About a third of the way through my final massage on Tuesday evening, I ran out of "give." I had nothing left. Two straight weeks of twice the work load sucked it out of me. But of course, I had to keep going. Because you can't just stop 20 minutes into a 90 minute treatment and say "I don't know about you, but I'm done here."
And it got me to thinking... when you've got nothing left to give but you gotta keep on giving, how do you cope?
I know I am not alone in this. Every single human being on the planet comes up with this challenge. The single parent, the overstretched office worker, the yoga teacher, the clerk at the grocery store... every last one of us has been called upon to give beyond capacity.
So how do you fill yourself back up when you don't have the time or money for a three-week retreat in San Juan?
This is a genuine question; I really don't have any answers. I think a lot of us turn to unhealthy things in order to cope: food, alcohol, sex, drugs, shopping, television, sleeping, etc. I also think many people take their anger and frustration out on others, because they just aren't able to say "I'm done. Can you give me some space?"
I know I have definitely used food and television as coping mechanisms. The food fills the hole (replace caring with food? Yeah, that'll work) and the television dulls whatever else I might be too tired to deal with. I'm also guilty of over-sleeping. Although sometimes it's hard to tell if I really need the sleep or if I'm hiding in it. Sometimes I think it's a little of both.
If you are experiencing this now as well, I hope you find a healthy way to fill your Caring Coffers back up. I hope that at some point you are able to do something for you, even if it is to lock yourself in the bathroom for five minutes while the kids are screaming and have a good cry.
Or better yet, take that three-week retreat to San Juan. Let me know how that goes.
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