It always starts as a little redness around my nose. Little red dots. A cluster of itchy spots.

Then, by the time I wake up the next day, I’m looking all puffy-lipped and a little Angelina Jolie, but without all the accompanying, you know, physical perfection.

A red-faced wreck.

And if it’s a good bout, they’re gone within a few days. If it’s a bad bout, they hang around for week or more.

Tres charming for someone who kind of enjoys interfacing with other actual human beings other than her kids, right?

Ugh. Stress hives, thanks a ton for stopping by. K

I heralded the start of this week with a fresh batch of my irritating red buddies, and may I just say for the record, they are so NOT fabulous.

I know what you’re thinking. Stress? You don’t know stress.

A stay-at-home mom of three who writes a blog has stress? Nope. No way.

I know. I KNOW. It’s a hashtag-first-world-problem (and low on the list of that, to be sure) in its purest sense.

But it’s just something that’s happening lately, and it is my own personal reminder that I need to get my crap in check again. I think I’m doing that thing again where I put everything, and everyone else first, all the time.

The endless loop of “MOMMMMM!!!!”s pulling me in three separate directions multiple times daily… The carousel of mindless house work… The daily tending-to of three other tiny humans… It just added up, and this is the end result.

The difference this time? I know what’s happening, and I know I have to get on top of it. In the past, I would have ignored this literal red flag my body was throwing up. (This is coming from a girl who checked herself into an emergency room at age 29 because of stress pains so intense I thought I was having a heart attack. You know that phrase, “taking it to heart?” Hello, meet me.)

These little red dots are my first-line reminder that I need to take it down a notch. That I need to slow down before things cascade further downward.

Let me guess. You’ve been here, or in a similar spot, right? Stretched so thin, and stressed from so many things and people for whom you’re responsible that you feel like, This is the day. This is the day that I will actually lose it.

I’m not saying this is the predominant problem our world is facing right now. Clearly there are more pressing issues that need our immediate attention.

But I am here to say that we are the stewards of our own physical and mental health, and we are the only ones who can pull off this job.

Even though you are responsible for your house and your kids and, to an extent, the needs of your partner, you are first responsible for YOURSELF.

The familiar refrain of, “Take care of yourself first!” is so easy to ignore because, well, we are usually doing something for someone else when we hear it.

But I’m here with a quick reminder: Don’t ignore it. Hear it, take it in, and do something about it. It can even be something small!

Get coffee at Starbucks and sit there with a full-fat latte with a chocolate chip muffin and their badass-fast free WiFi and just mindlessly scroll.

Sit in your car in the school pickup line and blast your favorite song and SCREAM SING YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT, sister. Hell, do it with the windows down. (Bonus: Also good way to weed out real friends. The true friends are the ones who give you a thumbs up when they see you doing this.)

Call your mom. Call a friend. Call someone who loves you and have them tell you a funny story from your past. Remember that girl and smile about her.

Or if it’s really bad, call your doctor and tell her, and have her tell you what to do next.

Tell yourself—and believe it—that it will all be okay. All the small stuff that adds up to break you out in hives or make you forget that old girl you used to know? It will fade away.

Your Healing is either just a few steps (and also a few Claritins, in my case) away; or, it may be a little farther down the road. But it’s there. It’s waiting for you.

You—the You that you knew back before you had other Little Yous—is waiting at the end of the tunnel, and she can’t wait to see you again. (Red dots and all.)

 

 

P.S. Why I’m trying to slow it down these days, and nursing clothes don’t have to be ugly.

 

Sonni Abatta runs an Orlando lifestyle and mom blog, and her face is currently still a little red and spotty. (Ugh.) Reach out to collaborate, or with questions and comments, to Sonni@SonniAbatta.com.