Thursday, June 06, 2013

Too Busy to Take Care of Yourself

Slowing down with meals, then, is symbolic of relaxing into our body, our career, our fears and desires, and anything life presents. It’s about granting ourselves the right to share in the simplicity of joyous moments on Earth. It’s about reclaiming our time, our dignity, and the sanctity of self-care.
My friend recently posted this quote

Since we moved five years ago, our meals have changed drastically.  Part of it is getting home late from work, and part of it is having activities in the evening, and part of it is the lack of a dining room.  Whereas we used to sit down and eat meals together 10-18 times a week, moving cut that number in half.  When I started my job, it got worse.  And our commitment to mealtime continues to wane.  People grab food for themselves because we're not having mealtimes together.  When we are all together at a meal, too often we eat in the living room (with the tv on) because the kitchen table is too cluttered with mail and projects and other items.

"The sanctity of self-care."  I've been thinking about that ever since I saw the quote above.  "Sharing in the simplicity of joyous moments."  As we have fallen away from mealtimes together, I've noticed that it's harder to tend to other aspects of self-care: getting exercise, making sure my heels don't crack and split, flossing, etc.  

And what's worse is that this makes me less attuned to caring for the needs of others.  After all, if there's not enough time for me to take care of my hair, then I'm not motivated to help Maggie fix her hair all pretty and nice either.  If there's not enough time for me to sit on the Homedic massager to knead the knots out of my back, neither am I bothering to knead the knots out of Gary's shoulders and neck.

When we place little importance on mealtime---when we eat in the car, when we snatch bites of lunch while trying to work on a project, when we eat alone without setting the table for ourselves---does that cause callousness to grow in us?  Or maybe it's just a symptom of what's wrong.  I think a lot of health and happiness could be gained by going back to the mealtime practices we had before moving.  

But I don't know how to do it.  
Too many other things would go by the wayside.
And yet, should they, maybe?


  1. We have tried in the last number of years to change our eating habits to include more whole foods, fewer processed foods, growing a few things in the garden, etc. But life is such (and to be honest, my interest in cooking is such) that I still rely on my share of convenience items. The other night we had rotisserie chicken from Jewel, frozen peas, and Stouffer's macaroni-and-cheese. I had to laugh when I opened the Stouffer's box and the plastic covering on the aluminum pan had a message about how important it is for families to eat together and how teenagers need to talk to their parents (or something like that). It struck me as highly ironic, but then I had the thought that on this night it was the convenience food that was buying us the time to sit down as a family, something we continue to make a priority regardless of what we're eating. So yay, Jewel and Stouffer's!

  2. I've certainly been thinking the same thing, Cheryl! And yet, I'm noticing repercussions: my level of aches and pains has increased over the last month as my priority on nutrition has decreased. Hmmm.

  3. I have so much to say on this topic because I am in the process of simplifying how I run the household because it quickly gets overwhelming to stay on top of everything, at least for me it does.

    I had to prioritize first. What's most important day-to-day? Making sure my kids' basic needs are met, then homeschool/activities/playtime with them, then household chores, then hobbies/interests/TV. What's most important big picture? That we raise our kids in the faith, that we keep our marriage solid, that we provide a nurturing, loving environment for our children grow in.

    While it's a lot of work to feed four or five people three times a day, I am thankful that I have to do it. My kids eat at the table because they can't eat walking around or on the couch, I eat with them because I might as well, and Alex joins us for dinner because he's starving and the food is ready when he gets home at night. Eating is a necessity, but eating together connects us as a family.

  4. And yes, some things have to go by the wayside. It's a tough pill to swallow because we want to do it all, but it's impossible. This year, our yard went by the wayside. Alex keeps it mowed. That's about it.