Self-care. I hear about it everywhere. And I mostly tune it out.
Blah, blah, blah. Get a massage. Get your nails done. Take time for YOU. Do what YOU love. Blah blah blah. Pbbbbbbbbbt!
Well. Turns out, it might not be such a bad idea after all.
I’ve probably (okay, not probably) taken a wee bit too much pride in the fact that I would much rather love my neighbor than love myself. When that’s not what Jesus told us to do.
Love your neighbor AS you love yourself.
What does AS mean? Without looking it up, I’m going to say what I know.
Love your neighbor WHILE you’re loving yourself.
Love your neighbor AS MUCH as you love yourself.
Love your neighbor THE SAME WAY you love yourself.
Not: Love your neighbor while you completely neglect yourself and then have a complete mental breakdown and watch everything you’ve tried to do/be/accomplish come crashing down and be ruined forever.
Here is the HONEST DEAL (as honest as I can be while reserving my family’s relative privacy):
We are a little bit of a hot mess.
(Even if, right now on this pretty Sunday morning, everything FEELS fine. Oh, I must be imagining things. We’re FINE! We’re GREAT! We’re so FINE! Carry on!)
I am going to set aside my current feelings of fine and refer to the page in my journal where, two days ago, I wrote down every mental, physical, and spiritual ailment one or more of us have suffered from this year (and many are ongoing).
Since we moved to Cambodia in January 2015, I want to say we’ve been relatively healthy. Just three quick visits to a clinic in 14 months (Ava’s ripped-off toenail and two of Gabe’s three moto accidents). But when I actually make a list of everything we’ve dealt with on our own (sometimes “successfully” and sometimes not), it seems a little much.
And I am going to put out an official cry for help. We need (in no specific order): 1.) people encouraging us. 2.) people praying for us. 3.) people helping us financially so we can afford the things that will keep us healthy and whole.
First, a list of things we’ve been through/are going through (without naming names). Then, some specific challenges of living in Cambodia. Finally, some ideas we have for making it better.
The List of Maladies:
- ear infection/clogged ears
- stomach pains
- diarrhea (LOTS of diarrhea)
- mild depression
- not-mild depression
- mild anxiety
- severe anxiety
- heat rash
- wound infection
- itching/burning in not-fun places
- pre- and post-PMS (that one’s me)
- pretty bad headaches
- back pain
- debilitating back pain
- positional vertigo
- tooth pain (and root canal) (also me)
- rash (most likely from laundry soap)
- red, irritated eyes
- some skin things we should probably check out
- turning 40 and haven’t been to a gynecologist since Nina was born (me–ha!)
- bug bites (LOTS of bug bites)
- allergic reaction to chili peppers
- really sore muscles
- did I already say diarrhea?
- mental/emotional stress/overwhelmedness
Challenges with Living in Cambodia:
- There are a lot of chemicals in things (same as America). In the laundry detergent, in the cleaning supplies, in the seasonings they use in their food.
- We eat a LOT of white rice and overcooked vegetables (every day for lunch and sometimes dinner), neither of which have a ton of nutrients. (we also eat quite a bit of fresh stuff)
- When you are really hot and really tired and really stressed, it’s very easy to reach for a can of Cold Sprite and a bag of really expensive MnMs to help you feel better.
- Life is busy and overwhelming, and there really isn’t time for self-care. (I KNOW I KNOW WE HAVE TO MAAAAAAKE TIME.)
- Not to defend my previous point, but you really can’t imagine how much longer EVERYTHING takes here. Like EVERYTHING. We need way more hours in our day.
- We just don’t have access to a lot of stuff here that might help us get healthy.
- I’m sure there are more, but I’m drawing a blank.
Here’s what I’m doing (so far) to make our family’s health and emotional well-being more of a priority. But, as of right now, most of it just a list on a page. We don’t have the resources (like, the money OR a way to get it) yet, AND I don’t want to make snap decisions, so we’re praying for wisdom and talking to people we trust. AND we’ll be in the States just 87 days from now (for two months) so we have time to make a plan and can stock up on things we need when we get there.
Some Ideas We Have for Staying Healthy and Whole:
- More essential oils. We have some, and we’ve used them (topically, orally, in a diffuser) for different things, and they seem to help. We love the smells and I love that they come from nature.
- Find laundry detergent and cleaning supplies that don’t have chemicals in them. I know these exist, but they are PRICY. And our house is HUGE and so is the center.
- We’re talking right now to friends who use/sell Plexus. We’ve heard some good stuff about it, and our friend was telling us how we can get 3-4 people to buy it too, and ours would be free.
- We’re talking to another friend about Juice Plus. Same kind of deal.
- We know a counselor who specializes in families who live overseas. We met her last year and took her card and said, “Yeah, maybe if we have any problems ever…” Right now there’s no wiggle room in the budget for monthly (or more frequently) counseling.
- We’re talking about the things that recharge each of us and working on ways to make those happen on a more regular basis.
- We’re researching vitamins and supplements that specifically help with depression but also some other things.
- Someone gave us some special toothpaste (from the U.S.) that’s super awesome at fighting tooth decay. We will need more soon.
- A sweet, amazing friend has her own organic soap/candle/etc business in Ohio and just got her website up and running (it’s not finished yet–I’ll share it when it is!). She is giving 10% of her profits to our family!! And some products too. (we’d love to buy more and have natural stuff in our home and bathroom here)
- We just bought a second moto (with 3 months’ rent we didn’t have to pay from January -March) which will give us more freedom to get places (that’s been really hard).
- We’re working on re-thinking the way we think/feel about things. Like, feeling guilt for things that we shouldn’t. Feeling like the burdens of the world rest on our shoulders. Feeling like we have to accomplish great things in short periods of time.
- We’re making plans to actually spend money (guilt-free–this is the hard part!) on things that fill our emotional tanks (different for each of us). Things like beautiful journals, t-shirts with a cause, camera lenses, music, fun apps, cold drinks, Mexican food, books, gifts to give family & friends in the States, pizza, coffee dates, movies.
- We’re going to ignore the creeper/stalker people who will inevitably comment on this post with things like, “All you do is ask people for money so you can spend it on yourselves. You’re pathetic.” SCRAM, TOXIC STALKER. GO BE A BUTTHOLE SOMEWHERE ELSE. THANK YOU.”
Whew. That felt good.
So. Here’s what we’re asking of you:
- pray for us.
- share advice/wisdom/words of encouragement with us.
- tell us about things that have worked for you.
- let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to sponsor something that will help us get/stay healthy.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!