Sound familiar? You’re late to pick up the children. You’ve just run out of the office shouting instructions over your shoulder with promises to call. The train is hot and overcrowded. You didn’t make it to the gym. In fact, you haven’t been for the last couple of weeks. You cancelled dinner with your friend last night and you’ve been working until midnight all week. Right now other than getting home, your only thought is for the large glass of wine you’ll pour yourself when you finally stumble through the front door. That is, if the train ever gets moving.
Just thinking about this is exhausting; yet it’s the way so many of us live. Busyness is the status symbol of the 21st century and, worryingly, neglecting ourselves seems to be a key part of this.
As work piles up, we cancel everything other than the ‘essential’. The trouble is the very activities that enable us to function healthily are the ones most of us label non-essential.
We have it the wrong way round. The fact is we can’t afford not to do these things.
Self-care is a vital component of our daily lives. But what does it even mean? Essentially, looking after ourselves by doing activities that help us feel good and nourish us.
What are the benefits? Self-care activities help us maintain our vitality, our energy levels (yes please) and mood as well as boosting productivity and sharpening our focus.
So what do you do to take care of yourself?
How do you stop it feeling like another thing you should be doing when really a glass of wine and packet of Wotsits is more appealing?
We’ve all read the blogs or had a well-meaning friend tell us how we must try the new thing that has been a game changer for them. You know, if you just meditate for 20 minutes in the morning, write a journal, feel grateful and swish coconut oil round your mouth, you’ll reach the promised land of crystal-clear focus, ultra-efficiency and boundless energy. But who’s got the time? And coconut oil...really?
Think of self-care as having a number of pots that you top up.
So, if long lists, morning routines and evening rituals feels overwhelming and not your thing, think instead of having a number of pots, physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social. Your objective over the course of a week is do things to keep the pots topped up.
Call a friend, go for a run, sit in silence for 10 minutes a day, shut yourself in the loo and read your book, go to bed early, laugh, dance. Aside from avoiding wine and Wotsits, there is no right or wrong thing to do; if it feels good, and your GP wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, then it’s doing good.
As mums, we focus on taking care of our children and generally we forget about taking care of ourselves. Or worse, we think of it as a reward or luxury rather than something essential for our wellbeing. You cannot give from an empty cup and who appreciates a resentful, frazzled mother?
Over the summer holidays when the work/children juggle is full-on, make a little time each day to do something that nourishes you, tops up your pots and most importantly that feels enjoyable. You will feel better for it, I promise.
Got tips for fitting in some time for yourself, share them below. Like this blog? Then share it too.