I came across a new phrase while reading the article Self Care Tips: Advice from Professional Clinicians, and I think it will really resonate with all of my fellow moms...
This phrase immediately caught my attention because in two words it uncovered one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. Each and every day we show compassion to our children, we try to change their lives for the better, we care about every tiny achievement and failure. And constantly caring can quickly lead to compassion fatigue if we are not taking care of ourselves.
January is self-love month, but how many moms are actually acting on this movement? How many moms are setting aside time for self-care? How many moms are taking what they need so that they can continue to give? How many moms are powering through today, only to burn out tomorrow? How many moms feel like they are on the verge of everything falling apart each and every day?
I am writing this post to encourage you to move past the mom guilt and take the time that you need (yes... need) to become a better mother, wife, woman. It is easy for me to type the encouragement. It is easy for you to read the encouragement. The hard part is making it happen on a regular basis.
Self care doesn't have to mean extravagant girls' weekends and shopping binges. Self care is more about the day to day mindset and small things that you do to decrease your stress levels and refill your compassion tank.
The social workers in this post give 31 great pieces of advice that I encourage you to check out! There were 3 themes that stood out to me in this article, andI am going to try to apply them to my own life and encourage you to do the same...
1. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is not the same as shutting everyone out, but you need to know your limits. You train people how to treat you whether you realize it or not -- your kids, your spouse, your friends, your family, your coworkers, and even acquaintances in your community.
We all feel better when we feel like we are in control. We like to know what to expect, and we like to feel security in knowing that we can affect the situation that we are in. A lot of time a lack of control comes from a lack of boundaries, which quickly leads to the feeling of always being stressed out and overwhelmed. Take the time to rethink the boundaries you have drawn in your life, and allow yourself to make different decisions moving forward.
2. Prioritize Self Care
Self care is something that needs to stay at the forefront of your mind. You need to be thinking about it when writing your to do lists and planning out time to do things that you enjoy. Our lives are very busy, and if self care is something that we only do when we have free time, it will never happen! It has to be something that we carve out time for.
Being aware of your feelings and giving yourself room to feel them is also hugely helpful. As moms, we tend to put on a brave face for our children and get into the practice of suppressing our emotions... I am so mad, but I can't yell. I am so proud, but I don't want to cry. I think that is hysterical, but I can't laugh at their poor behavior. Prioritizing your self care means that you need to let those emotions out eventually -- swap stories with a friend, cry on your husband's shoulder, or even write them down.
3. Maintain Relationships
When I have not spent time with friends and family in a while, I notice a big difference in myself. It is easy to get stuck in the same routines -- pick up kids here, drop them off here, run these errands, do this work, be home in time for naps and bedtime, etc. Trying to squeeze in activities and play dates just seems like it will be draining and take too much extra effort. However, seeing those friends is often therapeutic and energizing! It's okay to put aside productivity now and then for the sake of the important relationships in your life.
You need people to lean on now and again throughout your life, and you will feel good when you are able to return the favor as well. It is easy to lose touch, and it is difficult to stay close. Don't let the day to day stand in the way of nurturing yourself.