Mothers tend to put themselves last when it comes to self-care. As nurturers, a huge part of motherhood identity is taking care of others (often at the sacrifice of your own well-being). The truth is that you can’t keep giving water from an empty well. Parenting is hard, which is why it is also so rewarding. But if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you are left feeling exhausted, under-appreciated, stressed out and even resentful. There are many parts to who we are as women, and self-care gives us an opportunity to slow down and recharge so we can restore ourselves, which ultimately benefits those around us. Here are some of the myths that hold us back from doing the best things we can for ourselves:
Self-care is a luxury.
Self-care is a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly and annual process. Somewhere along the way, we started to equate self-care with massages and pedicures. That’s certainly a nice splurge, but not 95% of actual self-care (I made that statistic up). Self-care is taking a bath or shower to wash off the stress or negativity you picked up during the day. Self-care is spending 5-10 minutes outside soaking in the sun and feeling the breeze. Self-care is a walk, a compassionate pep talk, a phone call with a friend. Self-care is time alone to reflect.
I don’t have time for self-care.
It sure does seem that way, doesn’t it? But self-care doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It can be something strategically incorporated during your day. You might bring your kiddo for a walk with you in their stroller if they are still young or, if they are older, teach them what a mindful walk is, so they can create good self-care habits early. Maybe you attend a family yoga class together or you take some deep breaths and check in with yourself each time you use the restroom. Having a cup of tea in the middle of the day is also a nice way to engage in mindful awareness.
Self-care is too expensive!
Sure, if your view of self-care is massages and spa days, it does seem pretty unattainable on a regular basis but, as I’ve mentioned before, those (awesome) things maybe fit into the monthly or quarterly self-care slots along with attending regular doctor’s appointments and going to the dentist. What is more self-caring than making sure your body is healthy?
Self-care is about doing nothing…and that’s boring.
Self-care is about doing the things that will internally recharge and help you care for yourself. Self-care is not about binging on Netflix or sitting alone doing nothing for two hours (unless sitting alone for two hours is something that will recharge you, as it does for many). Self-care may be going to your annual physical, baking, meditating, doing yoga, eating nutritious food, dancing, journaling, talking to a friend, taking a shower, drinking water, coloring, knitting, reading, having tea with a friend, having coffee alone, talking to yourself in a compassionate way, looking at beautiful things in nature, taking a hike…the list goes on and on.
As the days get shorter, we are reminded that the holidays are right around the corner. For many of us, this means more job-ligations, school activities, parties and time with extended family. Setting your expectations and habits for self-care now may also include setting boundaries around how much you agree to so you can enjoy the time ahead with the people you really care about. Listen to your needs, knowing that self-care is preventative medicine as well as a compassionate act of love.
Are you having trouble figuring out and maintaining a plan for self-care? I’m here to help.