I have got into the habit of choosing a word for the year to help me focus on what I feel is most important. In 2016 my word was ‘story’, because my focus was on some writing projects I wanted to give more attention to and because I am conscious that the way I live and the choices I make ‘write’ my own story and those of my family.
This year I’ve chosen the word ‘strength’. Until a few days ago it was going to be ‘nurture’, with the associations of looking after myself and building up relationships. But then suddenly I had an epiphany that it needed to be ‘strength’ – strengthening our family relationships, improving my physical stamina to cope with the children, mental/emotional strength to deal with everything that gets thrown at us, and underpinning all this a reinvigorated faith and drawing on God’s strength when I have none of my own to give. ‘Strength’ feels like it has a bit more ooomph to it than ‘nurture’. It’s something I can get my teeth into.
So. In order to work on all these aspects of strength, I’ve made plans. (I like plans.)
- I’m taking myself to a counsellor rather than waiting for PAS to sort that out. I’m hoping that will give me a safe place to offload all the secondary trauma rubbish and general adoptive parenting angst without anyone feeling that I am asking them to do things for me or that they should have a way to magically fix everything.
- I’ve added aquafit classes to my diary. There are few forms of exercise that don’t fill me with horror, and this is one of them.
- I’m using Bible-reading and prayer apps to keep me on track and planning to start each day with that once the children are at school.
- In terms of strengthening family relationships, I’m drawing a bit of a blank. Scheduling more date nights with Pete would be a good start. Finding opportunities to spend time one-on-one with the girls would be a sensible plan too. Beyond that I’m not sure what else I have energy for at the moment – we are very much in one day at a time survival mode and hopefully it will fall into place as I work on the other stuff.
- I’m also struggling to work out how to strengthen our support network in terms of practical help from people nearby. We have one friend who helps out with childcare and ironing, another one has recently come onto the scene, but really my goal is to add another four local friends to the Meadows Support Team. One a quarter. That should be doable, right? I just need to work out where to find these people. I think it may mean finding my inner extrovert and Actually Talking To People – at church, at the school gate, wherever it is that people make friends. I’m a bit out of practice.
How are you planning to look after yourself better in 2017? I’d love to hear your thoughts.