We live in a culture that glorifies business. Most people find themselves pulled in many different directions, wearing many hats. It starts at the crack of dawn: alarm goes off, hit snooze two to three times, get up, shower, iron your clothes, get dressed, wake the kids up, make the lunches, wake the kids up again, yell for the kids to get up, go up stairs and get the kids up while trying to stay cool. Get kids dressed, load them into the car for school, swing through Tim Hortons, drop them off 5 minutes late, and then fight traffic to deal with clients, meetings, and targets. Race home, get dinner started, kid’s homework, eat quickly, rush out to hockey, soccer, or dance. Home by 8pm, get kids bathed, into bed, read a story, and pray that they fall asleep. Crash in front of the t.v. in exhaustion, only to find, your spouse wants to talk…ahhhh!! Does your day go something like this? We have been taught that if we are not busy, then we are not productive, and somehow not good enough. We have venerated business, but at what cost? How many of you feel stressed, have trouble sleeping, are short with your partner and kids, don’t feel like yourself, feel down, and feel that life is not fulfilling? Have you stopped spending time with your friends? Going out on dates with your partner? Have you started to isolate yourself, withdraw? Have you stopped expressing what you need? Are you arguing with your partner? If this sounds remotely like you, then you are not alone! You are suffering from our cultural disease-a lack self-care.
Moms are infected with a lack of self care. Moms are generally the nurturers, the compassionate ones, the ones that aim to please or keep the peace, and moms are the ones that usually run the house. Moms have been socialized to believe that they need to be able to do it all. It is time for you moms to pause and take time for yourselves, because you are someone of value. If your tank is constantly on empty, then what good are you to others? You will likely be snappy, less tolerant, critical, and generally not nice to be around! We need to fill ourselves up in order to give to others. Moms need to understand that by caring for yourself you will be caring for those around you. When you have energy, and can show genuine care and patience, your kids and your partner will respond. By caring for yourself you are making a statement: I am of value. I am worth being cared for. I love you so much that I am going to take good care of myself. So, how do you care for yourself?
Whenever we feel overwhelmed, stressed, irritable we need to get back to basics: eating, sleeping and exercise. Here are some tips to overcome our societal disease!
1) Understand and believe that you are worth being cared for.
2) Write down 10 positive qualities that you see in yourself. Write it as: “I am…” If you have difficulty in coming up with 10 then ask your best friend, or people you feel closest with and ask them what positive qualities they see in you. These qualities are the truths of who you are.
3) Write down 10 things you have done in your life that you are proud of. They may relate to your positive qualities that you wrote about above.
4) Do things that you enjoy, for example, having a massage, going for a long walk, playing sports, gardening, spending time with a friend, or reading a book. Whatever it is that you enjoy, start implementing it today.
5) Find a sacred place. This place may be in your home or it may be somewhere else, but it is a place where you can’t be disturbed, where you have silence, where you can take time for your self, to re-energize, to nurture your self because you are worth it.
6) Exercise and eat healthy regularly. You can check the Canadian Food Guide for healthy eating patterns or consult a qualified nutritionist. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and to reduce/eliminate your caffeine intake.
7) Set healthy Boundaries. Learn how to say “no” when your boundaries are being violated. Learn what you are able to take on and what you may need to let go of, for example, not taking on everyone else’s problems.
8) Challenge the negative thoughts about yourself that may be playing in your mind, and replace them with truths about yourself, i.e. positive qualities.
9) Have a good laugh. Rent your favourite comedy or read a book that makes you laugh, or spend time with friends who lift you up and encourage you, and who want to laugh with you. Don’t forget to have fun!
William Shakespeare said “Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.”
Ellis Nicolson+associates have expertise in marital, couple, family and indiviudal counselling. To book an appointment call 416-358-0290 or email ellis [at] ellisnicolson.com