Labor Day is coming up. It's a 3-day weekend for a lot of people - WooHoo!! This day really has me thinking about the different types of "labor" that family and I do. The recent health problems that I've been having have made me feel like maybe I do too much "labor" - or at least that's what my mom(s), family doctor, gastroenterologist, neurologist, and chiropractor are all telling me.
I don't do a whole lot of physical labor. It's not like I'm out in the heat doing grueling manual labor like so many men and women do on a regular basis (like my husband). The physical labor that I do consists of chasing my kiddos around and getting them everywhere they need to be, coaching Braxton's soccer team, walking in and out and through lots of homes and properties with real estate, running around getting parts and vehicles for the shop, making jewelry and scarves, and occasionally cleaning my house. None of this is really very physically labor-intensive.
Labor, however, is more than just physical. The majority of my labor takes place in my brain and in my heart, which might be why I hold so much stress inside...which is likely the root of the cause of most of my health problems. Aside from what I use my brain and heart for all during the day, those are the two organs that I have the hardest time "calming down" when I try to rest and relax. I've come to find out that I SUCK at relaxing. Who knew??
When I try to relax, or lay down to sleep, my brain goes 100 miles per hour. It thinks about EVERYTHING. It plans activities, it designs jewelry and craft projects, it thinks about gift ideas and ways to help others, it worries about my children - a lot, it thinks of scary things that could happen, it stresses and frets about our business at the shop, it thinks of new marketing ideas and ways to be more efficient for our staff and customers, it thinks and plans and brainstorms to try to think of the best houses to show my real estate customers, it worries about the listings that haven't yet found a buyer, and makes a mental checklist of everything that needs to be done from contract to closing. While all of this is going on in my brain, my heart just starts pounding. It goes faster, it skips beats, it speeds up and slows down and feels irregular and just sometimes hurts.
I do fall asleep eventually. Currently it's with the help of Melatonin and an anti-anxiety medicine to specifically try to "calm down my brain" so that I can go to sleep. It works pretty well, but I generally wake up in a very tight ball. My fists are clenched, my jaw is clenched - and though I've been sleeping...I certainly don't feel very rested. I just feel really tense. When my fingernails are long, I can literally see the indentions they've made in the palms of my hands, and my jaw is sore nearly every morning. I'm lucky if I don't wake up with a headache.
So, what to do resolve the problems that my specific type of labor causes...? It's so hard for me to hear everyone say that I do too much and that I need to cut back. I love (nearly) everything that I do. How do you cut back doing things that you love? I know too much of a good thing is sometimes a bad thing - but still. I know that doing yoga and/or going for a walk helps relieve some of my stress and tension, but I don't make it a priority. All of these things that I love doing take up a lot of time, and I'd rather do them than do the yoga and walking. But, what if my health problems keep getting worse? I don't consider myself an unhealthy person. I eat in moderation, I don't do a lot of exercising, per say, but I am still physically active and maintain a fairly average weight.
Dieting is hard, breaking a bad habit is hard, starting an exercise routine is hard, and being consistent is hard. These are all things I've learned, I agree with, and I know a lot of people struggle with. You would think that the fact of knowing it will make you feel better would be enough of a push to help you do the daily whatever you've got to do to get it done!!! But for so many people, that is just not enough motivation. I've tried scheduling yoga time in my phone calendar in between all my other appointments, but I'll be honest - it usually gets bumped.
So again, I'm back to "Do I give something up, or do I just suck it up and squeeze in the time for yoga/walking/whatever." Anybody want to go for a walk or do some yoga with me?? It's good to have a buddy system.
Have a Happy Labor Day!! I hope you get to take a break from whatever labor that you feel you have to do, and get to do something that you enjoy.