Self care is not the same as self-pity. Often though it is in low season where we feel very sorry for ourselves that we realize we have neglected taking care of our own needs. Self care is also not being self absorbed or just focusing on yourself and taking care of you. That is called vanity.
Self-care is what is necessary for each one to look after yourself physically and mentally. Often as moms we put ourselves on the back burner but that sometimes can fill you with resentment because you never get to do what you want or need to do. Then what happens is that we can easily slip into an unhealthy obsession that we are on the back burner. That can lead to frustration and more resentment. So, let’s dive in and look at a few tips to take care of YOU.
Tips for self-care
Being mindful of what is happening
Just creating an awareness of how my body is feeling like my stomach is in a knot or it feels like I have a tight rubber band around my head can help me to realize it is time for some self-care.
Being aware of my feelings and acknowledging them is also self-care. To recognize to myself when I am feeling really in despair or in a deep pit of grief.
The morning craziness getting everyone out of the door can be quite exhausting and often you are the last one to jump in the shower and getting yourself ready. That can really push my anxiety up to a whole new level.
Just becoming more aware and naming the emotion is a start already. I always say if you can name it, you can tame it.
2. Fight the voices in your head
How I am speaking to myself can really impact how I feel. Am I once again talking negatively to myself or thinking negatively about myself ?
So often we are our biggest critics. Talking down on ourselves and seeing ourselves in a negative light can be very damaging. Sometimes we start to believe those lies that we can’t do anything right or that we are a failure.
3. Awareness of fatigue
Recognizing fatigue whether physical or mental is really important. Often women put someone else’s needs above their own – either a child or a partner. That can be physical needs such as feeding the family, making sure there is enough food in the fridge or getting up in the middle of the night for a crying child.
Most moms can tell you that the fastest they get out of bed in the middle of the night is when they hear someone vomiting.
Caring for someone else’s mental health and well-being can be very draining and can often leave you exhausted. I have a few members of my family that really struggle with mental health and it is sometimes really hard to be their support when I am physically or mentally tired and exhausted.
I have realized over the years that I can cope so much better if I get better sleep.
4. Be realistic with time
In my younger years I would take on too much and got so frustrated with myself for not getting everything done or letting people down because you have over committed yourself. It is unrealistic to expect something that will take 2 hours and think that you will be able to pull it off in 20 minutes.
5. Take care of your physical health
Just like in the plane when the flight attendant do the safety drill and they will tell you to put on your oxygen mask on first, during an emergency, before you put your child’s mask on. It is super important to look after your own health. Let’s face it, no one else will do it. Make sure you develop and practice some healthy habits that can make a huge difference such as:
- Get a good night’s rest, preferably the early hours of the night. Cleaning up your sleep hygiene and making sure you go to bed in a relaxed state of mind. I know THAT is easier said than done.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat real food and cut out processed foods as well as high sugar foods or food with a high GI ( glucose index).
- Easy on the alcohol.
- Drink lots of water
- Regular exercise. Making sure you get adequate exercise at least 3 times a week.
- Do regular stretching exercises or something like yoga or tai-chi.
- Integrate using essential oils in your daily life either by diffusing it in your home or applying it topically. If you can have an aromatherapy massage, that would be so beneficial. Even just adding a couple of drops in your bathwater and enjoying some me time before bed is an easy way to use essential oils to address some underlying stress and muscle tension.
6. Take care of your mental health
Do you have a trusted friend that you can confide in? Perhaps it is time to get professional help. Getting some tools to deal with your own mental health is super helpful.
I am not sure where you are at with your own mental health and different seasons of life bring on different zones of the mental health spectrum. As a parent I can testify of really happy days but also really dark days.
7. Take care of your spiritual health
We are all created body, mind and soul. Eliminating our need for a spiritual connection is like taking one of the legs of a three-legged stool away. We end up being a bit unbalanced. For me, as a Christian, it is connecting with God through bible reading, meditating on his words and prayer. For you it might be a different kind of spirituality.
It would be a lie to say that I am 100 % balanced and perfect because I am a Christian or I have faith in a creator God. Far from it, but to sit under the provision of God, to know that he made me and knows every thought and therefor I can be very honest with him about everything in my life. He knows the future and how many days I still have on this earth. That gives me peace but also a sense of urgency to do what I need to do.
To stop procrastinating.
To live in the moment.
To say I love you to those around me.