Taking Time for Myself
I woke up today not knowing what day it was. It's Tuesday. The last scheduled day I worked was Friday. So what happened between then and now? Your guess is as good as mine--time has flown! First off, there have been more volunteers arriving, which means more people to hang out with, which means less time for writing and sleeping, but I'm trying to figure it out. No complaints--there are some really cool and interesting people here who I genuinely have enjoyed getting to know. After a long day of doing various things, grabbing a bite or a drink together is a great way to unwind, decompress, share experiences and get to know each other.
"Doing nothing is one of the most tiring jobs in the world because you can never stop and take a break." That's one of my sister's favorite quotes and it fits the mood. Since I don't have a set schedule these past few days, I've been doing pretty much everything and nothing at the same time. Saturday was my first day off since I got here so I took it as one. I'll admit, my emotions were all over the place as I was processing the past week and my current mood and my thoughts about the future. There were a few things happening in the background as well that were occupying mental space that I wasn't expecting, nor wanting, to dedicate but such is life. Ultimately, it meant that nothing really came of my thinking and I was left with the chaos to sift through. I also realized how important it is to find a way to decompress and express yourself.
Before I even made the decision to come here, I read through a lot of posts and information of what to expect, how to prepare, and advice. One of the more surprising things I read about, that I was glad to see addressed, was the topic of self-care. You see a lot. You feel a lot. It's just...a lot. And it's important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Whatever you need to do, whether it's taking a break or talking to someone or distracting yourself, do it. If you don't take care of yourself, you're not able to take care of others and nothing good comes from that. And this doesn't just apply to volunteering somewhere like I am, but in life, in general.
So back to the pen and paper I went. The words and thoughts took a little effort to form at first but quickly began to flow, as did the emotions. I don't remember what triggered it but there was definitely a point where I was trying to subtly wipe tears while writing in my journal at a cafe. Note to self: work on subtly.
Just the day before I was helping manage the non-stop flow of patients—including a middle-aged woman who would have epileptic seizures triggered by stress, a patient who complained of body pain to me and then upon examination revealed he had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hyper mobility--he could clasp his hands in front of him, step through with his legs and bring it all the way around his back and over his legs without releasing palms), and a seven-year-old girl who was sick all night and day but finally felt better and was able to leave, but not without giving the nurse who was checking up on her a big hug before she left *cue heart melt*. And now the next day, I felt like I had nothing to do. (Which is false.) In just a blink of an eye, it seemed like there was a lot of change, unexpected change, and it caught me completely off-guard. Truth is that there was nothing set for me to do, there was plenty to do, I just didn't know what to do or where to start.
But lazy days are needed. Processing time is invaluable. And I needed to take advantage while I could. So Saturday was my lazy day. Saturday night though...I'll tell you about that next.