I'm Kirk Wheeler. It's January 27th, 2021. I'm so glad you're here.
Over the last year we've heard a lot of talk about self care. We know we should be taking care of ourselves. We know we should be getting good sleep, eating the right foods, getting daily exercise, be fitter, happier, more productive, but we don't always do that. And it can impact our ability to show up for those we love in the ways we strive to, and sometimes ignorance is the source.
"Dear Sir, regarding your article, what's wrong with the world. I am. Yours truly." -G K Chesterton
When our son Wyatt was born, my wife and I lived in a two bedroom, one bath house, and we cooked many of our meals at home. We still do, but there is one meal that we no longer cook, chicken bog.
It was a great meal because it would feed us for a few days, but one night after eating dinner, we both came down with food poisoning and the chicken bog was to blame. Now having food poisoning is never fun, but I still remember those few days, like they happened last week, because we were both so sick and we had to take turns taking care of our son while the other one of us slept or took care of our own body and its rejection of the bog.It was in those few days that I learned what it meant to show up each and every day as a parent.
I would love to tell you that everyday, since I have been fitter, happier, et cetera, but that isn't true. Maybe you've had some similar experience that shaped how you'd like to show up. And for awhile, the revelation had real impact, but then another shock to the system came along and you were up too late for days in a row, and your fuse was shorter than it would normally be. Days like these happen to all of us.
So what is one actionable step we can take to better prepare ourselves for the unexpected? One thing I'm continually working on is trying to get better about forgiving myself when I don't live up to my own expectations, but learning to forgive is a lifelong commitment.
Getting better sleep might be an easier task. And this is a self-care tip with science to back it up. And I will say that I was pretty ignorant about the science behind this. But the tip that has helped me most comes from Matthew Walker's research in his book, Why We Sleep.
I used to drink coffee or tea late into the night. Sometimes even after dinner. Now I try to be sure that I stop any caffeine intake by 1:00 PM. It has helped more than I thought it would. But if there is something like this that, you know works for you, the benefits of doing it consistently compound over time.
How we show up for those in our care is something we largely have control over. So now, if someone were to say to me, what's wrong with the world, I can honestly say, I am. The strange events of our moment in history will continue to take place. The unknown will still lie ahead, but we can learn to do things like get a better night's sleep, make sure our chicken bog is fully cooked, and do our best to show up for those in our care, the way we would like to.
I hope you find this helpful. And remember there is no perpetual parenting playbook. We're all learning as we go. And with curiosity as our map and the willingness to practice some self care, we can be ready for anything.
So good luck today. You've got this. See you tomorrow.
There is a reference above to the Radiohead song Fitter Happier. You can listen to the whole thing here.
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