eat right, get some exercise, and take time—even minutes—to pray and refresh, we respond more effectively, appropriately, and compassionately.
We become happier and more loving moms.
Today, I encourage you to take a closer look at your day and choose one thing to change.
For me, that means I need to focus on the simple action of getting my daily dose of potassium.
What does it look like for you?
I invite you to share your one thing and to encourage one another!
Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (NIV)
Image credit: Snugg via flickr