Running on Empty
When the text came, I wasn’t even worried. My sister was letting me know she was having some tests done because of some stomach problems she was having. That was 4 weeks ago, and so much has changed. This morning she was admitted into Palliative care. That first appointment led to a series of tests that determined she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has nearly destroyed her liver. The disease is advancing quickly, much too quickly. She requires round the clock care. I am so grateful to live in the same town with her so I am able to be part of that care. We are pulling together just like we did just 3 years ago when our mother lost her cancer battle. We just can hardly believe we are dealing with this again, and so soon.
Our emotions have been what you could imagine: grief, anger, sadness, and frustration. We are all coming around her as much as we can all while keeping plates in the air with our jobs and kids. It is exhausting among other things. I have found myself with a very low energy level. I’m tired, people. As I’m sure you can imagine. My tank is just running on empty.
I am aware that my disciplines for self-care and mindset have slipped, though I can’t find the energy to engage in those things. A friend reminded me that my sister and the rest of my family are counting on me to keep my tank full...or at least not empty. Afterall, I cannot give what I do not have.
So, I am recommitting to taking better care of myself. A good starting place will be with a “tank assessment” of sorts. I need to do what usually helps me feel more in control in stressful situations, make a list. I need to make 2 lists, actually. The first list will be of the things that fill me up and give me energy. The second list will be of those things that pull energy from me. Once these lists are made, I will make observations of these things, then it will be time to make some decisions. I may need to make some changes to how I spend my time so that I maximize the things that fill my tank and minimize those things that drain me if I can. For example, I will resume my daily morning walks at the park. Nothing fills me the way that does.
The people I love are counting on me to stay resourced. I can’t afford to let self-care strategies slip because they can’t afford for me to. Pray for us during this time. And if you get the chance, cling closely to your loved ones. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Perhaps it is time to do your own “tank assessment.” If you do, share it with us so we can all be encouraged.