Taking Care of Me, or Why I was Cooking Oatmeal at 9:30 pm

I sat down to write a post about being better about eating breakfast and what came out was a post about taking care of myself.  I have been following the posts about the July 2011 Self-Care Retreat and reflecting on what that means to me.  I wasn’t sure I had a full post in me about it, but obviously my sub-conscious wants me to talk about this!

I realized a few things today.

1)  I go back to work in less than a month!  (26 days to be exact!)

2)  I need to put some things in place now to take better care of myself before I return to school.  Because right now I’m sleeping late, I’m eating when I want to eat, and I’m spending time doing things I enjoy (along with the laundry and the cooking and the kid stuff).

Next school year is going to be very different then the recent past for me as I am moving on to a new school and a new adventure.  It’s pretty likely I’ll be overwhelmed.  It’s pretty likely I’ll be stressed.  It’s pretty likely I’ll flare.  Some of that is because I know myself pretty well.  I throw myself into my job teaching kids with disabilities.  I put all of myself into it, and then I come home and go head first into being a mom and a wife.  Until I crash because there’s not much and what’s left is often overtaken by the RA, leaving even less for me.

One of the big things that bothers me about having an auto-immune disorder (on top of the pain and the exhaustion of course!) is the fact that I don’t have control.  No matter how hard I work I could still hurt.  No matter how much I try, I might not have much energy at the end of the day.

Changing positions also takes some of the control away from me.  So I have to find a way to put some of that control back in.  In some ways I think that’s one of the reasons I chose to go vegan.  By putting parameters on what I eat I have given myself control of something.  By making sure I am eating healthy I take back some of the control that left when the AI disorder showed up.

But being a vegan doesn’t automatically mean I am taking the best care of myself.  It’s easy to fall into being a junk food vegan.  In fact I’ve written about it twice (here and here) and I have only been blogging about 7 months.  And it’s easy for me to be rather sedentary especially when everything hurts.

So the best way I know how to try and take care of myself is to try and change those behaviors, taking little steps.

Right now I have joined a group of people led by Jessica of Dairy Free Betty who have committed to walking 30 miles in 30 days.  That doesn’t sound like much to those of you who work out daily, but a mile a day (or 20 minutes a day or so) for those of us who don’t do much exercise is a lot.  I used to exercise daily, and I did the Oklahoma City Marathon in 2003, so I’m not a stranger to exercise.  But I find that in times of stress instead of using it as an anchor I abandon it because I don’t feel I can do “the right amount.”  I’m looking at it as stress relief, not as necessarily a means to weight loss.  While taking care of myself might mean losing weight, that’s not the main issue at this point.

And this takes me back to what I had thought this post was going to be about originally:  Breakfast.  Sure there are plenty of things I could do to improve my nutrition but I wanted to concentrate on one thing so that it doesn’t overwhelm me.

I am not good about eating breakfast.  I don’t drink coffee and I used to grab a diet soda on my way in to work but part of my summer goals was to drink less soda and that developed into a decision to drink no diet soda after quite the conversation on my facebook page and the reading of this article.

Right now I am sleeping as late as I want, getting up, doing things, and then eating something a few hours later.  It’s not always the healthiest thing, though it’s often a peanut butter sandwich or almond milk on cereal.

But soon (Ack.  26 days.) I won’t have that luxury.  I’ll have to get up, shower, get dressed, get the kids dressed, make sure lunches are packed, crate up the dog, make sure T gets on the bus, and then leave the house to take E to school.  Wait!  I’m going to have to be a normal adult again in 26 days?  Bummer.

So I have to take care of myself, and start thinking now about breakfast before things get so crazy that I throw up my hands saying “I don’t have time and I hurt and I’m overwhelmed!”  I have to come up with some things I like and make sure I have them available.  And that takes time and a commitment to thinking about me.  I have the foods in the house that Mark and the kids want for breakfast, yet I rarely think about what I want.

Tonight I decided I wanted to do something small about it.  I had seen Living Lindsay’s post about making overnight oats and that lead me to watch the video Cait put up about making them.  So I can find the time to watch a video about making oats, but I have trouble making the oats because I think I have too much to do?  That’s a cop out and is not appropriately taking care of myself.  The next excuse was that I have tried overnight oats before and not enjoyed them, but they weren’t cooked simply mixed and put in the fridge.  Enough with the excuses!

I didn’t have any fresh bananas so I chunked up half a frozen one.  I don’t keep any protein powder in the house but I had some soymilk powder so I added it.  After it cooled I poured it over top of these blueberries I stuck in the freezer this morning.  I’ll try it tomorrow.  If I don’t like it, I’ll try something else.  One small step at a time to better taking care of me.

After this breakfast thing gets taken care of I need to figure out how to make sure I pack a lunch for school… but that’s another post and another small step.

It’s not easy, this taking care of ourselves thing.  Especially for those of us who take care of others.  But by breaking it down into small, manageable steps we are moving a little closer.  And isn’t that what we all want?  To move closer to our goals?  Thanks so much to the team who put the July 2011 Self-Care Retreat Together.  You forced me to truly think about some things I had been putting off.  You helped me get a little closer to my goal.


11 responses to this post.

  1. What a lovely post! moving closer to our goals and working with our challenges is so key, whether it’s running a marathon or just making the most of life with RA. Wishing you a great 26 days of summer!


  2. Taking care of ourselves is SO important and it’s hard, because we push our own needs aside to care for others. But I’m happy to hear that you are moving in the right direction because you have to take care of yourself – there isn’t a choice. 🙂

    I hope you like the oats! but if you don’t, no biggie. Just move onto something else. 🙂 By the way – my fave overnight oats combo (no cook method) is 1/2 cup oats. 1/2 scoop chocolate sunwarrior protein, 1 TBSP peanut flour, 2 TBSP chia seeds, 1/2 banana sliced, 1 cup almond milk. It tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cookie. So good!


    • You’re right. In the end, I either take care of myself or there’s nothing left and the others suffer too.

      The idea of a peanut butter cookie sounds darn good! Do you use the protein powder for taste or protein or both? I’ve still got a package of Trader Joe’s peanut flour I haven’t opened……


      • Open it!! It’s so good!! 🙂 I use the protein powder for taste and added protein, but you can easily sub 1 tsp cocoa powder in place of it. I’ve done both. I also add NuNaturals Vanilla Drops to sweeten it a tad, but you can add any sweetener. I ate it again this morning – it’s really yummy!

  3. Hope you enjoy them 🙂


    • Thanks Cait. I did! And thanks to your video I was able to realize that I had put too many berries in originally. I’m going to try it with cocoa powder and peanut flour next I think.


  4. I hope you find some tasty breakfast options! I have a love hate relationship with oats.. so i am currently sticking to sprouts and whole grain breads. and smoothies.
    Do take care of yourself. I try to do the same. sometimes it feels a bit selfish, but in the end, healthier and rested me means more good days, means happier me and happier everyone around me.


    • Thanks Richa. I like smoothies for breakfast too but don’t always have the time to make them in the morning when I’m working. And I agree that I am better when I take care myself; It’s simply hard.


  5. […] About « Taking Care of Me, or Why I was Cooking Oatmeal at 9:30 pm […]


  6. […] Jen of the RA Vegan on Self Care through food […]


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